Maybe you need an end-of-day break after 10 hours of meetings in the Anaheim Convention Center. Or perhaps you’re looking for a place to take the kids after a day of princesses and parades at Disneyland Resort. Anaheim GardenWalk, a sleek outdoor complex of shops and eateries, makes an appealing destination, especially after dark, when things like outdoor fire pits and entertainment venues spring to life.
The open-air, multistory mall is an easy and safe 5- to 10-minute stroll from the convention center, Disneyland Resort, and several major hotels (if you’re driving, indoor parking is plentiful, and the first hour is complementary). Stores and eateries are a nice mix of quality chains and local finds, and movie theaters, live music venues, and even a bowling alley provide plenty of ways to relax. As you explore, you’ll notice that art is everywhere—as installations, murals, and in the shop windows. It’s all part of GardenWalk’s Art on the Walk program, which also includes a quarterly event that provides local artists an opportunity to sell their works. Check the calendar of events to see when the next one is.
Hungry? A quick look at Anaheim GardenWalk’s directory reveals a solid mix of choices. If you’re a conventioneer ready to put down the iPad and relax, head for the broad outdoor patio and fire pits at Fire + Ice Grill + Bar. For a clubby feel, order Manhattans and ask for the daily seafood specials at McCormick & Schmick’s Grille. If you’re aiming to keep the younger set happy and fed, try the hand-tossed and hearth-baked pies at California Pizza Kitchen, or head to The Cheesecake Factory (it’s ultra-popular, so arrive early to avoid the biggest crowds, typically from 6 to 8 p.m.).
If your kids still have energy to burn after a day of theme park fun, make a beeline to Billy Beez, which features an indoor play space with slides, trampolines, and plenty of runaround room. (There's even an on-site babysitting service, so you can let the kids play—with adult supervision—while parents dine.) Grown-ups have play spaces too: Bowlmor Lanes keeps the night rolling with glow-in-the-dark lanes, plus you can enjoy VIP-style food and drink service while relaxing on your lane’s cushy banquettes. Bowlmor also has pool tables, a video game arcade, and a sports bar.
Shops stay open till 9 p.m., so you can browse for eco-friendly cosmetics, body products, and soaps at Klarif, or get your leather on at Los Angeles Harley-Davidson of Anaheim. If you’ve got tweens, they’ll probably steer you toward Soccer Wearhouse or O’Neill. Looking for bling to take home? Check out Madison and Company Fine Jewelers.