With its welcoming vibe and unbeatable attractions, this lively city on Orange County’s northwest side is a popular destination for visitors from around the globe. Home to A-list hotspots like Disneyland Resort and sports-fan favorites like Angel Stadium and Honda Center, Anaheim also boasts a reinvigorated downtown and vibrant nightlife scene, making it a vacation haven for everyone from families to foodies. There’s plenty to discover beyond the borders of the happiest place on Earth. Here are four great options:
With buzzing new shops and eateries popping up inside face-lifted historic buildings, Downtown Anaheim has received an inviting boost. Anaheim Packing District, formerly the center of the region’s once-booming citrus industry, has been reborn as a food hall and social hub. Hang out in the oh-so-cool Anaheim Packing House, a multistory culinary paradise with artisanal foods, craft cocktail bars, and live music. Nearby is the historic Center Street Promenade, where you’ll find handmade crafts, chef-driven eateries, and innovative local vendors. (There are several luxury hotels central to everything—Radisson Blu Anaheim, JW Marriot, Anaheim Resort, and Westin Anaheim Resort are all a short stroll from the Magic Kingdom.)
Anaheim is home turf for two pro sports teams. Orange County baseball fans watch their boys of summer, the Los Angeles Angels, at Anaheim’s Angel Stadium. Can’t catch a game? Take a 75-minute public tour of the stadium, which includes a trip to the playing field, a visit to the dugout, a walk through the visitor’s clubhouse, and exclusive peeks inside the Gene Autry and Dugout Suites, the broadcast booth, and the press conference room. Nearby, the Stanley Cup-winning Anaheim Ducks whack the puck in the soaring Honda Center, and your little ducks can take to the ice at the city’s Anaheim ICE rink, which offers public skate times.
Whether you want to rock out to big names like the Foo Fighters and Katy Perry or hang out in smaller indie-music clubs, Anaheim has venues to suit your mood and style. The splashiest acts tend to perform at Honda Center, which doubles as a 19,000-seat performance space. Next door is the City National Grove of Anaheim, offering a more intimate experience for as little as 50 or up to 5,000 concertgoers. Want to watch up-and-coming acts? Head to Observatory OC, which plays host to new names in hip-hop, rock, indie, and pop. Shows happen almost every night, so you’re sure to find tunes to suit your ears.
Want to dig deeper into the Disney story? The Anaheim Tour Company’s “Walt Tour” departs from Anaheim and devotes a full day to a dozen landmarks that played a part in the life and career (and even the final resting place) of animation genius Walter Elias Disney. Tour stops include his various studios: his Uncle Robert’s barn in Garden Grove, the Los Feliz storefront originally called “Disney Brothers Studio,” and the Walt Disney Studios headquarters in Burbank. You’ll even eat lunch at Walt’s favorite restaurant, the Scottish-themed Tam O’Shanter on Los Feliz Boulevard, which dates to 1922. This intimate tour, limited to just seven participants (ages 12 and up), appeals to Disney superfans and history buffs, but it also spotlights timeless L.A. sights like the Hollywood Walk of Fame (where Walt has more than one star) and the architectural masterpiece Walt Disney Concert Hall.