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Anaheim is most well-known for Disneyland, but the famous theme park is just the beginning in this Orange County town
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As the home of Disneyland Resort, the city of Anaheim is a crowd-pleasing destination for visitors from around the globe. The appeal of this Orange County hub extends well beyond its theme parks, however, thanks to magnets such as Angel Stadium and the headliner acts at the Honda Center. Anaheim boasts a reinvigorated downtown and vibrant nightlife, too, making this a vacation haven for everyone from families to foodies.

Anaheim History

During the 19th and early 20th centuries, Anaheim (named after the neighboring Santa Ana River) was a quiet farming community, dotted mostly with citrus orchards. Then, in 1955, Walt Disney built a theme park here, and the area was transformed from an agricultural community to a growing metropolis based on tourism.

The Disneyland Phenomenon

Today, Anaheim’s nerve center radiates from the two theme parks, three hotels, and the Downtown Disney District at Disneyland Resort, as well as the nearby Anaheim Convention Center. Here, along Katella Avenue and Harbor Boulevard, you’ll find most of Anaheim’s hotels, many of which are Disney-designated Good Neighbor Hotels, where you can typically walk or ride a quick shuttle to the parks.  While all are family-friendly, a few are luxurious, too, including three AAA Four Diamond hotels: The elegant Radisson Blu Anaheim has a rooftop pool and kid-friendly bunks, while The Westin Anaheim Resort and the JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort both have rooftop lounges with excellent views of Disneyland’s nightly fireworks. The JW Marriott also sits next door to the shops, restaurants, and public art of the Anaheim GardenWalk.

More to Love in Anaheim

There’s plenty to discover beyond the borders of the Happiest Place on Earth, too. Head northeast to Downtown Anaheim to taste your way through the Anaheim Packing District. The center of the region’s once-booming citrus industry, the warehouse buildings have been reborn as a culinary hotbed. Hang out in the multistory Anaheim Packing House food hall, which is home to more than 20 different merchants—making it a great place to gather as a group and ensure everyone will find food and a drink that suits their palate.Temptations range from fried chicken to homemade ice cream and a speakeasy-style bar, The Blind Rabbit. The district also hosts live music, including DJs, singers, and bands of all styles, with most shows taking place on weekend evenings from 7–9 p.m.

Nearby is the historic Center Street Promenade, where you’ll find Anaheim’s finest handmade crafts, chef-driven eateries, and innovative vendors, such as the irresistible House of Chimney Cakes. It's also home to the local farmers’ market, art shows, street fairs, and seasonal events like the famous Anaheim Halloween Parade.

Or, sip your way through Anaheim’s well-established beer scene. Near Angel Stadium, sample brews at Golden Road Brewery, Brewheim, or Noble Ale Works. Downtown, the La Palma Beer Trail offers more local suds, such as the Belgian-style brews of The Bruery Terreux Tasting Room or the IPAs at Brewery X (including a Quack IPA, named after the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks).

West Anaheim, meanwhile, offers a glimpse of the city’s global community. Its Little Arabia and nearby Little Saigon districts showcase the cuisines of the Middle East and Southeast Asia, often at very affordable prices. Try the chicken and beef shawarma plates at Zankou Chicken or browse the spices and produce at Altayebat Market, which feels like a souk transplanted to the middle of Orange County.

For more year-round fun ideas in the area (like visiting a flight simulation center!), check out these 5 Amazing Things to Do in Anaheim.

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