Whether it’s manicured beach towns or celebrated theme parks, all framed by oceanfront towns, “The OC” stands out as one of the state’s iconic destinations. The always-amazing Disneyland Resort continues to be one of the best-loved theme parks in the world, while Knott’s Berry Farms and other attractions amp up the fun meter. Explore idyllic Laguna Beach, shop in Newport Beach or Costa Mesa’s spectacular South Coast Plaza, catch a wave in Huntington Beach, and sample culinary delights at the Anaheim Packing District. Every town has its own charm and personality, and every sunset is worth watching.
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.
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.
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.
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, where temptations range from fried chicken to homemade ice cream and a speakeasy-style bar, The Blind Rabbit. Nearby is the historic Center Street Promenade, where you’ll find handmade crafts, chef-driven eateries, and innovative vendors, such as the irresistible House of Chimney Cakes.
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.
Orange CountyLaguna Beach
With its art scene and unique coastline, this Orange County town may be literally picture perfect