What to Do in Anaheim Besides Visit Disneyland

It’s true, Disneyland Resort is amazing, but Anaheim has come into its own, offering visitors so much more to see and do that go well beyond the world’s most famous mouse and his friends.

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Photo By: Erin Gifford

Photo By: Visit Anaheim

Photo By: Ryan Giron

Photo By: The FIFTH

Photo By: House of Chimney Cakes

Photo By: Erin Gifford

Photo By: Visit Anaheim

Eat Local at a Food Hall

As food halls continue to blossom in popularity, the Anaheim Packing House is a must-visit while in Orange County. This former citrus packing house boasts more than two dozen fun and adventurous dining concepts, including Black Sheep GCB, a grilled cheese bar and The Iron Press, which serves up local craft beers and savory waffle sandwiches. Meantime, SteelCraft Garden Grove, the area’s first shipping container food hall, is expected to open later this year. Look for deliciousness from Cauldron Ice Cream, Renegade Taco and Dark Horse Coffee Roasters.

Visit More Theme Parks

Anaheim may be best known for Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, but there are more ways to get your theme park fix while in town. Knott’s Berry Farm is just 15 minutes away and is a must for roller coaster enthusiasts thanks to the brand-new HangTime, the only dive roller coaster in California. Bring your swimsuit and cool off next door at Knott’s Soak City. Universal Studios Hollywood is also nearby and introduced a new Kung Fu Panda 4-D ride in mid-June.

Try All the Craft Beers

Anaheim has come into its own as a craft beer scene thanks to more than 15 craft breweries. Anaheim Brewery, a Prohibition-era brewing company, re-opened in 2010 after being closed for 90 years. Settle in outside in the 100-seat, dog-friendly beer garden or take a seat in the tasting room that has vibes of Old Anaheim. Try a new brewery, like Golden Road Brewing, which opened up less than a year ago across from Angels Stadium. At Downtown Disney, Ballast Point is on track to open up late this year, marking the district’s first-ever brewery.

Get Your Disney Fix Without Going to Disneyland

For those who want to get their Disney fix, but don’t want to brave the crowds (or the kids), particularly after the opening of the much-anticipated Pixar Pier, there are options. Settle in for a craft cocktail at The FIFTH, Anaheim’s only rooftop bar, which offers stunning views of the nightly fireworks show at Disneyland. Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar at the Disneyland Hotel is also a must, boasting colorful cocktails with names like Shrunken Zombie Head and Shipwreck on the Rocks, as well as a child-free atmosphere after 8 p.m.

Eat All the Desserts

Sure, the Disneyland Resort does offer loads of amazing sweet treats, like lemon soft-serve, chunky chocolate chip cookies and cinnamon-sugar churros around every corner, but there is much more sweetness to be found in Anaheim. Go to Crème & Sugar for ultra-colorful epic milkshakes in flavors like Unicorn, Pink Elephant and Mermaid. House of Chimney Cakes delights with hollow sweet bread treats filled with ice cream and topped with cookies, sprinkles, cheesecake bites, you name it. Another fun treat is the liquid nitrogen infused snowball at I Am. Kids will love breathing “smoke” like a dragon.

Don't Leave Your Hotel

Sometimes it’s nice not to leave the hotel, sit at traffic lights and hunt for parking, so consider a stay at the new-ish Great Wolf Lodge. A welcome break from standing in lines at theme parks, the hotel can keep kids busy from wake-up to bedtime with yoga, scavenger hunts, storytimes, arcade games, crafts and of course, a massive indoor/outdoor water park. The hotel also offers a daily character breakfast (no reservation required) and an evening wine service for grown-ups, as well as a massive, family-size Tipping Bucket ice cream sundae.

Dance to Live Music

Anaheim offers a number of venues that appeal to those eager to hear live music, like House of Blues, which relocated not long ago to a brand-new facility at the Anaheim GardenWalk. Live bands crank every night of the week, while the world-famous gospel brunch delights on alternating Sundays at 10:30 a.m. For country music lovers, head to The Ranch Saloon for live music from local bands, line dancing, even two-step lessons. On Sunday nights, kids as young as 10 can learn a move or two from the country dance instructors.

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