Let's face it: If you're headed to Anaheim, there's a pretty good chance you're going on some Disneyland rides. But there are, in fact, some more things to do in Anaheim than just visiting the happiest place on earth. From a chic food hall to a trio of major live music venues, here are 10 things to do in Anaheim (including a trip to Disneyland).
10 things to do in Anaheim
Anaheim is no longer just for Angels games and Disneyland trips thanks to the arrival of the Anaheim Packing District. Split up into three revamped destinations, the block-sized district is anchored by the Packing House, a former Sunkist citrus plant that's been converted into a handsome, modern food hall. The ever expanding roster of merchants runs the gamut from full service restaurants to niche vendors that specialize in grilled cheese, hot pot, juice, popsicles and more.
The longstanding Disneyland resort isn't just a set of theme parks: it's a spectacular piece of pop art stocked with rides, hotels and an adjacent shopping center, Downtown Disney. Incorporating two parks—the 60-year-old, near-mythic Disneyland, plus the younger, recently revamped Disney California Adventure—the resort calls itself "The Happiest Place on Earth." And if you bring the right mood with you, it'll likely live up to its nickname.
While it lacks in character compared to Dodger Stadium, this pleasant, Metrolink-adjacent ballpark is still a great place to watch a game. Indeed, the only real problem with the team is that absurd name, changed (from the Anaheim Angels) in 2004 by owner Arte Moreno despite the fact that the team isn't in either the city or the county of Los Angeles, and despite the fact that it translates, tautologously, as "The the Angels Angels of Anaheim."
Housed in the historic Carnegie Library, formerly Anaheim's city library, this cultural center has also expanded into a contemporary adjacent space. In addition to a permanent display of local historical items, the museum features temporary art exhibitions that engage the area's cultural heritage.
Though Anaheim's outdoor shopping center has struggled to fill its storefronts, the handful of chain restaurants that do exist (think Cheesecake Factory, California Pizza Kitchen) should tempt nearby theme park visitors looking for a bite. A relocated House of Blues now anchors the shopping center.
The concert hall chain left behind its Downtown Disney location for a spot just down the street at the Anaheim GardenWalk. The main concert hall hosts a mix of punk, hip-hop and throwback alternative acts. You'll also find live music in the Southern-influenced restaurant, as well as the members only Foundation Room. Swing by on Sundays for the signature Gospel Brunch.
Constructed in 1993, the Honda Center can squeeze in up to 17,000 Anaheim Ducks fans during hockey season—though that number is roughly halved when the venue gets converted into an amphitheater-style seating for musical guests, which have included Barry Manilow, Madonna and U2.
This mile-long sliver of green space along the Santa Ana river is a popular spot to lounge around. Playgrounds and picnic tables are plentiful amidst the bike paths and the park's four small lakes and their connecting streams. If you're looking for more rugged greenery, consider biking or hiking around the nearby Chino Hills State Park.
Planning on a Disneyland trip?
Spending a day at Disneyland is practically a rite of passage for Angelenos. But as you hike around the two theme parks, it’s easy to let crying children, aching feet and overwhelming crowds come between you and the front seat on Space Mountain. Thankfully, we’ve put together these eight essential Disneyland tips to ensure that your visit to the beloved attraction lives up to the tagline of “the happiest place on earth.”