Anaheim’s claim to fame has been Disneyland, but within a short drive, there’s access to world-class food, entertainment, adventure, shopping, and beaches. On your next trip to California, make sure you take a few days to check out Anaheim, see what all the buzz is about.

Anaheim was founded by German immigrants in 1857 as a suitable area to grow grapes – it was one of the top wine-producing areas until a disease killed all the crops. It remained primarily agricultural until the mid-century when Disneyland came to town. Now it’s one of Orange County’s fastest-growing and most populous areas, filled with culture, history, and charm.

Visit Disneyland

Disneyland offers an unforgettable experience for travelers of all ages. Whether you’re heading there with small children to witness the magic through their eyes or looking to make your own magic – there’s a world of wonder to experience full of food, drinks, and thrilling rides.

Millenium Falcon at the Star Wars Galaxy Edge

Disneyland sees around 17 million visitors a year, so you can always expect a crowd, however, there are some seasons when you won’t have to deal with long lines like April, May, and September, lovely weather and the kids are in school. For those wanting to experience the thrill rides, make the most of your day by scheduling rides with a ‘FastPass’.

For Star Wars Visit Disneyland’s latest attraction Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge. It’s a free-fall adventure loaded with excitement (but not for the little ones), located in Disney’s Adventure Park.

Read more about what to see and do at Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge per Daily Dream 360 – What to See in Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge Disneyland California

Dine At The Packing District

Not to be missed is the Anaheim Packing District in the heart of Anaheim. It consists of 4 historic landmarks including a real-life citrus packing plant. Most of the buildings have been retrofitted into market space for unique food and other vendors selling their wares. Be sure to grab a gourmet popsicle from the PopBar, comfort food at the Croft or some Japanese Crepes at Crepe Coop; and check their events calendar for a list of the live entertainment. It’s easy to spend an afternoon just walking around this venue. 

Street view of the original Packing House Historical entrance.
photo credit Visit Anaheim
The Packing House Lower level public eating court.

The Blind Rabbit Speakeasy

While at the Packing District look for the hidden door, it’s your gateway to one of Anaheim’s best-kept secrets – the Blind Rabbit Speakeasy. This little gem is your passport to the Prohibition era complete with fabulous handcrafted cocktails and food; you’ll find a true speakeasy vibe steeped in the music and atmosphere of the1920’s–30’s.

I really loved this place, keep in mind there’s limited seating, 34 tables surround a bar – but if you have to wait, it’s well worth it. There are house rules – reservations needed, and proper attire.

Discover Center Street Promenade

A short walk from the Packing District is the Center Street Promenade where you’ll find boutiques, outdoor cafes, one of a kind restaurants and eateries. It’s near the ice rink, Carnegie Library, Muzeo Museum and an impressive Farmers Market which is open on Thursdays. If you’re traveling in October, be sure to check out their magical Halloween parade. 

Beyond Anaheim

A short drive from Anaheim lies adventure, beaches, and culture all wrapped up in Buena Park. There are 50 acres of family fun with 40 rides including roller coasters, family rides, dark rides, and water rides. This is the gateway to Los Angeles and home to Knott’s Berry Farm (and about a million used car lots). It’s a popular destination and the first theme park in California. It started as a roadside berry stand almost a hundred years ago and grew into a rich symbol of California history chock full of thrills. With stage shows and one of a kind foods – including their famous fried chicken – and an Old West Ghost Town – it’s definitely worth a stop.

Huntington Beach

From Buena Park, it’s only 15 miles down Beach Boulevard to Huntington Beach – called the Number One Family Surf Beach in the US. This is California at it’s best, where you can watch pros surf or try it yourself, check out the World’s Largest Surfboard, ride bikes along the boardwalk, soak up some sun on miles of pristine beach or roast marshmallows over a bonfire.

Huntington Beach live concert near the world famous pier.

While there don’t forget to stop at Surf City and walk its famous pier, one of the largest in the world

Where to stay

I stayed at the Hilton Anaheim. This family-friendly hotel is filled with amenities and centrally located, within walking distance of the Disneyland Resort and the Convention Center.

Aerial view of the Anaheim Hilton and Anaheim Convention centre
photo credit Hilton Anaheim

You’ll have a restful night, after which you can take the non-stop ART bus (picks up and drops off – hotel to Disneyland) or take a stroll to the Garden Walk, where you will find world-class dining, shopping, and entertainment.

The hotel also features a health club and spa so you can relax and recharge after a busy day of theme parks then dine at one of their five restaurants.

Getting around

Anaheim is a fairly easy place to get around whether you choose to rent a car or not. Flying into LAX Airport is the most common and it’s just 30 miles from Anaheim. At the airport, you can take advantage of the rental car options or board one of the many shuttle services like Shuttlefare.com, which is an affordable way to get to your Anaheim hotel. Some hotels, like the Disneyland Resorts, already offer a shuttle service. You also have access to public transportation as well as rideshare like Uber or Lyft.

No matter what Anaheim adventure you choose, you’ll be making memories that will last a lifetime.

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Have you been to Anaheim? What attractions would you recommend? `

Note: Cover photo courtesy of Visit Anaheim.