Best Things To Do in Anaheim-Disneyland
The main attractions here are obviously the rides and amusements of Disneyland. But the city of Anaheim also offers a hoard of other worthwhile ventures too. Knott's Berry Farm and Adventure City are traveler-approved amusement parks that are especially appealing to younger kids. And during baseball season, a game at the Angel Stadium of Anaheim should be a high priority. Plus, the beaches of Laguna, Huntington, Oceanside and even San Diego are less than 100 miles away.
Updated August 12, 2019
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Many travelers say this original Disney resort lives up to its motto as "The Happiest Place on Earth." You'll find three unique areas inside Disneyland: Disneyland Park, Disney California Adventure Park and the Downtown Disney District. The main park is still the favorite among reviewers and frequent guests, as it harbors several themed areas like Tomorrowland, Frontierland, Mickey's Toontown and its latest attraction, Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, which has brought a whole new level of excitement to the park. While not all the "Star Wars" rides are available (rollout continues until early 2020), the Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run ride and the themed shops and eateries that are open have garnered high praise from visitors.
Meanwhile, at California Adventure, you'll find Golden State-themed lands like Paradise Pier, which is modeled after California boardwalks similar to the one in Santa Monica, and exciting new attractions like the "Guardians of the Galaxy" ride in Hollywood Land. Visitors can also explore the worlds of "The Little Mermaid" and "Cars." For a tasty meal and some entertainment, head to Downtown Disney.
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Described by recent visitors as hip and a cool place to dine, the Anaheim Packing District features more than 20 artisan eateries, live music, a farmers market and an event area with a fireplace and orange grove. Housed in the former Anaheim Packing House, which was built in 1919, this two-level facility features a central atrium with a communal dining area flanked by cafes and kiosks. Outside, there are picnic gardens and a marketplace, Farmers Park.
Recent visitors highly recommended making a stop (or two) at the Anaheim Packing District. Both travelers and locals love its eclectic vibe and the variety of cuisines (catering to many different budgets) that are available here. Those who also visited Disneyland said this space provided a relaxing and interesting reprieve from the at times chaotic atmosphere of the theme park.
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Known as the center of surfing culture in California, so much so that the city's official nickname is "Surf City USA" and the Vans US Open of Surfing is held there every summer, Huntington Beach is the perfect place to enjoy the waves, either on a board or from shore. Located about 20 miles southwest of Anaheim, it also makes for a good daytrip.
Recent visitors praised the beach's cleanliness, and many note it's an ideal spot for families.
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For all the would-be pilots out there and all those "Top Gun" fans, the Flightdeck Flight Simulation Center is for you. Here, you can pretend you're taking off, dogfighting, and completing death-defying aerial maneuvers in fighter jet and Boeing 737 flight simulators that make it feel real.
And in case you were wondering, recent visitors said it's nothing like a computer game. Reviewers said the graphics and sound in the simulator made them feel as if they were actually flying. You also have the option to change into a flight suit, which past travelers said only enhanced the experience. Visitors also praised the staff and instructors for their clear and informative presentation. The minimum age to participate is 11, so if your tweens or teens grow tired of Disneyland, consider making a stop here.
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Both baseball aficionados and casual fans agree: If you're in Anaheim, you should make a point to catch a game at this historic, 45,050-seat venue. Home to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim since 1966, Angel Stadium (or The Big A) is baseball's fourth-oldest active Major League Baseball stadium, behind Fenway Park, Wrigley Field and Dodger Stadium. Single game ticket prices start at $5 and vary depending on the day, time and opponent. Parking at the stadium costs $10 per car.
According to recent visitors, the park is clean, the staff is friendly and the parking is easy. If you're looking for an affordable family activity (relative to Disneyland), you should try to attend a game here, according to past travelers. Also, the tour offered at the stadium also earns high marks from recent visitors, who say the guides are enthusiastic and knowledgeable.
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Approximately 10 miles east of downtown Anaheim in the mouth of Santa Ana Canyon, Yorba Regional Park is an oasis of green in a city heavily blanketed in concrete. Among its four lakes and connecting streams, biking and jogging paths, and equestrian trails, there are more than 400 picnic tables, along with barbecue grills and restrooms, making it the ideal place to take a family tuckered out by all the crowds at Disneyland. There's also a bicycle rental shop at the park (Wheel Fun Rentals), which rents out a variety of bikes, kayaks and pedal boats. Consider renting a bike if you want to ride the 20-mile-long Santa Ana River Trail, which eventually leads to the Pacific Ocean.
Recent visitors loved their time at Yorba Regional Park and strongly recommended travelers make time to stop by. Reviewers described the park as a city oasis and say it offers a wonderful place to relax.
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If you're on a budget and you've got young children in tow, you should consider a trip to Adventure City, according to recent visitors. Many reviewers said this small theme park is a less stressful and less expensive alternative to the pricey, crowded entertainment mecca of Disneyland. But keep in mind that this park is geared toward younger kids (most travelers said children between the ages of 2 and 10 will enjoy what Adventure City has to offer). The park does boast two roller coasters, but the focus here is less on thrilling rides and more on engaging pint-sized visitors with interactive attractions, such as the Thomas Tank Engine attraction where kids help one another build train layouts.
And because of Adventure City's manageable size, you can likely spend just one day here, versus the several you'll need to set aside for a trip to Disneyland. However, reviewers caution that preteens probably won't enjoy Adventure City as much as younger children.
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If you're sick of Disney – or just want try out some big roller coasters – you should check out nearby Buena Park's Knott's Berry Farm, a popular theme park that features some thrilling attractions. The park contains the quaintness of a Wild West reconstruction with some of the attractions of a multimillion-dollar theme park. It also boasts a log ride, a Wild West stunt show, a boardwalk-themed area and a playground area called Camp Snoopy that is geared toward young children. Highly recommended thrill rides include the HangTime dive coaster and the super-fast Xcelerator The Ride roller coaster. If you're visiting during the summer and need a break from the heat, consider purchasing tickets to the water park, Knott's Soak City, which is open from mid-May through early September.
While Knott's Berry Farm offers a different experience (and a cheaper price tag) to the Disneyland attractions, many past visitors noted that, unlike Disney, the staff and amenities were not always up to par. If you plan on drinking more than one fountain drink, consider purchasing the park's souvenir bottle, which costs $12.99 and grants free refills throughout your visit. Travelers also suggested downloading the Knott's Berry Farm smartphone app, which includes an interactive map of the park showing the fastest routes between rides and wait times for select rides, among other features.
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Anaheim GardenWalk is an outdoor shopping, dining and entertainment complex, with one of the main attractions being the House of Blues. Other businesses at the 460,000-square-foot complex include GO VR Gaming, Mission Escape Games and Bowlmor Lanes. Restaurants, like Johnny Rockets, The Cheesecake Factory and Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. are among the family-friendly restaurants. Located steps from Disneyland Resort and the Anaheim Convention Center, it's an easy place to relax and dine.
Recent visitors who knew what to expect at the complex were happy with what they found, saying there were good restaurants and prices, but others who thought they were going to an actual garden were disappointed. They also mention that several shops seemed to be closed.
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