Anaheim City Guide

15 Fun Things To Do In Anaheim CA & City Guide (2022)

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There are so many fun things to do in Anaheim, California! Anaheim is most famous as the home of Disneyland and for the sporting popularity of the Mighty Ducks ice hockey team and the Angels baseball team.

However, Anaheim has so much to offer beyond these huge drawcards!

Anaheim is easily one of my favourite places in the USA that we have visited so far, being a perfect destination for a family holiday.

The pristine city and palm tree-lined footpaths all add to the appeal of this popular tourist stopover during your California adventure!

Fun things to do in Anaheim California - not just Disneyland!

Planning Your Visit To Anaheim California

Anaheim is located around 45 minutes from Los Angeles, in sunny California. Like the rest of California, Anaheim has mild temperatures in the colder months and has an average of 300 days of sunshine every year.

A great thing when there are beaches nearby in the Orange County area.

Anaheim is located near 4 major airports – LAX, John Wayne, Ontario and Long Beach, making it a very easy destination to get to from within the USA and internationally.  

To get about in Anaheim, you have a range of transport options including buses, shuttle services, Uber, taxis and of course, the most popular mode of transportation, by car.

Plus the city is essentially flat making it rather easy to walk longer distances without having to hike up and down big hills. This is great since many of the main attractions are central to the huge number of hotels. 

Southern California Attraction Pass

Planning to visit a lot of attractions in Southern California? A great way to see all the best that the area has to offer is with a Southern California Attraction Pass.

This pass provides access to the most popular attractions in the region, including Disneyland, LEGOLAND California, San Diego Zoo, and SeaWorld San Diego.

You can personalise your attraction pass with the number of days you want to spend at Disneyland resort. It also means saving up to $72 per person by bundling your attraction tickets.

The Southern California Attraction Pass is valid for fourteen days from the first day of use. That means you can visit multiple attractions in one day or spread out your visits over a two-week period.

Visiting Anaheim With Kids

family friendly anaheim gardenwalk
Family-friendly fun in Anaheim Gardenwalk complex

Anaheim is a fantastic family vacation destination!

One thing that stood out for us during our visit is how safe Anaheim feels, even when walking at night. The whole city gives off a family-friendly vibe and feels somewhat like an extension of its most well-known attraction – Disneyland Resort. 

This makes Anaheim a safe destination for family travel with lots on offer to delight young travellers.

While the usual safety precautions should be taken while travelling with kids anywhere, you will find it easy to enjoy many things to do in Anaheim with kids, due to the many great attractions and local sights they can enjoy, as well as the warmer weather year-round.

Anaheim has all the usual facilities and services to accommodate families. You will find basic amenities such as baby change tables and parent rooms in most shopping centres and public access buildings.

It is also acceptable to breastfeed babies discreetly in most places.

All Anaheim supermarkets and chemists stock baby and toddler necessities such as nappies, wet wipes, formula and baby food.

There is easy access to health care in case of emergencies or illness.

Strollers and prams are suitable for use in Anaheim, with footpaths along pretty much every street and ramp entrances to most buildings.

There are parks and playgrounds scattered all around Anaheim and the surrounding suburbs, with plenty of activities and locations suited to family travel – and of course, the theme parks! 

Best Attractions & Things To Do In Anaheim CA

There is no end to fun things to do in Anaheim, California. The city is a hub of activity with Mickey Mouse ears everywhere as hoards of people make their way to the theme parks each day.

But there are plenty of other places to visit in Anaheim too! Here are some fun Anaheim attractions for the whole family:

1. Disneyland 

Character experiences at Disneyland

The most famous theme park in the world, the original Disneyland In California is situated in Anaheim and draws massive crowds every single day of the year.

This is a family fun attraction not to be missed when visiting Southern California! 

Whether you love rides, shows, or simply the magic of Disney, you will find it all here. Ride the classic Tea Cups ride, get lost in fairytale worlds and get yourself a set of Minnie Mouse ears. So much fun!

Check out our Disneyland first visit tips to help you plan your visit – including our top tips for visiting with younger kids. These secret hacks will help you save money too.

And if you want to save money at Disneyland Park, avoid these common tourist traps.

Check out our Disney packing list guide to make sure you don’t forget any of the essentials!

2. California Adventure Park

Disney California Adventure

Disneyland’s sister amusement park, California Adventure Park, is situated right next door and offers a whole new exciting world of Disney and Pixar.

This park brings even more of your favourite Pixar characters to life in their own worlds, along with classic Disney characters and some retro Hollywood.

It is also home to the incredible live Frozen stage show, at the Hyperion. You can get passes that allow access to both parks.

TIP: We recommend setting aside at least a full day for each park. This is by far one of the best things to do in Anaheim with kids but you do need a lot of time to really experience these mammoth amusement parks!

3. Attend An Event At Anaheim Convention Centre

anaheim convention centre

The Anaheim Convention Centre is the largest convention centre on the West Coast, having undergone a massive expansion in 2017.

With an array of events and entertainment scheduled throughout the year, there is always something to see and do at the Anaheim Convention Centre.

It also has an outdoor plaza that features regular live music, great food and a lively atmosphere. 

Even if there’s not a convention going on during your trip, you can still admire its impressive architecture and size.

4. Check Out the Mighty Ducks

honda centre stadium

Even if you don’t follow the sport, you likely already know who the Anaheim ice hockey team are! The Anaheim Mighty Ducks are well-known thanks to the early 90s Disney film however they are an ice hockey team well worth checking out when you’re in Anaheim.

You can purchase Anaheim Ducks tickets and find out when their next game is at Honda Center. A USA trip isn’t complete without seeing an ice hockey game!

In addition to hockey games, the Honda Center also hosts a variety of other events, such as concerts, shows, and sporting events. Some of the most popular performers who have played here include Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, and Justin Timberlake.

5. See A Los Angeles Angels Baseball Game

angels stadium in anaheim

Another one for the sports fans, be sure to check out the Los Angeles Angels at their home base of Angels Stadium for some baseball action.

Even if you’re not a fan of the sport, the experience of being in Angel Stadium of Anaheim on game day is something you won’t want to miss.

Check the website to find out when the next game is and how to get tickets.

6. House of Blues Anaheim

Anaheim House of Blues

If you are looking for things to do in Anaheim for adults, check out a concert in Anaheim’s coolest new venue, House of Blues in the  Gardenwalk complex.

Lots of big-name concerts and lesser-known musicians make this a fun place for a night out!

Check out the website for the latest concerts and events. Or simply enjoy a meal and drink at the restaurant. 

7. Oak Canyon Nature Center

Oak Canyon is a 58-acre nature reserve in Anaheim Hills where you can get outdoors and enjoy some fresh air.

Hike the tracks that take you through the three adjoining canyons. Pack yourself some lunch and enjoy eating outdoors at one of the many picnic tables.

8. Eat Your Way Through The Anaheim Packing House

This foodie haven is home to some of the best restaurants in the city, with over 50 culinary artisans set up within the historic citrus packing house in the centre of Anaheim. Be sure to try a little bit of everything while you’re here – you won’t be disappointed.

9. Learn about Anaheim’s history at the Muzeo Museum

For a dose of culture, head to the Muzeo Museum and Culture Center, which houses exhibitions on Anaheim’s rich history. From the city’s founding to its present-day status as a major tourist destination, you’ll learn all about what makes this place so special.

10. Go on a wine tasting tour

Anaheim and Orange County are home to several excellent wineries, so why not take advantage of them by going on a wine tasting tour?

You’ll learn about the different types of wines produced in the area and get to sample some of the best that Southern California has to offer.

11. Spend a day at the beach

Huntington beach Southern California
Huntington Beach is a great option for a day trip from Anaheim

Just a short drive from Anaheim are some of the most beautiful beaches in all of California. Soak up the sun, go for a swim, and relax – you’re on vacation, after all.

A beach day trip is easy from Anaheim with many great Orange County beaches to enjoy.

You may want to trip to Seal Beach, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Dana Point or San Clemente.

Each offers a little something different, depending on what you have in mind for your day trip. Or you may even have time to see more than one and enjoy a day in the Californian sun!

Check out the Anaheim tourism page for more details on what to expect at each of the beaches.

12. Stroll Through Downtown Disney

Want to get yourself some Disney memorabilia or gifts while in Anaheim CA? Downtown Disney is the place. Plus there are plenty of other shopping outlets too, all in one convenient location.

You can also enjoy dining at one of the many restaurants or cafes, or watch live entertainment!

Downtown Disney entrance is located right near the Disneyland Park entrance so you will need to go through the bag check process but it’s a must-visit Anaheim attraction for Disney fanatics! 

13. Explore Anaheim Hills

For breathtaking views of the city, head to the Anaheim Hills. This area is perfect for hiking, picnicking, or just enjoying the scenery.

14. Get Outdoors At Yorba Regional Park

bike riding in yorba regional park

Yorba Regional Park is one of the largest parks in Orange County and a great place to spend a day outdoors. With its walking and biking trails, picnic areas, and lake, it’s the perfect spot for a day outside.

Yorba Park is a beautiful park with plenty of space for children and groups. There are over 400 picnic tables, many of which have permanent shade structures to protect you from the sun’s rays!

A series of four lakes make this a wonderful place for fishing opportunities as well as model boat sailing.

There are also playgrounds, the Santa Ana River Trail plus bike and paddleboat rentals.

15. Go On A Shopping Spree At Anaheim Plaza Shopping Centre

Located off Santa Ana Highway in Anaheim city, Anaheim Plaza Shopping Centre is the perfect spot for general shopping with lots of big chain shops, fashion, lifestyle and dining options. This is easily one of the best places to go shopping in Anaheim.

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BEST PLACES TO EAT IN ANAHEIM

1. Fire + Ice Bar & Grill

Our favourite place to dine during our Anaheim visit was by far Fire + Ice, in the Anaheim Gardenwalk complex.

An interactive dining experience with a fusion of cajun, American, Italian and Mongolian flavours cooked on a massive BBQ right in front of you.

Everything that goes into your meal is chosen by you, from meat & veggies to sauces & seasoning. Yum!

2. The Pizza Press

Anaheim City guide

The Pizza Press is a budget-friendly dining option that will keep the whole family happy.

Located within a short walk to the Disneyland parks, The Pizza Press offers up a fantastic range of pizza toppings to create your own masterpiece. Or choose one of their pre-set pizzas, all with the newspaper press theme.

The pizzas are made right in front of you too, which is fun for the kids to see. 

3. Baci de Firenze Trattoria

It seems Italian food is popular in Anaheim as the second highest-rated restaurant in the area offers up more traditional Italian cuisine.

Mid-priced meals, vegan-friendly. 

4. Anaheim Packing District

Visit the 1919 historic citrus-packing house renovated into an upscale food court and enjoy a huge range of delicious food choices.

With live entertainment and seasonal events, this is the ultimate place to enjoy a buzzing atmosphere and sample some new dishes. Find out what’s coming up at the Anaheim Packing District.

Check out some more great dining options with our recommended family friendly Anaheim restaurants.

BEST PLACES TO STAY IN ANAHEIM

Anaheim City Guide palm trees

There is no shortage of great hotels in Anaheim, with plenty of family-friendly options in the centre of the city’s main attractions.

1. Homewood Suites by Hilton Anaheim Resort

Rated number 1 by travellers on Tripadvisor, Homewood Suites is a Hilton operated resort and offers modern accommodation for couples, solo travellers or families with great facilities, including a swimming pool and play zones, a gym and breakfast options.

Suites include full kitchens if you want to dine in too. Shuttle service is available for local attractions also.

2. Courtyard Anaheim Theme Park Entrance

Courtyard Anaheim is located right at the entrance to the Disneyland parks, so there is no need for transport costs during your stay.

The resort itself is popular for families, with large family-sized rooms, fantastic resort facilities and on-site restaurants.

Most notable is the water park and pool area which kids LOVE! Waterslides and water play areas that will keep the kids cool in the warmer months when they aren’t spending their time at Disneyland!

3. Hyatt House at Anaheim Resort

Situated in central Anaheim and located around a 12-minute walk from the Disneyland parks, Hyatt House offers a convenient location with quality facilities and family rooms. There is a swimming pool and restaurants and it is situated above a Walgreens, with plenty of dining options nearby also.

Check out more Anaheim accommodation recommendations.

SPECIAL EVENTS IN ANAHEIM

Disneyland California adventure park main street electrical parade
Don’t miss the parade at Disneyland

Anaheim is home to many special events and festivals through the year, many of those taking place either at the Convention Centre or in relation to the Disneyland parks.

1. Anaheim Fall Festival & Halloween

The annual seasonal event has been held in Anaheim for close to a century, a well-known tradition involving an elaborate Halloween parade and massive community engagement to make it great fun!

Usually held on the Saturday before or on Halloween.

Find all the best places around the world to celebrate Halloween.

2. Downtown Anaheim Nutcracker Christmas Tree & Holiday Village

If you love all things Christmas, and happen to be in Anaheim during the holiday season, you won’t want to miss the annual tree lighting and event.

All things Christmas with stalls, live music, entertainment and the chance for kids to play in snow!! That magical time of year! 

The Holiday Village event happens every December in downtown Anaheim. 

Anaheim City Guide

3. Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival

In case you needed one more reason to visit California Adventure Park, foodies rejoice because the annual Food & Wine Festival is a must-do!

Happening around mid-April, there is an abundance of food and drink stalls that pop up all around the theme park with incredible flavours and themes.

Plus there are some fun food-themed pop up activities and interactive exhibits for the kids too.

We are big foodies so we were very happy our visit happened at the right time! Check the Disneyland Parks website for details.

Best Day Trips From Anaheim

1. Los Angeles

palm trees along venice beach

Of course, start with one of the most popular day trips from Anaheim. It’s around a 45-minute drive from Anaheim to downtown Los Angeles with a chance to see so many of the famous LA sights!

Check out the different neighbourhoods – Beverly Hills, Hollywood, Santa Monica and Venice Beach, plus views of the Hollywood sign, a visit to the Griffith Observatory.

Or enjoy one of the many fun family attractions, such as Universal Studios theme park, Madame Tussauds or Ripley’s Believe It or Not museums.

There is so much to see and do in Los Angeles, and it is such an easy day trip if you’re staying in Anaheim.

If you want to see a lot in one day, consider a tour such as A Day in L.A Tours. We loved our tour on the Rasta Bus. 

2. San Diego

aerial view of belmont park in san diego

Heading in the opposite direction to L.A., San Diego is around 1.5 hours from Anaheim by car and boasts some great family attractions.

Most famous is the San Diego Zoo which is easily a day trip on its own.

There is also SeaWorld, and of course, simply enjoying the day at Balboa Park, with rides, special events and beautiful expansive park grounds.

There are also 17 museums or cultural attractions within the Balboa Park grounds.

3. Buena Park

knott's berry farm roller coaster

Take a day trip to Buena Park, Northwest of Santa Ana in Orange County. Here you will find Knott’s Berry Farm and Soak City, in case you want even more amusement park fun!

If you’re looking for some thrills, look no further than Knott’s Berry Farm. With its roller coasters and other rides, this amusement park is sure to get your heart racing.

This is also where you will find the California Welcome Centre plus the chance to enjoy some outdoor activities.

The Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament is also a popular attraction in Buena Park.

Visiting Anaheim soon? Leave a comment below telling us what you’re most looking forward to. We would love to hear it!

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This article was first published in 2017 and has been updated for 2022.

Fun things to do in Anaheim California - not just Disneyland!