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Anaheim

From Disney attractions to gorgeous golf courses, this SoCal city has you covered

Synonymous in most people’s minds with Disneyland, Orange County’s most populated city has long drawn in Mickey Mouse fans with its star attraction. However, this town has plenty more to offer beyond the Magic Kingdom, from world-class golfing to its burgeoning arts, shopping and dining scene in the Anaheim Packing District. It’s also a good base for visiting Orange County’s 42 miles of gorgeous beaches without having to negotiate the notorious Los Angeles traffic.

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Anaheim/Orange County Visitor and Convention Bureau

The Happiest Place on Earth

Anaheim’s best-known attraction, Disneyland has been attracting families since 1955 with its numerous rides, make-believe worlds and friendly, costumed characters. Nicknamed the “Happiest Place on Earth,” the park is divided into various lands, each with its own theme. Main Street USA is designed to resemble a Victorian-era American town, with old-time shops and a horse-drawn streetcar; Fantasyland is home to the iconic Cinderella castle, the adorable Peter Pan’s Flight ride, a carousel, and a variety of Bavarian-style play structures. Other “lands” include Frontierland, with a Wild West theme, New Orleans Square, home to the famous Pirates of the Caribbean ride, and the innovative Tomorrowland, where the spectacular Space Mountain entices adventurers with futuristic thrills. The Matterhorn Bobsled ride, a rollercoaster built within a scaled-down replica of an actual mountain in Europe, is located on the border between Tomorrowland and Fantasyland.

In 2001, a second park—Disney California Adventure—opened up at the location of the original Disneyland parking lot and was subsequently expanded and redesigned with different “districts” (similar to the “lands” at Disneyland), each patterned after an aspect of contemporary Californian culture. Hollywood is re-created on Buena Vista Street, modeled after Burbank Street (home to the Disney Studios) in the old days. Paradise Pier gets its inspiration from boardwalk amusement attractions, like the one found in Santa Cruz, while Hollywood Land focuses on film and TV. There are also districts themed after modern Disney-Pixar productions, namely “A Bug’s Life” and “Cars.”

Tee Off

If you’ve had your fill of Donald and Mickey and just want to relax with a nice round of golf, you’ll have plenty of options in Anaheim. The closest golf course to the Disney parks is Dad Miller Golf Course, a walkable course with lessons for kids and adults at the on-site Anaheim Golf Academy. A little further out, the 18-hole Anaheim Hills Golf Course is a beautiful par-71 course with a stunning clubhouse and an upscale ambiance. Kids love Camelot Golfland, one of the largest mini-golf facilities in the country, which offers a host of activities beyond mini golf, including water slides, laser tag, bumper boats and arcade games.

Anaheim Packing District

Foodies won’t want to miss the Anaheim Packing District, a recently opened attraction composed of a former car showroom, an old citrus packinghouse, and an outdoor space with lots of greenbelts and ample orange groves. The district’s biggest draw is its Packing House, a whitewashed mission-style building occupying 42,000 square feet. This former distribution center for Sunkist oranges now houses an enormous gourmet food hall full of bars and restaurants serving cuisine from around the world. Foodies can procure items for their RV galley from a variety of shops, ranging from fishmongers to butchers, not to mention an ice cream shop, a cheese shop and even a speakeasy-inspired bar.

The Packard Building, dating back to 1925, is home to the Anaheim Brewery, which hosts regular beer and food festivals throughout the year, including a fabulous Oktoberfest. There’s also a branch of LA’s famous Umami Burger, which serves up a scintillating variety of burgers and has a bar serving beer and cocktails along with two outdoor patios. The outdoor Farmers Park sits between the Packard Building and the Packard House and takes advantage of Southern California’s consistently pleasant weather by hosting diverse outdoor events throughout the year. Don’t miss the Sunday Farmers Market, outdoor film screenings at the Farmers Park Flicks, and the annual German Christmas Market.

Sea and Sun

Although not directly on the coast, Anaheim is the perfect base for exploring many of Orange County’s world-famous beaches. From here, it’s a short drive along the freeways and surface streets to the upscale Laguna Beach or the surfing mecca of Huntington Beach. Couples will love the romantic Dana Point, which also serves as a jumping-off base for fishing excursions and winter whale-watching trips on the Pacific. A bit further up the coast, Newport Landing Sportfishing offers a long menu of trips, including voyages to Catalina Island and multinight trips into the open ocean, with rental gear available. Shopaholics won’t want to skip a visit to San Clemente, full of quaint boutiques and great antique shops.

Santiago Oaks

Looking for a rustic experience close to the city? Santiago Oaks Regional Park in nearby Orange provides large expanses of wide-open space without the blare of traffic or masses of huge crowds. This park sits on the banks of the Santiago River and covers 1,269 acres of mountains, orange trees and a mature forest. Several trails for hiking and biking give visitors a chance to burn off calories and appreciate nature at the same time. Santiago Oaks also offers a nature center that offers exhibits and programs throughout the year.

Adventure City

When it comes to amusement parks, Disneyland and California Adventure aren’t the only games in town. A smaller-scale amusement park experience can be found in Adventure City, which caters primarily to children. Little ones can be a firefighters or police officers, and a miniature airport terminal lets kids take a front seat in the world of aviation.

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Anaheim/Orange County Visitor and Convention Bureau

Art Odysseys

Cultures from across the world intersect spectacularly at Muzeo Museum, created to whet the artistic appetites of the 21st-century citizens. The first clue to the museum’s cutting-edge identity can be found in the word, “Muzeo,” which translate into “Museum” in the international language of Esperanto. Fittingly, the museum’s exhibits cover cultures from around the world. Built as a new model for urban cultural centers, Muzeo’s main gallery encompasses Anaheim’s original Carnegie Library and is designed to blend with the surrounding cityscape.

Find more creative works at the Sawdust Art Festival, which offers year-found exhibits and events for lovers of painting and sculpture. The Bowers Museum in nearby Santa Ana displays everything from Native American artifacts to modern art. Also offered are special exhibits for children.

For More Information

Anaheim/Orange County Visitor and Convention Bureau

855-405-5020

www.anaheimoc.org

 

California Travel and Tourism Commission

877-225-4367

www.visitcalifornia.com