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Anaheim, California: Beyond Disneyland

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If there’s one thing most people know about Anaheim it’s that the city is home to the famous Disneyland Resort. However, there is much more to see and do in this California city than just ride the roller coasters.

Anaheim Beyond Disneyland

Anaheim California tends to get a wee bit ignored by many who only seem to focus on visiting a Disney location. But just as there is so much more to Orlando, there is also so much more to Anaheim.

Anaheim California beyond Disneyland

Founded in the 1800’s by German immigrants, Anaheim has an interesting history and plenty to share with today’s visitors.

Anaheim is right outside Los Angeles, in Southern California. It’s home to the Disneyland Resort. It’s also home to pro sports teams. The Honda Center is the indoor arena where the Anaheim Ducks hockey team plays, and Angel Stadium is the home field of the Los Angeles Angels baseball team.

Beyond Disneyland, there’s a wealth of wonders hidden in this Southern California city, as long as you know where to look.

Anaheim, with its dry, mild climate, rich immigrant communities and a hearty appetite for both craft beer and sugar-spun treats, is now a bona fide tourism destination.

There’s a wealth of wonders hidden in Anaheim, as long as you know where to look. 

Where to Stay

First, finding a hotel in Anaheim may seem like an adventure in and of itself. There are many hotels that are a part of the Disney property and others that are designed for business travelers attending conferences at the Anaheim Convention Center.

There are also plenty of family friendly options and traveling around peak seasons can really help reduce stress on your budget.

For families, the Howard Johnson Anaheim, with beautiful arched ceilings in its spacious rooms, free activities for children and an on-site pirate-themed water park, is an excellent bet. Grown-ups will appreciate the separate, quieter Garden Pool.

What to Do

If the heavy price tag of a visit to Disneyland is out of the question, you can still get your Disney fill at Downtown Disney. While there are no amusement park rides you will find shopping, restaurants, and entertainment – and it’s all free!

Better yet –  The Fifth, a rooftop bar and restaurant with panoramic views of Disneyland and California Adventure, offers just the right mix of after-hours fun with a Disney view!

For a more relaxed vacation head to the beach. There are plenty within just a short drive of Anaheim. Balboa Island, Huntington Beach, and Newport Beach are just a few options for beaches in the area. Sunny southern California beaches are open all year-long.

If you happen to visit on a rainy day or need a break from the heat, visit one of Anaheim’s museums.

The Bower Museum celebrates cultures around the world and includes a kid’s section with hands-on exhibits. If history is more your style the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum is in Yorba Linda and open to visitors.

Anaheim also has art galleries; the Orange County Museum of Art and Laguna Art Museum are two excellent collections.

Maybe the most surprising activity is whale watching. The harbors at Newport Beach, Dana Point, and Long Beach are all great locations to observe the California Grey Whale. There are more than half a dozen whale varieties that can be seen at different times of year.

Where to Eat

Once you’ve worked up an appetite exploring, it’s time to enjoy some SoCal cuisine. Old Town Orange Walking Tours offer a variety of walking tours to let you taste and explore food culture in this part of California. The hardest decision may be choosing which tour to take. With such close proximity to Mexico there are dozens of Mexican restaurants serving a mixture of traditional fare and Tex Mex cuisine.

With the beach beckoning, drive to the shore and try beach front dining options ranging from standard California fare to haute cuisine offerings. While Anaheim’s roots trace to early German immigrants, today the city has a variety of different ethnicities calling it home – including a growing Arab population.

If you need your fill of Middle Eastern cuisine head to Little Arabia and shop in the market, bakery, or visit one of the many restaurants that call this area home.

There is plenty to keep you busy in Anaheim or do nothing at all – the choice is up to you!

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