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15 Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Anaheim, CA

Written by Brad Lane
Updated Mar 30, 2022

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Anaheim is a happening place in Orange County, Southern California. It draws visitors from around the world, and much of the tourism comes from the "happiest place on Earth," also known as Disneyland Resort. This iconic vacation destination includes both Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park and it's truly a magical place for kids.

Anaheim has a lot to offer outside the gates of Disneyland. Several city districts and shopping centers take advantage of the city's typically nice weather, offering all sorts of outdoor dining and entertainment. These places, like the Anaheim GardenWalk and Anaheim Packing District, offer several menus and a full dose of Anaheim community flavor.

Other attractions include professional sports games; large open spaces; and other theme parks, like Knott's Berry Farm. The city is also a gateway to the rest of Orange and LA Counties, including Los Angeles, less than 30 miles northwest. And for those interested in visiting the ocean while staying in Anaheim, it's typically only a 30-minute drive to catch some waves.

Plan your sightseeing with our list of the top things to do in Anaheim, CA.

Note: Some businesses may be temporarily closed due to recent global health and safety issues.

1. Disneyland Resort

Disneyland stages a nightly fireworks show.
Disneyland stages a nightly fireworks show.

The top attraction of Anaheim also happens to be the "Happiest Place on Earth." The combination of Disneyland Park and the adjacent Disney California Adventure Park create Disneyland Resort of Anaheim, a truly magical place for children and adults to explore.

The sheer number of themed lands within the park makes it handy to carry a map. Among the many places to visit, Tomorrowland is always a favorite. It features classic attractions like Space Mountain and kid-friendly rides like the Astro Orbiter. Other regions to discover include Fantasyland, Adventureland, and Star Wars: Galaxy Edge, featuring opportunities to pilot the Millennium Falcon and build a personal lightsaber.

No visit to Disneyland is complete without visiting Main Street U.S.A and taking a picture with the "Mickey Floral" parterre. Disneyland After Dark is another added and separately ticketed experience, featuring a firework display that lights up the sky.

Disneyland Resort delivers on the full experience. Beyond the rides and themed attractions, guests are likely to encounter iconic characters on the street. Scheduled character experiences include superhero encounters, Disney princess performances, and Pixar pals to meet.

Address: 1313 Disneyland Drive, Anaheim, California

Official site: https://disneyland.disney.go.com/

2. CtrCity Anaheim

CtrCity Anaheim
CtrCity Anaheim | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

CtrCity, or Central City, is the historic downtown core of Anaheim. And today, it's a hip and trendy district close to Disneyland. Much of the charm spans either side of the Center Street Promenade, including boutique shops, local eateries, and luxurious lofts. And with palm trees lining much of the way, these historic few blocks offer a great destination for afternoon strolling.

The restaurants in Central City also make it an excellent destination for dining. Places like the Hummus Bean offer casual fare and comfortable seating, and for evening entertainment, restaurants like Pour Vida provide even more flavor to enjoy. And for shopping, some of the local treasures to hunt for include jewelry, fashion labels, and chic household décor.

Center Street
Center Street | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Cultural attractions also abound in Central City. The Muzeo Museum and Cultural Center, housed within a historic Carnegie Library, sits in the middle of this lively district, and anchoring the west end, Anaheim Ice offers dozens of hockey and ice-skating opportunities throughout the week.

3. Anaheim Packing District

Anaheim Packing House
Anaheim Packing House | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

The Anaheim Packing District is a few blocks south of CtrCity and downtown Anaheim, and it offers a modern cultural experience within historic architecture. And today, the district encompasses three national historical landmarks, including a former Packard car dealership and a marmalade factory. And these historic spaces now offer culinary creations and open spaces for the public to enjoy.

The centerpiece attraction of the Anaheim Packing District is the restored Anaheim Packing House Food Hall. What was once a citrus packing warehouse in downtown Anaheim is now one of the most modern food halls in the nation, complete with tall ceilings and an abundance of natural light.

Numerous food stalls and specialty purveyors line the stylish Packing House Food Hall. International fare available includes Cajun, vegan comfort food, and Japanese-style crepes. Many of the restaurants have limited seating, but there's plenty of open space and public tables throughout the food hall to find a place to sit. The atrium-like appearance of the food hall adds a freshness to every meal.

Within the Packing District, Farmers Park is a beautifully landscaped green space and garden with a scenic boardwalk. This is a wonderful spot to dine outside when the weather is nice.

Address: 440 South Anaheim Boulevard, Anaheim, California

Official site: https://www.anaheimpackingdistrict.com/

4. Anaheim GardenWalk

House of Blues, GardenWalk plaza
House of Blues, GardenWalk plaza | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

The Anaheim GardenWalk is a pedestrian-friendly entertainment district near the gates of Disneyland Resort. It encompasses 430,000 square acres in the Anaheim resort district with shopping and dining lining its outdoor plaza.

The staple of the GardenWalk, the House of Blues, Anaheim features its own restaurant and a rotating lineup of nationally touring live music acts. Other familiar restaurants like P.F. Changs and The Cheesecake Factory are also nearby, as well as regional favorites like Johnny Rockets and Grasslands Meat Market.

Other fun places to visit and things to do on the GardenWalk include bowling lanes, virtual reality arcades, and Latin music nightclubs. Along the entire GardenWalk, the facility's "Art on the Walk" program is appreciated, with a variety of colorful murals on the walls.

Many of the best hotels in Anaheim are also located nearby, and places like the JW Marriot lend the closest access to all the cultural buzz.

Address: 400 Disney Way, Anaheim, California

Official site: http://anaheimgardenwalk.com

5. Angel Stadium

Angel Stadium
Angel Stadium | Elliott Cowand Jr / Shutterstock.com

Some would argue the happiest place on earth is Angel Stadium come sundown during a home baseball game. This iconic baseball diamond is home to the Los Angeles Angels of the American League West. And the capacity at this major league stadium tops out at over 45,000 excited fans.

Angel Stadium shares the excellent weather of Anaheim, particularly throughout the regular season schedule, between April and October. Home games are great time for the whole family or casual sports fans, with affordable tickets available. And stadium fans can participate in public tours of the grounds between March and September.

Address: 2000 E Gene Autry Way, Anaheim, California

Official site: https://www.mlb.com/angels

6. Honda Center

Honda Center
Honda Center | Ken Wolter / Shutterstock.com

This massive indoor arena is home to the Anaheim Ducks of the National Hockey League. It's a massive indoor arena that's jam-packed with fun throughout the year, not just during hockey season. But it is the thunderous crowd environment at Ducks games that gives life to the Honda Center, and an excitement felt throughout the rest of the week. Tickets to games are budget-friendly.

Outside of hockey games, the Honda Center schedule is also filled with other sporting events, too, including professional wrestling and USA basketball. Nationally touring concerts also fill the seats of the Honda Center throughout the year, as well as comedy shows, festival events, and child-friendly performances.

Address: 2695 E Katella Avenue, Anaheim, California

Official site: https://www.hondacenter.com

7. Yorba Regional Park

Yorba Regional Park
Yorba Regional Park | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Yorba Regional Park is a mile-long linear park in eastern Anaheim. Winding bike paths navigate the length of this 140-acre landscaped space, looping around a series of four lakes that are a favorite for the resident ducks and other wildlife.

Numerous other park amenities like volleyball nets, playgrounds, horseshoe pits, and over 400 picnic tables punctuate the green space. And these many features and tranquil spaces make Yorba popular throughout the day for different reasons.

In the quiet morning, walkers stroll to the sound of ducks calling, and joggers pick up the pace along the scenic trails by the afternoon. Come weekends in Yorba, the picnic tables are well utilized by family birthday celebrations, and no matter the time of day, the playground space is always a popular spot to burn off some energy.

Address: 7600 E La Palma Avenue, Anaheim, California

Official site: http://www.ocparks.com/parks/yorba

8. Knott's Berry Farm

Ride at Knott's Berry Farm, Buena Park
Ride at Knott's Berry Farm, Buena Park

Roller coasters, waterslides, and a local backstory define Knott's Berry Farm in Anaheim. In combination with Knott's Soak City water park, this amusement park has grown into one of the best theme parks in California and enables multiple days of family fun.

Thrill rides at Knott's Berry Farm include Montezooma's Revenge and La Revolución, as well as the first and only dive coaster in California, HangTime, which has a 96-degree drop. For first-time roller-coaster riding, the Pony Express features accelerating thrills without any inversions or large drops. Other family rides include a Calico Mine Ride and Surfside Gliders.

Musical shows, ghost towns, and unique dining experiences round out the other fun at Knott's Berry Farm, as well as Knott's Summer Night celebrations featuring live music and food trucks. And for extended family outings, the Knott's Berry Farm Hotel keeps visitors close to the action.

Between May and September, the really cool place to be at Knott's Berry Farm is Knott's Soak City Water Park. Orange County's largest water park, Soak City incorporates over 20 different waterslides alongside a giant wave pool, lazy river, and interactive kids' area. Private cabanas are available to rent at Soak City, perfect for those who want to laze the day away in their own personal space.

Address: 8039 Beach Blvd, Buena Park, California

Official site: https://www.knotts.com/

9. Pearson Park

Pearson Park
Pearson Park | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Pearson is a lovely city park just one block north of CtrCity and Downtown Anaheim. It encompasses a historic 19 acres originally founded in 1927 as "City Park." The park was renamed after former Mayor Charles A. Pearson in 1960. And today, it's still a central natural space in the middle of the city that draws big crowds.

The Pearson Park Amphitheater is perhaps what draws the biggest crowds to the park. This Spanish-style outdoor venue space has hosted concerts for almost as long as the park has been open, lending to longstanding summer memories for many SoCal residents. The lawn space in front of the amphitheater has room for over 2,000 guests.

Other park amenities at Pearson include a playground, swimming pool, and plenty of picnic benches and shelters. The park also caters to various sports with lighted facilities like a football/soccer facility and a softball diamond. A swimming pool with lifeguards is also open in the summer.

10. Muzeo Museum and Cultural Center

Muzeo Museum and Cultural Center
Muzeo Museum and Cultural Center | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

This museum and cultural center are housed within the historic downtown Carnegie Library, in the middle of the modern Central City district. It shares the history and creative expression of the region with impressive displays and rotating exhibitions.

Admission is free to the Carnegie Gallery of the museum, which features an eye-catching, walk-through history of Anaheim. Admission is required to tour the regional artworks rotate through the other galleries of the museum. And on the grounds outside, the brick facade of the historic building is an exhibit to appreciate on its own.

Special classroom programs are available for teens at Muzeo, and the entire space is available to rent for private events.

Address: 241 S Anaheim Boulevard, Anaheim, California

Official site: http://muzeo.org/

11. City National Grove

City National Grove
City National Grove | Steve Cukrov / Shutterstock.com

This event center and performance space is near Angel Stadium and the Santa Ana River and features state-of-the-art lighting and sound alongside an intimate 1,700-seat setting. The venue brings in some of the biggest and best names in entertainment, with Prince, Ray Charles, and Stevie Nicks gracing the stage in the past.

Tickets often sell out fast at this favorite Orange County performance space, and the venue hosts over 250 concerts each year, including Broadway performances.

Address: 2200 E Katella Ave, Anaheim, California

Official site: http://www.citynationalgroveofanaheim.com/

12. Oak Canyon Nature Center

Roadrunner Ridge Trail
Roadrunner Ridge Trail | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

In eastern Anaheim, a short drive from Yorba Regional Park, the Oak Canyon Nature Center connects visitors to the natural habitat of Southern California. The Nature Center encompasses 58 acres of natural parkland with interpretive information lining four miles of trails.

A year-round stream offers a popular shaded hiking route, and the elevated Roadrunner Ridge trail offers a higher perspective on the canyon environment. The nature center also provides interpretive information for insight on the surrounding environment, as well an O.A.K.S Day Camp for kids 5-12 years old.

Address: 6700 E Walnut Canyon Road, Anaheim, California

13. Ralph B. Clark Regional Park

Ralph B. Clark Regional Park
Ralph B. Clark Regional Park | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

This popular regional park is less than nine miles northwest of downtown Anaheim. It's a beautiful place to get away and enjoy the Southern California countryside, as the park encompasses over 100 acres next to the Coyote Hills. This beautiful landscape lends a scenic backdrop to all the park's amenities.

Much of the park is open grassland shaded by large trees. Various paved and dirt trails navigate this space, many leading to the three-acre stocked fishing lake at the park's center. Several benches and picnic facilities also line this path, offering an excellent venue for a meal outside.

Other park attractions include playground equipment and an amphitheater. The park also has basketball and tennis courts, volleyball nets, and ball fields. Abundant waterfowl like ducks and geese live at the park, and guests are asked not to feed these aquatic park residents.

14. Medieval Times

Medieval Times
Medieval Times | TonelsonProductions / Shutterstock.com

Medieval Times is fun for the whole family and features a full night of jousting, horseback riding, and falconry. This dinner-and-a-show is in Buena Park just outside Anaheim. The theatrics include live period-authentic knights battling for the Queen's honor, providing quite the show to go along with dinner.

Battling with weaponry and jousting from steeds is part of the spectacle at Medieval Times, and the meal is a traditional dish of roast chicken and multiple sides. Vegetarian options are also available.

Address: 7662 Beach Boulevard, Buena Park, California

Official site: https://www.medievaltimes.com

15. Head to the Ocean

Huntington Beach, 45 minutes from Anaheim
Huntington Beach, 45 minutes from Anaheim | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Depending on the traffic, Anaheim visitors can hit the ocean with a half-hour drive. Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, and Long Beach are the closest coastal cities to Anaheim, each offering their own beaches and unique slice of Southern California shoreline.

These three cities are also prominent stops on the Pacific Coast Highway, which is a springboard for other coastal adventures. South on the Coast Highway, the postcard beaches at Laguna Beach and San Clemente are closer to a 90-minute drive. And Santa Monica and Malibu are a longer drive to the north.

Where to Stay in Anaheim for Sightseeing

Luxury Hotels & Resorts:

  • For the most luxurious property, minutes away from Disneyland® and downtown Anaheim, the JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort is a stylish hotel oozing with comfort. The modern lobby offers a vacation from the ordinary the moment you walk through the front door of this posh downtown resort. And several other contemporary common spaces throughout also exude this feeling of fashionable escapism. Rooms at the Anaheim Resort range from standard guest rooms to a sterling presidential suite.
  • Kitty-corner from Disneyland Drive on Katella Avenue, The Westin Anaheim Resort also provides a luxurious pairing for a Disneyland® vacation. Not only is the front door of the resort within easy walking distance of one of the most magical places on Earth, but the property also provides plenty of things to do other than exploring the park. These extra amenities include dining at one of seven restaurants at the resort, ranging from a rooftop lounge to a fine-dining steakhouse.

Mid-Range Hotels:

  • The Homewood Suites by Hilton Anaheim Resort - Convention Center is a popular choice for family travel and Disneyland® vacations. The hotel is less than a mile from the park and features standard guest rooms and spacious suites. The suites, equipped with a full kitchen including a dishwasher, are ideal for anyone interested in cooking some meals. For other fare, the hotel also features a full breakfast bar in the morning.
  • Another excellent hotel within a mile of the park, the SunCoast Park Hotel, Tapestry Collection by Hilton, enjoys the fireworks display from Disneyland® every evening. It's also located a short walk from the Anaheim GardenWalk. Alongside modern rooms and suites, the hotel also features other amenities like a business center and fitness facility. Other special services offered by the hotel include shuttle rides and children's books to rent.
  • Hampton Inn & Suites Anaheim Resort Convention Center is another moderately priced hotel within a mile of Disneyland® park. It provides several hotel amenities for a rounded stay, including an impressive hot breakfast buffet each morning. The hotel also features a full fitness studio and an outdoor pool that overlooks the property's palm trees. Rooms and suites are both available, as well as universally accessible rooms.

Budget Hotels:

  • The Alpine Inn offers the best value for its prime location. And it's not just the easy walking distance to downtown and Disneyland® that makes it popular. This economical hotel is also known for its cleanliness and customer service. The hotel also receives repeat customers thanks to its complimentary breakfast served each morning in a Swiss chalet-style lodge.
  • The Anaheim Islander Inn and Suites is another popular choice for family vacations and budget-conscious travelers. It offers a clean and comfortable property within walking distance of Disneyland® and downtown Anaheim. And every room at the Islander Inn has modern decor with hardwood floors. For family travel, a few rooms include two queen beds and a bunk bed to accommodate everyone in a single room. Coffee makers are in each overnight space, and a complimentary breakfast is available every morning.
  • Less than a mile south of Disneyland®, the Stanford Inn & Suites is another magnet for family travel. A little farther away from Anaheim's hustle and bustle but still within walking distance to major attractions, the hotel provides a nice respite at the end of the night. The free use of rollaway beds makes it a popular choice for family travels, as does the hotel's clean and modern look. And the affordable nightly rates also tend to draw a lot of advance bookings.

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