People usually flock to Anaheim to visit the Disney Resort, with amusement parks, shopping, restaurants, and hotels.
But Anaheim has much more to offer like parks, hiking trails, entertainment, ethnic food from around the world, flight simulators, spectator sports, golf, and tennis.
I live in Anaheim and experienced it all. So here is a guide to some of my favorite places in and around Anaheim.
At the end of this page, read a brief history of Anaheim.
Dinsey of course
A guide to Anaheim is not complete without talking about the Disney Resort. You can read the detailed Disney guide here.
The resort area includes the two parks Disneyland and California Adventure, several hotels, and Downtown Disney.
Downtown Disney is a hub of shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues that connects the resort's other properties.
You can visit downtown Disney without purchasing tickets to the parks. While here, enjoy a movie, dinner at an upscale restaurant like Catal and La Brea Bakery Café, watch street performers or bands, shop for Disney merchandise, or visit the Lego store and Build-A-Bear Workshop.
Read the detailed Disney guide here.
Downtown Anaheim, also known as CtrCity, is a revitalized section of town with housing, shops, restaurants, breweries, and entertainment.
On Center Street, you will find places like Pour Vida Latin restaurant, Hummus Bean Mediterranean restaurant, Muzeo Museum, and Cultural Center, and The Rinks Anaheim ICE.
Every Thursday, Center street turns into a pedestrian-only walkway with a Farmers Market where you can find sweet treats, lots of fresh produce, and unique gift items.
A few blocks away, on West Santa Ana street, you can find the Packing District, featuring a brewery, Park, and vendors selling snacks like crêpes and Mexican street food.
Across the street, the modern MAKE building draws a hip crowd for beer, wine, and BBQ.
This Family-friendly Park offers picnic areas, hiking and biking trails, playgrounds, and ponds.
The Amphitheater features concerts and special events. It was built in 1927, replicating the eloquent Spanish-style architecture with terra-cotta roof tiles; Wisteria and Bougainvillea-shaded column-supported arbors; and a towering Mexican Fan Palms landscape.
The Park also has a public pool and tennis courts.
Parking can be difficult during events, so use alternate transportation.
Yorba Regional Park
Yorba Regional Park is located in the east end of Anaheim. It is one of the largest parks in the area, with acres of turf, trees, lakes, and streams.
It also has multiple playgrounds for kids of all ages, a very long bike trail, volleyball courts, a horseshoe pit, two baseball diamonds, and a physical fitness course.
Bike and paddleboat rentals are available at the Park.
The lakes are stocked with fish – so you can do some fishing. A variety of duck and goose species make this Park their home.
Bring some birdseed or bread to feed the ducks – or you can buy some from the concession store. Read more about the Park here.
Oak Canyon Nature Center
Oak Canyon Nature Center is located in the Anaheim Hills area. It is a hidden nature sanctuary in the middle of urban development.
The center has many hiking trails with varying difficulties. They range from easy to moderate. A year-round stream meanders through the Park and crosses many of the trails.
Check out more details and directions at www.anaheim.net/ocnc.
Look for "Outreach Programs" - Those are basically interpreted nature walks. A park ranger will guide you through some of the trails while providing useful information on various topics. Those walks are a hit with the kids, especially the "Insects and other Amazing Arthropods" program. Read more here.
The Garden Walk
The Garden Walk is a shopping, dining, and entertainment center a few blocks away from Disneyland Main Gate.
Take a break from the Disney Resort and catch a movie at the AMC Theater, go Bowling at Bowlmor Lanes, spend time on a flight simulator at Flightdeck, listen to live music, and dance at House of Blues and Heat Ultra Lounge.
For great dining experiences, visit Fire+Ice for Mongolian fusion cuisine, PF Chang's for fusion Chinese, or the Cheesecake Factory for amazing cheesecakes and an eclectic selection of dishes.
See the complete Disney area dining guide here.
The area around Brookhurst and Ball streets evolved into a haven for middle-eastern shops and restaurants. It does not have an official designation from the city planners yet, but it is a well-known destination if you are looking for some great Arabic and Mideterenean eats.
So what can find in this district?
You can enjoy ethnic markets, restaurants, cafes, hookah lounges, clothing stores, hair salons, and much more.
My favorite restaurants are El Mahroosa Cafe, Alwadee Bakery & Restaurant, Zait & Zaatar, Olive Tree restaurant, and Zankou Chicken.
For ethnic groceries, visit Altayebat and Super King. Super King rivals major grocery stores with its large space and huge selection.
Visit the Little Arabia website for a complete directory.
Fire+Ice – Gardenwalk
This Mongolian fusion style all-you-can-eat buffet lets you fill a bowl with your favorite ingredients then cocks the mix on a huge grill right in front of you. You pick the sauce and the spices to make it your own creation.
Even though it is a Mongolian grill, you can still design dishes with a Mexican or Italian flare.
They also offer a well-stocked salad bar, but my advice is to minimize your salad and go back for more grilled creations.
Some of the ingredients available are beef, shrimp, scallops, fish, cauliflower, and broccoli.
The drinks were excellent too. We tried the Pinicolada and the Mai-Tei.
After your meal and drinks, you can spend time exploring the shops at the Gardenwalk.400 Disney Way, Anaheim, CA 92802
My list of special dining places usually avoids chain restaurants, but I can’t skip this fusion Asian with inventive dishes and extended happy hour.
If you like Asian food, you love the variety and quality of selection. During our last visit, we started with the Letus Wraps, Shrimp Dumplings, and the Kung Pao Dragon Roll.
For the main course, we picked Mongolian Beef, Crispy Honey Shrimp, and Stir-Fried Eggplant. Everything was delicious, and the portions were just right.
For dessert, we had two helpings of the Banana Spring Rolls – because one is never enough.
The drinks are also exceptional. Every cocktail on the menu tastes just right; we especially like the Coconut Mohito and the Mei Tei.
My favorite location is at the Garden Walk in Anaheim. After our meals, we can browse through the stores or walk to Down Town Disney for more fun.321 W Katella Ave Suite 120, Anaheim, CA 92802
Roy's @ Garden Walk
Dining at Roy's is like taking a culinary safari across the Pacific Rim. This fusion cuisine restaurant offers seafood dishes like Hibachi Grilled Atlantic Salmon, Macadamia Nut Crusted Mahi Mahi, or my favorite the Shellfish Sampler.
If you prefer items from the land, try their Braised Short Ribs of Beef, or Katsu Chicken.
For starters, you can try their selection of Sushi rolls, Poke, or Shrimp Tempura.
The wine list and the mixed drinks are just right. On a recent visit, we tried their Mango Mojito and the 1988 Martini. Both were excellent.
Leaving the best for last, for dessert, we tried both of their creations. The Pineapple Upside Cake and the Chocolate Suflet were a good end to our meal.
The only drawback is the prices. On the plus side, the Garden Walk Roy's has a very nice patio seating with Hawaiian-style torches.
Tamba 30 (Indian)
This Indian cuisine gen is hidden in a small strip mall in downtown Anaheim. This restaurant offers delicious authentic Indian dishes and lunch Buffett.
During our last visit, we started with an assortment of appetizers. Our favorites were the Veggie Samosa and the Paneer Pakora.
For our main dishes, we shared the chicken Teka Masala and the Lamb Curry. Both were very tasty and the portions were large. We had lots of leftovers.
We ended our meal with "Gulab Jamun" - a very sweet milk-solid-based balls of joy.30 S Anaheim Blvd, Anaheim, CA 92805
Anaheim is centrally located in Orange County, with many destinations and adventures close by.
Some of the best beaches can be found a few miles away in Huntington Beach. Newport Beach and Laguna Beach.
From Newport Beach, you can take a Whale and Dolphin watch cruise or a trip to Catalina Island.
In neighboring Buena Park, you can visit Knott's Berry Farm for thrilling rides and popular restaurants. Also in Buena Park, you can find a beautiful Ralph B. Clark regional park with ponds and hiking trails.
Fullerton offers many hiking and biking trails, lakes, botanical gardens, and the Mock Museum.
In the city of Orange, you can visit the Outlets of Orange shopping mall with a large 31-theater movie complex.
Orange is also home to Irvine Regional Park, with plenty of trails, lakes, and a Zoo.
History and more
Anaheim is a city in Orange County, California, south of Los Angeles. Anaheim is one of the largest and most populous cities in Orange County and is known for being the home of the Disneyland Resort, the Anaheim Convention Center, and two major sports teams: the Anaheim Ducks ice hockey club and the Los Angeles Angels baseball team.
The city was founded by fifty German families in 1857 and incorporated as the second city in Los Angeles County on March 18, 1876, and later became part of Orange County.
Anaheim changed from largely agricultural when Disneyland opened in 1955, which led to several hotels and motels around the area, with residential districts soon following.
The city also developed into an industrial center, producing electronics, aircraft parts, and canned fruit. Anaheim is a charter city.
Before the German families moved in, the Tongva people inhabited the area since 3500 BCE. The Tongva village at Anaheim was called Hutuukuga.
Before the Tongva, Anaheim, Placentia and Fullerton's area was part of the Rancho San Juan Cajón de Santa Ana, a Mexican-era rancho grant given to Juan Pacífico Ontiveros in 1837 by Juan Bautista Alvarado, then Governor of Alta California.
Read more at Wikipedia.