The Top Things To See and Do in Anaheim, California

There's more to explore in Anaheim than just the Happiest Place on Earth
There's more to explore in Anaheim than just the Happiest Place on Earth | © Lucy Clark / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Mary Pettas
18 August 2020

With a glut of theme parks and convention centers, Anaheim gets more than its fair share of visitors. But this huge city, in Orange County, California, has plenty of alternative entertainment on offer – from a baseball game to Disney lite, as well as a flight simulator for the over-11s. Here’s our pick.

Downtown Disney

Resort, Hotel
Map View
Downtown Disney Sign, Disneyland Resort, Anaheim, California
© Helen Sessions / Alamy Stock Photo
If you don’t want to pay to go into the parks or wait in long lines, but still want the glitz of Disney, head to downtown Disney to eat in one of its themed restaurants. Don’t miss the dazzling Grand Californian Hotel and the restaurant inside it, Napa Rose.


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Disneyland and its sister park, California Adventure, are pretty obvious choices, and their princess castles and magical lands filled with fairytale characters are universally known. Not so well-known is that discounted tickets are available for Southern California residents, so if you live nearby you can purchase a season pass to come whenever you want.

Anaheim Packing House

Restaurant, Food Court, Indian, $$$
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This former orange-packing site houses a bunch of restaurants under one warehouse roof. It includes a speakeasy called the Blind Rabbit, decorated in a 1920s style, in addition to a dozen more foodie vendors such as Popbar, offering delectable gelato popsicles.

Mission San Juan Capistrano

Church, Museum
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Mission San Juan Capistrano California
© SAcenas / Stockimo / Alamy Stock Photo
Just a short drive from the city centre lies this landmark Spanish mission, best known for its annual migration of swallows. Located in the historic district and built in 1776, it is the best maintained structure from that era, and is considered the birthplace of Orange County.

Flightdeck Air Combat Simulation Center

Sports Center
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The Air Combat Simulation Center offers an experience that is difficult to replicate. Simulators include cockpit replicas of an F-16 and mimic takeoffs, landings and in-air maneuvers for a truly soaring experience. Be aware that the minimum age to enter the simulations is 11 years of age.
These recommendations were updated on August 18, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.