8 Best Things to Do in Anaheim, Ca (Besides Disneyland)

Anaheim is one of the most popular destinations in California thanks to Disneyland. 8 Best Things to do in Anaheim, CA (Besides Disneyland)We did the same in 2011, when we visited California for the first time.

Families that work the area into their California itinerary often choose to spend three days there, often leaving them with a free day in between visiting the two Disney parks. Fortunately, you don’t have to go far to have a great day in Anaheim without going to Disney!

We’ve put together a list of fun attractions in Anaheim that are worth visiting (and aren’t Disney!) –

  1. Oak Canyon Nature Center
  2. Flightdeck Air Control Center
  3. Anaheim Convention Center
  4. Anaheim GardenWalk
  5. Honda Center
  6. Angel Stadium
  7. Anaheim Packing District
  8. Muzeo Museum and Cultural Center

If you’re planning a trip to Los Angeles, I hope this list helps you spend some time in Anaheim, in between visiting the Disney parks, or even instead of doing so! Let’s take a closer look at each of these places.

Oak Canyon Nature Center

A visit to Oak Canyon Nature Center is ideal for any nature enthusiasts who find themselves in Anaheim. Situated in the heart of Anaheim Hills, this 58-acre park has a total of three canyons, four miles of hiking trails, and a remarkably well-preserved oak woodland open for guests to explore.

If you’re in Oak Canyon on the weekend, then be sure to pop in the John J. Collier Interpretive Center on property. Conservationists at the John J. Collier Center work hard to teach visitors about the unique ecology of Orange County and they even have a few local animals guests could check out.

Please keep in mind that the John J. Collier Interpretive Center is only open between 10AM and 4PM on Saturdays and Sundays. Also, staff members at Oak Canyon lock the center’s public restrooms and parking lot at 5PM every day.

Location: 6700 E Walnut Canyon Rd, Anaheim, CA 92807

Website

Opening Hours: Park grounds are open from sunrise to sunset every day of the week

Admission Fee: FREE

Flightdeck Air Combat Center

Attention all adrenaline junkies in Anaheim: the Flightdeck Air Combat Center is calling your name! Those who are daring enough to visit this hi-tech facility will have the rare opportunity to test their navigation skills either in a simulated jet fighter or a Boeing 737.

Don’t worry if you have no clue about basic aviation; the Flightdeck staff provides everyone with an educational course before sending you into the simulated skies. For those who are a tad too fearful, there is an “Officers Club” where guests can watch their friends and family members on LCD screens.

Please keep in mind you can’t just show up to the Flightdeck and book a flight simulation. You need to call (714) 937-1511 and schedule an appointment with Flightdeck’s staff beforehand.

Location: 1650 S. Sinclair Street, Anaheim, CA

Website

Opening Hours: Tuesday through Sunday from 11AM – 8PM; 24/7 for Private Events

Admission Fee: Between $59 – $398 per person.

Anaheim Convention Center

Founded in 1967, the 1,600,000-square foot Anaheim Convention Center is still one of the largest of its kind in the USA. Originally created for the Anaheim Amigos basketball team, the Anaheim Convention Center is now the epicenter of some of the world’s hottest tech and media conventions.

The Anaheim Convention Center during the 2018 WonderCon in Anaheim, California.
The Anaheim Convention Center during the 2018 WonderCon in Anaheim, California | Photo by Gage Skidmore

Since the Anaheim Convention Center is so close to Disneyland, it shouldn’t come as a shock that it’s home to one of the Walt Disney Company’s most popular events: the D23 Expo. Other cool annual events at this center include the Anime Expo, VidCon, and the WonderCon.

No matter what you’re interested in, it’s likely the Anaheim Convention Center has something exciting going on during your visit.

Location: 800 W Katella Ave, Anaheim, CA 92802

Website

Opening Hours: Varies by event

Admission Fee: Varies by event

Anaheim GardenWalk

Founded in 2008, the Anaheim GardenWalk is a popular three-story shopping center a short walk from Disneyland. Here you’ll find name brand stores galore as well as dozens of delicious dining options like Bubba Gump Shrimp and entertainment venues like the House of Blues Anaheim.

A fountain at Anaheim's "Garden Walk" mall.
A fountain at Anaheim’s “Garden Walk” mall | Photo by Tracie Hall

Besides shopping and dining, the Anaheim GardenWalk is passionate about supporting the work of talented local artists. As you’re touring GardenWalk, please take a few moments to admire the fabulous murals placed throughout the area.

New stores are continuously opening at the GardenWalk, so don’t forget to check GardenWalk’s website before you arrive. While you’re online, see if any special sales or events are going on at the GardenWalk ahead of your visit.

Anaheim's "Garden Walk" mall
Anaheim’s “Garden Walk” mall | Photo by Tracie Hall

Location: 400 West Disney Way Anaheim, CA 92802

Website

Opening Hours: Hours for stores and restaurants varies.

Admission Fee: FREE

Honda Center

Perhaps you’re in the mood for a little hockey…or basketball…or live music. If so, then you need to take a trip to Anaheim’s Honda Center. Official home of the 2007 Stanley Cup-winning Anaheim Ducks, the Honda Center seats between 17,000 and 18,000 spectators for a wide variety of sporting and entertainment events.

Honda Center, Anaheim, California
Honda Center, Anaheim, California | Photo by Ken Lund

This entire stadium measures 15,000-square feet and features both indoor and outdoor entertainment capabilities. There’s also a restaurant and an official Anaheim Ducks store on the Honda Center’s main floor.

Although it’s best known as home ice for the “Mighty Ducks,” the Honda Center also boasts the Big West Basketball Tournament. For families traveling in Anaheim, keep in mind that the Honda Center frequently puts on colorful “Disney On Ice” programs.

Head on over to the Honda Center’s main website to see what events will be going on during your stay.

Location: 2695 E Katella Ave, Anaheim, CA 92806

Website

Opening Hours: Varies by event

Admission Fee: Varies by event

Angel Stadium

Panoramic view inside Angel Stadium, Anaheim
Panoramic view inside Angel Stadium, Anaheim | Photo by The Rambling Man

Baseball fans can’t pass on a trip to Anaheim’s famed Angel Stadium. Home to the Los Angeles Angels, this massive baseball stadium can hold over 45,000 screaming fans on game days. Yeah, you’d better be prepared for some serious cheering if you’re planning on catching a game here!

Interestingly, “The Big A” is one of the oldest MLB stadiums still in operation. In addition to its age, the Angel Stadium is well-known for its massive “A” sign that’s topped with a halo. Whenever the LA Angels win a game, you’ll have the chance to see this stunning halo light brighten the skies.

For those who are interested in getting the full Angel Stadium experience, consider booking a guided group tour. Just a few exclusive areas you’ll get to visit on your Angel Stadium trip include the dugout, the press conference room, and the Gene Autry suite. Public tours take place between March and September and a private tour can be booked between January and December. For more information on these tours, be sure to check out the Angel Stadium’s official website.

Angel Stadium of Anaheim, home of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | PUBLIC DOMAIN

Location: 2000 E Gene Autry Way, Anaheim, CA 92806

Website

Opening Hours: Varies by event

Admission Fees: Varies by event

Anaheim Packing District

Seating at the Anaheim Packing District in Anaheim, California
Seating at the Anaheim Packing District in Anaheim, California | Photo by Sam Howzit

Located about two miles north of Disneyland, the Anaheim Packing District is a fantastic example of both urban revitalization and historic preservation. Once home to a Sunkist packing facility, the Anaheim Packing District has been transformed in recent years into a major center for trendy eats, local produce, and live entertainment.

There are three major buildings to visit in the Anaheim Packing District, all of which have historical significance. In addition to the main Sunkist Packing House, visitors will also get to walk through a fancy car showroom from the 20s, a pre-Prohibition bar, and a glorious two-acre park.

Anaheim Packing District
Photo by Michael Saechang

Obviously, the main attraction on any visit to the Anaheim Packing District is the food. There are usually well over 20 food stalls here offering eclectic cuisine and baked goods using mostly locally produced ingredients. The Packing District also hosts many live music events, group workouts, and farmer’s markets throughout the year, so always check what’s going on at the Packing District’s website before your visit.

Location: 440 S. Anaheim Blvd Anaheim, CA 92805

Website

Opening Hours: Depends on the merchant, but most establishments are open between 11 AM to 9 PM.

Admission Fee: FREE

Muzeo Museum and Cultural Center

The Muzeo Museum and Cultural Center is a relatively new art gallery in Anaheim that hosts continually changing exhibitions. Curators at the Muzeo strive to highlight a diverse array of local artists to give viewers a greater understanding of Orange County’s complex past, present, and future.

On top of the constantly changing exhibitions, the Muzeo hosts a fascinating permanent exhibit in the Carnegie Library. Called “Anaheim: A Walk Through Local History” exhibit, this amazing collection displays rare artifacts from Anaheim’s pre-history all the way up to the present day. Just a few fascinating finds you’ll see here include Native American artistry, gardening gear from citrus farmers, and, of course, plenty of Disneyland collectibles.

Location: 241 S. Anaheim Blvd. Anaheim, CA 92805

Website

Opening Hours: Wednesday through Sunday from 10am – 5pm

Admission Fee: Varies by event

Where To Stay In Anaheim (Besides Disney)

Obviously, the most popular hotels in Anaheim are on Disney property. These include the high-end Grand Californian, the iconic Disneyland Hotel, and the more economical Paradise Pier.

This doesn’t mean, of course, that there aren’t dozens of other wonderful hotels outside of Disneyland proper. For those looking for a more economical lodging outside the “House of Mouse,” please check out these highly rated Anaheim hotels from bookings.com.

Hyatt House at Anaheim Resort/Convention Center

Officially listed as a 3-star hotel, Hyatt House offers guests free WiFi, access to a fitness center, and is within walking distance to Disneyland, GardenWalk, and the Anaheim Convention Center.

Visit them on Booking.com

Travelodge Inn & Suites by Wyndham Anaheim

In addition to free WiFi, people staying at the Travelodge Inn get a free continental breakfast, access to a heated pool, and free in-room HBO. Another nice feature of this 2-star hotel is that it’s located just north of Disneyland.

Visit them on Booking.com

San Diego and LA are around the corner!

This post focused on places in Anaheim, but hey, if you have a free day in between visiting California Adventure park and Disneyland, you can always make the most of it by driving down to San Diego, or up to Los Angeles.

Anaheim is actually part of the LA metropolis but it’s located on its southern tip, so San Diego isn’t far away. You may find some ideas in these posts too –

9 Amazing Self-Drive Day Trips Around San Diego (Including A Map)

25 Free Things To Do In San Diego

15 Fantastic San Diego Beaches You Should Visit

And don’t forget to share your thoughts! If you have other suggestions on how to spend a day in Anaheim, CA, leave us a comment to let us know!

 

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