Your 101 Guide to Exploring the Best of Anaheim
Disneyland may have put Anaheim on the map, but this city has so much more to offer than the magic mouse. Home to the largest convention center on the West Coast as well as world-class entertainment venues, the energetic atmosphere of Anaheim is one that attracts a young local crowd and visitors from around the world. Local eateries are as imaginative as their Disney contemporaries, and experiences are as adrenaline-inducing as watching a local Angels game. From immersive speakeasies to scenic rooftops and all things active, we’ve rounded up the ultimate guide of where to play, drink and dine in Anaheim.
DINE + DRINK
Strong Water Anaheim replicates all of your favorite parts of Disneyland’s Tiki Room without being quirky or kitschy. Wood-paneled walls are lined with bookcases chock-full of vintage artifacts while lush vines drape from the ceiling, creating a moody and intimate bar setting. Trade in Disney’s all-ages Dole Whip for boozy pineapple whipped coladas and rum-based elixirs. Strong Water was recently awarded the Best Cocktail Bar in Orange County by the Los Angeles Times, so you can’t go wrong no matter which way you steer the boat! Follow the tiki torches down Clementine Street, then hop aboard and become a stowaway on this clandestine sunken shipwreck.
Identifiable by the large green X off La Palma, Brewery X is Anaheim’s local watering hole for Friday happy hours and catching up with friends. The indoor brew hall is home to local sports fans who grab a table on game days and root on their favorite teams with a pitcher of something hazy. Out in the beer garden, groups mix and mingle under string lights—the vibe is reminiscent of warm summer nights. Brewery X is friendly to both kids and dogs, though weekends are primed for parties with live music, DJs and food trucks.
Earlier this year, Solita opened a location in Anaheim, and foodies can now enjoy their hand-crafted margaritas and Mexican plates on the patio! Perfectly situated between Angel Stadium and the Honda Center, this is one of the latest and greatest spots to grab a bite before a big game. The new location maintains the original restaurant’s aesthetic, which is reminiscent of an old tequila distillery. The menu at Solita is inspired by the charro-style cuisine of Northern Mexico, which can be seen in their classic tacos: Pork Belly Dorado Tacos, Vampire Tacos, Spicy Shrimp and more. Just like the Huntington Beach and Valencia locations, the drink variations at Solita are as vibrant as the eats. They have a wide range of refreshing drinks—an entire menu devoted to margaritas and mojitos—and top-notch agave spirits.
Poppy and Seed is not your average farm-to-table experience. Outdoor seating is set amid an organic garden, giving the place a lush, greenhouse vibe. While Poppy and Seed sits in the center of a bustling metropolis, the airy space feels as if you’ve entered a secret garden, replete with flowering citrus trees and ambient lighting. They offer much more than exquisite ambience—in fact, they were recently recognized by the Michelin Guide! Order the sustainably sourced steak tartare, served with charred eggplant puree and pickled sea beans, and pair it with a creative side, such as the strawberries and beets or baby carrot and peach.
There’s something about rooftop views, a top-floor breeze and spirit-forward cocktails that make every evening a little more magical. The Fifth Rooftop sits above the Grand Legacy Hotel and boasts sweeping views of Anaheim’s city lights with front-row seats to Disney’s nightly firework display. Tiki Tuesdays, Whiskey Wednesdays and Taco Bout Thursdays ensure weeknights are never mundane, so take the elevator all the way up! Their must-try cocktail is the Attitude Adjustment, a fruity tequila concoction that will surely start your night right. It goes exceptionally well with the Nashville hot chicken sandwich—trust us.
Whether you’re a Packing District regular or simply trekking out to check it off your Instagram wishlist, there’s always something new to try at this trend-setting hub. While the Food Hall offers endless variety—from soul food and hot pot to sacred junk food and gelato-on-a-stick—we’re here to show you the door to the rabbit hole. Located on the lower level is a prohibition-inspired, reservation-only speakeasy. Every nook and cranny of this sexy joint dates back to underground nightlife of the 1920s. Find the entrance to The Blind Rabbit behind the wall made of sake barrels; from there, prepare to warp back in time. But keep in mind that all reservations are limited to 90 minutes, so use your time wisely!10/15
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Disneyland’s Fantasyland has nothing on this place. Dining at Requiem Cafe feels like a fever dream. With one sip of the cozy cookie butter latte, fantasy and reality begin to coincide. A late-night cafe for those seeking a sense of magic, this ethereal lounge caters to story-lovers seeking an escape and a creative space to meet like-minded people. With art immersion in mind, this coffee lounge is lit with LED lights that cast colorful shadows across the vibrant space while baristas whip up potions as imaginative as fantasy novels. Creative drinks start with espresso, tea or lemonade—and become more fantastical from there. The Warrior Fairy, for instance, is Assam tea with a cupcake and violet syrup, all topped with blueberry cold foam. Requiem Cafe is the place to be for an epic evening where you won’t even miss the booze.
DO + EXPERIENCE
Unleash your inner Maverick at Flightdeck Rogue Racing. This state-of-the-art flight simulator allows you to pilot your own plane—and even look the part with head-to-toe flight suits, minus the aviator sunglasses. After a class briefing, hop in the cockpit of an authentic military simulator and take off to a thrilling speed of 600 knots as you maneuver through dogfights in air-to-air combat. If ground-level is more your speed, race away in rogue racing simulators that put you behind the wheel of the world’s fastest race cars and most challenging tracks.
Practice your swing over the lake at The Islands Golf Center. This driving range is designed for all ages and offers 13 floating islands and 82 hitting stalls. There’s two putting greens with plenty of seating and shade for everyone. Pricing is by the bucket, starting at just $6 for Juniors plus the $3 club rental fee. Once you’ve hit enough balls to work up an appetite, dine by the lake at the on-site kitchen. The chicken bacon ranch pizza and grilled chicken Caesar wrap never disappoint. The Islands Golf Center is a scenic place to swing, making it the perfect activity for corporate team building or a casual date that’s focused on fun.
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Calling all adventure seekers and adrenaline junkies! One of the largest courses west of Colorado, Orange County Ropes Course offers two zip lines and 32 different challenges. The three-tier ropes course is designed to test agility, balance and strength while being approachable enough to be a corporate team-building endeavor or the site of a camp-themed birthday party. Start on the rock wall before flexing your physical and mental skills on the high ropes. For those seeking technical training, sign up for classes in canyoneering, big wall climbing and rescue rigging. With a mission to be all-inclusive, they also offer programs for people with disabilities and at-risk youth.
Spooky season is right around the corner, and the Anaheim Fall Festival is preparing for its centennial celebration. Beer gardens, parade floats, roaming skeletons and all the treats (and tricks!) you’ve come to expect from this festival return on Saturday, Oct. 28. The annual parade kicks off at Anaheim City Hall, looping all the way to Broadway with larger-than-life pumpkins in tow. Lots of surprises are in the works, so follow along on Instagram for the latest updates.
As summer turns to fall, local sports fans swap out Angels tickets for front-row seats at the rink to see the Anaheim Ducks. Hockey season is returning soon, and catching a game at the Honda Center is a must! Even those who can’t tell defensemen from wingers will enjoy the heart-pulsing energy of roaring crowds during a game. Not to mention, the season starts off with the Ducks taking on a well-known SoCal rival: the Los Angeles Kings. Start your night with some brews and bites at the Honda Center. Just make sure to take your seats when the iconic horn blares!
Want to get away from busy Anaheim city life for a minute? Anaheim may not be known for serene forests and rugged hillsides, but this city has more than meets the eye. Nestled between the Anaheim hills is 58 acres of peaceful wilderness in Oak Canyon Nature Center. Adventure through four miles of hiking trails that meander along the year-round stream while listening to the songs of bluebirds on the Wren Trail. Trails are moderate and kid-friendly and even feature a small on-site museum, where you can learn about the native species. View their programs to learn about diverse offerings like Nature Nights, Night Hikes, Canyon Companions and more.