When most people think of Anaheim CA there is one attraction that pops into mind and that is DISNEYLAND. Look, we love Disneyland as much as anyone (grab discounted tickets here) however the truth is Anaheim has SO MUCH MORE to offer traveling families coming in from both near and far. We recently spent a few days in Anaheim and I am SO excited to share with you the incredible things to do in Anaheim that we uncovered.
Top 10 Amazing Things To Do in Anaheim beyond Disneyland
One of the things I love about Anaheim is that unlike a lot of Southern California, Anaheim has an amazing public transit system. So, if you don’t have a car hop on the Anaheim Rapid Transit (ART) and for a couple bucks you can be anywhere. (You can pre-purchase discounted ART passes here)
1- Lessons at Vans Skatepark
One of our kids favorite things to do in Anaheim is the Vans Skatepark. This massive 20,000+ square foot skatepark is a skater’s paradise. My kids were complete beginners but thanks to their incredible instructor Devon they had a blast!
The Vans Skatepark is located at The Outlets at Orange and the prices are super affordable. Kids can take private lessons, rent equipment, enjoy open skate or bmx (tues/ thurs) and they even offer camps and birthday party packages too! I can’t say enough good things about this incredible resource. The facility itself is crazy cool. It has a warm up area, mini ramp, main street course and an outdoor course. But, really skaters come for the Vans Combi pool- a replica of the original Combi pool that was located at the Upland Pipeline Skatepark in California.
My kids weren’t quite ready for the craziness but they did enjoy sliding down it on their bums 😉
When you are done with your lesson you can shop too! Below is Devon… he’s super cool and great with kids!!!
2- SwingIt Trapeze Lessons
Now, one of the most unique and fun things to do in Anaheim was taking trapeze lessons from SwingIt Trapeze. I was completely shocked that all 4 munchkins + my hubby and I were able to fly. The staff is incredible and will guide you step by step so that you feel completely comfortable taking off on a Trapeze. Check Current Prices Here!
Trapeze wasn’t easy but the instructors are so skilled at helping you move through the different levels at such a fast pace it’s pretty phenomenal. Check out my tricks below:
Ella also enjoyed the sideshow tricks while she was waiting her turn.
3- Catch an Angels Baseball Game or a Ducks Hockey Game
Nothing says summer like heading to the baseball fields. Anaheim is home to the Angels and the Angels Stadium is a fantastic stadium for families. Sundays are family days so there are extra games and fun for the kiddos.
While there I highly suggest you grab yourself some helmet nachos before heading to your seats. They are super delicious and the kids will get a kick out of the souvenir helmet bowl.
Once baseball is over, head across the street to the Honda Center and check out the Anaheim Ducks. Hockey at the Honda Center is a lot of fun (and that is very hard for me to say as I am a Kings Fan – Go Kings Go!) The Honda Center also holds concerts throughout the year.
***Bonus Tip – AVOID PARKING HEADACHES*** – Both Angels Stadium & The Honda Center are located next to the new state of the art transportation center called ARTIC. You can hop on the rail, bus or grab an Uber and it is super easy to do.
4- Find Instagram-Worthy Food at the Anaheim Packing House
Seriously… you MUST check out the Anaheim Packing House it is a FOODIE HEAVEN!!! Not to mention a complete delight for your senses. This once Sunkist Packing House built in 1919 got a whole new look a few years ago and now its a trendy hipster eating hall full of amazing artisan eateries. My favorite thing about the packing house is there is always something new to discover and it is oh so tasty.
I recommend trying the K2 Cro-Nut from Pandor. Just be sure you have someone to share it with.
A Rainbow Cloud from Snow Monster will be quite the treat. Its a thai tea with boba topped with fresh spun cotton candy and fruity pebbles.
Or check out the Instagram sensation known as Pop Bar. They serve gelato on a stick dipped in your favorite chocolate and rolled in the topping of your choice. Just be ready to wait. There is usually a line, especially on weekends.
See what I mean about a delight for your senses!!! All the natural light flowing in, the succulent plants, swings… its so beautiful!!!
If you are in the mood for a meal I suggest checking out the artisan tacos at Urbana…
or a fresh plate of Tikka Masala from Adya. The warm fresh naan is to die for!
***BONUS TIP*** – More Instagram worthy photos can be taken at the GardenWalk located on Harbor Blvd. You will enjoy delicious places like The Cheesecake Factory and crazy desserts from Snowopolis!
5- Visit the Flightdeck for a Totally Unique Experience
One of our boys favorite things to do in Anaheim was the Flightdeck. Seriously, how cool is this place!!! You get to take a flight course, jump in a suit like Maverick & Goose and dog flight inside simulator pods in front of a giant screen. And, the Flightdeck in Anaheim is the ONLY place in the world you can do this!!! Check Current Prices Here!
My boys LOVED competing against each other. My middle son Owen who loves video games said this was his favorite activity all summer long and is hoping to have his birthday party here later on this year.
6 – Check Out Center Street – One of the coolest things to do in Anaheim!
If you are over at the Packing House you can hop on “Polly the Trolley” noon to 9PM Fridays through Sundays! It’s a FREE ride from the Packing House to Center St. Promenade and back, every 15 minutes!
Stop by Ink & Bean for a nitro cold brew… then stroll the farmers market (every Thursday) or sit and relax with a book from the airstream free library.
Just make sure you save room for Pour Vida. Their tacos and fresh pressed juices are divine.
*Note- Center Street is also directly across the street from SwingIt Trapeze making it a great stop after your lesson 😉
7- Take the Family to Medieval Times – Just one of the many fun things to do in Orange County
A family favorite for us is always Medieval Times. But, we had not been to Medieval Times in ages. I was shocked how much the kids still loved the show and dinner.
It was so fun and so lively. The place was PACKED! The show was better than ever and the kids loved the food. They also loved eating without silverware. I ordered their vegetarian meal this time around it and was really good. It came with all the regular sides plus pita, hummus and fresh veggies and then a lentil soup. Yum!
The knights are fun to watch as usual. But, what I really love is watching all of the magnificent horses. They brought out some who were literally dancing to the music. It was so beautiful to see. Grab discounted tickets here!
8- Grab Lunch at Dave & Buster’s… save time for the Arcade
Another find at The Outlets at Orange was Dave & Buster’s. We had a delicious lunch here with the kids. They have a huge menu so there is something for everyone including quite a few healthier choices.
Of course… its not the food the kids cared about but the MASSIVE arcade full of every type of game you could possibly imagine. Our kids played for a good hour and a half before we could pry them off the machines. They had a blast!!
And, once they were done they got to go to the most incredible ticket redemption store I had ever seen with the best prizes I have ever seen offered for tickets. Ella could hardly believe it when she realized she had enough tickets to buy the adorable stuffed raccoon below 😉
9- Moms & Dads will LOVE the Anaheim Brewery
Of all the things to do in Anaheim, this was probably my husbands favorite. I know breweries are not really for the kids but this one was too good not to mention. Anaheim Brewery is a revived prohibition brewery. It has a tasting room and a beer garden, Umami Burger is right next store and across the lawn is the Packing House. So, even if this stop is for the grown-ups, you can sandwich it with fun activities for the kids.
All beer is made right there on site. The founders Barbara and Greg are so passionate about brewing beer and you can tell by how delicious their brews taste.. The beers are light, airy and absolutely delicious.
10- Find Hands-On Fun at the Discovery Cube
Last but certainly not least The Discovery Cube in Orange County is another fantastic place to take the kids. They have a ton of hands-on educational activities that will entertain your little ones for a full afternoon. Make sure to check out the Eco-Challange where your munchkins can shop at a store scanning items on their list, the Dino Quest located outdoors and the Water Gallery.
My bigger kids love checking out the Science of Hockey area, the Inspector Training course, Mission Control and the NEW Extreme Dinosaur exhibit. If you live in SoCal their family annual pass is a really affordable way to keep the fun going all year long.
*BONUS… Family Friendly Accommodations at the Courtyard Anaheim Theme Park Entrance
If you are going to be staying in Anaheim I have to tell you about the resort we found. Located on South Harbor Blvd directly across from the Disneyland Resort & Disney California Adventure is the Courtyard Anaheim Theme Park Entrance Hotel. This brand new hotel features an on-site water park called Surfside, a beautiful fitness center, rooms designed with families in mind and you can even see fireworks from the pool area and some of the rooms.
We stayed in a family suite which had two queen beds + a bunk bed. There is so much space and such great organization that even with all 6 of us we never felt squished. Check Prices Here!
photo provided by Courtyard Anaheim
My favorite feature was the dual showers. There is a tub/ shower in the main bathroom where the sink is and then there is a second tiled shower through a separate door where the toilet is located. Meaning that two people can shower simultaneously. This was so wonderful during our hectic mornings. I wish more family hotels would think to offer something like this!!
photo provided by Courtyard Anaheim
The waterpark was a ton of fun. There were 4 junior slides, two 30-foot slides, a wading pool + a 400-gallon drench bucket located in the splash zone with tons of other smaller buckets to dump and water cannons too! Such a fun way to cool off and it would be a perfect spot if you wanted to take a break from the heat and the crowds over at Disney.
photo provided by Courtyard Anaheim
Looking to head over to Buena Park? Check out my 25 things to do in Buena Park! [9 are free]
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Have you explored Anaheim beyond the Disney Parks?
Please share your Anaheim tips below. + Checkout these other great articles!
*a special thanks to Visit Anaheim for arranging our stay for purpose of our reviews as well as Vans Skatepark, The Outlets at Orange, Flightdeck, Medieval Times, Courtyard Anaheim Theme Park Entrance, SwingIt Trapeze and the Discovery Cube for hosting the munchkins on our recent visit. All thoughts and opinions, as always, are 100% my own.