Home to the ‘Happiest Place on Earth,’ it’s easy to have a fantastic getaway in Anaheim. It’s one of the top places to visit in Southern California, where you’ll be delighted with sunny weather, beautiful nature, and rides and activities for everyone!
After you book your vacation rental with LussoStay, our reservation and communication specialists will give you inside access to local guides, providing you with the best things to do in Anaheim, whether you’re looking for the best nearby theme parks, places to explore outdoors, or where to find the tastiest eats in town.
If you want to get a headstart on the planning though, this guide will preview all the fun things you don’t want to leave off your itinerary.
1. Thrill Ride and Fun at World-Famous Theme Parks
Photo Credit: Derek K. Miller (1969-2011) via Flickr CC 2.0
Staying in one of our family-friendly rentals? Anaheim is near several amusement parks for excitement for the kids—and the kids in all of us because we’re sure you’ll have just as much fun!
With more than 18 million annual visitors, Disneyland is the second-most visited theme park in the world. Arrive early to beat the crowds because there are tons to explore in the only park designed by Walt Disney himself. Rush to Tomorrowland to ride the famous Space Mountain roller coaster, then detour to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge to help take down the First Order. You can’t leave without loading up on the souvenirs in the Emporium Shop on Main Street USA.
Head to the neighboring Disney California Adventure Park for even more thrill ride action. Suit up with The Incredible and speed 55 mph on the Incredicoaster, or shift into gear with Cars for the Radiator Springs Racers. Hollywood land delves you deeper into the world of Pixar animation, and kids can even awaken their artistic creativity in the Animation Academy to sketch their favorite characters.
The oldest theme park in Southern California is Knott’s Berry Farm, located just 10 minutes away in Buena Park. You’ll have plenty of screams on the GhostRider wooden roller coaster, hang with Snoopy and the gang at Camp Snoopy, or cool off at the Knott’s Soak City Waterpark. If you visit this park, we recommend stopping by the Buena Park Medieval Times for a unique jousting and dinner experience inside a castle.
2. Shop, Dine, and Play at the Downtown Disney District
Photo Credit: Rosamar
Hanging out in the Downtown Disney District is one of the popular things to do in Anaheim, and you don’t even have to have tickets to the eponymous Disneyland Park to visit. After all, between the theme park and this entertainment and dining district, you’ll have plenty of interaction with everyone’s favorite mouse.
This 20-acre district is open to the public with more than 15 shops and 20+ restaurants, bringing the magic of Disney to the real world.
Shop til’ you drop at the Star Wars Trading Post, where you can build your own lightsaber and crown yourself with dazzling Mickey Mouse ears in the World of Disney shop. Go for a bite to eat with Mexican eats at Taqueria at Tortilla Jo’s or Italian favorites at Naples Ristorante e Bar. Later, groove with live bands at the Downtown Disney LIVE! Stage or bowl strikes at the Splitsville Luxury Lanes.
Holidays are always a popular time to check out seasonal experiences like Christmas decorations during winter, Pluto’s Pumpkin Pursuit during Fall, and an Eggstravaganza for the Spring.
3. Around the Clock Fun at the Anaheim GardenWalk
Photo Credit: The Image Party
Whether daytime or nighttime, the Anaheim GardenWalk is always buzzing with activity. The open-air shopping and entertainment complex lets you enjoy the beautiful Anaheim weather while exploring approximately 50 shops, restaurants, and experience venues.
Admire colorful murals from more than 30 artists decorating the area while deciding which restaurant to eat at—The Cheesecake Factory, P.F. Chang’s, Johnny Rockets, California Pizza Kitchen, and more.
During the day, It’s where you’ll find the popular Flightdeck Flight Simulation Center to pilot various aircraft in this virtual flying experience and Billy Beez for kids with an indoor playscape, trampoline, speed slides, and more. Check out the House of Blues Anaheim for live music and drinks, or catch the latest blockbuster screening inside the AMC theater when the sun goes down.
This complex frequently hosts artisan markets with local vendors selling everything from craft goods to toys. There are also live events hosted throughout the year.
While it has several boutique shops, it’s more known for dining and activities. For an even better shopping experience, check out the Outlets at Orange, just a 10-minute drive away, with more than 100 retail outlet stores.
4. Plan an Outdoor Adventure in Nature
Photo Credit: Dave Cooper via Flickr CC 2.0
SoCal has a myriad of places to get away when you need a bit of fresh air. Nature is knocking at your doorsteps when staying at our rentals, where you’ll be just a short drive to some of the region’s most exciting destinations for fun outdoor activities.
Yorba Regional Park has 140 acres of trails, lakes, and grassy fields that even pets can enjoy. The main park loop trail winds 1.4 miles around the park past lakes and shady trail sections.
Stop for a breather to watch geese on the lakeshore or cast a line in the water to catch largemouth bass, rainbow trout, or catfish. Hop on a bike and pedal the Santa Ana River Trail, and kids will have plenty of fun with six playgrounds to run around. You can make a day out of your visit with onsite grills for a picnic.
Escape the beaming sun with a trip to the Oak Canyon Nature Center. Giant oaks and coastal sage hover over the popular Oak Canyon Bluebird and Wren Trail, extending 1.5 miles long. Keep an eye out for small foxes, ducks, or beetles hiding on the tree trunks. The nature preserve also features the John J. Collier Interpretive Center to learn more about the animals and history of the woodlands.
5. Root for the Local Sports Teams
Photo Credit: Frank Romeo
Open our app to find exciting things to do in Anaheim for the sports lovers in your group. They’ll have a ball (no pun intended) checking out the local teams and stadiums, regardless if it’s the on- or off-season.
Take me out to the ball game! The legendary Angel Stadium of Anaheim has hosted the Los Angeles Angels since the 1960s and remains one of the MLB’s most famous stadiums. It’s hard to miss the landmark Big A sign seen from the Orange Freeway—which lights up when they win—and giant ball caps greeting you as you enter.
Although it’s been more than two decades since their last World Series Championship, you can always look forward to the spectacular fireworks show after the baseball game, win-or-lose. A Ballpark tour is a great way to see behind the scenes of the Angel Stadium, exploring everything from the media room to the visitor’s clubhouse to the Angel’s dugout.
Let your best “quack” ring out to cheer on the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks in the Honda Center, or The Pond, as the locals call it. It seats more than 17,000 fans with hopes every year to bring home another Stanley Cup—the last was in 2007. Movie buffs may already be familiar with the team who adopted their name from the Mighty Ducks film. In addition to sports, it also hosts music concerts.
6. Settle Your Hunger Pains in the Anaheim Packing District
Photo Credit: Felipe Sanchez
In the early 1900s, the Anaheim Packing House was used for processing and packing oranges—they don’t call it Orange County for nothing! Today, it’s evolved into one of Anaheim’s trendiest places to grab a bite to eat. Give the kitchen in your rental a break for the day and explore the tasty culinary options and breweries established in this food hall.
The district consists of three buildings featuring more than 40 locally-owned restaurants. Stop by the Packing House to take your taste buds around the world—White Elephant for Thai food, Southern comfort food at Georgia’s Kitchen, Anya for Indian cuisine, 206 BCE for Cajun delights, El Chamango to settle your Mexican cravings, and Mangal for Syrian-style eats. For healthier eateries, Farmers Park has farm-to-table dishes. Afterward, wash down your meal with craft beer from Monkish Brewing in the Packard Building, or keep it classy with a glass of fine spirits from Pali Wine Company in the MAKE Building.
Get there before 9 p.m. if you’re planning to eat, but the bars typically stay open much later for your after-hours rendezvous.
7. Revel in the California Beach Vibes
Photo Credit: Marcus E Jones
Sure, we have Anaheim rentals with pools. But how about taking your love of the water to the biggest pool of them all—the Pacific Ocean? The OC has 42 miles of golden sand coastline along the Atlantic, attracting everyone from surfer bros to beachcombers to leisurely sun worshippers.
In less than 45 minutes, you can go from moseying around with the mouse to catching some major waves at Huntington Beach. Nicknamed Surf City, you’ll have over 8.5 miles of shoreline to find the best waves, get surf lessons, or play a round on the beach volleyball courts. There are always bystanders in the group, and the Huntington Beach Pier is the perfect place for them to watch you have all the fun!
If you’re a couple visiting for a romantic getaway, we recommend going a bit further down the coast to Newport Beach. It’s a much more chill vibe and popular for boat tours to take you on a memorial sunset cruise—or charter your own vessel to rock the boat.
8. Immerse Yourself in Culture, Science, and History
Photo Credit: Steve Cukrov
Creating the ‘Happiest Place on Earth’ took more than just a bit of Disney magic. Anaheim is rich with culture and history dating back to the mid-19th century, preserved in its many cultural institutions. If you need to add one of the more leisurely things to do in Anaheim to include in your itinerary, these venues can be the perfect stop.
Visit Downtown Anaheim and let the Muzeo Museum and Cultural Center exhibitions transport you to yesteryear. It features rotating exhibits about period dress, the evolution of transportation, Disney history, and local artists displaying works ranging from Asian to Hispanic heritage. It’s home to an original Carnegie Library, the last remaining in Orange County.
Get hands-on with interactive exhibits in the Discovery Cube. With more than 100 science-based activities, it’s something that can even keep the kids entertained for hours. You’ll explore everything from the depths of the sea to the far reaches of outer space.
Can’t get enough of the water? The Aquarium of the Pacific is located nearby in Long Beach. It’s the largest aquarium in SoCal, offering visitors a glimpse of the vast marine life thriving in the underwater world.
Oversized tanks exhibit more than 11,000 marine animals in dedicated exhibitions, like the sea lion habitat in the SoCal & Baja Gallery, reef sharks in the Shark Lagoon, and waddling penguins in the Penguin Habitat. It also hosts live whale-watching and dolphin-sighting excursions.
9. Attend Events, Conferences, and More at the Anaheim Convention Center
Photo Credit: Simone Hogan
Our corporate stays are perfect for attending the Anaheim Convention Center’s myriad events. At more than 1.8 million square feet of exhibition space, it’s the largest convention center on the West Coast and one of the largest in America.
You haven’t seen Disney fandom until you’re in town for the Disney D23 Expo held every year for superfans. Get some tips for vlogging your experience in Anaheim at the annual VidCon conference, which is ideal for creators and influencers.
Prepare your best cosplay costume for the WonderCon, a comic book-lover haven, or BlizzCon, hosted by the creators of World of Warcraft and other popular video game series. Also, celebrate the hard-working women entrepreneurs, designers, and thought leaders at the annual Orange County Ultimate Women’s Expo.
The Anaheim Convention Center is easily accessible via the Metrolink train to the Anaheim ARTIC Station and free transfer to the center via the ART Anaheim Regional Transportation bus.
Your Magical Getaway to Anaheim
Plan your getaway with LussoStay and enjoy many of the best things to do in Anaheim during your stay. Our vacation rentals provide you with comfort and the convenience of making the most of your time when you visit Anaheim—whether it’s close proximity to your favorite attractions and guest services giving you a one-of-a-kind experience.