Inspiration Destinations USA Beyond Disneyland: The Ultimate Guide to Anaheim 

Beyond Disneyland: The Ultimate Guide to Anaheim 

June 16, 2023
RISE Rooftop Lounge at the Westin Anaheim is perfect for sunset cocktails – Luxury Escapes

From craft breweries and rooftop cocktail bars to live sports, high-end shopping and unique wildlife experiences – there’s more magic to Anaheim than the wonders of Disneyland. 

While families flock to sunny Anaheim to get their thrills at the two Theme Parks of the Disneyland Resort, there’s so much more to be experienced than meets the eye. The city offers something for every traveller, with an offering of action-packed theme parks, exhilarating live sports, world-class shopping and incredible dining and entertainment experiences.  

Discover our pick of the best activities outside Disneyland in Anaheim with this guide to Orange County’s biggest city. 

Take a Daytrip to Santa Catalina Island 

Scuba diving in California's Santa Catalina Island – Luxury Escapes
A scuba diver encounters marine life in California's Santa Catalina Island.

Adventure awaits at California’s Santa Catalina Island. Just an hour by ferry from the mainland, Santa Catalina is known for its unique wildlife, beautiful beaches, adrenaline-fuelled experiences, and the rugged landscape of Mt Orizaba. Spend the morning sunbathing on the golden sands of Crescent Beach or wandering the charming streets of Avalon, before embarking on an island safari to spot wild American bison. In the afternoon, strap in for an adrenaline-pumping ziplining tour across canyons and towering eucalyptus trees or spend a magical few hours spotting marine and sea life on a semi-submarine tour. 

After visiting Santa Catalina Island, take advantage of Anaheim’s central location to visit other popular Southern California attractions, including Universal Studios Hollywood, LEGOLAND® and San Diego — all an easy day trip away. 

Follow the Craft Brewery Trail

Anaheim is fast-growing as a craft beer hotspot in USA – Luxury Escapes
Sample a wide range of innovative craft beers at Anaheim.

Anaheim is a beer lover’s paradise. With one of the fastest-growing craft beer scenes in the USA, this dynamic city is home to an impressive line-up of micro-breweries, tap rooms and beer gardens. The underlying flavour of every pint produced in Anaheim is innovation – whether it’s coconut macaroon and sticky bun-inspired brews at The Bruery, bohemian pilsners and beer slushies at Radiant Beer Co., or Mexican lagers and boysenberry milkshake IPAs at Brewery X, there’s something truly unique brewing here.  

Get Your Sports Fix at a Live Game 

Watching a game of baseball in Anaheim is one of the top things to do when in South California – Luxury Escapes
Enjoy a thrilling game of baseball at the iconic Angel Stadium.

A visit to Anaheim isn’t complete without getting involved in the local pastime – live sport. Experience an exciting baseball game at Angel Stadium, one of the most iconic ballparks in the USA, and watch as the Los Angeles Angels take on the away team. Enjoy fireworks on every home run, hot dogs and pretzels from busy ballpark vendors and the infamous 'Kiss Cam’. If you’re looking for an even more exciting event, head to Honda Center, home of the famous Anaheim Ducks, for a thrilling game of ice hockey.

Watch the Sunset From a Rooftop Bar 

RISE Rooftop Lounge at Westin Anaheim overlooks the Disneyland Resort and is a stunning place to enjoy sunset drinks from – Luxury Escapes
Sip on cocktails from the breathtaking RISE Rooftop Lounge in Westin Anaheim.

Toast to the adventures of the day with sunset drinks at one of Anaheim’s luxurious rooftop bars. The FIFTH Rooftop Restaurant & Bar offers taco trios and margaritas every Thursday, which pair perfectly with breathtaking views over Disneyland Resort. To capitalise on the sunny SoCal weather, visit Top of the V at The Viv Hotel where you can swim, sip and sample your way through the Spanish-inspired menu as you watch the sun set behind the city skyline. Parkestry at JW Marriott also offers magical views over Disneyland Resort, with inviting couches and an incredible dining menu.  

Shop ‘Til You Drop 

Anaheim is home to some of the best luxury shopping centres like Citadel Outlets – Luxury Escapes
Go luxury shopping at Citadel Outlets, moments from downtown LA.

Anaheim offers some of the best luxury shopping in Orange County. At South Coast Plaza, explore over 250 boutiques featuring designer labels and top-tier brands. For an upscale shopping experience with panoramic ocean views, add Fashion Island to your itinerary. This open-air fashion centre is home to a curated set of ultra-premium designer boutiques and purveyors of luxury goods, with something to excite even the most discerning shopper. Anaheim is also home to a selection of outlet shopping malls including The Outlets at Orange. Or, you can shop until your drop off at LAX with a visit to Citadel Outlets — located minutes from downtown LA, Anaheim and the airport — where shoppers can find top brands at discount prices. 

Get Your Thrills at California’s Oldest Amusement Park 

Knott's Berry Farm is Anaheim's oldest amusement park and is a must-visit while in SoCal – Luxury Escapes
Have a blast with adrenaline-pumping rides at the iconic Knott's Berry Farm amusement park.

Experience exhilarating rides, interactive shows and world-class attractions at California’s oldest amusement park, Knott’s Berry Farm. Check out GhostRider – the West Coast’s fastest wooden rollercoaster, snap a picture with Snoopy and the Peanuts Gang at Beagle Scout Headquarters and stroll along the streets of Old West Ghost Town. When you’re ready to cool off, Knott’s Soak City, a 15-acre waterpark featuring waterslides, raft and tube rides, a lazy river and wave pool, is located just next door. As the day comes to a close, keep the fun going with a stay at Knott’s Berry Farm Hotel

Experience the magic of Disneyland 

You can’t visit Anaheim without enjoying a multi-day adventure at The Happiest Place on Earth and its two magical Theme Parks – Disneyland Park, and Disney California Adventure Park. Experience classic rides like futuristic Space Mountain, swashbuckling Pirates of the Caribbean and iconic ‘it’s a small world’, while exploring each of the themed areas in detail. Meet your favourite Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars characters – from Mickey and Minnie Mouse to Spiderman and Chewbacca, before finding the perfect pair of Mickey ears at one of the boutiques along Main Street, U.S.A. When night falls, get ready for a legendary fireworks display above Sleeping Beauty Castle, a truly magical show that illuminates the sky. 

Looking for more inspiration? Check out California Dreaming: 9 Unmissable Experiences in the Golden State

About Sofia Calvert
Travel and lifestyle writer → born in Australia, raised in Asia and the South Pacific. Loves craft cocktails and long walks to the hotel pool.

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