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Thing to Do in and Around Anaheim, CA
If you're planning to be in Anaheim, CA, it's probably because you're visiting Disneyland or attending a conference at or near the Anaheim Convention Center.
Whether something is near or far depends on your perspective. Compared to the distance from San Francisco, New York or Berlin, Universal Studios Hollywood and the San Diego Zoo are close to Disneyland. But when you think of "near" as something close enough to do in the same day, or attractions to visit from the same hotel base, neither Universal Studios nor the San Diego Zoo are especially convenient to Disneyland, and if you have the option, I recommend changing hotels, so you don't spend two hours in rush hour traffic trying to make that drive.
If you're staying at a hotel near Disneyland, most Los Angeles attractions are 45 minutes to 2 hours away, but there are plenty of other attractions in and near Anaheim to entertain the whole family.
On the next pages are some things to do within half an hour of... Anaheim (even if you stay off the freeway and take surface streets), arranged by distance from Disneyland.
To plan the Disneyland part of your vacation see my Disneyland Guide
Here's a separate list of Orange County Beaches, the closest of which is about a half hour drive, and more Top Things To Do in Orange County that go beyond the 30 minute drive limit of this list.Continue to 2 of 24 below.
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House of Blues Anaheim
House of Blues (0.6 miles from the Disneyland entrance)
400 Disney Way #337
Anaheim, CA 92802
The House of Blues in Anaheim moved from Downtown Disney to the nearby GardenWalk mall in 2017. The new venue has four different live music rooms that each offer a different New Orleans-style dining and music listening experience from acoustic to rock and roll and their signature Sunday morning Gospel Brunch. Don't take the kids to a live music event, including the Gospel Brunch without serious heavy-duty ear protection. The volume levels are loud enough to do them (and you) permanent hearing damage in just a few minutes.Continue to 3 of 24 below.
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City National Grove of Anaheim
City National Grove of Anaheim (2.6 miles)
2200 East Katella Avenue
Anaheim, CA 92806-6014
This live performance venue in Anaheim, Orange County, CA hosts concerts, comedy and other pop culture events. Check the website for events scheduled during your visit.Continue to 4 of 24 below.
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Flight Deck Air Combat Center
Flight Deck Air Combat Center (2.9 miles)
1650 S. Sinclair St.
Anaheim, CA 92806
Flight Deck Air Combat Center is an authentic military flight simulation center where you can test your skills on the same equipment that fighter pilots use to train. It is open to the public, with a minimum age of 11 and minimum height of 41" tall. The center is also available for group events.Continue to 5 of 24 below.
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Angel Stadium (2.9 miles)
2000 East Gene Autry Way
Anaheim, CA 92806-6143
Baseball fans can take in a game at Angels Stadium in Anaheim. Check their website for the schedule. Even if there's no game going on, you can take a souvenir photo with those giant Angels baseball caps that flank the entrance. Angel Stadium also offers Public Tours on specific dates. The tour schedule is posted on their website.
More on Team Sports in the LA AreaContinue to 6 of 24 below.
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The Honda Center
The Honda Center (3.3 miles)
2695 East Katella Avenue
Anaheim, CA 92806
The Honda Center sports arena, just across the 57 freeway from Angel Stadium, is the home of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks hockey team as well as boxing matches, concerts and other spectacles.
More on Team Sports in the LA AreaContinue to 7 of 24 below.
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Great Wolf Lodge
Great Wolf Lodge (3.6 miles)
12681 Harbor Blvd
Garden Grove, CA 92840
Great Wolf Lodge indoor water park resort is just a few miles down Harbor Boulevard from Disneyland. The water park is only available to resort guests, so you have to stay to play.Continue to 8 of 24 below.
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Muzeo Museum and Cultural Center
Muzeo (3.7 miles)
241 S. Anaheim Blvd.
Anaheim, CA 92805
Muzeo in Anaheim doesn't have a permanent collection, but hosts various traveling cultural exhibits. It's a smallish museum, so most exhibits can be covered in an hour or so. Check their website for current exhibits.Continue to 9 of 24 below.
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Old Towne Orange Historic District
Old Towne Orange Historic District (5.5 miles)
Chapman and Glassell
Old Towne Orange is a cluster of quaint antique shops and old-time diners and soda fountains centered around a traffic roundabout at the intersection of Chapman Avenue and Glassell Street in the City of Orange, CA. It's a cool place to browse around, especially for people interested in antiques or historic home restoration. Many of the buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.Continue to 10 of 24 below.
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Bowers Museum (5.6 miles)
2002 N. Main St.
Santa Ana, CA 92706
The Bowers Museum in Santa Ana hosts internationally renowned traveling exhibits, as well as having excellent permanent exhibits, including one of the best California Indian collections in Southern California.
Bowers Museum GuideContinue to 11 of 24 below.
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Discovery Science Center
Discovery Cube OC (5.9 miles)
2500 N. Main St.
Santa Ana, CA 92705
Discovery Cube OC, also known as The Cube, for its giant 10 story solar cube, is Orange County's science museum, located in Santa Ana, southeast of Anaheim. It's a fun museum to explore with the kids, having over 100 interactive science exhibits.Continue to 12 of 24 below.
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Muckenthaler Cultural Center
Muckenthaler Cultural Center (6 miles)
1201 W Malvern Ave
Fullerton, CA 92833
The Muckenthaler Cultural Center, aka "The Muck," in the Muckenthaler Mansion in Fullerton, hosts interesting gallery exhibits, performances, festivals and special events. Beyond the current exhibits, the mansion and gardens themselves are beautiful to explore.Continue to 13 of 24 below.
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Adventure City Amusement Park
Adventure City (6.2 miles)
1238 S. Beach Blvd.
Anaheim, CA 92804
If you're not on a Disneyland budget, you can still have a little amusement park fun on a smaller scale at kid-friendly Adventure City. A family of four can enjoy the 17 rides and shows all day for about the same price as one major theme park ticket.Continue to 14 of 24 below.
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Escape Rooms in Orange County
An escape room attraction gives a team of people a specific amount of time (usually an hour) to solve a problem using clues, deciphering codes and unraveling puzzles. The end goal may be to escape the room - from a locked hotel room to a den of zombies - or it may be to solve a murder mystery, track down an ancient artifact, disable a bomb or rescue a kidnapped starlet.
There are a number of Escape Rooms in Orange County, including a couple right in Anaheim not far from Disneyland. This photo is from PuzzleMazement, right next to Adventure City in Anaheim, which has multiple experiences from the creepy 3-story Doll House to the more family-friendly Saving Christmas mystery game.Continue to 15 of 24 below.
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Knott's Berry Farm and Soak City
Knott's Berry Farm and Soak City (7 miles)
8039 Beach Blvd.
Buena Park, CA 90620
If you're in the mood for more theme park thrills, you can head down the road to Knott's Berry Farm in nearby Buena Park. Knott's has a nice combination of thrill rides and attractions and shows for younger kids. In October, they offer the Halloween-themed Knott's Scary Farm and November into New Year's weekend Knott's Merry Farm. They also operate Knott's Soak City during the summer months.
Continue to 16 of 24 below.
- Knott's Berry Farm Visitors Guide
- Visiting Knott's Berry Farm with Toddlers
- Knott's Soak City Visitors Guide
- Knott's Scary Farm Halloween Haunt
- Knott's Merry Farm Christmas Celebration
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Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament
Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament (7.4 miles)
7662 Beach Blvd.
Buena Park, CA 90620
Discount Tickets from Goldstar.com
Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament offers a family dinner appropriate to the Middle Ages with sword fighting and jousting matches between dozens of knights on horseback.Continue to 17 of 24 below.
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Pirates Dinner Adventure
Pirates Dinner Adventure is a live action musical theatre production with lots of acrobatics and sword fights. The action takes place on a pirate ship center stage surrounded by tiered seating, some with bench seats, some with chairs. The center sides have the best view, as some of the areas closer to the end are behind rope ladders and you see the whole show through a grid of rope.
The show is very kid-friendly and is extremely interactive, with lots of volunteer kids and adults chosen to assist in the pirate expedition and the entire audience cheering and booing for your assigned pirate. Pirate attire is encouraged and if you don't have your own, there's plenty for sale in multiple gift shops.
The food is not bad for a family dinner theatre production. The chicken is better than the pork. We were seated on bench seats that seemed to be slanted a bit forward, which was a little annoying, but not enough to keep us from having fun. I was more bothered by seeing the show through... the rope ladder from table 2 in the purple section.
Pirates Dinner Adventure (7.4 miles)
7600 Beach Blvd.
Buena Park, CA 90620-1838
www.piratesdinneradventure.comContinue to 18 of 24 below.
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Old Courthouse Museum
Old Courthouse Museum at the Old Orange County Courthouse (7.5 miles)
211 W Santa Ana Blvd # 201
Santa Ana, CA 92701-7004
The Old Courthouse Museum in Santa Ana is Southern California's oldest courthouse, built in 1901. It is on the National Register of Historic Places and is also a California Historical Landmark. The museum is managed by the Orange County Parks Department. The Old Courthouse Museum is part of the Orange County History Center, which also includes the Orange County Archives and the library of the Pacific Coast Archaeological Society.
Nearby, you can also explore historic 4th Street and the Santa Ana Artists Village, which includes over a dozen galleries and museums.Continue to 19 of 24 below.
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Marconi Automotive Museum
Marconi Automotive Museum (10.1 miles)
1302 Industrial Drive
Tustin, CA 92780-6416
The Marconi Automotive Museum celebrates historic, exotic and classic cars, as well as race cars including a large collection of Italian sports cars and American muscle cars. Proceeds benefit children's charities in Orange County.Continue to 20 of 24 below.
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Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum
Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum (13 miles)
18001 Yorba Linda Blvd.
Yorba Linda, CA 92886
The Nixon Library and Museum is located at the former president's 1910 birthplace on a nine-acre estate in Yorba Linda, northeast of Anaheim. In addition to the original home, the museum includes 22 high-tech galleries about the life and times of the 37th president. The grounds include the First Lady's Rose Garden and the Rose Woods Walk.Continue to 21 of 24 below.
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South Coast Plaza
South Coast Plaza (13.4 miles)
333 Bristol St
Costa Mesa, California 92626
South Coast Plaza outranks Rodeo Drive for the number of high end designer shops on its multi-block campus. Its swank retailers are a stop on many Asian bus tours of Southern California. In addition to 250 shops, there are 30 restaurants to refresh you. Don't have time to shop yourself? Take advantage of their personal shopper service.
More on the Top 10 Places to Shop in Orange CountyContinue to 22 of 24 below.
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Segerstrom Center for the Arts
Segerstrom Center for the Arts (13.4 miles)
00 Town Center Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Located just across the street from South Coast Plaza, the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, previously known as the Orange County Performing Arts Center, includes multiple performance venues offering concerts, Broadway shows, ballet, national children's performers and more. Next to the Segerstrom Center for the Arts is the South Coast Repertory Theatre. After shopping and dining at South Coast Plaza, head across the street to watch a show and rest your feet.Continue to 23 of 24 below.
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Orange County Marketplace
Orange County Marketplace (14.9 miles)
88 Fair Drive - Orange County Fairgrounds
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
For fans of flea markets, swap meets and bargains, the Orange County Marketplace is shoppers' paradise with over 1500 venders selling new and used items from clothing and shoes to furniture, antiques and even prefab houses. The swap meet takes place each Saturday and Sunday from 7 am to 4 pm at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa. The Orange County Marketplace also hosts various holiday celebrations and concert series.
In July, you'll find the Orange County Fair at the same location.Continue to 24 of 24 below.
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Pretend City Children's Museum
Pretend City (17 miles)
29 HubbleIrvine, CA 92618
Pretend City is a children's museum in Irvine, CA that is set up as a Southern California beach town. Kids can shop at the grocery store, build in the Construction Zone, make art at the Art Gallery, man the Gas Station, Clinic or Emergency Center, work at the Post Office or City Hall, hang out at My House. Try to go on a weekday if you can. It gets really overcrowded on the weekends. Read reviews on Yelp