23 Things to Do Near Disneyland California

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    Thing to Do in and Around Anaheim, CA

    Sleeping Beauty's Castle at Disneyland California
    ••• Sleeping Beauty's Castle at Disneyland California. Andy Castro/Flickr/CC BY-NC

    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...MORE 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.

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  • 02 of 24

    House of Blues Anaheim

    House of Blues at Garden Walk in Anaheim
    ••• House of Blues at Garden Walk in Anaheim. Kayte Deioma

    House of Blues (0.6 miles from the Disneyland entrance)
    400 Disney Way #337
    Anaheim, CA 92802
    (714) 778-2583
    houseofblues.com
    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. 

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  • 03 of 24

    City National Grove of Anaheim

    City National Grove of Anaheim
    ••• City National Grove of Anaheim. Photo by Randall Michelson, courtesy of City National Grove of Anaheim

    City National Grove of Anaheim (2.6 miles)
    2200 East Katella Avenue
    Anaheim, CA 92806-6014
    (714) 712-2700
    citynationalgroveofanaheim.com‎
    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.

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  • 04 of 24

    Flight Deck Air Combat Center

    Flight Deck Air Combat Center
    ••• Flight Deck Air Combat Center. Photo Courtesy of Flight Deck Air Combat Center

    Flight Deck Air Combat Center (2.9 miles)
    1650 S. Sinclair St.
    Anaheim, CA 92806
    (714) 937-1511
    www.flightdeck1.com
    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.

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  • 05 of 24

    Angel Stadium

    Giant baseball cap symbol at Angel Stadium in Anaheim
    ••• Angel Stadium in Anaheim. Richard Cummins / Getty Images

    Angel Stadium (2.9 miles)
    2000 East Gene Autry Way
    Anaheim, CA 92806-6143
    http://losangeles.angels.mlb.com/index.jsp?c_id=ana
    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 Area

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  • 06 of 24

    The Honda Center

    Honda Center in Anaheim, CA
    ••• Honda Center in Anaheim, CA. Photo © 2016 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com

    The Honda Center (3.3 miles)
    2695 East Katella Avenue
    Anaheim, CA 92806
    www.hondacenter.com
    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 Area

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  • 07 of 24

    Great Wolf Lodge

    Great Wolf Lodge Indoor/Outdoor Water Park
    ••• Great Wolf Lodge Indoor/Outdoor Water Park. Photo courtesy of Great Wolf Lodge

    Great Wolf Lodge (3.6 miles)
    12681 Harbor Blvd 
    Garden Grove, CA 92840
    www.greatwolf.com/southern-california
    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.

    More Los Angeles Area Water Parks

    Book a stay at Great Wolf Lodge

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  • 08 of 24

    Muzeo Museum and Cultural Center

    Muzeo in Anaheim
    ••• Muzeo Museum and Cultural Center in Anaheim, CA. Photo courtesy of Muzeo

    Muzeo (3.7 miles)
    241 S. Anaheim Blvd.
    Anaheim, CA 92805
    (714) 956-8936
    www.muzeo.org
    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.

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  • 09 of 24

    Old Towne Orange Historic District

    Old Towne Orange
    ••• Old Towne Orange - Orange Plaza Historic District. Courtesy of the Anaheim/OC VCB

    Old Towne Orange Historic District (5.5 miles)
    Chapman and Glassell
    Orange, CA
    www.cityoforange.org
    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.

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  • 10 of 24

    Bowers Museum

    Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, CA
    ••• Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, CA. Photo © 2008 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com

    Bowers Museum (5.6 miles)
    2002 N. Main St.
    Santa Ana, CA 92706
    (714) 567-3600
    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 Guide

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  • 11 of 24

    Discovery Science Center

    Discovery Cube Orange County
    ••• The Boeing Rocket Lab at Discovery Cube Orange County. Photo Courtesy of the Discovery Science Foundation

    Discovery Cube OC (5.9 miles)
    2500 N. Main St.
    Santa Ana, CA 92705
    (714) 542-CUBE
    www.discoverycube.org
    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.

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  • 12 of 24

    Muckenthaler Cultural Center

    Muckenthaler Cultural Center
    ••• The Muckenthaler Cultural Center in Fullerton, CA. Photo courtesy of the Muckenthaler Cultural Center

    Muckenthaler Cultural Center (6 miles)
    1201 W Malvern Ave
    Fullerton, CA 92833
    (714) 738-6595
    themuck.org
    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.

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  • 13 of 24

    Adventure City Amusement Park

    Rewind Racers at Adventure City
    ••• Rewind Racers at Adventure City. Photo © 2015 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com

    Adventure City (6.2 miles)
    1238 S. Beach Blvd.
    Anaheim, CA 92804
    (714) 236.9300
    www.adventurecity.com
    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.

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  • 14 of 24

    Escape Rooms in Orange County

    Doll House at PuzzleMazement Escape Rooms
    ••• Doll House at PuzzleMazement Escape Rooms. Photo courtesy of PuzzleMazement

    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.

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  • 15 of 24

    Knott's Berry Farm and Soak City

    Knott's Berry Farm
    ••• Knott's Berry Farm. Photo © 2014 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com

    Knott's Berry Farm and Soak City (7 miles)
    8039 Beach Blvd.
    Buena Park, CA 90620
    (714) 220.5200
    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.
     


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  • 16 of 24

    Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament

    Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament
    ••• Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament. Courtesy of the Anaheim/OC VCB

    Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament (7.4 miles)
    7662 Beach Blvd.
    Buena Park, CA 90620
    (714) 523.1100
    www.medievaltimes.com
    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.

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  • 17 of 24

    Pirates Dinner Adventure

    Pirates Dinner Adventure
    ••• Pirates Dinner Adventure. Courtesy of the Anaheim/OC VCB

    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...MORE the rope ladder from table 2 in the purple section.

    Pirates Dinner Adventure (7.4 miles)
    7600 Beach Blvd.
    Buena Park, CA 90620-1838
    (714) 690.1497
    www.piratesdinneradventure.com

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  • 18 of 24

    Old Courthouse Museum

    Old Courthouse Museum in Santa Ana, CA
    ••• Old Courthouse Museum in Santa Ana, CA. Photo © 2015 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com

    Old Courthouse Museum at the Old Orange County Courthouse (7.5 miles)
    211 W Santa Ana Blvd # 201
    Santa Ana, CA 92701-7004
    (714) 973-6605
    ocparks.com/historic/oldcourt/
    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.

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    Marconi Automotive Museum

    Marconi Automotive Museum Photo
    ••• Marconi Automotive Museum Photo. Photo by Turville/Doyle courtesy of Marconi Automotive Museum

    Marconi Automotive Museum‎ (10.1 miles)
    1302 Industrial Drive
    Tustin, CA 92780-6416
    (714) 258-3001
    www.marconimuseum.org
    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.

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    Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum

    Nixon Library
    ••• Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. Courtesy of the Anaheim/OC VCB

    Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum (13 miles)
    18001 Yorba Linda Blvd.
    Yorba Linda, CA 92886
    (714) 364-1181
    library.nixonfoundation.org
    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.

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  • 21 of 24

    South Coast Plaza

    South Coast Plaza
    ••• South Coast Plaza. Photo © 2007 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com

    South Coast Plaza (13.4 miles)
    333 Bristol St
    Costa Mesa, California 92626
    (714) 435-2000
    www.southcoastplaza.com
    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 County

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    Segerstrom Center for the Arts

    Segerstrom Center for the Arts
    ••• Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Photo © 2015 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com

    Segerstrom Center for the Arts (13.4 miles)
    00 Town Center Drive
    Costa Mesa, CA 92626
    (714) 556-2787
    www.scfta.org
    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.

    More on the Segerstrom Center for the Arts

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    Orange County Marketplace

    Orange County Marketplace
    ••• Orange County Marketplace. Photo © 2016 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com

    Orange County Marketplace (14.9 miles)
    88 Fair Drive - Orange County Fairgrounds
    Costa Mesa, CA 92626
    www.ocmarketplace.com
    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.

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  • 24 of 24

    Pretend City Children's Museum

    Pretend City in Irvine
    ••• Pretend City in Irvine. Photo courtesy of Pretend City

    Pretend City (17 miles)
    29 HubbleIrvine, CA 92618
    949) 428-3900
    pretendcity.org
    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