3 Top Spots in Anaheim That Aren't Disneyland16 October 2016
There are Disney fans in this world, and then there are DISNEY FANS in this world. I'm the former, but Holly is most definitely the latter. Our mom absolutely loves Disney, which is where our appreciation for that spunky little mouse originally comes from. She's read all the books about the Disney family, knows all about the parks and their makings, has read up on the inspiration for every Disney character--no really, she's got it all down. So you can imagine, Disney was a big thing for us growing up. In fact, it's where most of our family vacations took place. But, surprisingly, we never ventured out to California's Walt Disneyland at all. That is, until our 2015 Christmas vacation.
While Holly can cover the ins and outs of Disneyland itself, I (being the lesser...much lesser...Disney fan) wanted to spend a little time assuring those less-than-Disney-fans in your life (we all know them, admit it) that there's plenty to do in Anaheim that doesn't involve castles.
1 | ANAHEIM PACKING DISTRICT
Located downtown, the 1920s Packard building was remodeled after years of factory use, yet still boasts much of it's original charm. It's a multi-level indoor market center, with each tiny corner of the building as unique as its vendor. There are over 20+ vendors that call this place home, including the Anaheim Brewery, and there's an open mezzanine where local musicians play live music that echoes through the building. Our recommendation to experience the whole kit and caboodle? Treat it like a street fair. We ordered small plates from a few different vendors, sampling little by little. My favorite picks included a salami and cheese grilled cheese from Black Sheep, short rib poutine from The Kroft, and a stick of chocolate-dipped pistachio gelato from Pop Bar. Yeah, this wasn't exactly a diet-friendly visit for us.
Keep in mind, the Anaheim Packing District is no secret. Steer clear of the parking lot (it's mostly valet) and try some of the side streets with free weekday parking.
2 | CENTER STREET PROMENADE
As part of historic downtown Anaheim, the Center St. Promenade was a hoppin' night spot with lots of bars, restaurants, cafes, boutiques and art galleries. We dined al fresco and enjoyed a few brews alongside the live band. Having made our way to the promenade after a long day at the Packard building, we were ready to just relax. If you're visiting during the daytime, the galleries are open for viewing local art and the cafes that line the street are sure to see traffic from those who frequent the promenade farmer's market. Consider viewing their events calendar before heading over. This is a popular spot for art gallery nights, car shows, street festivals, and more. We wished we would've brought out mats--they even had yoga in the park!
3 | OLD TOWNE HISTORIC DISTRICT
Similar to the promenade, the Old Towne Historic District is known for its festivals, farmer's markets, and community events. There's quite a few restaurants, small shops and cafes in this area, too. Just hop on the old town trolley to show yourself around. The best part about this trolley happens to be the wine night event. It's a 90-minute trolley ride to 8-12 different restaurants for wine tastings. Might be worth looking into for a casual night out on the town. You know, post-Disney.