Visit Anaheim, CA – Things to Do, Attractions and Safety
Anaheim, California, famous for its Disney Parks, is one of the most visited cities in the entire United States, with attractions for audiences of all ages and tastes. Bordered against Los Angeles, Anaheim is the more “touristy” area, with budget and luxury hotels, fine or casual dining, and fun of every kind. With so much to do, it’s easy to see why Anaheim attracts so many couples, families, and solo travelers.
To help you make the most of your trip, this travel guide will give you everything you need to know about Anaheim, including where to stay, best time to visit, year-round weather, and the top attractions, restaurants, and shopping centers. You’ll also get tips on safety, ticket deals and discounts, packing list suggestions, transportation advice, and ways to make the most of the Disney parks.
Things to Know About Anaheim, California
Anaheim gets its name from the blending of “Ana,” referring to the Santa Ana River, and “-heim,” which is German for “home.” It is often nicknamed “Ducktown” after the Anaheim Ducks hockey team.
Anaheim has a population of about 350,000 people and sees 25 million visitors a year. Anaheim was originally part of Los Angeles, but during rezoning in 1870, was made into its own city, becoming the first city of Orange County. Anaheim is hometown to celebrities like Marcus Mumford, Gwen Stafani, Leo Fender, Stephen Hillenburg, and Milo Ventimiglia.
Anaheim holds the headquarters of Carl’s Jr. It’s also home to the famous Convention Center (used for NBA games, the 1984 Olympics, anime expos, and an episode in Star Trek: Picard) which draws in a large portion of Anaheim’s visitors.
Best Time to Visit Anaheim
Most visitors claim Christmas as the best time to visit Disneyland. There are many more events and themes around the park which begin after Thanksgiving. There are more events around this time, but also higher costs and more crowds.
The cheapest time to visit Anaheim (for hotels and flights) is between January 8th and March 4th. The cheapest time to visit Disneyland is between May 11 and May 14 or August 22-September 30th. This is the “off-season” as temperatures hit their peak and families return to school. It’s also the least busy season, with fewer events and special guests. Weekdays always have cheaper tickets and booking than weekends.
If you’re taking a road-trip or want to include Anaheim/Disneyland as only part of your trip, consider visiting in the spring and fall (April; September and October). Weather is most pleasant during these months, and nature is blooming. Booking is reasonably priced, and you’ll have access to plenty of other things to do in California that are too full during the summer.
Weather In Anaheim
Anaheim has a warm California climate like Los Angeles. Expect little rain and lots of sun. Winters are still quite warm. December and January are the coldest months with highs around 70°F and lows around 48°F. Summers are hot, but not unbearable. The hottest month is August, with highs around 87°F and lows around 65°F. Humidity isn’t much of a nuisance in Anaheim, with relative humidity ranging from about 42% in the winter to 54% in the summer. Wind is extremely calm year-round.
California’s allergy season runs March through June. Likewise, California has lots of smog and air pollution that cause a haze and may pose a challenge for at-risk individuals.
Where to Stay in Anaheim
When visiting any city, there are areas that cater to visitors, and areas that don’t. That’s why it’s important not only to find areas that fit your budget, but also to find areas that will meet your travel needs. We recommend sticking to well-known tourist areas for all travel. Tourist areas put you closer to attractions and are safer. Transportation is better connected, and you’ll have more options for food and fun. To help you get the most out of your trip, we’ve put together the following list of the most popular areas for visitors to stay in while visiting Anaheim.
Anaheim only has a few officially named neighborhoods, which we have listed below. In order of safest to most dangerous, the areas are Anaheim Hills, Northeast, Northwest, Southwest, Southeast, and The Colony.
Anaheim Hills is one of the safer areas of Anaheim, though it is also the most expensive. We recommend staying in that area if you can. It’s a little more out of the way for visiting the Disney Parks but has more greenery and more parks. You’ll get access to luxury hotels and accommodations, and it is better for honeymoons and couples who want a bit more romantic side of California.
Northeast Anaheim is a suburban urban mix with fewer hotels but more bed and breakfast options available. The north end is industrial and there are few attractions in the area, though it is better for budget. Public transportation isn’t as connected in this area and you’ll be farther away from Disneyland, but it puts you in a better area for road tripping to the rest of California.
Northwest Anaheim puts you closest to L.A. and Knott’s Berry Farm. Like Northeast Anaheim, it’s suburban but does have the Dad Miller Golf Course. It’s another budget option with fewer hotels and minimal attractions.
Southeast Anaheim is a quiet area with more nightlife and adult entertainment options. Expect middle-end hotels. Southeast Anaheim puts you within walking distance of the Honda Center which makes it a great choice if you’re visiting for a concert.
Known locally as Anaheim Island, Southwest Anaheim is just north of Disneyland and is mostly residential. It’s a relatively safe part of Anaheim. It is better for those on a budget. It’s less touristy, which means it’s quieter, but also has less immediate accommodations.
Located inside the Southeast Anaheim neighborhood, the Platinum Triangle puts you in the same area as Angel’s Stadium and is on the east side of the interstate (Disneyland on the west). This is another budget option, but again, doesn’t have many hotels or other major tourist attractions. There are more local bars in this area which makes it better for those interested in nightlife.
The Anaheim Resort area is one of the largest in the city and is another great area for safety. For visitors visiting the Disney Parks, the Disney Hotels are the best place to stay. Anaheim Resort includes the Disneyland Resort and Disney hotels and puts you closest to Anaheim’s biggest attractions. We especially recommend this area for first-time visitors, solo travelers, and families. There are plenty of restaurants, shopping centers, and bed and breakfast options here, and prices are fair.
Anaheim Colony Historic District (Downtown)
The Anaheim Colony Historic District sits between Northeast and Northwest Anaheim and contains the famous Anaheim Packing District. There aren’t many hotels in the area or other major attractions, and it is the most dangerous area, so we recommend getting accommodations elsewhere.
Gets Deals for Anaheim Hotels
Our MySittiVacations hotel finder can help you find affordable, safe hotels and bed and breakfast options for your trip. You can type in specific hotels or search by area and select dates of stay that work best for you. We apply special coupons which save you money and make planning your vacation that much easier. Check it out here. For the best deals you should plan your trip about 4 months in advance.
Disney Parks in Anaheim in California
Disneyland was opened July 17, 1955, and since then has continued to earn its reputation as the “Happiest Place on Earth.” There are 58 distinct attractions. The Disneyland Park covers 85 acres. Disney’s California Adventure opened February 8, 2001, and currently has 34 attractions and covers 72 acres. Disneyland Resort owns a total of 500 acres, and, after the resorts, the remaining 380 acres are used for the Disney Hotels and Downtown area. Traditionally, Disneyland (while still fun for everyone) is geared towards younger audiences, while Disney’s California Adventure has more attractions with adult audiences in mind.
The 10 Best Rides and Attractions at Disney California Adventure Park
- Grizzly River Run
- Pixar Pal-A-Round Ferris Wheel
- Radiator Springs Racers
- Soarin’ Around the World
- Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT
- Goofy’s Sky School
- Toy Story Midway Mania!
- Web Slingers – A Spiderman Adventure
- The Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Undersea Adventure
The 11 Best Rides and Attractions at Disneyland Park
- Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
- Space Mountain
- Indiana Jones Adventure
- It’s a Small World
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Haunted Mansion
- Matterhorn Bobsleds
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Splash Mountain
- World of Color
10 Must See Attractions and Things to Do in Anaheim, California
Anaheim has plenty more to do than just visiting theme parks. We’ve listed the most popular sights below which gives you other options of things to do and places to visit. If you’re looking for even more things to do (and huge discounts/deals) make sure to check out MySittiVacations’ Things to Do page here.
- Anaheim Packing District
Once used for fruit packing, the Anaheim Packing District is now one of the go-to food centers in California. You’ll find food of every kind which makes it a great spot for lunch, snacks, dinner, a special date, or for late-night fun.
- Angel Stadium of Anaheim
Home of the Los Angeles Angels Major League Baseball Team, Angel Stadium of Anaheim is a popular spot to visit for all baseball fans. You can check out a game during your visit, or, if you want to see behind the scenes, 75-minute tours are available.
- House of Blues at the Anaheim GardenWalk
The House of Blues Restaurant & Bar is one of the top spots in the whole Los Angeles area for live music and nightlife. It’s like four sights in one, with a restaurant, music hall, bar, and lounge, perfect for couples and solo travelers who like great food and music. Advanced reservations are required.
- Muzeo Museum and Cultural Center
The Muzeo Museum and Cultural Center is a blend of several museums in one. There are art exhibits as well as cultural artifacts, events, and tours which celebrate human expression and culture. Included in the Muzeo complex is the Carnegie Library with rotating exhibits. While not the best attraction for small children, it’s a great place for teens and adults to learn more and see more about the world and its history.
- Honda Center
While the Honda Center itself is like most stadiums, it’s home to some of the biggest concerts, events, and sports in California. Check out hondacenter.com for upcoming events, and make sure to come back to MySittiVacations for ticket discounts and deals.
- Yorba Regional Park
At 140 acres, Yorba Regional Park is an awesome way to spend the day, with 400 picnic tables, and options for fishing, hiking, paddle boating, and kite flying. It’s a very photogenic area and is great for a few hours of relaxing.
- Knott’s Berry Farm (Buena Park)
Knott’s Berry Farm is a heavy competition for the Disneyland Parks. While you won’t get as many characters and themed rides, this amusement park is much better for older audiences who want to enjoy roller coasters, a water park, carnival games, and local dining. There are a total of 40 rides. In-parks hotels are also available. Ticket prices are comparable to the Disney parks.
- Pearson Park
Pearson Park is another of Los Angeles’ top parks and is most well-known for its amphitheater. It’s a calm area and makes for a great spot to do some relaxing or exercise. There is also a purple basketball court dedicated to the memory of Koby and Gianna Bryant.
Deals and Discounts for Tickets in Anaheim
MySittiVacations has special discounts and deals for these and other major attractions in Anaheim. From tickets to entrance fees, as well as tours and other entertainment packages that can help make your trip even better while saving you some money. Check deals on attractions and things to do in Anaheim here.
Beaches in California
While Anaheim doesn’t have any of its own beaches, you’re a short ride away from the coast which makes for an awesome way to add some flavor and sun to your trip. If you’re interested in checking out the beach while in California make sure to check out our travel guides about Los Angeles and San Diego.
Anaheim is about an hour south of Los Angeles and two hours north of San Diego.
8 Best Restaurants in Anaheim, California
California is well known for its Latin and American foods and is a great place to try out small local menus or high-quality chef dishes. California has 90 different establishments with Michelin Stars, 27 of which are in L.A. and one of which is in Anaheim.
- Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar – American – Dine-in, Takeout, delivery – $$
- Roy’s Restaurant – Hawaiian – Dine-in, Takeout, delivery – $$$
- THE RANCH Restaurant (Michelin Star) – American – Dine-in, curbside, delivery – $$$
- Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. – Seafood – Dine-in, curbside, delivery – $$
- Anaheim White House – Italian – Dine-in, curbside, delivery – $$$
- Puesto Anaheim – Mexican – Dine-in, takeout, delivery – $$
- Craft by Smoke and Fire – American – Dine-in, takeout, delivery – $$
- Marri’s Pizza & Pasta – Italian – Dine-in, curbside, delivery – $$
This list only contains restaurants within Anaheim city limits, but there are plenty of other places to eat nearby. Make sure to check out MySittiVacations Restaurant Finder for other recommendations and deals.
14 Best Shopping Centers and Local Shops in Anaheim
If you’re looking to do a little shopping in Anaheim or want a great way to spend some time with friends, Anaheim has you covered. With several up-class malls and commercial districts you’ll see lots of specialty shops and boutiques. Anaheim is big on local-made high-quality fashion, jewelry, art, and novelty items. We’ve listed the best places to check out below. If you’re looking for Disney souvenirs, the best place to find them is in the parks.
7 Best Shopping Malls and Places to Shop in Anaheim
- Anaheim GardenWalk
- Anaheim Plaza
- Canyon Plaza
- Anaheim Town Square
- Crossroads Shopping Center
- Anaheim Hills Festival
- Ball and Euclid Plaza
- Disneyland and California Adventure Park Shops
Is Anaheim Safe to Visit?
Risk of visiting Anaheim, California is medium. California itself ranks right in the middle for safety (compared to other states), with most crime occurring in specific neighborhoods. These neighborhoods are not frequently visited by tourists. Anaheim’s risk of violent crime is 15% lower than the national average, but 12% higher when it comes to property damage. Overall risk of being a victim is 1 in 34. For visitors, that means watch your stuff and don’t keep valuables in your car. Choose reputable places to stay and follow general safety precautions. Risk of pickpockets (even in Disney parks) is high. If you stay alert, avoid problem areas, and plan your trip before you leave, you shouldn’t experience any problems.
Safety Tips for Visiting Anaheim
On top of the two tips, we’ve already mentioned above, there are a couple other safety tips you should follow for a safe trip to Anaheim.
- Drink water. Dehydration is just as dangerous as crime.
- Always lock doors to hotels and cars.
- Stay alert and know where you are and where you’re going.
- Try not to walk around at night. If you do, make sure you’re with a group.
- Stick to well-known tourist attractions and areas.
- Keep your eye on your children.
- Watch your drinks and don’t drink too much.
- Always keep belongings on you.
- Know how to use and carry pepper-spray.
Best Ways to Get Around Anaheim, California
When visiting Anaheim, the best mode of transportation in the downtown area is by foot. The Los Angeles area (including Anaheim) has the best public transportation system in the country, with numerous buses, shuttles, light-rails, and subways. If you plan on staying within the Anaheim/L.A. area, you may not need a car at all. (This is what makes L.A. such a great destination for solo travelers and couples). Shuttles services even take you straight to the Disney Parks.
If you want to visit other parts of California, then you should consider renting a car. Public transportation works well if you stay in-city but has far fewer options getting you to other areas. You can check out reliable and cheap car rental companies in Anaheim through the MySittiVacations Cheap Car Rental Deal Finder.
Taxis as well as rideshare services like Lyft and Uber are all popular and reliable in Anaheim but cost significantly more per trip.
Things to Pack for Anaheim
Anaheim has a standard packing list, with an emphasis on clothing that is breathable and heat/sun/photo friendly.
- Good walking shoes.
- A comfortable way to carry phones, wallets, and keys. (Fanny-packs are the safest and prevent most theft)
- Strollers for children.
- A camera.
- Headache medication.
- Bathing suits.
- Clothes for a nice dinner or date.
Things To Pack for Disneyland and California Adventure
Along with everything else, there are a few special items you should bring if you plan on visiting either (or both) of the Disney parks in Anaheim.
- An Autograph Book.
- Pennies and quarters for pressed penny machines.
- Battery packs for phones.
- Loads of snacks (Have to be premade).
- Extra cash.
- Trading Pins
- Sunscreen, sunglasses, and hats. (Check for SPF in makeup and Lip Balms).
- Water Bottles
- Disney Gear (shirts are more expensive inside the park).
- Appropriate Clothing (there is a dress code)
- Disposable ponchos for water rides
- Hair ties
Is Anaheim Family Friendly?
When it comes to families, Anaheim ranks high. While the city itself isn’t the safest, the Disney resorts are some of the most visited attractions on the west side of the U.S. Hotels are priced and designed with families in mind. Likewise, the Disney area has plenty to do and see–almost all of which is kid-friendly.
Is Anaheim Good for Solo Travelers?
Anaheim is a great destination for solo travelers. Nightlife is active and has something to offer visitors of all ages and tastes. It’s a wonderful city to visit alone because you can take attractions at your own pace, especially when it comes to Disney. Finding other solo travelers is super easy. If traveling solo, you might consider pairing a trip to Anaheim with a trip to San Diego. San Diego has the best beaches in California, as well as other attractions geared to older audiences. (You can check out more about San Diego here)
Is Anaheim Good for Couples?
Yes! Nothing makes for a perfect date like Disneyland. If you’re looking for a honeymoon, there are also tons of extra options and deals available to make your trip unique and fun. Hotels have plenty of amenities to make Anaheim perfect as both a destination and a pass-through spot for couples.
Is Anaheim Good to Visit with Friends?
Yes! Taking a trip to Anaheim with a friend or group of friends is an awesome idea. There are tons of bed and breakfast options in Anaheim which are perfect for getting lots of space without spending as much as you would in hotels. Anaheim has tons of nightlife and other adult-oriented attractions perfect for checking out with friends.
Other Cities to Visit
Anaheim is a wonderful destination, but perhaps it doesn’t have everything you’re looking for. That’s okay. MySittiVacations has plenty of other blogs and resources to help you make your dream vacations into reality. If you want a little more music than Anaheim has to offer, we recommend Austin (known as the Live Music Capital of the World). If you want more of a resort feel, check out Las Vegas. For southern culture and local shopping see New Orleans. If you want a great party/nightlife atmosphere, check out Miami. If you’re looking for a safer city with more attractions, while not losing out on the Disney experience, see Orlando.