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5 things to do in Anaheim that isn't Disney


5 things to do in Anaheim that isn't Disney

story by: Anna Sarjeant

Anaheim. It’s all Disneyland and Mickey Mouse visors, right? Wrong. Well okay, mostly it’s Mickey Mouse visors – and Minnie too. But here are five ‚Äčother things to do while you're in Anaheim.

1. Anaheim Ducks Hockey Match
You cannot beat the excitement of an Anaheim Ducks hockey match held at their home ground, the Honda Center. The arena is easily accessible from most of the popular hotel resorts in Anaheim; jump on the Anaheim Resort Transit (ART) shuttle or call an Uber which are used widely across the city. With multiple dining venues in the local vicinity, this is one of the more family-friendly sporting venues in the USA and you won’t find a bad seat in the house.  A truly memorable experience for the entire clan.

2. Anaheim Packing District
The up and coming Anaheim packing district utilises an old and abandoned fruit-packing house, hence the citrus themed décor. Located in the heart of downtown, at the intersection of Anaheim Blvd and Santa Ana Street, go for the food and drink hopping. A lively establishment of 20+ artisan eateries, beer gardens and funky seating all fronting a centrepiece courtyard, the atmosphere is a selling-point in itself. Highlights include outdoor breweries, barbecues and specially made ice blocks from ‘Popbar’, as well as a culinary smorgasbord of Mexican, southern, Vietnamese, pizza and more.

3. Catalina Island Day Trip
Catalina Island is just 32km off the coast of Los Angeles and the perfect excuse to be gluttonous for an entire day. Ferries leave from locations in San Pedro, Long Beach and Dana Point, where you can take a short stroll before departure and pick up hot coffee and burritos for the one-hour sailing. Once on Catalina dawdle along the sleepy shopping street and pick up a few choice pieces of artwork or souvenirs. Cars are few and far between here; roads are only frequented by bikes, golf carts and the odd public bus. Spend the afternoon devouring clam chowder from a bread bowl while perching on the idyllic pier, before a round of crazy golf, or a peruse of the island’s famed Casino Building; the one you can't gamble at, but you can enjoy its beautiful Art Deco design. Then buy a waffle cone ice-cream from Big Olaf’s – there’s always space for a Big Olaf.  

4. Knott’s Berry Farm
If you have multi-age children in your posse, then a trip to Knott’s Berry Farm is well worth your American dollar. Don’t let the name deceive you, this isn’t a small farm offering tractor rides, it’s a premier Californian theme park. Go for the sheer variety of attractions on offer, from fun rides of different intensities, to roller coasters and water rides. For the non-adrenalin seekers, there are stunt shows, comedy acts and even a stagecoach pulled by four grand horses. Don’t leave without trying Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant, located in the California Market Place. The chicken dinners here are legendary – and rightly so, they’re finger-licking levels of delicious.

5. Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament
Cheer on your knight as he jousts to his victory or death. Well not quite, no real blood is spilled, but the event is a heart-thumper nevertheless. A goodie for the entire family, this two-hour extravaganza is held at Buena Park on Beach Blvd and includes horse skills, breath taking swordplay, falconry and showmanship, alongside a medieval-style four course banquet; hands at the ready please, there's no cutlery to be found here. A total of six knights compete in medieval games of skill, sword fights and an authentic jousting tournament, aiming to please both the 1000-strong audience, as well as the resident King and Queen. The energy inside the auditorium is electric, you won’t leave disappointed. Or hungry for that matter!

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