Once a small German farm community that was home to the first commercially grown oranges in Orange County, Anaheim was transformed in the 1950s by the visions of Walter Elias Disney. Since Disneyland opened in July of 1955, Anaheim has continued to blossom with more than just orange trees, and there are dozens of activities to enjoy with the family beyond Disneyland. With theme parks, sports, hiking, museums, art, and culture—Anaheim has it all! If all you're seeing is Mickey, you're really missing out. Let us help you find all the fabulous things to do in Anaheim, whether you're visiting from Los Angeles or you flew in for vacation.
Be sure to check out our Guide to Orange County for all our local recommendations from the Best Anaheim Restaurants for Families to the Best Anaheim Hotels near Disneyland and even where to find this hidden gem that's the Best Beachside Water Park in Orange County—and so many more things to do in Anaheim with kids.
The Avengers Campus is the newest attraction at Disney's California Adventure. Photo courtesy of the park
Things To Do in Anaheim: Amusement Parks
Believe it or not, Disneyland is not the only amusement park in Anaheim, CA.
"The happiest place on earth" is the only theme park designed and built to completion under the direct supervision of Walt Disney. Whether this is your first visit or your 20th, you'll benefit from reading our top hacks for having fun at Disneyland or our tips for visiting Disneyland with a baby.
Opened in 2001 on the site of Disneyland's old parking lot, California Adventure is the park for all things Pixar and Avengers. Plan ahead for your trip, reservations are now required to enjoy your day in either Disneyland Resort park.
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This is the best theme park, for our money, for toddlers. Photo courtesy of Adventure City
The self-proclaimed “Little theme park that’s big on family fun” certainly has a smaller price tag for thrills, as a family of four can enjoy an entire day here for the same price of one ticket to the big park next door. The park boasts 17 rides plus shows and games and is one of the best local places to bring toddlers and preschoolers.
This indoor park is designed to fit all parties and offers open play for all ages. The three-story arena has enormous slides and 13 foam ball shooting air guns.
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Sleeping Beauty doesn't have the only castle in Anaheim. Photo courtesy of Camelot Golfland
Nestled beneath Anaheim's other castle is the county's largest miniature golf facility. Plus, the park has race cars, bumper boats, outdoor laser tag, and more.
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Everyone loves the Ducks! Photo courtesy of Visit Anaheim, Facebook
Things To Do in Anaheim: Sports and Recreation
Take the family to an NHL hockey game, and see the 2007 Stanley Cup-winning Anaheim Ducks in person. (Then go home and watch the movie!)
Take the family out to the ballgame and witness history almost every game as the Angels boast MVP players like Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout.
Opening in April of 1966, Angels Stadium of Anaheim is the fourth oldest MLB stadium. Tours are offered June through September only.
If you find your family inspired to take the ice themselves, Anaheim Ice offers public skate times and even skating lessons.
Featuring bouldering and roping walls, Rock City Climbing caters to all climbing skill levels.
Work together with your family to solve a series of puzzles to escape the room in 60 minutes or less. It's perfect for birthday parties, or just something fun to do one evening.
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Go for big air at Sky Zone. Photo courtesy of Sky Zone Anaheim
This trampoline park offers something for everyone from the "little leapers" to those wanting to participate in aerial arcade-style basketball.
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Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines! Photo courtesy of K1 Speed
Feel the need for speed? Look no further than indoor go karting at K1 Speed, where they offer adult and junior (ages 5 and up; 48" or taller) electric karts. The facility also offers delicious food and drinks at the Paddock Lounge.
Feel what it’s like to take the controls of a commercial airliner in a Boeing 737 flight simulator. No experience is required, but this is best enjoyed by pilots 11 years and up. Flight Deck is consistently voted as one of the top things to do in Anaheim and Orange County.
Get away from it all hiking this 58-acre natural park featuring four miles of hiking trails through one of the region’s few remaining areas of oak woodland and coastal sage scrub. Also located on site is the John J. Collier Interpretive Center, a small museum with live animal and regional natural history exhibits.
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Rent a Swan Boat at Yorba Regional Park. Photo courtesy of Wheel Fun Rentals
The mile-long day park features 400 picnic tables and is situated next to the Santa Ana River. Your family can also take a break from all the other excitement in the city and head back to nature, enjoying bike trails, playgrounds, and paddleboat rentals.
Here kids can skateboard in the skate park or romp around the ever-popular Moon Park. The playground equipment is other-worldly.
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A scene from Fancy Nancy The Musical at the Chance Theater. Photo courtesy of Chance Theater
Things To Do in Anaheim: Arts and Culture
Take in a post-amusement park family show. The theater offers a special family series of theater for young artists.
Musical Theatre OC produces family-oriented musical theater with superior production values.
Since 1933, Pearson Park Amphitheatre has been putting on outdoor summer theater. The theater features beautiful Spanish-style architecture where you can enjoy a show on a warm summer evening.
Inspire your little artist as Muzeo presents a broad array of art, artists, and artifacts that tell important stories and celebrate the diversity of human expression.
Every Thursday from 11am - 3pm, this outdoor market features the best in local agriculture, dining, and crafters.
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Anaheim GardenWalk is food and entertainment all rolled into one. Photo courtesy of AllEars.net
Anaheim GardenWalk is an eatertainment destination that blends dining, family-friendly fun, outdoor art, and unique shops in a single amazing location. Everyone in the family will be able to find something to love here.
The Honda Center offers more than just the Anaheim Ducks. There are shows and concerts here year-round. Check out the events page to see if there is something coming up that is just right for your family.
Consistently ranked as a "Top 10 Stop" in North America, the City National Grove of Anaheim is a premier entertainment venue for artists and fans alike. The Nederlander Organization, which also operates the Pantages and Dolby theaters in Los Angeles, runs this concert venue that often features events perfect for the whole family.
Originally published February 17, 2014