One of my favorite pastimes is enjoying live music so I am so excited about the bigger and better House of Blues Anaheim at The Gardenwalk. The new location and larger footprint allow for some exciting new acts to be booked there.
Has to be the Packing House (Food Hall). I am a big fan of having a little bit of this-and-that. I can have endless flavor combinations there because every food stall offers so many yummy options.
Very difficult to narrow it down to just one. For a hole-in-the-wall everyday experience, I love Johnnie’s Saloon in Huntington Beach. Their delicious pizza is made from unique ingredients from the owner’s home country, Croatia. Their whiskey and beer selections are impressive and despite the slightly rough punk rock exterior, the servers and patrons are exceptionally friendly. For a special night out, it is a toss-up between Park Avenue in Stanton, Playground in Santa Ana or any restaurant in the SoCo/OC Mix development in Costa Mesa.
I don’t have kids but when I’m feeling like a kid at heart, I love to hit Farrel’s Ice Cream Parlor. It was my favorite spot as a kid and there is just something about their clown sundae that brings a smile to my face.
Four times a year, local artists, crafters, and DIY enthusiasts converge on Center St. in downtown Anaheim for an Art Crawl Experience. I love to stroll through all of the inspiring creations and end with some tasty tacos at Pour Vida.
Anaheim Brewery Tasting Room & Beer Garden. Overlooking Farmers Park adjacent to the Packing House, it is such a pleasant place to enjoy some shade, a cold brew and some people watching.
Crystal Cove State Park. Challenging climbs with beautiful ocean vistas and breezes that greet you at the peak.
No Rest for Bridget (Huntington Beach & Newport Beach locations) or any boutique on Main Street in Seal Beach.
Although it’s not really new, I love Trader Sam’s Tiki Bar at the Disneyland Hotel. The atmosphere is unique and intimate, and I feel somehow connected to the other customers. Plus I love the delicious custom drinks that only Disney would think up and the tropical feel of the inside and wide-open tiki hut patio party feel on the outdoor patio.
THE RANCH Restaurant & Saloon. Exceptional cuisine, service and wine list make it hard to beat. The Saloon is upscale and fantastic for people watching or jumping into learn a line dance.
Splashes Restaurant at the Surf and Sand Resort in Laguna Beach. Casual yet cool & trendy vibe. Great appetizers and the most amazing beachside location in a fab city.
I would start with brunch at The Original Pancake House and then head over to Angels Stadium for a tour of the fourth-oldest Major League Baseball stadium. I would enjoy a mid-day snack at The Donut Hole in La Puente And grab lunch and beer if it was October for Octoberfest at The Phoenix Club. Then I’m off for an afternoon of 9 holes at Anaheim Hills golf course and I would end at THE RANCH for dinner and a nightcap cocktail in the Saloon.
- 1. Spend one night in one of these: Crystal Cove Beach Cottages. Be sure to eat at Shake Shack. A must.
- 2. Visit Balboa Island, especially if you’re an Arrested Development fan and eat a frozen banana from Dad’s.
- 3. The Rooftop Lounge at La Casa del Camino hotel in Laguna Beach. One of the best views along the OC coastline, killer cocktails, and OC famous B celebs have been known to stop in for a drink or more at this limited capacity hot spot.
Mama Cozza’s in Anaheim, from start to finish. Nothing says love like family made Italian food.
Peter’s Canyon or as I call it Peter, Paul and Mary trail.
Downtown Tustin boutiques on El Camino Real Street
The Fifth - a fun rooftop bar at Grand Legacy at the Park hotel with great drinks, comfy seating, and the wonderful view of Disneyland’s fireworks.
The Catch - a family-owned local restaurant where you are treated like family every time. Also, we enjoyed our wedding dinner there so it has sentimental memories for me.
The Beachcomber Café at Crystal Cove - great food and drinks located right on the sand, plus you can enjoy a pre- or post-meal walk along the beach and check out the tide pools.
I would enjoy breakfast at The Original Pancake House, do some shopping along Center Street Promenade, enjoy some ice skating at The Rinks or watch one of the Junior Ducks league games. I would also visit Muzeo, have lunch at the Anaheim Packing House, enjoy some miniature golf & arcade games at Camelot, catch a game at Angel Stadium.
We love to go to Irvine Regional Park and ride the train, feed the ducks, bring a picnic lunch, rent the canopy bikes, and visit the zoo.
Dinner at Prime Cut and a movie at Century Promenade 25.
I love the year-round farmers market on Center Street –they great assortment of seasonal fresh produce, food trucks, a craft fair, and a small-town community feel.
Peters Canyon Regional Park because it has varying levels of difficulty for hikes, plus native greenery and wildlife.
Old Town Orange – I love the antiques, unique merchandise, and lots of cuisine choices.
Hmmmm…for me it’s a toss-up between The 5th Rooftop Lounge and BXCR Underground Wine Society, a cute little caboose located in the lower level of the Packing House. The BXCR has great wine and their flatbreads and appetizers are fabulous. The 5th rooftop Lounge is a nice place to relax with a cocktail, small bites and a nice view of the city. Come a little later and enjoy the view of the Disneyland fireworks.
The Catch Restaurant, whether it’s a quick stop at the bar for a small bite and drinks, mid-week lunch or a nice dinner. The service is always impeccable and the food is amazing. I love the calamari and my husband loves their oysters. My son says it’s the best steak he’s ever had.
I love Orange Hill Restaurant. Uniquely situated on the hills of Orange County, Orange Hill offers sweeping views and is the perfect romantic spot to watch the sunset.
My husband likes to grab the coldest beer in the OC at the OC Brewhouse located in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency OC. As a family, we like to go to the Packing House where we can all enjoy whatever we want and then find a cozy spot to hang out and share our yummies.
Drinks at Morton’s with bartender Jeff, he makes the best blue cheese stuffed olive martini. Then over to The Catch for dinner, followed by some great live music and dancing at THE RANCH Restaurant and Saloon.
Tribune…this speak-easy is a hidden gem in nearby Downtown Fullerton. Cozy, contemporary and comfortable with a great selection of drinks and small plates.
Hike through Downtown Disney over to Tortilla Jo’s and grab a margarita and some delicious chips and tableside guacamole. Sorry, no hiking for this lady.
EATING-Shopping-EATING-Shopping-EATING…I would start with some breakfast in Downtown Disney at the UVA Bar followed by some shopping at some of the many unique shops. Then I would head over to the Outlets of Orange to enjoy lunch at Café Tu Tu Tango – they offer a unique menu that captures exotic flavors from around the world, including small appetizer-sized portions that were meant to be shared. YUM! Next, it’s time to walk off some of those calories and shop for some of those amazing deals and steals at my favorite outlet stores. Once I’ve shopped til I’m ready to drop, let’s kick our feet up with a snack and a spin at the Lucky Strike bowling alley, also at the Outlets of Orange.
Come early, stay up longer, and wear stretchy pants.
When I’m looking for the big mall experience, you can’t beat South Coast Plaza with over 250 boutiques and 30 restaurants. The Garden Walk has some fun shops and I recently discovered GS Love, a trendy, affordable fashion clothing store.
Anaheim has it’s fair share of breweries but I was excited to hear a new wine tasting room was opening up. Pali Wine Co., right across the street from the Anaheim Packing House. I am a huge fan of red wine, so when I first went I ordered a tasting flight featuring 5 red wines. I loved their Pinot Noir. The flight is only $15 or free if you end up purchasing 2 bottles of wine. Another plus, they offer wine by the growler…uh, yes please.
Easy! My go-to place in Anaheim is Karl Strauss Brewery - it just never disappoints. I love the building, plus it’s a fun atmosphere with great service! Their menu items are delicious (shout out to their mac & cheese dishes) and an ever-changing beer selection to try. The staff is very helpful and always suggests beer samples to pair with whatever menu items you have ordered.
For a group of friends…North Italia in Irvine. The homemade pasta and pizza dough are incredible, not to mention the craft cocktails. Whether you sit inside with window views into the kitchen or enjoy the comfy patio seating, you will not be disappointed. For a more intimate dinner… ARC Food & Libations in Costa Mesa. I recommend sitting at the bar for the view of the open fire where almost every menu item is prepared. It also gives you an opportunity to engage with the very knowledgeable bartenders who are creating your unique “libation”. And be sure to order the cast iron cornbread for dessert!
Though I’m a local to Orange County, my first few visits to Anaheim were in support of the Angels. My usual Saturday game day would be to stop by Noble Ale Works (across the street from the stadium) about an hour or two before the game and grab a beer. Maybe partake in whatever yummy food truck offerings they have scheduled or hold out for some nachos or garlic fries at the stadium. I would finish the night off with an Angel’s victory and fireworks right after the game.
- 1. Do your research on OC Happy Hours. You can find some amazing deals at local bars/restaurants at half the regular prices. Plus, Orange County is all about it’s Taco Tuesdays, so be sure to dine Mexican on Tuesdays.
- 2. Don’t forget South Orange County. North OC offers so many amazing attractions and restaurants, but South OC has equally as many gems of it’s own. If you have the time, take a leisurely drive down Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). You will pass through beautiful, historic towns such as San Juan Capistrano and San Clemente. Stop and tour the Missions or just enjoy a sunset stroll along the beach in Laguna.
- 3. Sunscreen. Even on the rare occasion that the sun isn’t shining, SPF is still a must.
Likely a visit to the Packing House. To me, it provides everything a good date needs – a delicious variety of food options, choice of inside or outdoor bar, and Hans Homemade Ice Cream for dessert (1 scoop Cookie Butter or bust).
Back Bay in Newport Beach. I wouldn’t say this is a hike necessarily, more of a long, leisurely stroll. It is also known as one of the finest bird watching sites in North America. So if you are looking to be somewhat active, outdoors surrounded by wildlife and a nature preserve, check out Back Bay. It’s open every day from 7am to sunset.
I’m a fan of Fashion Island in Newport Beach or Pacific City in Huntington Beach. Both are open-air malls with a ton of incredible retailers, specialty boutiques and restaurants. Pacific City is right on the ocean too, so there’s better backdrop for some quality window shopping.
Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar. Its located by the pool at the Disneyland hotel and a lot of people don’t even know it exists. It’s a quirky, fun little place with tiki themed décor and tropical drinks (they have a full bar too, so no worries if a “Lava Flow” isn’t your thing). Some drink orders even activate a volcanic experience…you’ll see.