Given the immense (and deserved) popularity of Disneyland Resort and Anaheim’s two big professional sports teams—the National Hockey League’s Ducks and Major League Baseball’s Los Angeles Angels—it’s easy to lose sight of the many hidden gems found here.
Whether you’re a local or a repeat visitor, do yourself a favor and seek out some of Anaheim’s numerous hidden gems during your next jaunt around town. Ale aficionados already know this Orange County city is a hoppy hotspot—but have you taken the time to try the local stouts, lagers, and IPAs? Beyond the beer scene, you’ll find a dizzying array of ethnic cuisines, new hotels to consider, and even a few attractions that will send you soaring into the sky. Here are 10 spots to put on your Anaheim itinerary.
La Palma Beer Trail Craft Brewery Tour
Anaheim’s beer scene is, in a word, superb. Take this three-hour tour to explore several local favorites, including the experiment-minded The Bruery and the eclectic offerings at Bottle Logic Brewing. You’ll sample some of the best small-batch beers made locally—which will give you the lay of the land and perhaps inspire repeat visits or further exploration. Pro tip: Ballast Point Brewing’s cabana-style seating is a must.
Little Arabia District
This is the spot for all sorts of Arabic delicacies. Head to Koftegi Turkish for its pide, a boat-shaped flatbread with well-seasoned ground meat and vegetable fillings baked in a brick oven. Or go to Knafeh Café for its namesake dish, a layered dessert featuring semolina and pistachio soaked in a sugary syrup. If you’re craving Syrian food, Aleppo’s Kitchen is your best bet. After you’ve dined, be sure to hit the boutiques in Little Arabia, which include clothing stores and bookstores specializing in Arab publications.
Muzeo Museum and Cultural Center
Celebrate Anaheim’s diverse history and culture at this vibrant facility that includes a 25,000-square-foot complex as well as the historic Carnegie Library, built in 1908 thanks to a grant funded by Andrew Carnegie. The exhibitions are incredibly varied, ranging from obscure Disney memorabilia to artifacts from the Tongva and Acjachemen people who lived in the area thousands of years ago. While interactive elements and video screens enhance the revolving exhibits in the main gallery, the huge letter blocks of wood, rocks, succulents, and metal that spell “Muzeo” out front provide an Insta-worthy moment.
Strong Water Anaheim
The boozy menu offered at this playful and visually stunning “nautical tropical bar” delivers plenty of tiki treasures. Try the Taro Colada, made with two kids of rum, coconut, pineapple, and taro cream, or the Leviathan, which features corn whisky, falernum (a Caribbean bitter), and ancho reyes, a chile-based liqueur. The potent potables are the stars of the show here, but you can nosh on dishes like Spam mac & cheese, kimchi fondue, and Thai wings. To order custom gin drinks, head to the Captain’s Quarters, a 16-seat gin bar hidden in the back of the building. Noteworthy: The restroom decorations are outstanding and worth a look.
Requiem: Coffee, Tea, and Fantasy
Sports fans can find a sports bar on just about any street corner—so where can comic book fans and gaming nerds go? Requiem provides a true escape for this crowd, complete with console gaming, customizable lighting, and four seating areas inspired by locations commonly found in video games. Think fairy forest and steampunk coffee bar while you imbibe themed potions and play Dungeons & Dragons.
JW Marriott Anaheim Resort
The first JW Marriott in Orange County features not only the highest rooftop bar and lounge in the area—hello, nightly Disney fireworks!—but also an augmented reality experience called the Secret Butterfly Garden. Using an app, you’ll be asked to find three disguised art installations in this immersive outdoor zone. If you succeed, you’ll get to interact with an assortment of digital butterflies.
Mid-air magic abounds at this outdoor trapeze facility where professional acrobats train you in circus-style aerial thrills. Satisfy your inner adventure junkie in two-hour sessions of swinging from a bar 24 feet in the air. You can also develop aerial hoop and hammock skills, learn how to juggle, or try to take a spin on a unicycle. Acrophobics can enjoy from a distance via student workshop performances.
Flightdeck Flight Simulation Center
Take your friends to the Flightdeck to experience the thrill of competing in air-to-air combat while flying at 600 knots. The action happens in simulators, not actual airplanes, but the sensation is astoundingly real. You’ll dress up in a genuine military-issue flight suit, attend ground school, then hop into one of Flightdeck’s eight F-16 fighter jet simulators and show off your best Top Gun maneuvers.
Don Churros Food Truck
Indulge yourself at this food truck located in the Anaheim Marketplace parking lot. The authentic gourmet churros are made from scratch using a 50-year-old traditional recipe from Jalisco, Mexico. Long lines are par for the course here—and you’ll be glad you waited when your crunchy, sugary treat arrives.
Pali Wine Co
Pali, a Lompoc-based winery specializing in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, operates five tasting rooms around the state, including this one located opposite the Anaheim Packing House. Flights are a deal ($16 for four tastes), happy hours are a steal, and small bites offered are from local fave Porto’s Bakery. The elegant outdoor patio provides a perfect setting for an urban wine tasting.