15 Things You’re Going to Love About Living in Anaheim (That Aren’t Disneyland)

Last Updated on March 9, 2023

By Gretchen Pille, Storage.com

There’s a lot to love about the city of Anaheim. Yes, Disneyland is certainly one of those things, but spend some time outside the castle walls and you’ll see that there’s much more to Anaheim than Mickey Mouse and Frozen. Here are some reasons to love living in this historic city.


Anaheim Convention Center
Photo by Gage Skidmore

The job market of Anaheim and its surrounding area has grown slowly but steadily since the recession, growing faster than other Orange County cities. For seven years, Anaheim has hosted the Anaheim/OC job fair in the Anaheim Convention Center, bringing in over 200 employers each year offering 3,500 jobs.


Chapman University
Photo by Tracie Hall

Looking to further your education? Anaheim and the surrounding area house some of the country’s top private and public colleges. Chapman University, located in neighboring Orange County, is ranked the 7th best Western Region school by U.S. News & World Report. Chapman has both distinguished undergraduate and graduate programs. Also near Anaheim are Cal State Fullerton and UC Irvine. Both schools have rigorous academic programs as well as baseball teams who make consistent College World Series appearances.


Folding of American Flag
Photo by Beverly

Anaheim businesses are proud to support those who serve, and as a result many Orange County businesses have come together to create great discount packages for military families.


grilled cheese
Photo by L.A. Foodie

For many, the Packing District is the go-to for Anaheim entertainment. Many cities have refurbished historic downtown areas, but what makes Packing District special are the one-of-a-kind businesses that make it up, and the cultural events they organize for the community, like the quarterly Night Market. Among the most popular businesses is Black Sheep, a grilled cheese bar. And if you don’t know what an affogato is, get yourself to Dark 180 and let this dessert change your life.


Photo by Rodrigo Denúbila

The Orange County Symphony didn’t decide to call Anaheim home for no reason. Fine art thrives in this city. Artists have been enriching the city’s culture since the Anaheim Arts Council was established in the ’70s. One of the best ways to immerse yourself in the Anaheim arts scene is to attend an Art Crawl Experience (ACE). Artists from all over Orange County set up shop four times a year on the blocked-off streets of the Downtown Arts District to showcase the artwork of local artists. Artisans and performers line the streets, and local businesses become temporary pop-up galleries. Another point of artistic and cultural pride is the world-famous Anaheim Ballet.


Presidential library
Photo by Tim Evanson

Anaheimers are an educated bunch. The city puts a strong emphasis on learning, which is reflected by the unique educational experiences available to all ages in and out of the classroom. Because Anaheim has such a rich history, the area is full of historical landmarks. Among the top museums in the area is Muzeo Museum and Cultural Center, a museum and cultural center that brings in three different traveling exhibits throughout the year, in addition to the countless educational and outreach events they organize for museum-goers. A short trip down the interstate takes you out of Anaheim, but gets you to the famous Nixon Presidential Library, where you can see President Nixon’s helicopter and birthplace.


Photo by Ron Reiring

Gas in California is expensive. Fortunately, Anaheim’s public transportation system is smoother than most. A handy and affordable bus system is available to Anaheim citizens, and traveling southern California by train has never been easier thanks to the Metrolink and Amtrak trains. Both have stops in a new state-of-the-art station called ARTIC, which a hub for all different modes of travel throughout southern California, centrally located in Anaheim.


Photo by L.A. Foodie

Anaheim knows good beer. There are microbreweries in every corner of the city, so a nice craft beer is never far from reach. If you’re near the Packing District, head to the Anaheim Brewery for board games and classic brews with friends. Opened in 1870, shut down during the prohibition, and reopened in 2010, Anaheim Brewery pays homage to the city’s German heritage with their authentic beer garden, tasting room, and fresh local beer. Bottle Logic is another Anaheim micro-brewed gem. Adventurous locals love this place for their inventive brews.


Photo by David Lofink

To get away from the city, citizens of Orange County’s most populous city can escape to some of the finest parks in the country. A popular destination for anyone looking to spend time outdoors is Yorba Regional Park. This park is 140 acres of trails, forest, playgrounds, lakes and streams. If you prefer not to leave the downtown area, Pearson Park has everything you could ever want in park, right in heart of the city. It has tennis and sand volleyball courts, a baseball field, a pool, a trail, a lake, and an amphitheater that seats 2,000 people.


Photo by Anna Fox

Halloween is an iconic Anaheim tradition. Since the ’20s, the citizens of Anaheim have found their annual Fall Festival and its accompanying Halloween Parade to be a source of pride and civic involvement. Last year marked the 90th festival. Businesses throughout the city sponsor and participate in the quirky event.


Mad Hatter
Photo by Anna Fox

Yes, yes, the title of the post says reasons to love Anaheim that aren’t Disney, but Downtown Disney is a district that requires no ticket, and its’ entertainment value to locals and tourists alike cannot be denied. At night, Downtown Disney comes alive in a whirl of live concerts, entertainment, fireworks, and parties. A madly popular party can be found just inside the park: Mad T Party, an Alice in Wonderland themed dance party that features dance, electronic, and house concerts throughout the area. And if you’re still not convinced that Downtown Disney is cool, you should know that it is home to the world-famous House of Blues. Check it out on a Sunday to catch their Sunday Gospel Brunch buffet.


Honda Center
Photo by Jondoeforty1

There is no shortage of live music in Anaheim. The city has venues of all sizes and varieties to satisfy any musical itch you may have. Anaheim has everything from huge venues like the Honda Center that seat over 18,000 to saloons like The Ranch where you can learn about any country dance you can imagine after eating a pound of lobster. Many locals like to attend concerts and family-friendly entertainment at Pearson Park Amphitheater as well as the bigger traveling shows that come to City National Grove.


Angels Stadium
Photo by Ray Smith

Win or lose, the stands at Angel Stadium of Anaheim, home of the MLB baseball team the Angels, and the Honda Center, home of NHL hockey team the Ducks, are full of rowdy locals cheering on their favorite teams. Fortunately for Anaheim, there has been a lot more winning than losing lately, which makes for exciting nightlife after the game.


Photo by Jeffreyw

To acclimate yourself with Anaheim, consider embarking on a foodie adventure. You won’t be disappointed. For over fifty years, Cortina’s has been a family-owned Orange County staple. You can gorge on pizza and Italian sandwiches on one side of the restaurant, then check out the bakery and market on the other side. Another time-tested Anaheim restaurant is La Palma Chicken Pies. California comfort food has never been so delicious and cheap. But if comfort food isn’t your thing, give Healthy Junk a try. It’s a burger, salad and, tex-mex joint that just happens to be a vegan and vegetarian establishment. With a weekly rotating menu, Healthy Junk is a fresh and adventurous option that vegetarians and carnivores alike can agree on.


Photo by David Pacey

Coffee and tea are not hard to find in this city. Some shops are big and some are small. Some also consider themselves saloons. Ink and Bean Coffee Saloon & Workshop not only brews a mean cup of coffee, but also provides a haven for writers, thinkers and drinkers (of coffee). Live music, writers workshops, and book signings are only a few of the caffeine-fueled events that the Saloon puts on. Anaheimers understand that there’s more to coffee shops than just coffee.

Is there anything we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below.

All images have either been provided by a listed organization or are licensed under the Creative Commons.