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Beyond Disney: 4 Other Ways to Fill Your Vacation to Anaheim


Disneyland is one of the most popular attractions in the Anaheim area, but the city offers so much more. Parks, gorgeous beaches, amazing restaurants, and seasonal festivals are just a few highlights of what you can do in Anaheim. Here is a short list to give you some ideas for your next trip.

Anaheim GardenWalk Mall

If you’re in the mood for some shopping therapy, head to Anaheim’s GardenWalk Mall. Listed as an “eatertainment destination,” it’s 460,000 square feet of shops and restaurants. That’s not all, though — GardenWalk is also home to art exhibitions, nightclubs, and places like Bowlmor Lanes and Mission Escape Games, where you and your family can spend some quality time together. If you’re visiting Disneyland, you’ll find GardenWalk conveniently close by; it’s located at 400 West Disney Way.

Balboa Island

No discussion of things to do in Anaheim would be complete without a beach or two. Balboa Island is a community of vacation homes, shops, restaurants, and more. Most accommodations in Balboa Beach are private rental homes; check out Hotel Planner for great rates both there and in Anaheim. While there, you’ll never be bored. While strolling the bayside boardwalk, you’ll find the Balboa Fun Zone and the adjacent Balboa Ferris wheel, which offers amazing views. Davey’s Locker offers whale-watching cruises, along with sport-fishing cruises, ranging from a half-day to overnight. You could also just lounge on the beach and play in the surf.

Flight Deck Air Combat Center

Find out if you’ve got what it takes to fly a fighter jet or pilot a Boeing 737 at Flight Deck Air Combat Center. No experience is required to climb into the cockpit of a flight simulator that’s almost as thrilling as the real thing but a lot safer. Sessions include pre-flight classroom training and in-flight instruction. You’ll put on a flight suit, strap in, and battle your comrades in an F-16 Fighting Falcon. What’s more, you can work your way up levels from Fox 1 to Fox 3, with increasing levels of difficulty. Flights are 40 minutes long, and with the instructional training, it’s a 70- to 90-minute experience for a very reasonable $59 per session. Lift off at 1650 Sinclair Street.

Muzeo Museum and Cultural Center

Museum lovers can get their fix at Muzeo Museum and Cultural Center. Combining history with art in a series of permanent and temporary exhibitions, the museum consists of the Main Gallery and Carnegie Gallery. Past exhibitions have included “Dressing Downton,” a tribute to the costumes of the TV show “Downton Abbey,” a replica collection of items found in King Tut’s tomb, and galleries displaying the art of local and national artists. Admission to the Carnegie Gallery is free, and admission fees to the main gallery vary depending on the exhibition. The museum is located at 241 S. Anaheim Boulevard.

Shopping, beachcombing, whale-watching, and museums are just a few of the many activities available in Anaheim and the general vicinity. Whether you stay for a day or two or for the whole summer, there’s no reason you won’t have a great time.