What to do in Anaheim California?

Kathsgrdn

Going to Japan next month, coming back via California. My daughter and I are going to Disneyland for one day. We're going to be there for 3 days, flying out the 4th. Neither one of us wants to spend more than one day at Disney. First day we get to LAX in the morning, but don't have any plans that first day, maybe just wander around downtown Disney area and relax. Second day Disneyland. The third day I have no idea what to do. I don't want to go far from the area. I have never been to La Brea Tar pits. My brother went when we were kids and lived in San Pedro. It looks somewhat interesting to me. Not sure about my daughter, haven't asked her yet. Is there something near the Disney area that would make a nice day trip? Not into the whole Hollywood thing. I thought about renting a car and driving to our old neighborhood in San Pedro but I'm pretty sure it has been demolished and built over. I read an article a couple years ago that they were planning to do that to the old Navy base housing. Anyone have any ideas for us?

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maifleur01

If you like baseball the Anaheim Angels still have their stadium there. When I was in Orange attending college I could see the A from the upper level of my dorm but never went. Probably all gone by now but I remember there being several types of venues in that area. I attended my first theater in the round in that area. If you belong to AAA the auto club not the other one you could ask for their tour book of that area.

I do not remember there being a downtown Anaheim.

Edited to add that you may find that there is a large parking fee where you are staying so it might be less expensive to rent a car only for the days you are planning on driving. Your hotel website should tell you what the fee is.

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Lindsey_CA

The baseball team is now known as The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, but the stadium is still in the same location. Here is their September 2019 schedule. Home games are shown in red. They have home games on August 30, 31, and September 1. September 2 is a travel day, and on the 3rd they'll be in Oakland, CA.

The "theater in the round" was Melodyland. Years ago it was sold and became a church.

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maifleur01

I had heard that it had become a church but was not certain if it was still there. I went to Chapman for a year before my parents did something with the money that was supposed to pay my fees.

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sealavender

The Tar Pits are up in Los Angeles' Miracle Mile area, near The Grove and the Farmer's Market. You could make a day of that, if you do not mind urban driving. You could also drive down to Laguna Beach for the day. If you have not had enough theme park action, you could go to Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park. There is a Porto's Bakery and restaurant in Buena Park. You could go shopping at South Coast Plaza...

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socks

Just went to Porto's in Buena Park, Sealavender. It certainly isn't a regular bakery, is it? Have also been to the one in Burbank/Glendale.


The beach is a good idea. Weekend days in Laguna will probably be very crowded, so go early if it's a weekend. There are other nice beaches. Some people like to go to Venice, but it may not be everyone's taste.

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DawnInCal

Depending on the traffic, it is a 30 - 60 minute drive from Anaheim to the Long Beach Port of Call. Once there, you can stroll along the water front, browse the shops, enjoy the restaurants and check out the nearby maritime museum. It's also fun sit outside at one of the outdoor patios and watch the huge container ships coming into and leaving the port. There are usually one or two big ships being off loaded which is also interesting to watch.


The port has a large fish market where a person can order bbq'd fish or shrimp that were caught just a few hours earlier. They are usually served with grilled potatoes, onions, bell peppers and roasted corn. Once the food is in hand, grab a picnic table, enjoy the simple but delicious food and people watch. It is crowded on the weekend when families descend on the area, a weekday is a much better time to visit if you don't like crowds.


ETA that the Queen Mary is on the other side of the harbor and tours of the ship are available. I'm not sure if people can go onboard and explore on their own or not, but it wouldn't be hard to find out if something like that is of interest to you.


ETA a second time to note that I had not seen Fun2BHere's post about the Queen Mary when I put in my first edit.

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sushipup1

The California Adventure is fabulous. I'd either do that one day, a D'land the other, or if you've done Disney a lot, substitute CA instead.

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Fun2BHere

The beaches won't be very crowded after Labor Day, especially on a week day. I don't know what kind of activities you enjoy, but you could go on a whale watching tour out of Long Beach/San Pedro or Dana Point. You might not see whales, but you'll probably see dolphins.

There's also the Queen Mary, docked in Long Beach, which offers several tours if you enjoy history.

At the Muzeo in Anaheim, there an exhibit about the Japanese incarceration during WWII that might be of interest to you.

In nearby Yorba Linda, you have the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and a drive away, you have the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley.

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sheilajoyce_gw

The new Long Beach Aquarium

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Kathsgrdn

Thanks for all the suggestions. Sushipup, not wanting to do California Adventure. Only real reason for the side trip to Disney is because my daughter wanted to go to the new Star Wars area. I know there's not much there right now but we're still going. I'd like to see the Tiki room again and some other older rides that weren't as good in Disneyworld. I just hope they haven't changed them too much. It's been a long time since I was last at Disneyland. The kids were very small. I did look at whale watching. Long Beach might be an option, the Queen Mary. When I was in first grade in San Pedro I made a wooden replica of it. ( : I thought about Knott's Berry Farm but not sure I want to do another theme park. I will look at all the suggestions this week, though. Maybe just going to the beach and eating at a nice restaurant will be nice, after all that walking in Japan and Disney.

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Zalco/bring back Sophie!

La Brea Tar Pits, and then lunch at The Grove could be nice.

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Fun2BHere

If you do decide to head down to Laguna Beach, I can recommend Las Brisas as a lovely venue where you can watch the sun set and have dinner.

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Elmer J Fudd

If you like fine art, the LA County Art Museum is half a block away from the Tar Pits. Or, you could go to the Getty, off the 405 Freeway just north of Sunset Blvd. Figure either to be 40 minutes or a bit more to the North from the airport outside of rush hour. These are both a good hour from the Anaheim area if that's where you're staying, or longer if you try to do it during peak traffic time.

The greater LA and Orange County area (including Los Angeles, Anaheim, down to Laguna Beach) is a big place with a lot of people and a lot of traffic for tens of miles. Allow plenty of time. There are closer beaches to Anaheim than Laguna, like Huntington or Newport. I'm not sure for a quick visit the extra miles will get you much extra if you're looking for sun and sand.

Universal Studio Tour, an amusement park of sorts in Hollywood, is very popular with visitors too.


Edit for what I forgot to mention - you're not clear but if your old residence in "San Pedro" was at the Navy base on Terminal Island, most of the buildings have been knocked down and the area repurposed as part of the very busy port. If you were in another part of San Pedro, you can see how it was at some more recent point in time (check the date) on Google Map Street View. Those views can be several years old so no guarantee it is how it appears if you think some redevelopment is being done.

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carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b

if you like museums, the Museum of Natural History is wonderful - esp. their mineral & gem collection. LACMA is right next door to the Tar Pits, and the Peterson Automobile Museum is down the street.

LACMA has a nice little cafeteria, and you can eat outside overlooking their beautiful sculpture garden.

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Kathsgrdn

Writing all these down. Thanks. Elmer, are you talking about Universal Studios or a tour of Universal Studios? I love Universal theme parks but I don't think I want to walk around that much again after Disney, if you meant the theme park.

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Elmer J Fudd

Universal Studio Theme Park was what I was thinking of, it's just north of Hollywood in the Cahuenga Pass, off the Hollywood Fwy (designated the 101 at that point but that number is assigned to different freeways and it changes nearby). It is a theme park of sorts with more of a direct movie and TV orientation. You can look at the website to see if it's of interest.

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arcy_gw

We did the tar pits when I was in Middle School--from Torrence. Back in the day we saw El Vera street/San Diego Zoo/ Sea World/Magic Mountain...not sure where any of that is from Anaheim.

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Elmer J Fudd

I think you mean Olvera Street. It's a small district and plaza meant to portray the days of the Mexican pueblo of LA. It's more tacky than not. In downtown LA.

Magic Mountain is out of town to the north, too far and not worth the time compared to other things to do for a shorter visit, in my opinion

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Lars

You could take a day trip to Catalina, if you want to avoid city traffic. You would need to buy your ferry tickets in advance, and you could leave from Newport Beach, or Long Beach. The Long Beach ferry is close to the aquarium, and so you could visit that before the ferry ride.

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carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b

I've been to Olvera Street - it is the oldest section of LA and there is an original hacienda you can tour - said to be one of the oldest surviving homes in the area. Yes, it's mainly shops and kiosks full of touristy tchotchkes and apparel, but it is an original section of the city and quite picturesque in spots. The buildings are very, very old. It's only about 1 block long. Chinatown is also an interesting and small old-school section with touristy gift shops.


Google Maps is your friend. You can easily check the distance from Disneyland to whereever you're interested in seeing.

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Kathsgrdn

Funtobehere, those scallops on the dinner menu look SO GOOD! Thanks for all the suggestions. When I asked Lauren today what she thought, she mentioned some death museum. Nope! Not doing that-lol

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Kool Beans

If you like the beach and enjoy looking through quaint shops and art displays you could go down to Laguna Beach. We used to love to climb the rocks on the beach and walk through the shops that line PCH. There’s also some great places to eat. It’s quite pretty and there’s really no other place locally like it.

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Kathsgrdn

So, googled how close Laguna beach is to Anaheim and saw how close Terminal Island is to Laguna Beach..then started reading on Wikipedia about he island. I had a tumor removed from my leg when I was 7 on that island. I didn't know the history of it, though. Makes me want to go drive near our old neighborhood and see if anything is still there, including my old grade school. I looked it up years ago and it was there...not sure if it still is.

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Kathsgrdn

So, Taper Avenue still exists and the housing looks like it was demolished in 2014. Looked so run down and sad before they did it. I found a Facebook group for that community believe it or not. I just joined it.

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Fun2BHere

Unfortunately, Long Beach/San Pedro is about an hour away from Laguna Beach, not exactly close, and you will have already driven about 45 minutes from Anaheim to Long Beach. Perhaps you might consider taking a harbor cruise around Long Beach Harbor which would allow you to see some of Terminal Island, I think. It's been a long time since I've done that. DawninCal listed some good activities for the Long Beach/San Pedro area.

Whatever you choose, I hope that the weather is nice and that you have an enjoyable visit. After a trans-Pacific flight and a day at Disney, you may want to just chill by the pool.

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Kool Beans

I agree, Laguna is a bit of a drive to Long Beach but if you take PCH, it can be an enjoyable one. Did you by any chance live in that area when the Pike in Long Beach was a popular attraction? Dad was in the Navy, so we’d go to the Navel Base all the time.

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Kathsgrdn

Kool Beans, I don't know about the Pike. We lived there in the late 60s. I think from 1969 to 1972. After talking to my daughter and going through various things we might do we decided to just do Univeral Studios.

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Elmer J Fudd

It was called the Nu Pike when I was a kid and a teenager. It was a small but fun seaside amusement park like POP in Santa Monica but scruffy. I remember one ride called the "Diving Bell" and amusement games in the arcades where you could bet and win pennies, a big deal for a little kid.

The immediate area around the Nu Pike was seedy because of the Navy base just a few miles away and was full of tattoo places for that reason. Tattoos in that era were mostly the domain of sailors and Marines.

It was closed a long time ago. That area is a lot safer and cleaner than it used to be.

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Kathsgrdn

Never heard of it Elmer. The only things I remember from that area are the base housing, the pool at Fort MacArthur, a nearby park where the Navy families used to have gatherings (Peck Park? I think), the Navy housing baseball field. We didn't even go to Disneyland until just before we moved to Nevada and then we went 3 times in a short time frame. Spent many wonderful days just playing in the neighborhood, going trick-or-treating, playing hide & seek all over the neighborhood with the kids in the neighborhood, going to my brother's baseball games and swimming all day at the pool in the summers. We had a lot of summer bbqs with the neighbors, mostly kids and wives as all the fathers were in Vietnam or "out-to-sea". We rarely ate out, like families do all the time nowadays. I do remember a Chinese restaurant we used to go to infrequently. My mom would sometimes take us to Long Beach and she'd buy fish. There were seals in a tank near the market. Now, that would bother me, but back then it was neat seeing them.

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Kool Beans

Well, I was just a kid at the time, but my memories of Long Beach back in the 60’s is a bit different and seedy isn’t how I remember it. I remember seeing the Sailors walking down the blvd in groups, but I don’t remember ever hearing about a lot of tattoo parlors. The tattoo my dad had was a picture of my mother on his upper arm and he got that in Japan.


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Elmer J Fudd

Yes, kaths, I get it. Your memories are nice ones from peak years of Navy size and activity and I'll bet it was a good environment. I had a few visits when growing up to the Navy base on Terminal Island and even once stayed in a barracks and ate in a mess hall for a few days because of a youth band competition that was held nearby. It was quite an adventure for a young teenager.

Your mention of Ft MacArthur also brings back memories. During one 12 month stretch of my Army reserve service, I did my monthly weekend meetings there. I looked it up, most of that base was turned over to civilian use but one section was retained and has been rebuilt into Air Force housing for families involved at the LA Air Force Base - a non-flying facility near LAX that coordinates space and missile activity with contractors for the Air Force.

That was a goofy facility in a goofy place anyway - it had artillery positions on the hill overlooking the entrance to San Pedro harbor (as if an invading force would sail into a port) and starting in the 1950s had Nike anti-aircraft missiles.

What a great place that must have been to live in those years.

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raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio

If you have the energy, I would say go to Catalina.

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Elmer J Fudd

Here's an article about the Nu Pike I just found from the KCET (LA's public TV station) site. The article is entitled:

A Walk Along Long Beach’s Gaudy, Tawdry, Bawdy Pike

It had a long history.

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Elmer J Fudd

Another good article about the tattoo reputation of the area

Tattoo History Long Beach Pike

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Kathsgrdn

Elmer, apparently it doesn't just have a lot of good memories for me, because I found a Facebook page, full of people who grew up there. Funny how some of the terms to describe different things were the same in the 60s as in the 90s. Cracker Jack houses for instance...the term used for apartments just outside the Navy housing we all had to walk through to get to school. Later they were busing kids to Taper Avenue apparently. We walked, alone with friends. I was 7 and walked to school with my 5 year old friend. Then there is Hitler, the sewer, that came out near the housing, where many older kids used to walk home from school in. My brothers and their friends did, I never did. I was too afraid. My 5 year old friend is still my friend and when I went to help her with her daughter's wedding a couple years ago, one of her brothers and I talked about San Pedro for quite a long time. I found out one of her other brothers is on the Facebook group too.

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Elmer J Fudd

You're fortunate to have had such good experiences, fond memories and a group (and an old friend) to share them with. I've maintained some friendships since childhood too and have also reconnected with several after gaps of several decades. It's very cool.

I can imagine that especially in a military setting, everything and everybody are transient and in motion so it can be even harder to find childhood friends and people from the neighborhood and even more special when you do.

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