Things to do near Disneyland

When you think of Disneyland, the first thing that comes to mind is the magical world of Mickey Mouse, thrilling rides, and enchanting parades.

But did you know that there’s so much more to explore outside of Disneyland?

In this guide, I’ll be highlighting some of the coolest attractions and activities you can enjoy near Disneyland. Whether you’re staying in Anaheim, venturing into the vibrant city of Los Angeles, heading down to the sunny shores of San Diego, or exploring other beautiful parts of California, there’s something for everyone.

From hidden gems to must-see landmarks, I’ll help you discover the best places to visit and enjoy while you’re here.

So, let’s dive in and explore all the amazing things California has to offer near Disneyland!

Things to Do in Anaheim

Downtown Disney District

One of my favorite spots near Disneyland is the Downtown Disney District. Here, you can indulge in a variety of dining options, explore unique shops, and enjoy vibrant entertainment. The best part is, you don’t need a park admission to experience all the magic this area has to offer.

Anaheim Packing District

Another must-visit in Anaheim is the Anaheim Packing District. This historic food hall is a culinary paradise, featuring a diverse range of delicious food options. It’s the perfect place to sample different cuisines and enjoy a meal in a lively, communal setting.

Angel Stadium

For sports enthusiasts, a visit to Angel Stadium is a must. Home to the Los Angeles Angels, this stadium offers an exciting atmosphere to catch a baseball game. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon or evening cheering on the home team.

Honda Center

The Honda Center is another fantastic venue in Anaheim, hosting a variety of concerts and sports events. As the home of the Anaheim Ducks, it’s the perfect place to catch a thrilling hockey game or see your favorite bands perform live.

Muzeo Museum and Cultural Center

If you’re into art and culture, don’t miss the Muzeo Museum and Cultural Center. This museum offers an array of fascinating art exhibits and cultural displays. It’s a wonderful spot to immerse yourself in local history and creativity.

Exploring Los Angeles


When you think of Los Angeles, Hollywood is probably the first place that comes to mind. Stroll along the Walk of Fame and find your favorite stars embedded in the sidewalk. Visit the iconic TCL Chinese Theatre and see the handprints and footprints of legendary celebrities. And of course, no trip to Hollywood is complete without a glimpse of the famous Hollywood Sign.

Griffith Observatory and Griffith Park

For breathtaking views of the city and the Hollywood Sign, head to Griffith Observatory and Griffith Park. The observatory offers fantastic exhibits on astronomy, and the park is perfect for hiking and picnicking. It’s an ideal spot to enjoy nature and take in the stunning scenery of Los Angeles.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

Art lovers should definitely visit the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, also known as LACMA. This museum houses an extensive collection of artworks from around the world, spanning various periods and styles. It’s a cultural treasure trove where you can easily spend hours exploring the galleries.

Santa Monica Pier

Another iconic Los Angeles destination is the Santa Monica Pier. This lively pier features an amusement park with a Ferris wheel, an aquarium, and numerous restaurants. It’s a fantastic place to enjoy a day by the ocean, ride some fun attractions, and savor delicious food.

The Getty Center

For a blend of art, architecture, and nature, visit The Getty Center. This art museum boasts a remarkable collection of European paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts. The beautiful gardens and stunning architecture of the center make it a peaceful retreat and a must-see attraction in Los Angeles.

Visiting San Diego

San Diego Zoo

When I’m in San Diego, one of my absolute favorite places to visit is the San Diego Zoo. It’s renowned as one of the most famous zoos in the world, offering an incredible variety of animals and beautifully designed habitats. Whether you’re with family or just love animals, it’s a must-see.

Balboa Park

I always make time to explore Balboa Park whenever I’m in San Diego. This park is a treasure trove of museums, stunning gardens, and cultural institutions. It’s a vibrant hub where I can dive into art, science, and history while enjoying the park’s scenic beauty. There’s always something new to discover in this cultural oasis.

SeaWorld San Diego

For a day filled with marine life excitement, I head to SeaWorld San Diego. This park is a favorite of mine because it features thrilling shows, interactive exhibits, and fun rides. It’s an engaging way to learn about ocean creatures and enjoy some family-friendly entertainment.

Old Town San Diego

When I want to step back in time, I visit Old Town San Diego. This historic area offers a glimpse into the city’s past with its museums, charming shops, and delicious Mexican cuisine at local restaurants. It’s a delightful spot to soak up the history and culture of San Diego.

La Jolla Cove

For natural beauty, La Jolla Cove is my go-to spot. This picturesque beach is known for its clear waters and excellent snorkeling opportunities. I love to relax here, enjoy the stunning coastal views, and explore the vibrant marine life.

Other Notable California Destinations

Santa Barbara

Whenever I’m in the mood for a coastal getaway, I head to Santa Barbara. This charming city offers beautiful beaches perfect for relaxing, and the historic Santa Barbara Mission, which is a must-visit for its stunning architecture and serene gardens.

Big Sur

One of the most scenic drives I’ve ever taken is along Big Sur. The views along this coastal route are absolutely breathtaking, with rugged cliffs and the vast Pacific Ocean stretching out before you. It’s a perfect destination for anyone who loves nature and picturesque landscapes.

San Francisco

San Francisco is always a treat to visit with its iconic landmarks. I never miss a chance to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge, take a tour of Alcatraz Island, and explore the bustling Fisherman’s Wharf. The city’s unique charm and vibrant atmosphere always leave me wanting more.

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is one of my favorite places to experience nature’s grandeur. The park is famous for its giant sequoias, majestic waterfalls, and stunning landscapes. Every visit here feels like a new adventure, filled with awe-inspiring natural beauty.

Tips for Driving in California

Navigating Freeways

Driving in California often means navigating its extensive freeway system. Major freeways like I-5, I-405, and US-101 are essential routes, so it’s helpful to know the best times to travel to avoid traffic. I always keep a real-time traffic app handy to check for any incidents or congestion before I hit the road.

Toll Roads

California has several toll roads, such as SR-73, SR-133, and SR-241, which can save you time but come with a cost. I find it useful to use FasTrak for easy payment, but there are also options for online payments if you don’t have a transponder. Knowing how to pay tolls in advance can make your trip smoother.

Parking Tips

Finding parking in busy California cities can be a challenge. I always look for parking apps that show available spots and even let you reserve a space in advance. This can save a lot of time and frustration, especially in crowded areas.

Traffic Patterns

Understanding traffic patterns is crucial for a stress-free drive in California. I try to travel outside of peak rush hours whenever possible to avoid heavy traffic. Real-time traffic apps are invaluable for planning my route and avoiding any unexpected delays.

Rental Cars

Renting a car in California is pretty straightforward, but there are a few things to keep in mind. I always check for any additional insurance requirements and charges to avoid surprises. It’s also a good idea to familiarize yourself with the rental car’s features and navigation system before hitting the road.

Using the Train in California

Traveling by train in California is a convenient and scenic alternative to driving, and I often find it to be a relaxing way to get around. The state’s rail network, particularly the Amtrak services, connects major cities and offers some breathtaking views along the way.

Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner

One of my favorite routes is the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner, which runs along the coast from San Diego to San Luis Obispo. The views of the Pacific Ocean are absolutely stunning, especially if you manage to snag a window seat. It’s a comfortable ride with amenities like free Wi-Fi, a café car, and spacious seating.


For more localized travel, especially within Southern California, I use Metrolink. This commuter train service connects various counties, making it easy to get to places like Los Angeles, Orange County, and Riverside without the hassle of freeway traffic. It’s great for day trips and commuting.

BART and Caltrain

In the Bay Area, I often rely on BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) and Caltrain. BART is excellent for getting around San Francisco and surrounding cities, while Caltrain is perfect for trips between San Francisco and San Jose. Both systems are reliable and efficient, making it easy to navigate the region.

Benefits of Train Travel

Taking the train in California saves me the stress of driving and parking, especially in busy urban areas. It’s also an eco-friendly option that reduces my carbon footprint. Plus, I can relax, read, or even work while traveling, which makes the journey feel shorter and more productive.

Tips for Train Travel

To make the most of train travel, I always check the schedules and book my tickets in advance, especially during peak travel times. I also arrive at the station a bit early to ensure I have enough time to find my platform and settle in. And if I’m traveling on the Pacific Surfliner, I try to sit on the side facing the ocean for the best views.

Using the train in California has become one of my preferred ways to travel, combining convenience, comfort, and a chance to see some of the state’s most beautiful landscapes.