Making the Most of Anaheim (or, How to Survive the Area Immediately Surrounding the Happiest Place on Earth)

By The New Members Round Table Annual Conference Local Information Committee:
Julia Glassman (chair), Diana Symons, Jared Harmon, Sarah Travis, Maria Rivera, and Melissa Bauer

Located in the heart of conservative, suburban Orange County, Anaheim mainly consists of office parks, shopping malls, and residential neighborhoods, with a chunk of space carved out for Disneyland.  If you are looking to take in some culture while in Southern California, you may have to leave the city find it.
Still, if you are willing to drive for a bit (or shell out the $74-105 for a Disneyland ticket), you can put together an interesting afternoon or day trip.  Is your time dedicated the conference? We will help you find some interesting or convenient places to eat!

Alternative Accommodations

Because many NMRT conference goers are either students or job seekers, we realize the Anaheim Hilton may not be in the cards for everyone.  Here are a few options that, at the time of this writing, are significantly cheaper than other hotels in the general area:
  • Orange Mango Garden Hostel (2609 Patti Lane)
  • AAE Hotel Anaheim at Disneyland (425 W. Katella Ave)
  • AAE Anaheim Hacienda Inn (2176 S harbor Blvd)

Where to Eat

Food trucks
We would be remiss if we didn’t tell you about the food truck options available in Orange County.  Thanks to the famous (and utterly delicious) Korean taco, food trucks are the latest craze to sweep Southern California.  Be on the lookout for trucks parked on the street, or check the following websites for specific times and places.  For reference, the nearest surrounding cities are Garden Grove, Buena Park, Yorba Linda, Fullerton, and Orange.
Ethnic food
Underneath the bland suburban veneer, you’ll find a lot of ethnic—and culinary—diversity in Orange County.  Please, we beg you, do not leave town without trying some Pho (Vietnamese noodle soup, pronounced “fuh”), a banh mi (Vietnamese sub), Thai food, or an authentic burrito.  Here are a few places to get you started:
● Thuyen Vien (1740 S Euclid St)
● Casa Gamino (1228 S Brookhurst St)
● Lindo Michoacan (327 S Anaheim Blvd)
● Pho 79 (9941 Hazard Ave, Garden Grove)
● Thai Famous (11891 Euclid St, in Garden Grove – about a five-minute drive)
● Taco Adobe (121 N Lemon St, in Orange – about a ten-minute drive)
Sustainable/organic/fancier options
Orange County’s interest in sustainable food and gastropubs is growing. If you want to splurge on a nice night out, we recommend the following:
● Haven Gastropub (190 S Glassell St, in Orange)
● Chapter One (227 N Broadway, in Santa Ana) 
● The Gypsy Den (3 locations; see
OC Weekly’s “This Hole-in-the-Wall Life” column has many more cheap and good options around Orange County.
If you’re looking for a quick lunch or dinner between sessions, you may want to stick to the chain restaurants in Downtown Disney, about half a mile north of the convention center, or the Gardenwalk, about half a mile east.  For a list of restaurants in each shopping center, see the walking map of Anaheim


Orange County epitomizes US car culture: parking lots are plentiful and public transportation is sparse.  There are some bus and train options--see below--but if you can afford it, your life will be a lot easier if you rent a car.  Just remember a couple of things:
1. California has outlawed using handheld cell phones while driving, and tickets can be hefty.  
2. If you want to sound like a native, freeway numbers are preceded by the definite article (i.e., “The 405 was jammed, so I took the 5”).
Parking and Public Transportation
The Convention Center parking guide is available at  The Anaheim train station is located at 2150 E Katella Ave and is served by Amtrak and Metrolink.  A roundtrip Metrolink ticket from Anaheim to Los Angeles costs $16.50. If you want to take the bus around Anaheim, look for routes, schedules, and trip planners at  The convention center is near routes 43, 50, and 430, and a system map of Anaheim is available at  The regular fare is $1.50, a one-day pass is $4.00, and a seven-day pass is $20.00. Students and seniors pay lower fares.
Internet access
The convention center and most hotels provide Internet access, but the following places also offer wifi:
● It’s a Grind (1035 N Tustin Ave, 92807)
● Starbucks (110 W Lincoln, 92805)
● Anaheim Public Library (see the library website for locations and hours)


We will make the wild assumption you have already heard of Disneyland and just tell you the main entrance is within walking distance of the convention center (again, see the walking map. South of Disneyland is Disney’s California Adventures, a separate California-themed park.  Ticket prices for both parks are available at  Knott’s Berry Farm is also nearby, offering cheaper tickets and scarier roller coasters.
If you’ve got some time, the following libraries and museums can be folded into interesting afternoon excursions.  Be sure to check their hours before making the trip.
• Bowers Museum (2002 N Main Street, in Santa Ana) 
• Discovery Science Center (2500 N Main Street, in Santa Ana)
• Aquarium of the Pacific (100 Aquarium Way, in Long Beach)
Historic Libraries
● UCLA Powell Library (Italian Romanesque architecture, built in 1929; UCLA campus, Los Angeles)
● Los Angeles Public Library Central Branch (contains numerous works of art and architecture; 630 W 5th St., Los Angeles)
● Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace (exhibits on Nixon’s life and career, along with his original house; 18001 Yorba Linda Blvd., Yorba Linda)
● Huntington Library (art museum with beautiful gardens, 1151 Oxford Rd., San Marino)
Finally, what would a trip to Southern California be without some time at the beach?  Huntington Beach boasts shops, a pier, and the Bolsa Chica wetlands. Laguna Beach is the major studio arts hub of Orange County.  Other options include Newport Pier, Balboa Pier, or, further north, Manhattan Beach, Venice Beach, and the Santa Monica Pier. If you are more into secluded nature preserves and tide pools, try Crystal Cove.
We hope you find these tips helpful. See you in Anaheim!