The largest city in Orange County, California, Anaheim is dominated by Disney's original theme park. While the fairy-tale castle has been weaving dreams for 60 years, Anaheim has been creating a culture of its own outside the convention centres and amusement parks. New food halls, craft breweries, arts venues and the mighty Santa Ana River mean Anaheim has more to offer beyond being "the happiest place on earth".
The Anaheim hostel scene tends to be upscale; think private rooms and Olympic-sized swimming pools. You can stay in spacious accommodation next to the Santa Ana River, or in a hostel near Disneyland (less than 5km away). Expect basics such as free Wi-Fi and cable television, plus extras like complementary coffee to get you going in the morning, phone calls to local numbers, and even an indoor spa and fitness centre. Some hostels in Anaheim also serve a free continental breakfast.
Anaheim has a few neighbourhoods to explore. Downtown is the city's heart, with pedestrianised shopping areas like Center Street, Muzeo Museum and Cultural Center, and a popular farmers' market. On the edge of Downtown, lively Anaheim Packing District is filled with international food stalls. To the southeast, Platinum Triangle has undergone redevelopment to become a centre for commerce and sports venues. Yorba Regional Park, in Anaheim's northeastern surrounds, is a slice of green space and picnic areas stretching along the Santa Ana River.
Still the main event here, many come to Anaheim for Disneyland's two theme parks, where themed restaurants, zones and more than 50 attractions draw millions of visitors every year. Check out an alternative, Knott's Berry Farm, for western-themed rides and a replica ghost town. Head to Angel Stadium of Anaheim for a hot dog as you cheer on the hometown baseball team. Anaheim's craft beer scene is growing throughout the city – visit a couple of local taprooms or join a brewery tour.
From Los Angeles International Airport, you can take a bus to central Anaheim (around two hours and 40 minutes' journey) or the Disneyland Resort Express bus to get straight to the park in an hour. It runs from John Wayne Airport too, as does a 45-minute city bus to Anaheim itself. The city is well-connected by rail and only 40 minutes from Los Angeles by car. Get around on local buses, hire a car or get an ART bus pass to tour the Anaheim's top attractions.