There’s a reason so many songs have been written about California. Orange County exudes an undeniable vibe and energy. People travel from all over the world to experience it (not to mention the incredible Orange County weather, 284 days of sunshine on average, for those counting!).
If you’re thinking about hosting an event in the Anaheim area, here are a few ways you can capitalize on the experience and bring your attendees exactly what they were expecting and more.
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HEALTHY EATING/FARM TO TABLE CULINARY SCENE
Maybe it’s the gorgeous weather or the focus on outdoor pursuits but Orange County is one of the leaders in the USA for healthy eating and farm to table options. Visitors to this area enjoy the fresh tastes of nature’s bounty.
There’s the Anaheim Packing District which features a variety of good food and beverages. It’s nestled in the heart of Anaheim amid historic buildings including one of the last remaining citrus packing warehouses, which is now a food hall. Some of the individual establishments even provide rooms for private parties.
Local restaurants, hotels, the convention center, and the farmer’s markets compete to bring the freshest tastes to any course, even dessert. There’s an array of dining types to choose from including themed restaurants, award-winning bistros, and resort dining.
GLAM AND CASUAL OPTIONS
Orange County offers the perfect marriage of glam and laid-back, coastal living. From local fashion boutiques to beach bars, attendees can find the amount of glitz that they enjoy. Some people think of Orange County as a mecca of high-end stores and luxury experiences, while others know it for a casual beach lifestyle. They’re both right.
Visitors experience that fun combination in everything in the area from entertainment to conference attire, dining to cultural events. . There’s an “anything goes” reputation in this part of California. The Anaheim area can accommodate everyone.
THE BEACH LIFESTYLE AND SURFING
Speaking of the beach...Orange County is sandwiched between Los Angeles and San Diego and offers 42 miles of coastline and lots of fun beach towns. Guests will enjoy San Clemente, Dana Point, and Huntington Beach. They may even recognize references to some of the local beaches in songs by the Beach Boys like Surfin’ Safari.
Newport Beach offers some of the most powerful beach breaks making it a favorite of surfers. Huntington Beach is known as Surf City USA and is home to consistent waves varying from 3-12 feet on average. Don’t miss the Balboa Island Ferry from Newport beach to Balboa Island. While there, get a view of the surrounding area on the Balboa Fun Zone’s Ferris Wheel.
FANTASY AND AMUSEMENT PARKS
The Anaheim area is frequently referred to as a place where dreams come true. That’s partly because of the large number of amusement parks and resorts in the area. Many attendees think of Anaheim as home to Disneyland but the area has a lot more to offer than just that amazing park. The Disney Resort® also boasts the Disneyland California Adventure Park with the newly-opened Pixar Pier. People who love dive coasters can visit the only one in California atKnott’s Berry Farm.
Thanks so much for following along with us today while we celebrated the #PixarPierPremiere! We had such a wonderful time and we cannot wait for everyone to experience this magical place when it officially opens tomorrow. 🎉 Thank you again to @visitanaheim for sending us to this amazing event! Goodnight from the @magic_kingdom_mamas! 💙
SUNSHINE AND PIERS
As mentioned earlier, this area gets a lot of sunshine. Sunshine and amazing weather provide an unneeded excuse to get out and enjoy the beauty in this area of California. There are many ways to enjoy the outdoors and some of the best involve the beautiful Pacific Ocean.
In addition to enjoying the beaches and swimming and surfing, visitors are able to fish along the San Clemente Pier. For those who don’t fish, they can still enjoy the many piers in the area including the Huntington Beach Pier, an ideal place to watch the sun sink into the Pacific Ocean.
HEALTHY LIFESTYLES AND OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES FOR YOUR GROUP
Meeting attendees in Orange County enjoy more than just time away from the group. The perfect weather provides ample opportunity for some outdoor group activities including hiking and biking. The OC is home to a number of parks and trails, including the Yorba Regional Park. This 140-acre park offers a summer concert and movie series as well as a physical fitness course and four lakes for fishing or model boat sailing.
In addition to these outdoor activities, you can host a break-off event or meet-up at one of the many water parks in the area, including Knott’s Soak City the largest water park in Orange County.
CHIC AND FASHIONABLE: INDULGE IN THE CALIFORNIA STYLE
The Anaheim area is a shopper’s paradise with plenty of opportunity for retail therapy. The area boasts many top-notch shopping experiences including the South Coast Plaza and the Center Street Promenade, plus several outlet shopping centers.
South Coast Plaza in nearby Costa Mesa features over 250 shops, 30 restaurants and the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, which brings Tony-award winning theater and shows to the area. It’s the largest mall on the west coast and the third largest in retail space in the US.
There’s also The Anaheim Center Street Promenade, which features trendy shops, some of which combine interesting tastes and offerings like craft beer and haircuts. Plus, it’s located just a few blocks away from the historic Carnegie Library.
Finally, for those who prefer a more whimsical approach to fashion, the Disney Resort stores can find a suitable pair of “ears” for any attendee.
CRAFT BEER SCENE
The craft beer scene in Anaheim is growing and there are many ways for your group to enjoy it. With over 12 breweries in the city limits alone, the beer aficionado is bound to be satisfied. In addition to the breweries, several local restaurants serve craft beers or go behind the scenes by taking a craft beer tour of an individual brewing facility. Beer lovers can also visit multiple breweries on a guided craft beer tour. Local tour companies can provide transportation for your group.
Every September visitors can enjoy the annual OC Brewhaha, which showcases 100 craft beers as well as beers from around the world.
CENTRAL LOCATION AND WALKABILITY
The Anaheim convention and resort area is pedestrian friendly with meandering pathways and porticos that connect many buildings. Keeping your group centrally located means more opportunity for interaction outside of the conference or meeting as well as it negates the need for a rental car. However, for those who want a car on the premises, there is plenty of parking with well-lit paths from parking to resorts and the conference center.
The Disneyland Park is also steps away from the Downtown Disney District (home of a variety of restaurants, shopping, and live music entertainment) and the three hotels that are part of the Disney Resort. For those who want to venture out without a car, Anaheim has the ART (Anaheim Resort Transportation). It links popular destinations in Anaheim like the Packing District, Angel’s Stadium, and Honda Center with Costa Mesa and Buena Park (Knott’s Berry Farm).
PROFESSIONAL SPORTS TEAMS
Anaheim is home to the Anaheim Angels, professional baseball team as well as the Anaheim Ducks hockey team. There’s also softball leagues, tennis, and golf.
Sure, your group can take in a game at one of the stadiums but that’s not the only thing sports lovers can do. Provide a unique experience by going on a behind-the-scenes tour with your group at the Anaheim Angels Stadium. Sit in the dugout, meander through the visitor’s clubhouse, and take a selfie in the broadcast booth. There are also several sports-themed eateries for your guests to enjoy including The Catch at the Angels Stadium.
If you’d like to bring your sports competition to the Orange County area, you’ll find ample room to do so as well.
Orange County heats up at night with tons of entertainment options. Take your group to the Anaheim Garden Walk, where they can enjoy the upscale eateries and entertainment with everything from bowling to VR gaming and elegant nightclubs.
Nightlife here isn’t all about nightclubs, however. There are a number of trendy bars with artisanal cocktails, neighborhood watering holes, and wine bars. The House of Blues at Anaheim’s Garden Walk brings in big-name entertainment and offers four areas in which to enjoy the shows, including a VIP experience.
DREAM INFLUENCE IN FOOD AND BEVERAGES
The Anaheim-area offers a host of culinary delights that look like they were assembled in delectable dreams. What do you think about Mickey-shaped waffles?
There are even mouthwatering gluten-free options
A chocolate covered caramel apple a day keeps the worries away! 😜 We loved following @glutenfree.followme’s adventure through #Disneyland to find all the delicious gluten free options available. Did you know Disneyland has amazing options available, like this treat? #VisitAnaheim | 📸: @glutenfree.followme . • • • • #Disney #disneygram #igdisney #disneyig #disneylife #disneyfood #disneymagic #disneyphoto #glutenfree #disneycaliforniaadventure #glutenfreedisneyland #minniemouse #disneytreats #disneydessert
Even the beers are dreamy.
On the menu for this upcoming 4th of July Independence Day Party. _ Bruesicle: DFG™ @brueryterreux _ A blend of foeder & barrel-aged sour ales, Bruesicle: DFG is packed with enormous amounts of white guava, dragonfruit, and a touch of vanilla and lactose, resulting in a super juicy, smoothie-like ale. _ ABV 4.0% _ Beer friends, remember to keep this refrigerated at all times. Also, gently roll each can before opening! _ I regret not ordering more allocations from @thebruery @bruerysocieties . . . . . . . . . . . #bruesicle #dfg #bruesicledfg #dragonfruit #guava #summerbeer #warmday #coldbeer #candesign #beerporn #craftbeer #thebruery #brueryterreux #visitanaheim #reservesociety #cheers #brueryreservesociety #glassware #pouraglass #fruity #sourbeer #tart #creamy #drinkup #thirsty #4thofjuly #drinkcraft #beerfriends #beerus #smoothie
FOOD TRUCK RALLIES
The beautiful weather makes Orange County the ideal spot for food trucks and an outdoor dining experience. You can bring in food trucks for your event at the convention center or simply catch the trucks around the area. These moveable feasts offer tons of choices and ethnic options from Germany, Thailand, Mexico, Italy and more, as well as culinary delights for every course (including dessert).
HIGH ENERGY AND ECONOMICAL FUN
Want a completely different experience for your group? How about a flight simulator? Or catch the Disneyland fireworks from the convention center or a rooftop restaurant and bar. There are also over 800 events that occur in this area monthly and the destination services team provides details of those that will impact, or are of interest, to meeting groups.
With so much to do, many event planners assume Anaheim/Orange County area is an expensive destination. That is not the case. There are plenty of opportunities for discounts and savings. Visit Anaheim partners with several local vendors in a “Show Your Badge and Save” program. They offer convention and meeting goers discounts on things like rental cars, restaurants, bars, attractions, shuttles, and more.
ORANGE COUNTY FOR GROUPS
There is a lot to do in the Anaheim area and if you’re looking for some group activities don’t forget team-building attractions like escape room challenges and murder mystery dinners. There are also opportunities for Improv, food tours, city hunts, game trucks, and cooking schools. There are also dinner theater adventures where group tickets can be arranged.
If you can envision it, there’s likely a group in town that can turn it into a team activity for you and your meeting attendees. Anaheim is a town of performers and creatives. The Disney roots provide a lot of opportunity for offering something completely unexpected for your group.
Orange County is a popular spot for conferences and meetings for so many reasons, including its ease of access. For flights, there’s no reason to go through LAX. Orange County is easily accessed through John Wayne Airport. In 2018, it was named best airport by Time/Money for its customer experience, travel reviews, on-time arrival rates, and traveler amenities. As a bonus, there’s also a statue of The Duke, which serves as a great Insta op.
Attendees will love the ability to add on additional time for family vacations. The OC’s close proximity to other popular areas of California gives guests an inexpensive way to enjoy top tourist attractions. There’s a reason Anaheim keeps breaking records for visitors each year!
SoCal is more than just a geographical location for your next event. It brings an expectation of energy and level of fun few locations can command. Your attendees already have very set views of what southern California offers. The mixture of great weather and the beach culture, as well as the glam and fantasy angle, can make your event as attractive as their next vacation.