When one thinks of Anaheim, California, the first thing that usually comes to mind is Disneyland. While that’s certainly a good thing, the city isn’t just known for that. There are so many other great places in the city that may go overlooked if you don’t broaden your search for cool things to do.
Best of all, there are plenty of free things to do that are fun for both adults, and for the whole family.
Continue reading for our list of the top 10 free things to do in Anaheim that don’t require buying a ticket to Disneyland.
1. The Muzeo
The Muzeo is one of Southern California’s newest museums and it exists as a center for the arts, knowledge, entertainment, and culture. Its mission is to engage people of all ages through the showcase of prestigious and world-renowned traveling exhibits. In an attempt to represent a “new model for urban cultural centers,” the MUZEO will display a diverse range of rotating exhibitions, special events, lectures, and weekend festivals.
The museum space boasts 25,000 square feet and makes us of Anaheim’s original Carnegie Library (built-in 1908). A state-of-the-art gallery space is integrated into a beautiful urban setting and is surrounded by two connecting courtyards with apartment loft living and street-level retail outlets on either side.
Hours: Wednesday-Sunday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m (Closed Monday/Tuesday)
Cost: Free to enter (cost varies for events)
Parking: free offsite parking with validations
Contact Info: (714) 956-8936
Home Depot is a kind of toy store for adults, but you might not know your local store provides free educational workshops geared towards kids. Taking place on the first Saturday of each month, children can work fun projects while spending quality time with friends and family. As an added bonus, all kids get to keep whatever they end up building and receive a free Kids Workshop apron, commemorative pin, and a certificate of achievement.
Hours: Check the store website for information on upcoming workshops
Parking: FREE, provided on location
Contact Info: (714) 533-9930
“Kids Bowl for free” is a program that allows you to register your children for free allowing them two free games of bowling every day throughout the summer. There are three participating bowling alleys in Orange County with the Concourse Entertainment Center offering the deal in Anaheim. Keep in mind that each of your kids need to have their own pair of bowling shoes or else you will need to pay to rent them.
Hours: Sunday – Monday (11 am – 12 -am), Friday & Saturday (11am – 1:30 am)
Cost: FREE (shoe rental rates apply)
Parking: depends on locations
Contact Info: (714) 666-2695
The Oak Canyon Nature Center is a 58-acre natural park settled in the Anaheim Hills. A year-round stream meanders through the park. Anyone looking for some good exercise will love the four adjoining miles of hiking trails that wind around one of the few remaining areas of oak woodland and coastal sage scrub in the area. Also located on-site is a small museum with live animal and regional natural history exhibits. Whether it’s for relaxation or education, the Oak Canyon Nature Center is a top free thing to do in Anaheim
Hours: Monday-Sunday (7 am-5:30 pm)
Contact Info: (714) 998-8380
The Anaheim Garden Walk is an outdoor entertainment and shopping center just one block east of the Disneyland Resort District of Anaheim, CA. The shopping center opened during the recession and struggled with low numbers. With countless vacant storefronts, management decided to cover the empty lots with murals from local artists. With art from all different genres and styles, the art installations at the Garden Walk are an ideal budget-friendly activity in Anaheim.
Hours: Open 24 hours
Downtown Disney is an outdoor shopping center located at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, CA. It is a component of the Disneyland Resort expansion project alongside the Disney California Adventure theme park and Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. It’s the perfect spot for people who want to feel some of the Disney magic without paying full Disney resort prices. Not to mention, parking is free as well. There’s always live entertainment to enjoy so next time you’re in the area, be sure to check it out.
Hours: Monday-Friday (7 am- 2 am)
Cost: FREE to get in (do not need a Disneyland ticket)
Parking: $20 for 3 hours (we suggest ridesharing)
Contact: (714) 781-4565
The Fullerton Arboretum is a 26-acre botanical garden with a vast collection of plants from around the world. Located on the campus of Cal State University, Fullerton just outside of Anaheim, it’s the perfect place to spend a couple of hours. The arboretum has served the community as a premier resource for ecological, horticultural, and historical education. Enjoy the permanent collection of over 4,000 unique and unusual plant species from around the world.
Hours: Monday-Sunday (8 am-4:30 pm)
Cost: FREE ($5 suggested donation)
Contact Info: (657) 278-3407
8. Pearson Park
Pearson Park opened in 1927 as the first “city park” in Anaheim. The historic 19 acres park was renamed in 1960 in honor of former Mayor Charles A. Pearson. This amazing community asset offers a playground for kids, ponds, ducks, tennis courts, and swimming pools. You can also see the fireworks from Disneyland. Furthermore, the attached YMCA offers free public swimming on select days throughout the year.
Hours: Monday-Sunday (5 am-10:30 pm)
Contact Info: (714) 765-5155
There may not be any beaches to visit in the landlocked city of Anaheim, but some of the Country’s best coastal wonderlands are just a short drive away. Within 30 minutes you have the surf paradise of Huntington Beach, upscale Newport Beach, Dana Point, Laguna, San Clemente, and more. Parking at any Southern California can be a problem, so plan accordingly.
Hours: varies beach to beach
Cost: varies beach to beach
Parking: various options
Contact Info: N/A
Yorba Regional Park offers 140 acres of beautiful parkland featuring geese, ducks, jays, robins, water lilies, lakes, and plenty more. As an added service, there are bike, kayak, and paddleboat rentals as well as paved and dirt roads for runners and cyclists. Yorba park is the perfect place to spend a sunny weekend in Orange County for free.
Hours: Monday-Sunday (7 am-9 pm)
Parking: $5 (provided on location)
Contact Info: (714) 793-6615
The Anaheim Packing District is a small community of shops, bars, and most importantly a food hall (aka a foodie paradise), consisting of 20+ eateries including Kettlebar Steam Cooking, The Chippy, ADYA, and Georgia’s Restaurant.
Alongside their many food options are cool boutique shops, bars, and breweries. Spending an evening is a great way to have fun and fill your belly.
Hours Monday – Sunday (11 am – 9 pm)
Taking a business trip and looking for some free things to do around meetings in Orange County? The Hotel Atrium is conveniently located directly across the street from John Wayne Airport and close to every major attraction in the bustline Anaheim area. If you’re looking for even more things to do around Orange County during your stay, check out our attractions page. Book your Orange County stay with Hotel Atrium today!