Thursday, June 2, 2016

5 Things to do in Southern California Other than Disneyland

We have Raewyn joining us today for the Virtual Tour Across America. She decided to focus on things you can do in Southern California other than Disneyland or the other big attractions you often here about. She grew up in Southern California, so I'd say she's quite the expert by now. 

All stories and posts shared during the Virtual Tour are those of the many authors who volunteered to write for the tour. These posts are not sponsored in any way. They are the opinions and thoughts of those that wrote them. (Check out the bio at the end of the post to learn more about today's author!)


I’ve lived in Southern California my whole life, save for the few quarters I went to Ohio State. Unlike most SoCal (abbreviations are totally our thing, btw) natives, I have lived and worked all over the region.

A little background, I was born in Pasadena and lived in a Los Angeles suburb until middle school when we moved behind the Orange curtain, aka into Orange County. It’s also called the Orange bubble because the people who live in Orange County don’t usually leave Orange County. During that time I worked locally, but, occasionally in San Diego. Later, I finished my degree at a Cal State University and lived north of Los Angeles.

Southern California has always been my playground and I’ve only ever had a Disneyland pass one year. Yeah, Disneyland is awesome but one of the perks of living in the same city as Disneyland, is that you have friends who work there and can get you in free. Even still, we don’t go that often because we’d rather adventure elsewhere.

So if you’re coming to California and you don’t want to go to any of our theme parks (Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm, Legoland, Sea World, Six Flags Magic Mountain, Universal Studios), these are the places to go! They’re a lot more low-key and they’re definitely local favorites!  

1 // Anaheim Packing District

The Anaheim Packing District is brand spankin’ new as of late 2014 and it is a hipster’s paradise. But don’t let that keep you from going, because it is truly awesome! Created out of the building that was an actual packing house for produce, they filled it with small, locally owned restaurants and small businesses. It is like a food court, in a way. We’ve eaten at a few of the places inside, including Georgia’s Restaurant which I found out my friend’s grandma owns! Of course, when I was pregnant I had to go and get Hans Homemade Ice Cream or Pop! because, yum. 

Not only is it a place where you can get a lot of delicious artisan style food (hello, waffle burger from The Iron Press!), but The Anaheim Packing District regularly hosts events and has live music. Out front is the Farmer’s Park and they do yoga classes and other events there. In October, Delainey and I went to a Halloween carnival. But these events are not reserved for special events, they happen every week!

Parking can be a bit of an issue, so if you could park in the lot in Downtown Anaheim and walk a few blocks it’s better. We tried to go for drinks between my friend’s ceremony and reception, and I could not find parking anywhere!

2 // Old Towne Orange

This is an old favorite from high school. I have always been really into vintage and things from the 1950s and so were my best friends. Luckily, Old Towne Orange is full of antique shops, historic buildings and home of Watson’s.

Watson’s Drug Store was a staple in Old Towne Orange in the 1950s and remained relatively the same until this past year. We loved going to Watson’s and getting Italian sodas and pretending we were at a real soda fountain in the 1950s. Watsons was featured in several movies, including That Thing You Do! 

This past year they renovated it and made it into a restaurant with a deliberate throwback to the 1950s. I have not yet eaten there, but we did walk in to see how long the wait was and you could see the wait staff was dressed in period appropriate clothing. That was pretty cool!

In addition to the antique shops and Watson’s, Old Town Orange regularly has old cars and street fairs! If you’re looking for some delicious restaurants, check out Linq’s or Smoqued! My dad works in one of the offices above the circle and we have lunch with him once a week. Those two are our faves! We cannot wait to try The Pie Hole, though!

3 // Olvera Street

As a kid, I loved going to Olvera Street with my aunt. It’s basically a Mexican street fair, every single day of the week. There are mariachi and dancers, booths where you could buy authentic items and more!

I haven’t gone to Olvera Street in almost 10 years (see blurry old school photo!), but my mom and I are planning a trip to take my daughter for her first time! We love to take the train so that we can avoid Downtown LA traffic. The train goes straight to Olvera Street!

4 // Hotel Del Coronado

Coronado Island is a small island off of the San Diego coast. You can actually reach the item through a bridge that turns, and it is quite freaky, but definitely worth it! 

I have only been to Coroando a handful of times, but we spent the day at the Hotel Del during my Bachelorette getaway. The hotel is on the beach and has a few restaurants that are absolutely divine. There is also an amazing historical tour that we took in our bachelorette garb! (If you like doing the historical thing, you will want to check out The Getty Museum, The Queen Mary and The Brea Tar Pits, as well!)

5 // Downtown Pasadena

When I first turned 21, I spent a lot of time in the Pasadena night life! Sure, most people probably would rather go to the clubs in Hollywood, but I’m more of a dive bar type of girl. Downtown Pasadena has a ton of dance clubs and bars that really come alive at night.

Whenever I find myself in Pasadena, I make sure to eat at Jake’s, which serves burgers but also has billiards down below. (Fun fact, I dated a guy who worked there!) We would usually continue on to some of the other bars and clubs., Personally, I love Barney’s Beanery a lot, and I have heard that it is quite famous!

If you do decide to go to Pasadena, make sure you’re aware of the one way streets! I accidentally got an unsafe left turn ticket while looking for parking because I was in an unfamiliar area!

Are you heading to California any time soon? I’d love to meet up (especially if you’re going to be near Anaheim or Orange!) Hit me up on Twitter or Instagram!

Raewyn leads a self love movement at Be a Warrior Queen. She helps women find ways to love themselves everyday. She also helps them find inner strength to be who they want to be. She lives in Southern California with her husband and daughter.

1 comment:

  1. I lived in southern California as a kid. I went back to visit my friends when I was 15. Alas, I haven't been back since!