Author: Kimberly Forney

Get Jolly at the Nutcracker Christmas Tree Lighting & Holiday Village, December 2

Christmas Holiday Events in Anaheim CA

In the two decades since Anaheim hosted its very first Nutcracker Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony, the tree’s gotten quite a bit taller. Now, wrapped in tens of thousands of twinkle lights, anchoring the traffic circle at the west end of Center Street Promenade, it’s the centerpiece of a beloved Anaheim tradition. This December 2, have a cool Jul kicking off the 23rd annual holiday celebration in Center City. The family-friendly winter-themed event runs 10am-7pm. Parking is available in the Center Street parking structure.

Got a lot of people on your nice list? They’ll swoon over unique gifts from the eclectic Holiday Shopping Village. So much better than Amazon! Or hit the charming mom and pop shops arrayed along Center Street Promenade to score ‘I shop local’ bragging rights along with your stocking stuffers. Work up an appetite toting your treasures, then indulge at the International Food Fair. One word: glogg.

Kids get the full winter wonderland experience tossing snowballs in the free snow play area. There’s also crafts and train rides for the wee ones, and carols in the air as the Loara High School Marching Band and Anaheim Union High School Combined Choirs provide live entertainment. Feel like joining in? Go for it! This is no silent night.

Santa and his main squeeze, Mrs. Claus, pose for family photos between 3-5:30pm (limit one per family, please). Then, at 5:45pm, the procession down Center Street Promenade begins, ending at the decorated 50-foot redwood tree. Wondering why it’s called the Nutcracker Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony? When dancers from the Anaheim Ballet pirouette onto the scene, all questions will be answered. The tree-lighting ceremony lasts from 6-7pm. Then it’s off to bed for visions of sugar plums.

Get Your Ghoul On at the Anaheim Halloween Parade & Fall Festival, October 28th

Anaheim Fall Festival and Halloween Parade

Chances of spotting Pennywise in the crowd at the Anaheim Halloween Parade, October 28th? Oh, we’d say about 100%. The beloved celebration of all things hair-raising and spine-tingling draws kitschy costumed revelers like an unattended candy bowl on a front porch draws sugar-fiending trick-or-treaters. Slather on the makeup, finish gilding your get-up, and join the fun.

Festivities kick off at 11am with the Fall Festival on Center Street Promenade. Think old-timey games (bobbing for apples, anyone?), craft booths and enough Fall-themed eat and drink to make the most die-hard lover of all things pumpkin-spice long for a nice, fresh salad. Parking is available in the Center Street parking structure. Expect crowds.

At noon, expect hordes of wee Wonder Women, pint-sized Pokemon and bantam-weight Batmen, taking the stage for the Kiddie Costume Contest. Register your mini monster between 11-11:45am to ensure them a spot in the time-honored spectacle. Entries are capped at 300 participants.

When the sun sets and the bad moon begins to rise, it’s parade time. Ninety-four-years-young, the Anaheim Halloween Parade is enjoying a Renaissance of late, thanks to the rise of maker culture, Pinterest and glue-gun-wielding DIY enthusiasts. The flotilla of floats draws inspiration from vintage Halloween memorabilia, and frequently, from historic parade photos. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, the Anaheim Halloween Parade was so popular, it drew more than 150,000 spectators to the parade route, and was televised live throughout L.A. and Orange County.

This year’s parade begins at 6pm at Broadway & West Street, traveling through Center City via Center Street Promenade. It reaches its end at The Packing House, which, coincidentally, makes a supernaturally good destination for post-parade quaffing, noshing and nibbling. Fang-tastic!

Hummos & Pita: From Center City Farmer’s Market to Center Street

Hummos & Pita New Anaheim Restaurant

“I always wanted to have a restaurant,” says Fadi Awwad, whose new eatery, Hummos & Pita, launched on Center Street in early September 2017. “It took me a while, and I did it right.”

Hailing from Lebanon, where his mother instilled in him a passion for fresh, homemade food, and bright, Mediterranean flavors, Awwad always knew a counter-service resto was his endgame. The question was, “Where?” While saving for his future eatery and researching Orange County and L.A. locations, he started working the farmers’ market circuit in 2011.

“I was at five to six different markets a week,” says Awwad. “I ran my booth at the Center City Farmers’ Market for nearly three years.”

Shrimp Kebabs Over Rice

A loyal following grew. And Awwad, who lives in Monrovia but hopes to move to Anaheim in the near future, liked what he saw as Center City continued to grow and attract new small businesses. Between the Packing House and a clutch of breweries and wine bars, the neighborhood was becoming a bona fide destination for foodies. So when a space on Center Street opened up, he decided to put down roots.

His farmers’ market followers followed. “Ninety percent of my clientele were my customers at the market,” Awwad says. “They’ve been very supportive, and very excited for me.”

Restaurant Owner of Hummos & Pita

It’s not hard to see why. No longer limited to the kind of simple fare he could produce on-site at the farmer’s market, Awaad turns out grilled dishes like beef, kefta or salmon kabobs ($9.95-$13.95), served with a zingy Greek salad and, of course, his housemade hummos. “Lemon, garlic and olive oil are my inspirations,” says the chef who bases his dishes on his mother’s original recipes. Try the gyros plate ($9.95), and wash it down with one of the mojito-like libations Awwad makes with fresh mint and lime, and either watermelon, cucumber, pineapple or blackberries.

Berry Mojito at Hummos & Pita

The Med-cuisine-loving entrepreneur’s future plans include expanding the Hummos & Pita menu and crafting new hummos flavors to entice diners. And while, someday, he hopes to open other Hummos & Pita locations, Awwad says he’ll always love Anaheim and Center City. “I like the city and this street. It’s different than anywhere else,” he says.

Celebrate Oktoberfest at Anaheim Brewery, October 7th & 14th

Anaheim Brewery Oktoberfest

Hoist those commemorative steins! Seven years ago, Anaheim Brewery helped christen Anaheim’s ‘Brew City’ designation with its first Oktoberfest. Nearly a decade later, the festival is one of the most hotly anticipated events on the October beer-drinking calendar, this year to be celebrated over two consecutive weekends; Saturday, October 7th and Saturday, October 14th, 5-10pm at the brewery on Anaheim Blvd.

Oktoberfest is all about authenticity for Anaheim Brewery’s Greg Gerovac. No pumpkin ales here. Instead, on tap is the Oktoberfest Lager Gerovac has been brewing since the 1990s. A malty Märzen with caramel and toffee notes, its 100-year old recipe was first recorded in an old leather journal unearthed by one of Gerovac’s former beer bosses during a visit to Munich’s Paulaner Brewery.

It clocks in at a healthy 6.5% abv, which makes the traditional brew a solid pairing for the hearty fare on offer during Oktoberfest from Viking Food Truck. Think smoked Bratwurst with sauerkraut and beer cheese sauce, or tater tots doused with dark ale chili and Viking ketchup.

Dying to don your lederhosen? On October 7th, slip into the world’s sexiest short-alls, grab your dirndl-sporting partner, and hit the dancefloor for traditional German music and folk dancing. On October 14th, the oom pah pah comes courtesy of the 25-piece German-American Brass Brand.

To commemorate their 7th annual Oktoberfest, Anaheim Brewery had authentic salt-glazed pottery steins hand-made for the occasion in Germany. On sale for $20 (plus beer), they’re available at the bar throughout the month, and Gerovac says a version with a pewter-lid is anticipated in-house by mid-October. Prost!

Taste Anaheim’s Favorite Brews at Fest of Ales, September 16

Anaheim Beer Fest & Brewery

When Fest of Ales set up its first easy-up tents along Center Street Promenade seven years ago, Anaheim was a bit player in the So Cal craft brew scene. But a bit player with big ambitions. Designated an official ‘Brew City,’ the city started courting up-and-coming brewers and clearing red tape to help them set up tasting rooms and production facilities in Anaheim. Nearly a decade later, yah, it’s paid off.

On Saturday, September 16th, Fest of Ales heads back to Center Street Promenade and Lemon Street in the heart of Center City to celebrate beer and all things Anaheim. On tap? IPAs, stouts, lagers, sours, pilsners and more from more than 40 different craft breweries.

Anaheim Brewery

Local legends like Anaheim Brewery, Unsung Brewing Co. and Bottle Logic will be pouring out cold ones. And look for a grudge rematch between Phantom Ales and The Bruery/Bruery Terreux in the heated competition to take home the Mayor’s Trophy. Last year, the voting public gave the slimmest of victory margins to Breury, who bested Phantom by a single vote to take home the honors. Who will emerge victorious this year? Cast your vote with your official Fest of Ales bottle cap and see. You can pick one up at the festival entrance located on the corner of Tangerine and Center Street.

Beer Festival in Anaheim

Tickets for next weekend’s event are still available here or here, and if you need a great reason to buy your $70 all-inclusive ticket online in advance, here’s one: Enter the discount code ‘BEERME’ and you save $15 off the price per ticket. On the day of the festival, tickets will be sold at the door, but for full price.
Cheers to beer
As for what to expect, it’s all about food and beer. Think unlimited tastings, and pairings designed to show off brew’s gastro side. Center City’s favorite eateries and a slew of Anaheim purveyors will all be represented, so bring an appetite. And don’t sweat the calories: you can work off the proverbial ‘sandwich in every beer’ grooving to hip-hop/jazz fusion band Apollo Be-Bop, who performs live for the 21-and-over-only crowd.

Yes, it took foresight to declare Anaheim a Brew City all those years ago. Head to Fest of Ales September 16th and raise a glass in honor of such hoppy wisdom.

Don’t-Miss August Events in Center City

August events in and around Center City Anaheim

Whether you’re a culture junkie, foodie or wine snob, you’ve got your pick of new openings and fab events around Center City this month. Here’s a brief breakdown of some of the highlights.


“Deconstructing Liberty” Now Up at Muzeo
Muzeo Museum and Cultural Center is a reliable anchor of Center City’s art scene, with an ongoing calendar of recurring and special events plus noteworthy traveling exhibitions (did you see “Dressing Downton”? We’re still swooning over Lady Mary’s trousseau). The latest, “Deconstructing Liberty: A Destiny Manifested” (Aug. 5-Oct. 15, tickets $10) is part of one of this year’s most high-profile artistic undertakings, Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, a collaborative, distributed effort between arts institutions all over Southern California, led by the Getty. Embracing PST’s overarching theme—how L.A. has shaped and is shaped by Latino and Latin American artists—“Deconstructing Liberty” includes provocative performances, installations, video and photography related to the American idea of liberty. Yes, it’s heavy. It’s also relevant, exciting, and one of those shows people will be talking about for years to come.

Deconstructing Liberty at Muzeo Museum

Deconstructing Liberty @ The Muzeo
Open Tues-Sun, 10am-5pm
241 S. Anaheim Blvd., Anaheim, CA 92805

Experience Street Art at the Art Crawl Experience

This month also features the return of the Art Crawl Experience, the art walk that takes over Center Street Promenade for one-night only each August (and November, February and May). What to expect? Multi-sensory stimulation, thanks to the festival atmosphere, live music, food truck eats and open-air galleries. Get ready to treasure hunt, and bring your dancing shoes—this month’s A.C.E. will include a swing band and jitterbugging dance floor. Our advice: Lindy Hop like nobody’s watching, then take advantage of complimentary rides on Anaheim Resort Transit to get around the rest of A.C.E.

August 19th from 6-10pm on Center Street Promenade between Anaheim Blvd and Harbor Blvd.


Good Things Now Open
We are totally digging the concept behind Center Street newcomer Good Things, a hybrid drink/dine/shop experience with a laid-back, California cool vibe.  Guest chefs do pop-ups or you can bring your own eats and nosh while you peruse the vintage finds (emphasis on furnishings, books and vinyl). Yes, you will Instagram the heck out of this place (@goodthingsanaheim).

Open Daily from 10am – 9pm. Call (714)808-9671 for more info.

Pali Wine Co. Now Pouring at MAKE

Meanwhile, the outpost of Pali Wine Co. now open at MAKE is pretty easy on the eyes, too. (Sidenote: MAKE’s ultracool digs, originally a Sunkist marmalade factory, just hit its 100-year mark. Happy birthday!) We love that shimmering wall of repurposed wine bottles—a primo photo backdrop if ever there was one. At Pali, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Central Coast is on tap, plus the winery’s Tower 15 label, which includes French blends from Bordeaux and the Rhone. Buy a bottle to take home or head outdoors to the breezy patio for flight practice.

Pali Wine Co in Anaheim

Pali Wine Co @ MAKE
Open Mon.-Thurs., 4-10pm
Fri., 3-11pm
Sat., 11am-11pm
Sun. 12-8pm
500 S. Anaheim Blvd., Anaheim, CA 92805


“The Skipper Show” Sets Sail at Anaheim Brewery (For the Last Time)
We kept hearing about “The Skipper Show.” It had all the makings of an urban legend: Comedians who were Skippers-by-Day on the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland, turned their experiences into open-mic gold doing stand-up at night. Happily, it’s for real! Unhappily, it’s ending! So corny and clever it hurts, you don’t want to miss the last outing of this improv comedy show at Anaheim Brewery.

Anaheim Brewery's Skipper Show

The Skipper Show @ Anaheim Brewery
Aug. 12 at 8pm
336 S. Anaheim Blvd., Anaheim, CA 92805

Got the scoop on an upcoming Center City event we should know about? We’re always on the hunt for inside intel on new openings, special events, one-offs, gatherings, happenings, be-ins, etc., around Center City. Send us your tip!

KCRW Presents Summer Nights 2017 in Center City Anaheim

KCRW Summer Nights Event


Center City Anaheim – Center Street and the Carnegie Plaza


Saturday, September 23rd, 5:30-10 p.m.
Featuring KCRW DJs Travis Holcombe and Jose Galvan

(first event, already completed)
Saturday, June 24th, 5:30-10 p.m.
Featuring KCRW DJs Dan Wilcox and Valida

Special Offer Update for 9/23:
The Muzeo will be opening its doors for all Summer Nights guests to explore the museum, gratis!


Valet for just $3. Free trolley rides to and from Center St. Promenade 12-9 p.m.

Back for two encore performances, Center City Anaheim hosts KCRW’s Summer Nights 2017 in the OC! Bring the whole fam and come hang with KCRW and their DJs on Center Street and the Carnegie Plaza. Enjoy great music, a beer garden, and hand-selected retail and food vendors. Two events in June and September help kick-off summer, then wind it back down. Check out the Anaheim KCRW Summer Nights schedule here.

See the full Summer Nights lineup at and RSVP on the Center City Anaheim Facebook page here.

Best Spots to Watch the Big Game

Best sports bars in Anaheim to watch the Superbowl game.

Hosting a football party for the Big Game can be fun—but also a bit stressful. Rather than sacrificing your home (and your sanity) for the biggest NFL game of the year, check out these Anaheim hot spots perfect for catching all the action—with cheap beer on tap and classic game-watching grub on the menu.

Unique Seats

The open atmosphere of the Anaheim Packing House might seem like an unusual setting to watch NFL football, but in fact, it makes quite the perfect venue. Not only does it give you access to ample merchants offering a variety of food and bev options, but come February 5, a big screen will be positioned in the middle of the common area for watching the Bowl game.  Bring your friends and grab a seat in the center of the action. If you’re going with a big group, be sure to get there early enough to save a space.

Watching football at Tony's Deli in Center City Anaheim.

Pull up a bar stool and chow down on one of Tony’s Deli’s hearty sandwiches while watching the big game.

Not Your Average Deli

For something a little more intimate, try pulling up a bar stool at Tony’s Deli & Bottle Shop. With a focus on offering you great deli food, this spot is more than just a grab-and-go diner; it’s a fresh take on the classic sports bar. Sit down and peruse their menu of over 60 craft and imported bottled beers, 4 beers on tap and 25 bottled sodas. Take your time ordering from the list of classic and non-traditional sandwiches available. This low-key atmosphere also offers a couple of TVs conveniently placed to enjoy a more relaxing atmosphere for NFL game day.

Healthy food options at Gypsy Den in Anaheim.

Health nuts like football, too. Get your fix of both at Gypsy Den!

The Healthy Option

If you’d prefer to steer clear of the traditional wings and brats, stop in to Orange County’s original alternative café. The Gypsy Den offers a menu filled with healthy and delicious vegetarian and vegan items from small bites to delicious dinner entrees. Their drink list features a variety of carefully crafted cocktails plus a selection of beer and wine. There is only one TV in the restaurant so be sure to arrive early enough to snag a spot on the couch or reserve one of the tables close by.

Collage of food options and decor in Gypsy Den, Anaheim.

(Do) Rock the Juke Joint

With 20 rotating taps, pool tables and dart boards, free wi-fi, and happy hour every day of the week from 6 am to 8 pm, Juke Joint touts itself as the NFL headquarters for watching the big game. If you head to this venue, come prepared for a little more raucous than at the other venues on our list, but with all of the action and energy fostered at this Center City staple, you’re guaranteed a great time—so long as you brought your game face!

Your Center City Caffeine Fix

Mug of coffee at one of Anaheim's top coffee shops

Coffee is a staple of life in the city of Anaheim. Whether it’s your early morning rise-and-shine or your late afternoon pick-me-up, the following are our favorite coffee shops and cozy cafes around town pouring the perfect elixir.

A Classic Cup

The historic Anaheim Packing District is a great stop for coffee any time of day. From breakfast to comfort foods, there are over 20 vendors offering a range of culinary treats to choose from. For a classic cup of artisanal coffee we suggest Pandor Artisan Boulanger & Café, the perfect spot for a sit-down breakfast of eggs benedict or a Parisian omelet—or to grab a fresh decadent pastry to-go. No matter which way you prefer to start your day, you can be sure their exclusive blends of aromatic coffee and espresso beverages will hit the spot.

Popbar sign in Center City Anaheim

Indulge in all of the culinary treats Anaheim Packing House has to offer in Center City.

Try Something Cool

For the truly daring coffee drinkers, we suggest something a little cooler. Stop in to Pop Bar and treat yourself to a Popaccino. This sweet concoction is a blend of premium caramel coffee, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and sprinkled with chocolate flakes. Order the frozen hot chocolate or hot chocolate on a stick for the kids as non-caffeinated alternatives to the traditional recipes.

Frozen coffee on a stick at Popbar in Center City Anaheim.

Pop in to Popbar for frozen coffee on a stick – an original way to get your caffeine fix.

Beer For Breakfast? Yes, Please

Are you the breakfast all day type? Iron Press offers a non-traditional take on a classic morning menu item. Their sweet and savory sandwiches put two cooked-to-perfection waffles together with over a dozen fixings. From slow-roasted pulled pork to crispy fried chicken, the mouth-watering option will make it difficult to narrow down.

While Iron Press specializes in pairing these unique menu items with locally crafted beer, you can get your coffee fix with one of their special brews. Try a stout crafted with coffee from their regularly rotating tap and bottle list We suggest stopping in for Hoppy Hour Monday through Friday 3pm – 6pm to try their tots and waffle fries.

Crafted With Care

For the traditionalists, those who are just looking for the classic water poured over beans type, Ink & Bean Coffee Saloon and Wordshop is the ideal stop. Serving the rich and delicious flavors from Stumptown Coffee Roasters, the baristas here are well-versed in everything from crafting the perfect cappuccino to pouring the perfect cup of cold brew coffee.

Ink and Bean cafe in Center City Anaheim.

Stop in to Ink and Bean Coffee Shop–one of Center City’s most popular coffee shops, for a piping hot cafe beverage.

Serving breakfast and lunch, you can enjoy a made-to-order meal or grab a delicious, fresh pastry to accompany your favorite beverage on-the-go. Grab a stool to enjoy free Wi-Fi or cozy up to a good book. And like a true classic coffee shop, live music comes with the territory. Stop in on the weekends for some tunes to set the tone for your day.

Unique New Year’s Resolutions

unique new year's resolutions to keep in center city anhaeim

Whether you’re the “stick to a regimen” type, or you’re just looking for some interesting ways to start the new year, we have a list of unique New Year’s Resolutions to get 2017 off on the right foot.

Learn Some New Tricks

Eating healthy is a resolution that we can all relate to, and CulinaryLab Cooking School is just the place to help make this happen. Located just outside Center City on Anaheim Blvd. sign up and enjoy some expert instruction to help you hone your skills in the kitchen. From single day home cooking classes, to full fledged pro level programs, this immersive, hands-on school offers chefs of every level the chance to make something delicious.

CulinaryLab in Center City Anaheim

Learn to cook new, delicious and healthy meals at CulinaryLab cooking studio in Center City Anaheim.

Sure everyone has health and fitness at the top of their self-improvement lists, but how about a way to get fit while having some fun? Sign up for a class at SwingIt Trapeze and soar high above the ground like a circus acrobat—all while getting a good workout. Professionals will teach you how to swing from the bars and fly through the sky in a safe and skilled environment. Impress your friends all while having the time of your life.

man practicing trapeze at Swing It Trapeze in Anaheim.

Get in shape while having fun–try your hand in trapeze at Swing It Trapeze in Anaheim.

Expand Your Vocabulary

Have a poem inside that want’s out? Need a little more time to finally finish that book? Make the second and fourth Thursday of every month your nights to write. Join the Ink & Bean Coffee Saloon and Wordshop Critique Group where all levels and genres are welcome. Get the support and camaraderie you need to keep putting words on the page.

Women catching up over coffee at Ink and Bean cafe in Anaheim.

Spend more time catching up with friends and investing in your relationships. Meet up at Ink and Bean Cafe.

The new year is the perfect time to catch up on your reading. Just outside the Ink & Bean is the Airstream Library, providing a unique spot for picking up a free paperback. Pop in and find a classic you’ve forgotten about or a new title you’ve never heard of. And if you have some books you’re tired of, donate them for others to enjoy.

Help Your Neighbors

In addition to improving the health of your body and mind, give your soul a healthy diet by volunteering your time. By opening Rockwood Apartments in 2016, Anaheim took a huge leap forward in solving the prevalent homeless problem in Southern California. By offering affordable housing this new complex has given those in need a new lease on life—literally. Help keep the positive momentum moving forward in 2017 by volunteering your time. Jamboree, the home-builder behind the Rockwood complex, is always looking for individuals or businesses to help serve the underserved. You can sign up for a single day of volunteer service or get involved to help your neighborhood on a regular basis. Find out how you can help by visiting the Jamboree volunteer page.