Category: Explore

Get Ready! Anaheim’s First Japan Fair is Here

Immerse yourself in the richness of Japanese culture as Center Street Promenade transforms into a “taste of Japan” on Saturday, May 25th. From 11:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M.,  Anaheim’s first-ever Japan Fair  will introduce guests to traditional aspects of Japanese culture with a modern twist. There will be something for everyone: from the foodie to the cosplayer, from the karate kid to the kimono lover. 

“What I want to do is bring everything together,” says Rocky Yoneyama who runs Okayama Kobo bakery and is organizing the event. “I think the people who are interested in Japan have different interests in [the] culture: whether it’s pop culture, anime, traditional, or food. I want them to experience the whole thing together, as one.”

The team behind Japan Fair has received support from the community including other Center Street businesses. Healthy Junk is creating a special vegan dish for the occasion while Hummos & Pita  crafted an Asian/Mediterranean shish kabob for the day.

With the entire promenade closed to traffic, guests can search for Sanrio and tea sets from vendors like Tokyo Japanese Lifestyle, sample the best in street food at stalls such as Sushi Boy, Fujiwara Tofu Cafe, and Katsu Brothers, learn all about Angels star pitcher and Japan native Shohei Ohtani, or watch artist and calligrapher Soho Nakano work her magic.

An array of live performers and events will take place on the main stage kicking off with a Shishi-Mai, the traditional “lion dance” of the Japanese New Year. Karate demonstrations and samurai fights give way to Hawaiian dance performance and later, indie pop artists Mirudaru and Cali Crisis set the atmosphere for a cosplay fashion show.

As the afternoon gives way to evening, a smack of Tokyo nightlife takes the stage with rock from Cribabi Japan and sets from DJ Greg Hignight of the music collective Tune in Tokyo. Toast the end of the day by sipping sake and imported brew at a pop-up beer garden while grooving to the sonic stylings of superstar DJ and producer Taku Takahashi.

While the event is free to the public, you can pre-purchase an official Fair t-shirt and goodie bag stocked with offers and coupons from attending vendors valued at over $60. And FRAN will be on hand to usher you from parking to the event. Ikuzo! “Let’s go!”

Anaheim Japan Fair takes place Saturday, May 25th and is open to all ages. For a full lineup of vendors, activities, and entertainment and to pre-purchase the official goodie bag, visit  anaheimjapanfair.com

Papel Chicano Dos Highlights Key Latino Artists

Say “Cheech Marin” and a Baby Boomer will smile with recognition. The seventy-two-year-old actor and comedian first rose to fame in the ‘70s and ‘80s as one half of the comedic duo Cheech & Chong.

One lesser known fact about Cheech Marin is that he is one of the most avid and important collectors of Chicano artwork. From now until July 14th, you can experience up close diverse works from Marin’s private collection at MUZEO. Called “Papel Chicano Dos: Works on Paper” this second touring exhibit of his collection provides an intimate look at 65 artworks by 24 known and emerging artists.

A large quote on a vibrant pumpkin-colored wall of the gallery reads: “One is born a Mexican-American, but one chooses to be a Chicano. Politically charged, the Chicano lifestyle has been passed from one generation to another. It has survived wars, prisons, and strife.”

These words, spoken by Gaspar Enriquez, one of the exhibit’s featured artists, offers a window into the singular and collective experiences of Mexican-Americans who reclaimed the term Chicano, a descriptive that used to have negative connotations.

Cheech Marin realized the immense talent and diverse voices of Chicano artists deserved greater attention and his refined eye was drawn to artists who, through their works, are united in immediacy and vitality.

The extraordinary collection embodies a dizzying diversity of techniques, styles, and perspectives. Some highlights include the works of Vincent Valdez who emerged in the early 2000s. His evocative series of drawings centers around a boxer and embody themes including the myth of fame and the dehumanization of an idealized figure. In an almost storyboard-like fashion, he ties Catholic iconography to pop culture.

A section nicknamed “The Gronk Room” is dedicated to the work of East L.A bred artist Giugio Nicandro, known as Gronkwhose works are bold and emotional. You can become lost in the symbolism and bold colors of “Soy Chicana” an epic piece by Cici Segura Gonzalez, also from East L.A. And with his singular wit and humor, the late Gilbert Lujan, known as Magu is represented in part, with a stunningly detailed 1950 Chevy Coupe covered in Chicano iconography, pop-culture and folk art.

In Muzeo’s main gallery, Papel Chicano Dos is a can’t-miss exhibit shining with vibrancy, depth and scope; a testament to the diversity of the Chicano experience.

On view until July 14th, Papel Chicano Dos runs Wednesday through Sundays from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM and online reservations are encouraged. Ticket prices range from $7.00-$10.00 and can be purchased here.

Happy Fry-Day!

Every healthy diet deserves a cheat day, but indulging doesn’t mean you have to skip out on quality. Think beyond the fair fare. A giant fried oreo may be fun once a year, but once a year is about all your stomach might be able to handle. Luckily, many of our Ctr City foodie outposts have the fried category covered and in the most delectable ways—so you can indulge in more fry-days and experience fewer recovery days.

The American deep South is credited with the innovation of many deep-fried delicacies, most famously, perhaps is fried chicken. Sweetbird, the southern comfort food outpost in the Packing House has the American staple covered. Its original fried chicken sandwich is stuffed with slaw, aioli, butter pickles and topped with a buttery bun.

A visit to Promenade Pub elevates fried tater tots from a humble bar appetizer to gourmet goodness. Their crispy Pub Tots are smothered in prime rib, melted gruyere, and cheddar cheese, green onions and stout BBQ sauce. Pair it with one of the twenty tasty local craft beers on tap from breweries like The Bruery, Bottle Logic, Anaheim Brewery, and Noble Ale works (happy hour has $5 beers). The Promenade, located on Center Street Promenade at the corner of Anaheim and Center street, often features live local acts—this Sunday features acoustic soul singer/songwriter Roderick Chambers.

Around the world, fried foods are an indelible street/casual food staple. The Chippy Fish and Grill (Packing House) takes the quintessential British bar pairing of fish and chips (fries) and elevates it by using proprietary family recipes that promise that the tasty battered morsels are cooked using healthier methods. And Chippy Fish is the real deal; their first restaurants opened in Chelmsford, England in the 1980s.

Coming to Anaheim by way of Syria, Mangal is the Packing House offshoot of popular Aleppo’s Kitchen located on Brookhurst St. near Disneyland. Mangal, which means barbecue in Arabic, serves up a fried Kibbeh pita. Kibbeh is made of whole-grain bulgur wheat stuffed with different types of meat and spices. It can be baked or grilled, but when fried it offers a delicious crispy coating.

The American south doesn’t have the last word on fried chicken. At Pour Vida Latin Flavor, the twist is in the taco. Buttermilk fried chicken receives an extra kick with paprika sauce, and kale slaw replaces the traditional raw cabbage coleslaw. Their nacho fries are another standout. Think truffle fries topped with queso fresco and pico de gallo.

Here’s to many more Fry-days!

SweetBird

440 S Anaheim Blvd., Anaheim, CA 92805
714.905.9832
eatsweetbird.com

Promenade Pub

215 S Anaheim Blvd, Anaheim, CA 92805
714.860.4555
promenadepub.com

The Chippy Fish & Grill

440 S Anaheim Blvd., Anaheim, CA 92805
714.603.7865
thechippyfish.com

Mangal

440 S Anaheim Blvd., Anaheim, CA 92805
657.456.0085
mangalanaheim.com

Pour Vida Latin Flavor

185 W Center Street Promenade, Anaheim, CA 92805
657.208.3889
pourvidalatinflavor.com

CtrCity’s Offbeat Sweet Treats

Ctr City’s diversity of delectable desserts will cause any sweet tooth savant to pause and figure out how to take it all in. Dare to go beyond the cheesecake as we highlight downtown Anaheim’s most sweetly scrumptious finds.

What may be out-of-the-ordinary for some can be traditional for others. At Adya you can try Ras Malai and Gulab Jamun, both traditional Indian sweets. And “the official dessert of Hungary” also known as Kürtöskalács, has a home right here in Anaheim at House of Chimney Cakes. Named for its cylinder shape and piping hot center, it consists of a crispy sweet bread with a light fluffy dough inside. Our local versions are capped with delightful toppings.

Try the Maninos Tropical Fruit Sundae. It happens to be a vegan option but the real reason to try: it’s one spot outside of Disneyland where you can indulge in Pineapple Dole Whip. This tower of goodness also features toasted coconut shavings and is topped with fresh mango, strawberries, kiwi and strawberry guava sauce. Chim-chim-cher-ee!

But when it comes to vegan options, Healthy Junk takes the cake with their Bunny Love–a moist confection topped with fresh grated carrots appropriately timed for Easter.

For a totally different kind of bunny, The Blind Rabbit, speakeasy complements a refined menu and extensive drink list with seasonal desserts. Remaining on their winter menu (for now) is a Peanut Butter Panna Cotta: a chocolate ganache with a grape gelée corn flake pine nut crumble.

And consider not only the edible, but drinkable: Your liquid treat can be sugary and sweet or have unexpected kick. The Blind Rabbit’s Boy From Detroit cocktail made with rye whiskey, coffee infused Campari chocolate bitters, vanilla and cinnamon smoke is one way to bring some heat to your sweet tooth. Or try pairing beer and waffles from The Iron Press. A smooth stout like Modern Times Beer Black Coffee House Stout might be just what the Pressed Churro Waffle calls for: it’s a sugar coated churro, vanilla ice cream and nutella confection with maple drizzle. Or, you can have a beer (or two) as a standalone dessert like 21st Amendment’’s Hell or High Watermelon, a light fruit ale.

Don’t know where to begin? Take a stroll at our Street Sweet Dessert Festival taking place on April 6th from 5-9 PM on Center Street Promenade. Attendance is free and a sweet tooth is mandatory.

Adya

440 S Anaheim Blvd #201, Anaheim, CA 92805
714.533.2392
Adyaoc.com

House of Chimney Cakes

173 W Center Street Promenade, Anaheim, CA 92805
714.603.7859
thehouseofchimneycakes.com

Healthy Junk

201 W Center Street Promenade B, Anaheim, CA 92805
714.772.5865
thehealthyjunk.com

The Blind Rabbit

440 S Anaheim Blvd, Anaheim, CA 92805
theblindrabbit.com

The Iron Press

440 S Anaheim Blvd, Anaheim, CA 92805
657.220.9388
theironpress.com

Okayama Kobo Brings Japanese Charm and Bakery Know-how to Anaheim

A journey that began thirty-three years ago in Osaka, Japan continues in the heart of Center City, Anaheim. Japanese bakery Okayama Kobo’s parent company took three years to find the right location, its first outside of Japan.

Vice President Rocky Yoneyama’s aim was to introduce a café with over two hundred stores in Japan to the U.S. consumer. It was a bit of a risk, but one that so far, seems to be paying off as a steady stream of customers line up at the counter each morning for the pastry shop’s array of treats. All of Okayama Kobo’s baked goods are made with its proprietary Hokkaido flour. Additive and preservative free, bread made from the dough is baked fresh daily.

The name Okayama comes from the chain’s second bakery. Okayama is a picturesque town and the capital of the Bizen province, which not so coincidentally is the name of the cozy beer bar next door: a sister store to the bakery. “Kobo” means workshop, which fits the behind-the-scenes look at the bread-making process you receive upon walking in.

Rocky hired a Japanese-based designer to create a modern yet homey feel. Natural wood tables add to a warm, family-friendly vibe. The aesthetic extends next door to the brewpub—you can easily cross from one to the other, cozying up in either space. Groundwork Coffee is featured on a drink menu that includes kombucha, nitro cold brew and assorted teas.

With over 500 rotating recipes, delectable treats on display range from more familiar like Sunrise (plain or matcha), a soft dough covered in a thin layer of cookie crust, to savory treats like the popular Japanese beef-filled Curry Pan, to satisfying sandwiches served on Japanese-style hotdog buns such as the Yakisoba Coppe, made with traditional fried noodles with sausage and ginger.

By far, the best-selling item is the minimally perfect Salt and Butter roll. “Once they tried it, they got hooked to it.” Yoneyama says about the soft style bread unfamiliar to many Americans. He often sees the same customers on a daily basis.

“We wanted to get into marketing where it was an average demographic in the U.S.”, Yoneyama says about the shop’s location, about a block from Muzeo. “And it’s right in front of City Hall, so we were able to think about connecting with the city.”

He didn’t waste any time making that connection. Rocky is working with the city to organize Anaheim’s first ever Japan Fair taking place on Saturday, May 25th. With free admission, it will feature food, entertainment, merchandise and cosplay. Rocky assures us Okayama Kobo will make its delicious presence known as well.

Aside from the Japan Fair, he created a special event for Bizen Beer Bar on March 16th where you can sip imported Japanese and locally brewed beer for $5 while enjoying the feats of a troupe of four to five authentic samurai performers. “And…you can drink with them!” he says. We can’t wait!

Okayama Kobo Bakery & Café

155 W. Center Street Promenade

Anaheim, CA 92805

714.603.7332

Okayamakobousa.com

Bizen Beer Bar

155 W. Center Street Promenade

Anaheim, CA 92805

714.603.7332

Okayamakobousa.com

Japan Fair – May 25th, 2019

W. Center Street Promenade

Anaheim, CA 92805

Anaheimjapanfair.com

Hey, Hey Chardonnay!

Get to know one of the world’s most popular wines while never leaving Anaheim

Do your eyes gloss over when looking over a wine list? Do you usually throw out “give me a house red” to avoid the agony of figuring out which wine to order?

Whenever you are intimidated, remember that wine is first meant to be enjoyed. The winemaker appreciates you enjoying his/her wine as much as they do your friend who is a wine aficionado. 

It also helps to learn about wine in small portions. And with three expert purveyors of wine all within CtrCity Anaheim, you can try a new varietal each visit. You can even ask the experts at Bxcr Wine Bar, Colony Wine Merchant, and Pali Wine Co. to curate a tasting around a particular dish or style.

This month, we focus on Chardonnay, one of the most produced types of wine in the world. Generally, Chardonnay refers to the specific type of grape but refers to clones as well.  Each of our local merchants carries this style, and as Chardonnay is a grape variety known for its adaptability, you are bound to find a favorite or two, or three!

Tuck into a cozy corner of Bxcr Wine Bar’s authentic 1920s train boxcar and ask for an Olivier Leflaive Bourgogne 2015 Chardonnay. Grown on a family estate in central France, it’s available by the glass, carafe or bottle. Bxcr also has a couple of Argentine Chardonnays on its menu along with a couple of Pinot Noir/Chardonnay blends. Bxcr is known for their fun and innovative events that further help to take the stuffy out of wine culture. Upcoming is Let It Brie a wine and cheese pairing sent from the tastebud gods.

Colony Wine Merchant highlights small, family-owned West Coast wines. Among their Chardonnay selection is a Pine Ridge “Dijon clone.” A clone is a vine grown from an original “mother vine” selected for certain characteristics made by natural mutations. This 2015 selection comes from a sustainable estate vineyard in Napa valley and is available in a 3 oz, 6 oz glass or a bottle. Colony also has a wine club called The Wine Colony. As a member you receive four wines, six times a year and can attend special release parties.

Pali Wine Co. has its wineries in California’s central coast where it produces 20,000 cases a year. Their 2016 Pali Estate Vineyard Chardonnay is sourced from their 50-acre Gypsy Canyon vineyard first planted in 2012. It’s barrel-aged and barrel-fermented in new and French oak for 14 months and then bottled in 2018. A less pricey option is the lighter and fruitier Charm Acres Chardonnay.  As a wine club member,Pali’s latest releases show up directly to your doorstep. You will also be invited to tasting events because wine is always better shared!

Ctr City Welcomes FRAN: Free Rides Around the Neighborhood

After DisneylandⓇ introduced their daily operating monorail system in 1959, Anaheim continued to grow into the worldwide tourist destination it is today. Known previously as an agricultural powerhouse, the addition of a monorail system brought a promise for a new future to Anaheim and the exciting things to come!

Flash forward to today where we now live, work and play in a city of over 350,000 residents. And although we boast the ARTIC station to usher visitors to and from our metropolis, Anaheim remains a city with a small-town spirit.

Today, a revitalized historic core of Anaheim gets a bespoke mode of transportation! On Thursday, January 24th, the city introduced its first micro-transit service known as FRAN (Free Rides Around the Neighborhood), for those who venture to discover Anaheim’s history, culture and burgeoning reputation as a foodie paradise.

FRAN operates a fleet of 10 all-electric vehicles. Innovations include a seven-day a week operation between 11:00 a.m. and midnight, a custom Ctr City app allows riders to e-hail the cars, with two vehicles that are wheelchair accessible.

FRAN is also a tribute to a mother of Anaheim, Francisca Avila Rimpau. A trailblazer who founded one of the city’s first general stores, she raised 15 kids – some of who our FRAN fleet is named after. All while helping to shape early Anaheim’s social and civic landscape. An important part of our history, we celebrate Francisca and her ambitious spirit with FRAN.

The sustainable electric vehicles are made right here in Anaheim by Polaris and are designed for fast service, comfort, and safety with individual seatbelts for each passenger. FRAN is a unique way to cherish the past of Anaheim while exploring its present and future.

Enjoying the cultural, civic and nightlife of the original heart of Anaheim has never been easier or more fun. Don’t forget to snapshot your first #FRANtastic ride.

 

The CtrCity Anaheim App is now available on the App Store and GooglePlay.

 

Hop to and from the following FRAN stops:

The Circle Stop

Center Ctr Street Stop

Carnegie Plaza Stop

City Hall Stop

Kraemer Stop

Farmers Park Stop

Packing House Stop

MAKE Stop

 

 

Live Like a Local: 5 Expert Tips

With a little insider know-how and ingenuity, we can be a tourist in our town—enjoying and exploring our Ctr City neighborhood on our own agenda. We asked a few locals (crowdsourcing Nextdoor app for the win!)  for their insider tips. Here are five ways to experience Ctr City like an Orange County native:

 Up Your Wine and Hummus Game

While wine and cheese will remain bffs, hummus makes for a nice switch-up for a Mediterranean-themed meal. Anaheim has long been home for Arabic and Mediterranean communities who have enriched our city through culture and cuisine. Hummos & Pita owner Fadi Awaad tested out his Lebanese cuisine for years at Ctr City  Farmer’s Market, proving popular, he jumped when the opportunity came up to open up shop on Center St. Promenade! Stop by and pick up some of his house-made hummus inspired by his mother’s recipes and then walk around the block from Center Street Promenade to West Broadway to Colony Wine Merchant for advice on the perfect bottle to pair with and take home. Colony specializes in California and West Coast wines.

Soak Up Some Culture

Anaheim has a fascinating history, and locals love to cite little-known facts about a world-famous city that go beyond what it’s widely known for. In the mood for some creative inspiration? Take a walk to the Anaheim Heritage Center, a reading center just a block away at MUZEO where you can pass a quiet morning digging through historic photos and texts. An alternative is to take a self-guided tour through the Anaheim Colony District landmark homes. One of the homes was once owned by Nobel Prize-winning author Henryk Sienkiewicz and has been turned into a museum run by the Anaheim Library—appointments required in advance.

  Stick to Your Favorites, or a Theme 

With plenty of delicious options to choose from at The Packing House, the best way to approach the popular food hall is to come up with a game plan and stick to it. Some residents always use valet, while others swear by parking further and taking a brisk walk. The trick is to come up with an itinerary and even keep a couple of menu items in mind and maybe throwing in one new place each time. Or stick to a theme: apps only, or dessert only. Save time by mapping out your favorites in advance!

Take it Outside

Get your favorite food to go and make it a picnic at the nearby Farmer’s Park. It’s home to the relatively new and positively delicious dim sum spot 18 Folds, as well. Have kids in town? Hang out in nearby Little People’s Park. Around since 1970, there is a dedicated kid play area as well as a classic baseball field.

Thrift on a Thursday

For the DIY oriented, a trip to the carefully curated Rare by Goodwill is a must. While treasure hunting at any Goodwill can be a good time, Rare gives you the satisfaction of the hunt while upping the chance you will find something to love as clothing, accessories and home goods are chosen with a more discerning eye. The experience is a cross between a typical Goodwill and a consignment shop. Before or after heading to Rare, you can continue the homespun feels by hitting up the Thursday farmers market on Center Street Promenade where you can meet local artisans, cooks, and farmers; leaving with something else unique to take home.

There are endless options for creating an experience that works for your time, budget and interests if you think like a local. Stay tuned for more tips that will take you beyond the typical tourist experience. Happy exploring!

Merrily We Roll Along

Eating, Drinking and Everything Festive this Holiday at The Packing House

“Basically, I wanted to take my favorite spirit, tequila and put a Christmasy twist on it,” says Hetty La, bartender at the Kettle Bar. “It’s going to have tequila, lime, pineapple, and cinnamon, which is what is going to give it that “holiday feel.”

Hetty, along with all of Kettle Bar’s bartenders were tasked with coming up with a signature craft cocktail for the holiday season, which then went through some peer-reviewed tweaking. “We all went through a taste test, it was lots of fun!” she says. Her creation, called Christmas in July, is topped with a dash of Pancho Reyes chile liqueur to give a spicy southwest bite.

Kettle Bar’s creative libations are only one way in which The Packing District is gearing up for the holiday season. Now through the end of December and into the New Year, you can eat drink, shop & be merry to your heart’s content. Here are some of the offerings in and around The Packing House for the month. Please note menu items are subject to change and stay tuned as some of our vendors are still working on their seasonal magic:

Sweets

i Am (second floor)—This shaved snow and smoothie stand is a holiday party year-round, however, i Am tells us they are working on a new Hawaiian shaved ice menu item to be released this month to bring a little “Mele Kalikimaka” to your mouth. And kids love their colorful holiday “snowballs’’ that smoke with every bite.

Han’s Homemade Ice Cream (first floor)—Justin Saunders-Carter, manager at Han’s says Pumpkin Latte and Egg Nog Peppermint Oreo are on the menu this year. Gift certificates are also available for the ice cream connoisseur’s stocking.

Pop Bar (second floor)—Popbar’s handcrafted gelato-on-a-stick has too many delicious flavors. Try Pumpkin Pie and Chocolate and Caramel covered with popcorn for holiday tastes and vibes. Their famous hot chocolate-on-a-stick is perfect for bringing all the cozy-fun feels home.

Crȇpe Coop (first floor)—It’s Bonnes Fêtes at the Crêpe Coop! Mint red velvet and pumpkin spice are two favorites returning to the Crȇpe Coop along with a new fig peppermint bark edition still being perfected.

Eats

Georgia’s (first floor)—Georgia’s is all about making holiday meals easier and yummier. You can order any of their sides to go for the holidays as well as their famous fried chicken. Be an early elf as orders must be placed at least five days in advance.

206 BCE (first floor)—Ho, ho, pho! 18 Folds in Farmers Park recently opened this little outpost on The Packing House’s second floor. Their delicious pho, made from real beef bones will warm away any winter blues.

The Black Sheep (second floor)—This grilled-cheese lover’s outpost still offers The Green Gobler special. For only $9, you get a heavenly mix of sage cheddar, turkey and a bourbon cranberry jam.

The Kroft (second floor)—It’s a poutine party at The Kroft. For Thanksgiving they introduced a holiday poutine complete with stuffing and cranberries. They also feature Bootlegger’s Pumpkin Pie ale on draught.

Drinks

Mini Monster (second floor)—For tea and boba masters Mini Monster, the festive Sunset Strawberry with blue herbal tea is a big seller along with the Christmas-colored Strawberry Matcha tea.

The Iron Press (second floor)—Local brew haven The Iron Press is currently concocting their holiday drink menu. However, no need to wait for yuletide beer. A nice English brown ale like Cigar City’s Maduro paired with a Belgian waffle will hit your holiday happy spot.

Anaheim Brewery (Packard building)—Winter Wheat is on tap and available in 750 ml bottles.

Gifts

Unique, thoughtful, homemade gifts are available at Seed upstairs including the market carts at the second-floor front entry. Adorable felt hand puppets, Nutcracker themed tea towels, and shimmering pastel-colored ornaments are a few of the gifts and home trimmings just right for under or on the tree.

Events

The Packing District is packed with holiday fun! Be sure to mark your calendar:

New Year’s Eve with Downtown Band—December 31st from 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Live performance all night long, extended hours with a special countdown to midnight.

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.