Category: Explore

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




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:


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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.