Tag: things to do

Fun Date Ideas

Man and woman having fun on a date in Anaheim

From the cute to the creative, here are some unique ways to have a good time with a date in Anaheim.

Whether it’s a first date or you’ve been married for years, coming up with unique date ideas can be tough. Don’t worry—we’ve got you covered. From daringly adventurous to delightfully romantic, here are some fun things to do right in your own backyard.

Say Cheers

Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or a self-proclaimed hophead, Colony Wine Merchant is the perfect stop for a sip. Located on Cedar Street, this neighborhood wine bar offers a selection of fine wines and craft beer by the flight, glass or bottle. Snack on artisan cheeses or other small bites that pair perfectly with your selection. And be sure to check out the monthly calendar for fun events like Wine Wednesday, Thirsty Thursdays and beer & wine tasting events.

Colony Wine Merchant in Anaheim.

Wine and dine your date at Colony Wine Merchant in Center City Anaheim.

Cultivate Your Intellectual Side

Fun dates don’t always need to include dinner. Anaheim offers a variety of ways to explore culture while having a good time. Start your date off with a visit to Muzeo Museum and Cultural Center. This 25,000 square-foot art hub offers an ever-rotating collection of creations along with a calendar of events and activities for the artfully minded.

Muzeo museum in downtown Anaheim.

Explore the arts & culture of Anaheim at Muzeo contemporary museum.

If you’re not so much a fine art fanatic, you could impress your date by writing a little romantic poetry at the Ink & Bean Coffee Saloon & Workshop. Here you’ll find all the supplies a writer would need—coffee, pastries, and plenty of writing utensils. If you can’t find your writing muse, you can always browse some existing works at the free Airstream Library located right outside. 

Body Ink & Bean in Anaheim

Foster your inner poet at Ink & Bean Cafe in Center City Anaheim.

If your style of art is more of the graphic novel nature, try stopping by Pop! Comics & Culture Emporium. Located in the heart of Center City, Pop! offers all your comic favorites from Marvel to DC—in both comic and collectable forms. Who knows, maybe you and your date will bond over a first edition?

After your artistic adventure, stop by the Gypsy Den Café + Bar, where you and your date can continue your cultural consumption as you take in the eclectic atmosphere while indulging in a healthy snack or sip on one of their specialty coffees.

Airstream Library in Downtown Anaheim.

Enjoy a night out in downtown Center City Anaheim.

Dates For Daredevils

Yes, we know it’s a strange concept in Southern California, but Anaheim is home to a world-class ice skating facility. The Rinks, located on Center Street, is a cool date idea, offering you the opportunity to show how well balanced you are—or impress your date with your ability to “fall gracefully.” Open to the public 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, cost of admission is $11 plus $4 for equipment rentals for adults ages 16 to 54. That post ice skate-session bruise to your ego? Well that’s priceless.

The Rinks ice skating rink in downtown Anaheim.

Public ice skating at The Rinks in Center City Anaheim.

For those who love too oohh and ahhh, stick around after your skating session to view the Disneyland fireworks—without the steep price of admission. You can see them from a range of spots in this area, including the parking structure across the street from the The Rinks, on the patio at Gypsy Den, or from a comfy seat in Farmers Park. To plan your night around this performance check out the schedule at: https://disneyland.disney.go.com/entertainment/disneyland/fireworks/

If sliding on ice doesn’t get your heart pumping, how about flying through the sky? Located in the heart of downtown, SwingIt Trapeze offers circus and acrobatic classes for all levels. The two-hour flying trapeze session will teach you how to hang from your knees high above the safety net. Nothing says, “I love you,” like grabbing for your date mid-air.

For more fun date ideas, check out our Cheap Date Alert article or 19 Restaurants and Eateries.

Hit the Farmers Market!

Pasta Primavera. Maybe you know it as that dish at the Italian restaurant that’s kind of loaded with cream sauce and a few wan veggies. And if so, it may not strike you as an uber healthy recipe. Or as a hallmark of spring farm-to-table cooking. And yet, it’s a dish with roots (see what we did there?). Primavera means “spring” in Italian—think Boticelli and his cavorting Renaissance nymphs—and an authentic pasta primavera is a dish that should herald the bounty of the season. When it’s made properly, it’s the kind of farm-to-table recipe that just begs you to visit one of Anaheim Center City’s farmers markets and load up on the delicate veggies that are at their freshest and most seasonal right now. And there’s a slew of other great recipes, too—all weeknight quick—to help you put a healthy farm-to-table dish in front of your family in a hurry. Are you hungry yet?

Farm to Table


Farmers Markets: Shopping Straight from the Source

Here’s step one in your farm-to-table cooking adventure: Hit the farmers market. When Anaheim Center City was coming into focus, it was obvious that honoring the neighborhood’s agrarian heritage meant giving local farmers markets access to primo real estate. So now, twice a week, local farmers roll into Anaheim bringing with them a wide variety of seasonal produce and flowers, much of it organic, all of it ready for a farm-to-table feast.

On Thursdays, Downtown Anaheim’s Certified Farmers’ Market and Craft Fair takes over Center Street Promenade from 11am-4pm. Among the market stalls you’ll also find food vendors—including some vending seriously tempting treats, like Lucky 13 Sweets, Le Petit Pommes Frites, Bakeshack and Kettle Corn King—but keep your focus. Remember, you’re here for healthy recipes! Here’s a tip: Your objective is to try and “eat the rainbow.” That means vibrant green kale and Swiss chard and collards, and dark, colorful berries. Beets the color of garnets. Stone fruits in jewel tones.

On Fridays, the healthy farmers market action moves to the Farmers Park Market in the Packing District, open from 4-8pm in the 2-acre park next door to the historic Anaheim Packing House. At this time of year, you’ll find seasonal delicacies there like artichokes, cherries and peaches, plus apricots, pluots and nectarines, along with the first ripe tomatoes (check out the heirloom varieties) and early summer squashes like zucchini, patty pan and crookneck. Farmers Park Market also has sustainable beef, pork, lamb and chicken from Da Le Ranch, a small family farm located in the central Inland Empire. It’s the type of enterprise that exemplifies what’s best about farmers market shopping: The opportunity to put together a farm-to-table feast of healthy recipes while simultaneously supporting local agriculture and small farmers that farm with the future in mind.

Anaheim Farmers Market

What should you buy at the market? Everything! Seriously. That’s the other great thing about farmers market shopping. Supermarkets buy from national and international brokers, and as a matter of course, you can get just about any kind of fruit or vegetable you want at any time of year. It just may taste like… nothing. At the Anaheim farmers markets, on the other hand, you’re buying from local growers, and that means that the produce on offer reflects what’s actually growing in Southern California at that time of year, and so loaded with flavor. So feel free to shop to your hearts content. We like to graze when we’re shopping, freely snacking on samples to see who has the sweetest tomatoes and berries, the juiciest citrus. After all, scoring the most flavorful ingredients is key to your farm-to-table feast!

Putting it All Together

So are recipes. You’d be surprised, though, how many of the best healthy recipes are essentially straight forward and simple. They let your hard-won farmers market produce shine, relying on a little oil, a little acid and a little seasoning to highlight its natural deliciousness.

Here’s a basic farm-to-table technique to master: Take root or cruciferous vegetables like beets, parsnips, carrots, cauliflower or broccoli and toss with olive oil and salt and pepper, then roast in a 350°F oven until the veggies have a light char. Before serving, splash them with a little vinegar (try seasoned rice wine vinegar or sherry vinegar) or a squeeze of lemon juice. For extra nutritional and flavor dimension, you can add cooked grains (farro, barley, quinoa) to your roasted veggies, but that’s going beyond. Serve the dish with a simple protein like chicken (go for the thighs!) or salmon and you’ve got a healthy meal that comes together in less than 30 minutes.

That pasta primavera dish is equally fast and delicious. While your salted pasta water comes to a boil, prep a variety of fresh spring farmers market vegetables. Think sugar snap peas, asparagus, baby carrots cut into thin slivers, delicate slices of summer squash, and maybe a few mushrooms for meaty texture (this healthy recipe is vegetarian). Try adding shelled fava beans if you’re feeling adventurous. While your pasta is cooking (toothsome fettuccini is the best choice here), quickly sauté the vegetables all jumbled together in olive oil with some chopped garlic. We’re talking 5-7 minutes here, max—about the same length of time as it takes to cook the noodles al dente. Season the veggies at the end of cooking with salt and pepper and a splash of white wine. Then add the hot, drained pasta to the pan with a squeeze of lemon juice, check your seasoning (add salt and pepper if necessary), then serve hot with parmesan cheese for sprinkling. No cream, no overcooked vegetables—just farm-to-table fabulous.

For a few more healthy recipes to help you with your farm-to-table feast, check out this Asparagus & Leek Pizza from Shutterbean; an exotic Moroccan Fava Bean & Vegetable Soup recipe that was published in The New York Times; and this bright and flavorful dish of Crispy Lemon Roasted Baby Artichokes by Running to the Kitchen.

With the days lengthening and growing warmer, ‘tis the season for fresh food. Head to Anaheim’s Center City and the farmers markets and get cooking!

p.s. So inspired you’re thinking of making cooking your career? Check out the classes at Culinary Lab at the Packing House.

Sunday Funday

Don’t mourn the end of the weekend—revel in those last precious hours of freedom with wild abandon. Sunday brunch is an essential part of preparing for a new work week. If you’re in the Anaheim area the best place to start your Sunday Funday celebration is in the Packing District in Center City. You’ll find everything you need from delicious grub to a little exercise and even opportunities to get your creative juices flowing.

With the abundant options to fill your Sunday Funday, it’s important to pace yourself. Start the day off at the crack of ten with a yoga class at Farmers Park, courtesy of The Yoga Mat. Farmer’s Park is a two-acre park with a community garden, olive grove and boardwalk that runs between the Packard Building and the Packing House. Bring a yoga mat (obviously), towel, water and sunscreen, and do your most impressive downward dog or your fiercest warrior pose. Best of all, it’s free (but donations are greatly appreciated).

No Sunday Funday is complete without fantastic food. Next, head over to The Gypsy Den on the Center Street Promenade for Sunday brunch and their Anaheim-famous $10 bottomless Mimosas. The décor is casual, shabby chic with mismatched furniture and random artwork, and it’s a great place to have a cup of coffee (or Mimosa), hang out and people watch—the outdoor patio sits right on the Promenade. The brunch menu is vegetarian/vegan friendly and their breakfast Panini is to die for. The Treasure Bowl is another great option with Greek yogurt, berries, honeycomb and granola. There are some great vegan desserts too, like the coconut cake, so save some room.

Next stop, Pour Vida Latin Flavor. Chef Jimmy Martinez is the former chef at BOA Steakhouse and former executive chef at 41 Ocean Club. The tacos are fantastic with seafood and vegetarian options, and the salads are excellent. But the drinks are the stars of the show with exquisite craft cocktails and fresh-pressed juices.

It’s been a long day, but you need to wrap up Sunday Funday with a little mystery. Head over to the “super-secret” speakeasy-style bar known as The Blind Rabbit. Inside the Packing House, look for the Rolling Boil hot pot place. Now, look around casually to see if you’ve been followed. If the coast is clear, saunter towards the Japanese beer keg wall—that’s where you’ll find the secret door to The Blind Rabbit. You’ll need a top-secret password which only a select few people in the world who have Internet access and are able to navigate the Blind Rabbit Instagram page will be able to procure. Reservations are recommended, unless you enjoy standing around trying to look inconspicuous for hours on end.

Brew Master

Inside you’ll find yet even more imaginative craft cocktails and a short bar menu with exotic comfort food like the duck confit mac and cheese and the pork two ways made with pork belly and pig ears. Round out the evening with an order of cinnamon toast crunch sorbet.

Planning a spectacular Sunday Funday has never been easier. Simply start your celebration in Anaheim’s Center City. There’s so much to do here, you’ll be hard pressed to get it all in on one day. Don’t forget to document your festivities using #CtrCity.

Now go home. It’s Sunday.


The Art of Anaheim


Looking for things to do in Anaheim? Something different from the typical Anaheim attractions? Try adding a little culture to your life. The art of Anaheim is everywhere in Center City, but you have to pay attention (and know where to look) or you just might miss it.

Downtown has several examples of amazing public art and you can spend a good part of a day discovering it all. There’s also Muzeo, a 25,000 square foot complex encompassing Anaheim’s original Carnegie Library and a state of the art gallery space. The Art Crawl experience happens several times a year with the next one being on November 12th.

You can take your own unguided “Art of Anaheim” tour fairly easily. I suggest starting in the Center Street Promenade area and checking out some of the public art, then by the Muzeo and the Center Gallery, and then wander over to ICE to see the Frank Gehry building. Also, check out LA’s Peter Shires’ “The Neighborhood” installation.

Look for the numbered circular plaques marking the downtown area’s public art, usually on the ground near the artwork. It’s hard to miss the “Hammer Clock” standing nearly 12 feet tall at the corner of Clementine and Promenade—an enormous claw hammer perched over a large pocket watch. The artist is Daniel Martinez and he has several other works of art in the area. Follow the trail from Hammer Clock to his “Video Trees,” birdhouse-like sculptures showing public information, local videos and even traffic conditions.

Heading on you’ll discover another well-represented artist, Nobi Nagasawa, his most popular works include “Orange Crates,” the stone sculptures “Anvil and Nails,” and “Coyote Bench.” One of his more interesting works is the “Sinking Canoe,” placed inside the parking garage at the Center Street Promenade—a nod to the earliest mode of transportation in the area.

Buster Simpson contributions include “Knowse to the Grindstone,” wooden “Nursery Planters,” and the iconic “Anaheim A Benches.” He also created the pavement inscription “Original Anaheim City Map.” His “Exchanger Fountain” is an inscribed drinking fountain adjacent to a willow, channeling gray water to nurture its growth.

For art on a grand scale, there’s the Anaheim ICE building. It’s known for being one of the major works of architect Frank Gehry and it’s also the practice and training rink of the Anaheim Ducks of the National Hockey League. The facility resembles a pair of huge, arched quonset huts, and inside the soaring laminated wooden beams and braces create a nautical effect that recalls the inverted ship shape of Gehry’s Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles.

Anaheim ICE

Muzeo has widely diverse exhibitions and is currently featuring Vitality of Line: works by Nicolay Paskevich (through September 11th).

Another gallery worth checking out is the Center Gallery, which features works throughout the year at the Downtown Anaheim Community Center. They provide local visual artists a 6 to 8 week long opportunity to exhibit their art. It’s a great place to see the work being created right here in our own community.

Downtown Anaheim’s Art Crawl Experience (ACE) is a quarterly art walk and arts festival which takes place on the second Saturday of February, May, August and November from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. Now in its 6th year, guests enjoy a dizzying array of attractions ranging from pop-up galleries to craftspeople exhibiting their unique wares. New to the event in 2016 will be an assortment of culinary creations made by local food artisans.

ACE was created by artists and community art patrons with the intent of bringing arts and culture downtown by showcasing art in public places, street artisans, and the brick-and-mortar galleries.

During the evening of an ACE, attendees stroll among outdoor permanent art fixtures, such as Peter Shire’s illuminated birdhouse sculptures, to discover artists demonstrating their creative process live for curious onlookers.

Participating downtown eateries and shops transform their spaces into one-night pop-up galleries, while the latest art exhibits are revealed at brick-and-mortar galleries, including Center Gallery and MUZEO. Gourmet food trucks rally and local entertainers perform throughout the experience.

Anaheim Foodies Pop Up Bar

The crawl stretches from Clementine to Anaheim Boulevard along the Center Street Promenade with activities reaching around the corner to the Anaheim Packing District. Art lovers can catch rides aboard the open-air trolley for complimentary rides throughout Downtown Anaheim’s Art Crawl Experience.