Orange County, California is a place that I’ve always wanted to explore. I didn’t think I’d have the opportunity when I flew out there for a work convention. When I realized I was finished with my work a day early, I was excited to stay for that extra 24 hours and look around a bit. All I needed was transportation and a hotel room in Anaheim. Getting a rental car was easy at the airport, but it can be tricky to get a hotel room at the last minute. You can’t be sure what you’re getting and you don’t really know if you’re paying an acceptable rate. I needed help.
I logged onto HotelTonight, and was glad I did. I saw several choices for Anaheim hotels and within a couple of taps on my phone, I was all set. I drove my car to the hotel, which was nearby, and I asked the staff as I settled in what I should do if I wanted to experience Anaheim as a local would. The staff members were extremely helpful and gave me a lot of good information. I had my one-day adventure planned, so I was off and running in no time.
My hotel was in Southwest Anaheim, near Disneyland. I figured I’d blow right out of this neighborhood and get to more locally-centered areas, but to my surprise there is a lot of local activity here near the resort. As soon as I got more than a few blocks from Disneyland, I understood – there were family homes dotting the streets and some nice local shops for me to browse, while I walked around and enjoyed the area overall. It’s as if the locals wanted to hang onto some of their own influence despite the massive amusement park down the road.
Nestled into downtown Anaheim is an area known as The Colony. Most people haven’t heard of this neighborhood but it was immediately clear that I was somewhere with some history attached to it. I had this belief confirmed when I strolled by the Mother Colony House. This was one of the first buildings ever in Anaheim and it has been preserved admirably. I also saw some local restaurants and cafes, and since I was in need of a bit of an energy boost I stopped at one of them and had a nice hot cup of coffee before embarking on the next phase of my day.
When I drove into Northwest Anaheim, I had found a true residential area. Family homes were everywhere as were children and their parents going about their days. Most people don’t think of gorgeous parks when they think of Orange County, but I found one that was really beautiful. I spent some time there enjoying the sun and fresh air and realized I was hungry. I asked someone about a good place to eat, and they directed me to a Persian restaurant that’s been there for a long time. I was not disappointed. This was delicious food and an excellent atmosphere. Totally full and happy, I moved on to the next area in Anaheim I wanted to explore.
I crossed over Interstate 5 and into West Anaheim. This was another residential area and family living was the dominant form in this part of town. There were also a lot of little shops that were clearly locally owned, so I decided to grab some gifts for my family while I walked around. I was happy to find quality items as opposed to those touristy shops that sell a certain type of product, so I filled a bag or two and I was on my way, ready to finish my day of exploration.
The Platinum Triangle is a relatively new part of Anaheim, but there is some serious investment going on here. It’s an area that’s centered on the two sports venues in Anaheim, the Honda Center and Angel Stadium of Anaheim. I was fortunate in that there was a baseball game that night. What more ‘local’ thing is there to do than take in a local baseball game? I bought my ticket, took my seat and enjoyed a beverage or two while snacking on the delicious food that’s prepared here. There’s really no better way to experience local life than with a local sporting event.
As I headed back to my hotel, I started to look forward to the comfortable room that was waiting for me. I reflected on my day and realized that I had spent it as an Orange County resident for the most part. It’s a good life here and I can see why so many people call this area home. I was also grateful that I was able to secure such a great Anaheim hotel room with the help of HotelTonight. I only needed to spend a short amount of time with them before they presented me with options that were perfect. As I laid down to sleep after a fun day, I knew I’d get up early in the morning with a smile on my face, knowing that I now understood this part of the world that much better than I did less than a day ago. It was a worthwhile experience.