People are still coming to the Anaheim Packing House after 100 years… only this time, they’re not just coming for the oranges.
A lot of people call the Anaheim Packing District an upscale food court; you can definitely make a case for that. Like a food court, it boasts awesome people-watching and interesting décor. Established in 2014, the Anaheim Packing District is much less of a run-of-the-mill mall-style food court and more of what happens when a building full of restaurants runs headfirst into an art installation.
What’s the Anaheim Packing District?
The Anaheim Packing District is a converted orange packing warehouse in the heart of Anaheim that boasts a century of history. Called Orange County’s original food hall, the Anaheim Packing District showcases shops that sell everything from tiki apparel to food… it’s the food, though, that will keep you coming back again and again.
Did You Know: The packing house location itself came into service in the dawn of the 1900s and was designated a historic landmark in 2015. It hasn’t wandered far from its roots as the Sunkist company’s orange packing plant. Nods to the district’s history are everywhere, from the tractors used as décor to the orange-centric décor, and the façade of the Packing House is a definite nod to Southern California’s mission history.
This warehouse-turned-upscale-eatery is a gastronomic city unto itself, with dozens of different restaurants and cafes offering a deliciously dizzying array of food to experience. Yes, experience… because the Anaheim packing District isn’t just about getting something to eat (even if it’s really good something). It’s about having the kind of fun, free-spirited, quirky, individualized entertainment experience that Southern California is known for.
The Packing House itself is a big draw, but the District’s fifty food, beverage, and gift vendors are spread out between in the original packing house, the Make Building, the Packard Building, open-air space Farmers’ Park, Leisure Town to the south, and Center Street to the north. It’s a four-block feast for the eyes… and the stomach.
As it happens, though, there’s much more to the Packing District than food. There’s also a calendar of live music throughout the month that will keep you dancing, and individual shops have their own happy hours and special events.
Did you know: The Anaheim Packing District has its own secret events venue? Check out The Stuffed Potato for all your private event needs.
What’s in the Anaheim Packing District, Anyway?
The Anaheim Packing District is the perfect place to go when you don’t really know what you want to eat, because there are just so many options to choose from.
From getting the upscaled ultimate comfort food at Black Sheep Grilled Cheese Bar to salivating over the most innovative pies in the world at Pie Hole, the Anaheim Packing District’s food offerings run from snacks and desserts to full meals in a variety of cuisines. About the only thing they have in common is being uncommonly tasty.
We’ll give you a list of some of our favorite places to eat in the Anaheim Packing District… just be careful, because knowing what’s good might make it harder for you to choose! But there’s no wrong place to go in the District, so have fun adventuring!
The Top Five Casual Dining Spots
Black Sheep Grilled Cheese Bar: If the idea of a bar and grilled cheese doesn’t seem to go together for you, you just need to go check out the Black Sheep. They’ve taken the humble grilled cheese and made it an art form. With a decent sized menu covering all manner of grilled cheese sandwiches and one perfect soup to complement them, the only thing better than the food is the awesome staff making it. There’s even a vegan offering!
Recommended: Honestly? Everything. But the #1 Garden Goat and the #8 Pork of July are standouts.
Chippy Fish & Grill: Orange County gets a dose of England with this authentic fish & chips shop. They have American classics on the menu, too… there’s a weekly special on their jambalaya that’s to die for. This is the place to go for the best old-school fried (and grilled) fish in Anaheim.
Recommended: The fish tacos and generous fish and chip platter.
Bonus: Live music is usually featured on the weekends, and you’ll be able to see the Disneyland fireworks in the evenings.
206 BCE: Serving Cajun and Vietnamese food, this is the home of the famous – and famously Instagrammable – anti-gravity noodles.
Recommended: Anti-gravity noodles and garlic-butter shrimp. They even have imported Southeast Asian snacks and canned drinks to complete the vibe!
Georgia’s Restaurant: Soul food has the perfect home in Georgia’s Restaurant, where you can find everything from gorgeously crispy fried chicken to red beans and rice and the perfect glass of sweet tea.
Recommended: The piggy cheese fries, fried chicken no matter if it’s in a bucket or on a plate, and any of the po’boy sandwiches.
The Kroft: Re-imagined comfort food has never been so delicious before! Any restaurant that has cheeseburger eggrolls on the menu has to be something special. The Kroft offers six different versions of poutine!
Recommended: The braised beef poutine
The Top Five Great Places for Dinner
The full meal options at the Anaheim Packing District are located all over the district itself, but the hunt is well worth it. Who knows… if you want to try several places in one trip, the walk might help your appetite!
18 Folds: Over in Farmers Park, 18 Folds offers delicious dim sum and a lot of “boozy boba drinks” (and yes, they’re exactly what you think they are)
Recommended: The Taro Coco (taro-infused coconut cream and crystal boba), the Mango Mule (ginger beer, mango, ginger candy, mango popping boba)
Urbana: Día de los Muertos-themed Mexican gastropub Urbana is a delicious outpost of taco goodness. Call them for their Taco Tuesday menu, but really, just go. They have everything from pozole to fresh-shucked oysters and the most delicious margaritas.
Recommended: The red snapper ceviche, pork-belly taco, and the Urbana burger, but there isn’t a bad choice on the menu.
Orange Tei: The go-to spot for ramen inside the packing house itself, Orange Tei offers big bowls of noodles and broth that you will not want to share (even if the size does make it possible). Choose from one of four ramen bases, then customize from there with noodle thickness and extra toppings. Vegetarian ramen is an option!
Recommended: Tonkotsu Shoyu ramen, pork chashu bowl, Orange Tei sushi roll.
Adya: Adya offers fresh Indian street food like curries, chaat, kebabs, and more. They specialize in turning local organic food into fantastically flavor-packed meals. Adya is incredibly budget-friendly, as well as atmospheric and delicious.
Recommended: The sweet, creamy mango mint lassi, goat cheese naan, saag paneer, paneer tikka
Jav’s BBQ Co.: The best Central Texas barbecue in Southern California, Jav’s BBQ goes by the motto: “taste the meat, not the sauce” for a very good reason. Jav smokes his meats for twelve hours over post-oak wood to turn slabs of protein into deliciously juicy smoked meats that positively melt in your mouth.
Recommended: The Santi sandwich, macaroni and cheese, honey-glazed brussels sprouts, and literally anything off the meat menu. No joke.
The Top Five Delicious Dessert Shops
Popbar: No visit to the Anaheim Packing District is complete without hitting up Instagram dessert superstar PopBar. This shop offers a variety of gelatos and sorbettos on a stick, which you can customize with a bunch of different dips, drizzles, and toppings.
Recommended: Thai tea pop, taro pop, Ferrero Rocher pop.
Pie Hole: Sweet, savory, and unique, the Pie Hole serves up some of the best pies in Orange County. Their delicious desserts can come by the slice, or you can go crazy and go for a whole pie.
Recommended: Mexican chocolate pie, earl grey pie, and the rose latte.
Le Parfait Paris: Straight out of Paris, Le Parfait is a one-stop shop for gorgeous French pastries and baked goods. If you’re looking for food that looks as good as it tastes, you’ll love what this place has to offer.
Recommended: The earl grey and jasmine macaron, garden rose macaron, tarte aux fruits, and the sourdough bread.
Okayama Kobo: So authentically Japanese that they only use 100% Hokkaido flour to make their delicious breads, sandwiches, and rolls. Okayama doesn’t use preservatives, so whatever you buy, make sure you eat it on the day you get it.
Recommended: Strawberry milk cream croissant, oyaki takana savory bun, the bacon panini, and the kobokuma (absolutely adorable bear-shaped bread filled with delicious vanilla cream).
The House of Chimney Cakes: The official dessert of Hungary, chimney cakes are an amazing hollow cake baked flakey on the outside and fluffy on the inside, then filled with your choice of vanilla or chocolate ice cream. Yes, there’s a vegan option, too! Chimney cakes are organic and fresh daily… you’ll want to take your Instagram photo fast, because you’ll want to eat it while it’s warm!
Recommended: Mamino’s Tropical Fruit Sundae, Matcha Monster, Everyday Birthday Cake… actually, just get one of everything. Or go back often enough to have one of everything. Your pick!
The Anaheim Packing District is home to more than restaurants and food-centric shops. There are bars like Japanese beer-centric Bizen Beer Bar, The Blind Rabbit’s speakeasy atmosphere, and the fun, blue-collar vibe at Hammer Bar, shopping opportunities like RARE by Goodwill’s boutique thrift store, Lost Temple Traders for all things tiki culture, even a personal care stop in the Single Barrel Barbershop.
You can definitely spend all day (and then some) strolling, shopping, and eating your way through an experience at the Anaheim Packing District. With all that built-in versatility, it’s a great option for date night, a friend’s night out, or even a treat-yourself day.
Sensory Issues and Patrons with Special Needs
- The Anaheim Packing House itself has wheelchair-accessible parking in the main Packing House lot. There are elevators inside near the east and west entrances, and a wheelchair ramp at the north entry.
- ADA-compliant service animals are, of course, welcome within the Packing House and Packing District. Pets aren’t allowed, due to the danger to both patrons and pets, and in general, emotional support animals aren’t allowed.
- There are exceptions if the local government has a law that allows emotional support animals to be taken into public spaces.
- While security is allowed to try to determine if an animal is a service animal if it’s not wearing a working vest, they can’t ask for papers to prove that your assistance animal is ADA compliant, and they’ll never ask about your disability.
- The Packing House is a visually stimulating environment, with a lot of ambient noise, scents, and random traffic patterns. The good news is that it’s easy to step outside if you need to.
Is the Anaheim Packing District Pet-Friendly?
Well, yes and no. It’s true that you can’t bring your pet into the Anaheim Packing District, but there are a few places with pet-friendly patios for your use.
The patios at the Center Street shops, Umami Burger in the Packard Building, farm to table operation Poppy & Seed, and dim sum restaurant 18 Folds in Farmers’ Park are all available for you to lunch with your leashed pooch.
How Do I Get to the Anaheim Packing District?
Located at 440 S. Anaheim Blvd. in the heart of downtown Anaheim, the Packing House is an easy jaunt from the 5 Freeway (either north or south) and a few miles away from Disneyland.
The other parts that make up the Packing District have their own addresses, which will make your GPS mapping a little easier:
- The Packard Building: 336-338 South Anaheim Blvd., Anaheim, with Monkish Brewing and Umami Burger.
- Farmers’ Park: 430 South Anaheim Blvd., Anaheim.
- The MAKE Building: 500 South Anaheim Blvd., Anaheim, holds a wine company, a brewing company, and Jav’s BBQ.
- Center Street and Good Food – these standalone shops along Center Street range from food to tea to desserts to eco-friendly zero-waste shop Eco Now and Single Barrel Barbershop.
Where Do I Park?
There are parking lots and parking structures all over the Anaheim Packing District, and they’re free, but they’re also at a premium during the busy hours. Be prepared to do a little space hunting or take advantage of the valet parking to save yourself some aggravation.
There’s always the street parking method; make sure you observe all city ordinances if you go that route.
- Pro Valet operates the district’s don’t-do-it-yourself parking option. Valet service is $6, and their contact number is (949) 313-4114.
Other Ways to Get Around
Anaheim operates FRAN (Free Rides Around the Neighborhood), a local bus route.
Whether it’s a fast visit to get takeout Thai or a leisurely day spent wandering around, the Anaheim Packing District is a gem of Orange County culture and history that you won’t regret visiting.
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Kelly Smith is a freelance writer living in Southern California with one dog, two cats, two guinea pigs… and the rest of her family. She writes about Orange County, faith, family, special needs and tea, and world-builds science fiction universes on the side. Find her at www.bluerosecopywriting.com.