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Anaheim: A Tourist Destination

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With roots as a rural town built on wine and oranges, Anaheim is now the 10th largest city in California with a powerful tourist industry. Now this North O.C. city is has attractions galore -- including "The Happiest Place on Earth," the Honda Center and Angel Stadium -- this North Orange County city has attractions galore and a population expected to exceed 400,000 by the year 2014.

A Brief History:

The city of Anaheim was founded by a group of German farmers and winemakers in 1857, the first of which is a man named George Hansen. Though the wine industry had a successful run of 20 years, in the late 1880s, the grape crop was wiped out by blight. Citrus groves were planted and soon thereafter, Oranges became the dominant cash crop in Anaheim.

Thanks in part to Southern Pacific Railroad, Anaheim farmers were able to distribute their goods to surrounding areas and thrived as a rural community. This all changed in the mid 1950s when Walt Disney eyed the city as the site of the Disneyland theme park. It wasn't long before tourism displaced citrus farming as the dominant industry; and thus began the city’s renaissance as a recreation destination. During the 1960s, Angel Stadium and the Anaheim Convention Center were built, further establishing tourism as Anaheim’s economic backbone.

Lay of the Land:

Anaheim is located in northern Orange County and covers an area of approximately 50-square miles. On the western border of the city are several smaller north O.C. cities; Stanton, Cypress and Buena Park. To the north, Anaheim is bordered by Fullerton, Plecentia and Yorba Linda. South and southeast are Garden Grove and the city of Orange respectively. The eastern-most border edges up against a large unincorporated area that includes the Santa Ana mountains and some 10,000-acres of protected wildlife reserve.

Housing & Real Estate:

While a large part of the city is carved out for the tourist industry, the most affordable residential housing can be found in the historic city center, followed by West Anaheim. At the height of the real estate bubble, average home prices peaked close to $600,000 in the Anaheim Hills. However, the Anaheim housing market has been in declined since 2007 and the average list price currently hovering around $370,000 with most homes selling for considerably less.
Median rent: $1,250
Median home sales price: $324,500

Anaheim Schools:

There are two public school districts in Anaheim: Anaheim City Schools, which provides primary education, and Anaheim Union High School District which includes 10 junior high schools and 12 high schools. As with many schools throughout California, the schools are feeling the pressure of tighter budgets and are planning for a “three-year worst case scenario” $23MM in cuts. The schools also vary in level of diversity, usually mirroring the diversity -- or lack thereof -- in the surrounding neighborhood.

Attractions:

With two of O.C.'s top theme parks, the Disneyland Resort and the Plantinum Triangle -- which includes the Honda Center, the Anaheim Convention Center and Angel Stadium, attractions are aplenty in Anaheim.
  • Disneyland and Disneyland Resort: With all the whimsy and grandeur, Disney has it's own district just southeast of Downtown Anaheim. This includes the Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure theme parks, Downtown Disney and the Disneyland Resort Hotel.
  • Angel Stadium: This is the home of Major League Baseball team, the Anaheim Angels of Los Angeles, which maintains an extremely loyal fan base.
  • Honda Center: In addition to being the home of NHL team the Anaheim Ducks, the Honda Center hosts a number of sports and entertainment events throughout the year.
  • Anaheim Convention Center: The largest convention center in Southern California, the Anaheim Convention Center is a popular O.C. venue for exhibitions, trade shows, meetings and other events.

Shopping & Dining:

Perhaps the most popular place to dine and shop is in Downtown Disney, which offers boutique shopping, family friendly eateries, the ESPN Sports Zone and live entertainment at the House of Blues. Downtown Anaheim, located in the historic city center, has more of a village feel, with weekly farmer’s markets, an arts district and local retailers.

Anaheim By the Numbers:

Population: 328,014
Median Age: 30
Median Income: $47,122

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