What to See and Do in the Downtown Disney District

Discover the best places to eat and shop in this insider’s guide.

People sit outside the Jazz Kitchen Coastal Grill & Patio in Downtown Disney District.
Jazz Kitchen Coastal Grill & Patio in Downtown Disney District.
Christian Thompson/Disneyland Resort

Set within Anaheim’s Disneyland Resort, steps from the entrances to Disneyland and California Adventure, the Downtown Disney District offers a taste of the parks without a ticket. While you won’t find any rides, the festive outdoor promenade brims with specialty shops and eateries wrapped in Disney’s enchanting, trademark artistry. You’ll stroll by fanciful facades, dazzling gardens, and fun details hidden by Disney Imagineers. Plus, you’ll enjoy free live entertainment and unique souvenirs not found inside the parks. Whether you’re bookending a visit to one of the theme parks, or simply craving an atmospheric meal, here are the best things to see and eat in the Downtown Disney District. 

Places to Eat

On one of the region's routine balmy days, the umbrella-shaded patio of Naples Ristorante e Bar is filled with diners enjoying salmon arugula salad and wood-fired Margherita pizzas. A central outdoor bar has sunny drinks to match, including Limoncello Spritzes and Italian sodas. Just want a slice to go? Head to the quick service pizzeria immediately next door. 

At the New Orleans-inspired Jazz Kitchen Coastal Grille & Patio, the good times roll with Big Easy staples such as shrimp jambalaya, lobster po’boys, and live music. Immediately adjacent, an eager crowd lines up for Bananas Foster Glazed Beignets from the restaurant’s take-out window, Beignet Expressed.

In addition to its mile-high hamburgers, Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer is famed for their over-the-top Crazyshakes. Forget the sprinkles. Here, the frosty treats are topped with slices of rainbow-colored funfetti cake, pop tarts, and Mickey Mouse-shaped crispy rice treats. Marceline's Confectionery is another must-stop with sweet treats that are made in-house each day. Named after Walt Disney’s small Missouri hometown, the popular shop features a picture window where you can watch candy makers dipping caramel apples and sculpting confections into Disney characters.

Downtown Disney District has a few E-ticket-worthy restaurants scheduled to open in 2024. This spring, Michelin-starred chef Carlos Gaytan will share his refined Mexican cuisine via small plates at the upscale Paseo and tequila craft cocktails at the open-air lounge, Centrico. Later this year, you’ll be able to slurp xiao long bao soup dumplings from Din Tai Fung, Taiwan’s hugely popular dim sum destination, and line up for sweet and savory Cuban pastries at Southern Californian’s beloved Porto’s Bakery & Cafe.

Outside the Star Wars Trading Post at Downtown Disney District.
Star Wars Trading Post at Downtown Disney District.
Christian Thompson/Disneyland Resort

Things to Do

If Disneyland’s Main Street had a bowling alley, it would look like Splitsville Luxury Lanes whose retro-themed interior feels right at home among its immersive surroundings. In addition to its 20 lanes, the two-level destination features a kitchen—sushi rolls and poke bowls are a draw—daily live music, and a sports bar boasting 25 large-screen TVs.

It wouldn't be a trip to the Disneyland Resort without a souvenir, and the World of Disney delivers with the largest collection of Disney goods on the West Coast. The themed emporium delights with animated store features and mementos that extend well beyond mouse ears with plush toys, apparel, and collectibles that span Disney’s legacy, from Peter Pan to Pixar. Art buffs shouldn’t miss WonderGround Gallery* with contemporary takes on Disney scenes and characters from independent artists. The gallery hosts a rotating collection of limited-edition artworks that you won't find elsewhere. Fans of The Force will swoon over the Star Wars Trading Post whose lush design, made to resemble a hidden Resistance base, feels like walking onto a movie set. The galactic-themed shop stocks Jedi essentials including film-worthy costumes, droids, and a remarkable collection of lightsabers. *Editor’s Note: WonderGround Gallery will be closed March 11 through the end of 2024.

Topped with an enormous Maleficent Dragon, it’s impossible to miss the Lego Store, the second largest in the nation. In addition to larger-than-life versions of Woody and Buzz Lightyear built of tiny bricks, you’ll find the West Coast’s only Minifigure Factory where you can custom design your own LEGO characters. At Lovepop, greeting cards get the origami treatment with elaborate pop-up cards featuring paper bowls of ramen, floral bouquets, and Disney characters such as Elsa, Grogu, and a smooching Minnie and Mickey.

Downtown Disney District also offers a few fun surprises that won’t cost you anything. The recently opened Downtown Disney LIVE! features live music and entertainment within a beautifully landscaped amphitheater that’s free to the public. Spread out on the lawn and enjoy a variety of acts from mariachi bands to a Beatles tribute group that’s a dead-ringer for the real thing. As you stroll the promenade, keep your eyes peeled for one of the many hidden Mickeys that were cleverly incorporated by Disney designers into the area’s signage, architecture, and walkways. Also, on select nights, you might catch a glimpse of Disneyland’s grand firework display. While it won’t compete with views from inside the park, you can usually spy the show from either side of the new Céntrico restaurant (formerly Tortilla Jo’s)—between the Pin Trader booth on one side and Splitsville Luxury Lanes on the other—or the Esplanade between Disneyland and California Adventure.


Tips for visiting

Given its immediate proximity to Disneyland and California Adventure, Downtown Disney District makes for an easy visit before or after the parks. It’s also an easy stroll away for guests of the three Disneyland Resort Hotels—Disneyland Hotel, Disney's Grand Californian Hotel and Spa, and the newly transformed Pixar Place Hotel. Downtown Disney District also has a dedicated Monorail station which transports guests directly into Disneyland.

For those not visiting the theme parks or staying at a resort hotel, the Simba parking lot offers three hours of free parking (after the first hour of paid parking for $10) with a $20-minimum purchase and validation from any Downtown Disney District merchant. Validation from a table service restaurant will earn you five hours of free parking. Unfortunately, Disneyland Resort hotel restaurants do not count toward validation for Downtown Disney District parking.

Downtown Disney District is open 365 days a year, usually welcoming guests one hour before Disneyland swings open their gates. Expect the promenade to close one hour after the last park shutters, though individual restaurant and shop hours may vary. Download the Disneyland app for an interactive map with detailed merchant info plus entertainment and special event schedules. As noted, admission is free, yet all guests are required to pass through a security checkpoint where bags are examined. Like the Disneyland Resort parks, Downtown Disney District prohibits certain items, so leave the scooters and selfie sticks behind.