What’s New in Anaheim and Orange County, California

Discover the latest news in hotels, attractions, development, breweries, transportation and more!




The Anaheim Convention Center (ACC) expansion created 200,000 square feet of additional leasable space between two levels that will be used as exhibit, ballroom or meeting space, allowing the convention center to accommodate a wider range of events. A climate controlled pedestrian bridge provides access between the existing facility and expansion.


In addition, a sweeping 10,000-square foot balcony takes advantage of Anaheim’s mediterranean climate giving opportunities for outdoor gatherings. The ACC is now 1.8 million square feet, officially joining the ranks of the “1-million-squarefoot club” list of facilities in the U.S. offering more than one million square feet of exhibit space. 

SQUARE FOOTAGE, NEW CONSTRUCTION: 200,000 square feet of multipurpose space added to the existing structure; 100,000 square feet on the top level is column-free. 

BALLROOM: Space can transform into a ballroom depending on event needs 

OUTDOOR SPACE: A 10,000 square foot outdoor event balcony will be leasable, with views of the nightly fireworks at neighboring Disneyland 

PRE-FUNCTION SPACES: 35,000 square feet of pre-function space split between three levels, creating informal gathering spaces for visitors 

CONNECTION: A climate controlled pedestrian connection between the ACC North and the existing convention center. 

PARKING: 1,350 integrated parking spaces within the building. 

LIGHTS: Natural light on each level with black-out capabilities. A show can be moved in or out without turning on the lights CEILINGS: 25-foot high ceilings throughout the multipurpose space 

RIGGING: Rigging points hold 2,000 pounds every 10 feet on both levels 

LOADING DOCKS: Six dedicated loading docks, creating greater ease for loading and unloading in the new building 

DESIGN INSPIRATION: The design of the existing facility drew inspiration from ocean waves and the California coastline. The expansion continues this natural inspiration by referencing diffracted ocean waves.The dynamic western facade generates energy as it leads to the convention center’s new front door at Katella Avenue. 

INTERIOR DESIGN: The geometry of the skin of a palm tree trunk is communicated through the design, while the use of warm materials and natural daylight provide a pleasant and comfortable experience for all guests. 

SUSTAINABILITY: The building incorporates sustainable design features including electric vehicle charging stations, custom LED light fixtures, connectivity to transit lines and an on-site kitchen that composts food waste. 

ACCESS TO THE CITY: The ACC is within walking distance of Disneyland, hotels, shopping, dining and attractions within the Anaheim Resort District.


Go to ACCExpansion.com or click on the photo.



Anaheim Breaks Visitor Volume Record for Fourth Year in a Row: In 2016, Anaheim welcomed more than 23 million visitors capping a nearly 33 percent visitor growth since 2011. Visitors to Anaheim spent 7.2 percent more in Orange County in 2016 than the previous year, contributing $8.1 billion to the local economy. Over the last five years, total visitor spending jumped 74 percent.


Transportation News

Orange County/John Wayne Airport. New Flights Routes Announced:

  • Alaska will offer a daily, nonstop flight starting Aug. 18 from JWA to Albuquerque, N.M. The airline also will add a flight in June from JWA to San Francisco and will be offered three times a day, joining flights already available through Southwest and United.

  • Delta is adding flights to Detroit and Las Vegas. The Detroit flight is the only route for the airport and will begin service once daily on Sept. 5. The Las Vegas flight is now offered four times a day.

City Development News

Orange County’s First Shipping Container Food Hall Coming to Garden Grove: SteelCraft Garden Grove will include 20 artisanal retailers and restaurants, including coffee, wine, beer and dessert offerings, all located in repurporsed cargo containers that are 40 feet each. The center will be located at a 1.8-acre lot behind City Hall and is estimated to be completed mid-to-late 2018.

Major Hotel and Mixed-Use Development Coming to Garden Grove: SCG America has begun planning a mixed-use development project located on Harbor Blvd. within the Anaheim Resort district. The development allows a combination of up to three hotels, 39,000 square feet of meeting space, 20,000 square feet of restaurant space and structured parking. Groundbreaking is planned to take place in 2018. SCGamerica.com

Mixed-Use Project Comes to Anaheim Next to Angel Stadium: The $450 million 15-acre LT Platinum Center adjacent to Angel Stadium will have an outdoor entertainment center, a 26-story hotel, retail space and a 30-story residential tower. The project is set for completion by 2022.





Westin Anaheim Resort Breaks Ground in September: The seven-story Westin Anaheim Resort will feature 613 stylish guestrooms, including 101 suites, three restaurants, two bars including a rooftop lounge overlooking Disneyland’s nightly fireworks, a resort-style pool surrounded by lush, tropical landscaping and a marketplace. The hotel will also feature 11 meeting rooms totaling 42,000 square feet of customizable and high-tech meeting space including a 16,000-square-foot grand ballroom. This is the first newly built Westin in Southern California in over 25 years; the property is set to open in 2019.

Orange County’s First JW Marriott Comes to Anaheim: A JW Marriott will be built adjacent to the Anaheim GardenWalk, located in the heart of the Anaheim Resort district.  The 12-story $150 million property will have 466 guest rooms as well as meeting space for groups. Construction is set to being in late 2017.

Luxury Hotel (1700 South Harbor Blvd.) to Replace Anaheim Plaza Hotel & Suites: Located on the corner of Harbor Blvd. and Disney Way, the 580-room property will have two signature restaurants, swimming pools, 50,000 square feet of meeting space and a lounge overlooking the Disneyland Resort. Construction on the $208 million hotel has not begun and is set to open in 2018.

Disneyland® Resort Reveals Plans for New Hotel: Disneyland Resort has announced the addition of a luxury hotel to its Anaheim collection. The property will be the fourth in the resort and first new build in nearly 20 years. The 700-room, AAA Four Diamond hotel will offer many luxury amenities including two pools, a fitness center, concierge service and a kid’s play area. Guests will enjoy viewing fireworks at the rooftop restaurant that overlooks the park. Construction on the hotel, located at the north end of the Downtown Disney® parking lot, begins in 2018 with a slated 2021 opening.


Planned Hotels

Hampton Inn & Suites Anaheim Resort and Convention Center: The 178-room limited-service property will stand five stories and feature a second-level pool deck, breakfast room, meeting room and fitness room. The property is located at 100 W. Katella Ave and is set to open summer 2018.

Element by Westin: Anaheim’s first Westin property will open in summer 2018 at 205 W. Alro Way. The five-story, 174-room hotel will offer a pool deck with barbecues and lounge chairs, suites and studio rooms, and a fitness center.

Cambria Hotel & Suites: The new property, located at 1721 S. Manchester Ave., will have meeting space, a contemporary bistro called Social Circle, and a California-themed outdoor space with a pool and movie screening wall. The 352-room hotel will open in November 2018.

Anaheim GardenWalk Hotels:

  • Westgate Anaheim GardenWalk: Located next to dining, entertainment and shopping destination Anaheim GardenWalk, a new 392-room timeshare hotel will be built.

  • GardenWalk II: Another hotel adjacent to Anaheim GardenWalk, a new 350-room or more property will be underway in the coming years, plans expected by June 2019.

Hotel Announcements 

Grand Legacy at the Park Rooftop Bar Now Open to Public: Anaheim’s only rooftop restaurant & bar, The Fifth, is now open to the public. The bar features nightly views of Disneyland Resort fireworks and serves seasonal craft cocktails to go along with live music. The bar becomes 21 & over after 10 p.m. and operates as a restaurant throughout the day. Thefifthoc.com

Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa: Disney’s upscale craftsman hotel is currently remodeling its guest rooms, pool area, concierge-level Craftsman Club and updating lobby furniture. The renovation is set to conclude by late 2017.

Anaheim Hotel: The Harbor Blvd. hotel is currently remodeling its lobby, ballroom, pool area, guest room and suites, parking lot, façade, and entry. Updates started in spring and will conclude in mid-to-late 2017.

Park Vue Inn: The new property will double its current size to 180 rooms and redevelop its 6,000 square foot restaurant.

Ramada Plaza Anaheim: The 105-room hotel will rebrand as a Wyndham Garden and renovate its lobby, fitness center, meeting space and offices by 2019.


Beyond Convention

Architectural innovations place Anaheim Convention Center at the forefront of the industry.


By Allison Hata


Reflecting the peaks and valleys of Southern California, a series of jagged points cut proudly across the skyline of downtown Anaheim. Supported by steel and glass, this sweeping roof creates a defining silhouette for the newly expanded Anaheim Convention Center—a sprawling campus whose aesthetic mirrors the region’s picturesque coastal locale.


“We used the inland dunes to inspire the shape of the roof,” says Adam Paulitsch, senior associate at Populous, the architecture firm contracted to design the expansion. “The western facade curves around the arena like a wave diffracting between two points in the sea.”


The architecture behind the expansion of the convention center—already the largest exhibit facility on the west coast—has helped position the now 370,000-square-foot structure as a beacon in the industry. With unprecedented design details that include technological advances and complete customization capabilities, the Anaheim expansion proves that convention centers can be anything but ordinary.


Inspired Surroundings

When Populous began visualizing the 200,000-square-foot expansion in 2014, the firm’s creative minds faced the challenge of integrating the new design with the existing structure. While the standing facility already drew inspiration from the California coastline, Populous dove deeper with the concept and borrowed other elements from the region’s natural geography.


“It’s a meaningful story and we really do think it ties into this new facility,” Paulitsch explains. “The inside of the building is based off the light coming through palm fronds. The carpet and the wall textures are all based off this concept of light passing through palm trees on a sunny day. It’s very ethereal.”


Spanning three levels, the expansion, dubbed Anaheim Convention Center North, is more than just an aesthetic wonder. It features 1,350 integrated parking spots, a below-grade program space and a main- level plaza with a direct connection to the existing arena space. Thanks to a special design feature incorporated into the expansion—clerestory windows located on the northern edge—both exhibit halls are bathed in a natural light that makes loading and unloading easier than ever.

“That’s something you don’t see very often—I think historically most of these kind of spaces were black boxes with no access to natural light,” Paulitsch says. “From a wellness standpoint, we envision those windows and doors being open quite often so it gives people that direct connection to the outdoors, maybe alleviate some of the stress of being inside of a dark box all day.


“This is something that’s changing in the industry,” he continues. “I think Anaheim is going to be one of these first buildings that really took this into consideration and actually successfully implemented it.”


Another major design highlight that takes advantage of the Anaheim Convention Center’s unique locale is a leasable 10,000-square-foot balcony on the upper level. When the clock strikes 9:30 p.m., private parties enjoying the gentle coastal breezes on the balcony overlooking Katella Avenue are treated to a front-row display of Disneyland Park’s nightly firework spectacular.


A Blank Canvas

The covered balcony is just one of the many spaces available for breakout meetings in the expanded facility. The ability for meeting planners to create customized event experiences within the larger structure is a feature that Populous and the convention center team kept top of mind when sketching out the expansion. The second floor alone has more than 3,400 linear feet of movable walls to accommodate up to 35 rooms, while the first level can adapt for an additional 13 rooms.


“It seems easy to take a 100,000 square foot space and divide it up, but when you think about all the regulations and safety considerations, it actually becomes quite a complex puzzle,” Paulitsch says. “They certainly have more options here to transform their space than on any other convention center in the country.”


Where typical convention centers carve out dedicated spaces for everything—be it meeting space, pre- function or registration—Anaheim Convention Center North allows each area to adapt to a meeting planner’s needs.


Registration can be set up at any location in the lobby, with outlets and power along the floor and wall. Rigging points every 10 feet on all levels and pre-function lobby spaces can hang up to 2,000 pounds each and help define a space for a specific purpose. Meanwhile, signage can be moved and customized based on the room configurations of each level, a feature that will allow the convention center’s infrastructure to evolve as the industry changes year to year.


Design customization extends even to the center’s technology. Anaheim Convention Center North is among the first buildings to have a micro-level of customization with responsive lighting and climate control based on how each level is broken down. A wireless system synced to tablets provides operators full oversight of each individual room or the 100,000-square foot open space as a whole.


“In this facility, we essentially wiped the slate clean,” Paulitsch says. “There’s an infinite amount of ways you can customize an event within this building.” 






Anaheim Brewery News
Anaheim is experiencing a brewery surge, with 14 currently open (All American Ale Works, Anaheim Brewery, Asylum Brewing, Backstreet Brewery, Bottle Logic Brewery, Bruery Terreux, Golden Road Brewing, Hoparazzi Brewing Co., Karl Strauss Brewing Co., Legends Craft Brewery, Noble Ale Works, Phantom Ales & Cellar, Unsung Brewery, JT Schmid’s Restaurant and Brewery) and more on the way.


Breweries Planned for 2017

  • Silo Brewing

  • Towne Park Brewery

  • Leisuretown


Modern Times’ Leisuretown Coming to Anaheim: Opening in downtown Anaheim, Leisuretown will be more than just a brewery, it will be a destination. Located in a craftsman house with the property spanning 31,927 square feet, patrons can look forward to boundary-pushing beer, a café, stalls serving food from Southern California’s best chefs, a swimming pool complete with poolside bar, movie screen, and great coffee. Leisuretown will open late 2017. Moderntimesbeer.com


Golden Road Brewing Undergoes Massive Expansion – Golden Road Brewing is expanding its facility in a big way. The renowned brewery is planning a massive 56,000-square-foot expansion, which includes three outdoor bars, sit down restaurant, event space, kids play area, dog run, movie viewing areas and outdoor fire pits. The expansion is set to be completed by mid-summer. GoldenRoad.la


Bottle Logic Brewing Expands Tasting Room and Production Facility: Expansion to Bottle Logic is currently underway. The expansion will double the brewery’s size and add an outdoor patio area, as well as private event space. Bottle Logic will also expand its collection of bourbon barrels to triple production capacity of barrel-aged brews. The expansion is set to be complete by fall 2017. BottleLogic.com


Noble Ale Works’ Expansion Triples Footprint: Located within walking distance of Angel Stadium and Honda CenterÒ, this pregame brewery of choice is expanding its current space, adding 10,000 square feet to the beer production facility, including a new 30-barrel brewhouse and expanded tasting room. Noble Ale Works was named best small brewery in the world in 2016 and won three medals, including gold for its I Love It! IPA. The expansion will be completed in 2017. NobleAleWorks.com


MAKE Building Welcomes Another Tenant. Downtown Anaheim Welcomes New Wine Tasting Room: Pali Wine Co. is debuting a tasting room this summer in the MAKE Building, which is a 10,500-square-foot structure that was once an early 1900s marmalade factory. Pali Wine joins MAKE’s other tenant Unsung Brewery and soon to open Jav’s Bar-B-Q, and a yet-to-be-announced whiskey distillery. AnaheimMake.com