PACK UP YOUR SWIMSUIT AND SLIDE ON YOUR SUNNIES, BECAUSE
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, WE’RE HEADED TO BUENA PARK — THE LAND OF YES!
In this land, you are invited to embrace the best parts of life. Say “aye-aye” to dinner with pirates. Nod your head along to the best beats of the Roaring ’20s. Dance down the street in a nighttime street party, or try out that rollercoaster you’ve been dreaming about since you were a kid. In Buena Park, you can let your hair down, take a deep breath and say yes to a weekend of fun. Beautiful Buena Park is a land of optimism and opportunities, welcoming visitors of all ages and interests with its own unique spin on quintessential Southern California culture.
Say Yes to Adventure
Buena Park is home to the famed Knott’s Berry Farm theme park, the perfect place to bring the entire family. “Multi-generational travel is a very big deal,” Sara Copping, Executive Director of Visit Buena Park, said. “You have grandparents going with their kids and grandkids. It’s very family-friendly. You don’t have to stand on your feet all day You can explore themed areas without having to wait in line. It’s a good mix that grandparents and grandkids can enjoy.”
As California’s first theme park, Knott’s Berry Farm pulls out all the stops for rides, restaurants and attractions. Say yes to a day ticket or weekend pass for all access to each of the four themed lands: Ghost Town, The Boardwalk, Camp Snoopy and Fiesta Village. “There is something for everyone in Fiesta Village,” Kristan Saldivar, Public Relations Representative for Knott’s Berry Farm, said. “We have a new bar, Cantina del Sur, where guests of age can enjoy thirst-quenching drinks. Younger kids can interact with our
storytellers as they spin tales from their ancestors or participate in our arts and crafts experience, where they can color their own Alebrije. Guests of all ages can enjoy the seven refreshed rides, from family to thrill rides.”
Recent renovations to Fiesta Village have made this area an event all on its own with attractions like the newly landscaped Alebrije gardens where guests can meet Fiesta Village’s spirit animal friends. “We also have a new immersive nighttime street party, Calle Celebración,” Saldivar said. It’s an explosion of music, dancing and giant puppets celebrating colorful Mexican traditions throughout the entire village. Outside of Knott’s Berry Farm, myriad other attractions beckon a try. Explore 23 waterslides and a massive wave pool at Knott’s Soak City, open May-September, on hot summer days. Continue the fun happening during hot summer nights with a mystical four-course dining show at the fan-favorite Medieval Times — jousting guaranteed. Bringing the kids? Try out Pirates Dinner Adventure, an interactive dinner theater experience
set onboard a replica Spanish pirate ship. “They’ll bring kids on halfway through the show,” Copping said, “and they get sworn in as pirates!”
If you prefer a more musical soiree, head to Buena Park’s new piano bar, Beach Boulevard Club. Enter through a nondescript wardrobe into a 1920s-themed speakeasy, where the drinks are delicious and the pianists take requests.
Say Yes to Boysenberries and Tasty Bites
Before Buena Park was founded in 1887 by James Whitaker, it was first home to the Tongva people and the area was colonized by Spanish settlers beginning in the 1770s. Known for some time as “Plaza Buena,” or Good Park in Spanish, the town’s first industry was a dairy creamery. But it wasn’t until the 1920s that the Knott family farmers really put the town on the map with their invention of the boysenberry, a carefully cultivated cross between a raspberry, loganberry and blackberry. The invention of this brand new berry led to the eventual creation of Knott’s Berry Farm theme park — first dreamed up as a way to distract guests waiting in line for Mrs.Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant! Today, Mrs. Knott’s continues to draw thousands of people every year for their fried chicken, biscuits and boysenberry pie. (P.S. Mark your calendar for the Boysenberry Festival next spring!)
Of course, it wouldn’t be Southern California without a plethora of dining options. “Food has become a part of the fun of planning,” Copping said. Therefore, as you plan your getaway in Buena Park, be sure to schedule a few stops at some of the other amazing culinary options throughout the city. Porto’s Bakery & Café — named Best of the Southland by the Los Angeles Times — serves up cakes and pastries, and hundreds of thousands of cheese rolls; they’re probably best known for their affordable prices, family atmosphere and delicious potato balls.
Portillo’s is another fan favorite known for its Chicago- style hot dogs and Italian beef sandwiches. Midwesterners needing a taste of home and world travelers alike find this welcoming restaurant a much needed respite after a long day of play. Be sure to order a cake shake for the road.
Say Yes to Long Weekends
You know what to do, you know where to eat — now it’s time to know where to stay. Buena Park is home to more than a dozen comfortable and affordable hotels that can serve as your base camp for a longer vacation with the family or an extended weekend with a friend or main squeeze. Most hotels are located within walking distance of all major attractions, but it’s also just as easy to pop into a quick Lyft or Uber. Check with your hotel, too — some offer free shuttles to local attractions, including Disneyland. Need a little R&R after a few days of theme parks and evening adventures? A day at the beach is just what the travel agent ordered. Huntington Beach is just 20 miles away and offers miles of calm, breezy beaches and surfable waves. Long Beach, Los Angeles and Irvine are all about a 30-minute drive if you feel like exploring more of sunny Southern California.
Say Yes to Late Summer Fun in Buena Park
The dog days of summer and the first days of fall are some of the best times to visit. “August is a great time to go on a weekend,” Copping said, “crowds have died down and you’ll find good rates. It’s nice we have that second summer.” Pack lightly, however, because August and September can be some of the warmest months. Sunscreen, sunglasses and good walking shoes are all must-haves on the packing list for late summer travel.
Throughout the city, you’ll find indoor and outdoor activities to take advantage of longer days. “All our summer entertainment [at Knott’s Berry Farm] will continue for select days through Labor Day,” Saldivar noted. “In Fiesta Village, we have Mariachi Music, a selection of bachata and salsa bands, the Bob Baker Marionettes Show, and our nighttime show, Calle Celebración.” Ghost Town Alive!, an interactive Wild West theater experience set in the fictional town of Calico, runs May through September in the Ghost Town area of the park.
In mid-September, Buena Park begins its transformation into the Halloween Capital of SoCal. Knott’s Berry Farm becomes Knott’s Scary Farm, while pirates swashbuckler into a ghoulish Vampirates show at Pirates Dinner Adventure. The Cauldron brews up extra witchy drinks. But of course, no matter when you come, you’ll always be welcome in the good plaza, beautiful Buena Park. Because in Buena Park, the answer to every question is Yes!
SAY YES TO YUM
A few more must-try restaurants in Buena Park:
- Fiesta Village: Inside Knott’s Berry Farm, three restaurants, Casa California, Baja
- Taqueria and Papas Mexicanas, ensure visitors say yes to deliciousness with every bite.
- Gaucho Grill: This Argentinian steakhouse serves popular entrees like skirt steak and wagyu ribeye.
- Ramen & Tsukemen TAO: Japanese restaurant named in 2023 as a Bib
- Gourmand by the MICHELIN Guide —amazing flavor at affordable prices. The broth takes 40 hours to make!
- The Cauldron: Offering a French themed-menu and a witch-themed interior, be sure to order the “Knotty Kid”: boysenberry cotton candy with vodka liquor.
- Gangnam House: Korean grill serving traditional delights including bulgogi and galbi.