When someone mentions Buena Park, you may not immediately recognize the name. But if they mention Knott’s Berry Farm, Medieval Times, or The Source, you’ll know exactly what they are talking about. All three are located in Buena Park, California, but they are only a small piece of what this great city has to offer.
Buena Park can be found just 5 miles from Disneyland and 20 miles from Los Angeles, and is home to five of the seven major attractions in Orange County, including a theme park, waterpark, and three interactive dinner shows. It is no wonder Buena Park is known as SoCal’s FUN City!
The city celebrates its 70th anniversary this year with many new and exciting opportunities for you and your family to do and discover. There is no limit to the things you can say “yes” to in “The Land of YES.”
Now is a great opportunity to get acquainted — or reacquainted — with Buena Park. Here are 13 reasons why we know the whole family will fall in love with Buena Park.
Knott’s Berry Farm
1. Knott’s Berry Farm
The center of attention this summer figures to be Knott’s Berry Farm, California’s first theme park. Knott’s is well known for its thrilling rides and unique attractions. There’s also Camp Snoopy, where the kids and grandkids can experience adventures geared toward them.
Fun Fact: Knott’s Berry Farm was once a real, working berry farm. It was the boysenberry that put Knott’s Berry Farm on the map. Rudolf Boysen experimented with crossing a blackberry, a raspberry, and a loganberry. After a while, Boysen’s efforts came to the attention of one Walter Knott, who had a berry farm in Buena Park. The new berry was eventually named the boysenberry after its creator. The rest, as they say, is history.
Though the berry farm is no longer there, Knott’s origins can still be seen (and tasted) in the many berry products available at the park as well as in your local grocery store. There is also the annual Knott’s Boysenberry Festival.
Pro Tip: Knott’s has several ticket options including discounted online tickets, priority ride boarding with Fast Lane, Season Pass, VIP experiences, and park/hotel packages.
2. Fiesta Village
A village within Knott’s Berry Farm, Fiesta Village reopens this summer with an all-new look. The village pays homage to California’s Hispanic heritage. As you stroll through the village, you will encounter exciting entertainment, rides, and shopping, in addition to authentic Mexican food and drink.
3. MonteZOOMa: The Forbidden Fortress
The last time I visited Knott’s, Montezooma’s Revenge had just opened. Since then, the ride has undergone a massive upgrade and the new chapter is called “MonteZOOMa: The Forbidden Fortress”. The newly renovated coaster, scheduled to reopen this summer, will catapult riders at top speeds toward a 360-degree loop. The queue forms inside a Mayan temple where guests become engaged in a story of intrigue — and gold — while they wait for their turn to ride.
4. Ghost Town Alive!
Ghost Town Alive! transports you back to America’s Old West. On select days from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, you will see cowboys and bandits roaming the park. Robberies and other happenings add to the Western adventure. Join the fun by dressing up. (Knott’s has Western wear you can buy.) The event concludes with an old-fashioned hoedown.
5. Knott’s Summer Nights
The summer party known as Knott’s Summer Nights brings live bands, DJs, and food and beverage booths to the park. You will also find games and more for the whole family in a midway-type atmosphere. The nighttime festivities begin Memorial Day weekend and run through Labor Day.
6. Knott’s Soak City
When summer temperatures rise, you can cool off at Knott’s Soak City. The summer season at Knott’s Soak City begins May 20 and runs through September 10. The expansive 15-acre waterpark features thrilling water slides, tubes, and raft rides, as well as a massive 750,000-gallon wave pool for parkgoers of all ages to enjoy. Not to mention, the lazy river is one of the longest in the country.
Pro Tip: Cabana rentals include lounge chairs, umbrellas, and tube rentals and are a great option for families looking to enjoy the park together. Soak City requires a separate admission: Buying tickets online is cheaper than purchasing at the gate.
Entertainment In Buena Park
7. Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament
Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament is the #1 dinner show in North America. Medieval Times transports guests back to medieval times for a delectable dining experience featuring a four-course meal. All the while, feats of swordplay, falconry, horsemanship, and a jousting tournament take place in front of you.
Pro Tip: Check out their website for a discount coupon.
8. Pirates Dinner Adventure
“Action, adventure, and mutiny” is what is promised at Pirates Dinner Adventure. This family-friendly, interactive dinner show takes place on an 18th-century Spanish galleon floating in an indoor lagoon. Feast on a three-course meal while being immersed in the nautical stunts, swordplay, and aerial action taking place around you.
Pro Tip: See their website for special offers. Parents should also be ready with their cameras during the dinner adventure. Kids will have the opportunity to go on stage and be sworn in as pirates!
9. Boulevard Beach Club
Boulevard Beach Club is a newcomer to Buena Park. Fueled by dueling piano performances, it is quickly becoming one of the city’s hotspots. The club’s atmosphere harkens back to the Prohibition era and audience participation is encouraged. BBC serves hand-crafted cocktails, accompanied by small bites, and a few larger dishes.
Pro Tip: BBC is open Thursday through Saturday nights. Food and drink are extra and there is a two-drink minimum. Save a few dollars by purchasing tickets in advance.
More Great Things To Explore In Buena Park
10. Ralph B. Clark Park
Ralph B. Clark Park is a 104-acre park with plenty of green space for you and your family to enjoy. The park has fields for softball, volleyball, and baseball. Also, visitors to the park can enjoy an amphitheater, barbeque pits, fishing, biking and hiking trails, and picnic areas.
11. Concerts In The Park
The Summer Concert Series in the Park, featuring live music from local bands, gets underway at Henry Boisseranc Park on June 28 and runs for six Wednesdays through August 2. Food trucks and vendors will be on hand for your shopping and eating needs. The music begins at 7 p.m. each week.
12. Family Movies Under The Stars
Henry Boisseranc Park also hosts Family Movies Under the Stars. For four evenings this summer, free family-friendly movies will be shown in the park. Bring your own chairs and blankets. Seating is first come, first served and food trucks will be there as well. Showtime is 8:15 p.m., but you can begin arriving as early as 7 p.m.
13. The Source OC
The Source OC is a destination unto itself. Spread across three floors, the venue has numerous shopping and entertainment options. Over three dozen mouth-watering dining choices encompassing cuisines from around the world are sure to satisfy your inner foodie. Enjoy souffle pancakes from Basilur Tea & Coffee, croffles — a cross between a croissant and a waffle — from Don Melt, Korean Hot Dogs from Myungrang Hotdog, award-winning Ramen at Yoshiharu, and decadent donuts from Old Ferry Donut.
Best Restaurants In Buena Park
Dining choices in Buena Park are as plentiful as they are delicious. Here are a few options that we would recommend for you and your family.
Honeymee Ice Cream
Honeymee specializes in ice cream made with fresh, California milk. The honey they use is 100% pure. Both the milk and the honey are sourced from kosher-certified farms. The result? A simply delicious, all-natural collection of ice cream flavors.
John’s Incredible Pizza Company
John’s Incredible Pizza Company is like its own theme park. Think endless, all-you-can-eat buffet, rides, games, attractions, prizes, and themed dining rooms, all under one roof. Birthday parties for the kids are their specialty.
Pro Tip: There is an admission charge, but you can save with an annual pass. Discounts are available for active military and seniors 55 and up.
Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner
Sitting right outside the entrance to Knott’s is where you’ll find legendary Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner. In operation for nearly 90 years, the restaurant still serves Cordelia Knott’s famous fried chicken, biscuits, and boysenberry pies, all made according to her original recipes.
Fun Fact: Walter Knott started constructing what eventually became the park’s ghost town to entertain patrons while they waited to be served at his wife’s restaurant.
Porto’s Bakery And Cafe
The massively popular Porto’s Bakery and Cafe topped Yelp’s “Top 100 Places to Eat in the U.S.” From personal experience, whenever items from Porto’s show up at the office or a family gathering, they are quickly and heartily devoured — especially the potato balls and cheese rolls.
Fans say it’s not a real trip to Chicago unless you eat at Portillo’s. Fortunately, you can taste a bit of Chicago right in Buena Park. Portillo’s is a Chicago icon “unrivaled” in their offering of Chicago-style hot dogs and Italian beef sandwiches. The menu also includes burgers, salads, sandwiches, shakes, and desserts.
Pro Tip: The famous Cake Shake is a must-try.
Ramen & Tsukemen TAO
Ramen & Tsukemen TAO serves ramen with “an intense broth that takes 40 hours to prepare.” Their fare is good enough to earn them a MICHELIN Guide Bib Gourmand nod.
Visit Buena Park includes even more fantastic options on their Dining in Buena Park webpage.
Where To Stay In Buena Park
With so much to do, a day trip is just not enough time for all that Buena Park has to offer, so don’t forget lodging when planning your next trip. You will find several comfortable and affordable lodging choices around Buena Park, many within walking distance of Knott’s Berry Farm. Many offer free breakfast to guests, while others provide a free shuttle to Disneyland and other area attractions — perks that will remove stress from your trip. Regardless of the size of your group and budget, there is a place for you.
Getting To Buena Park
Buena Park is less than 40 miles from all five major Los Angeles-area airports, including Ontario Airport. Driving is the most convenient way to get there. Rail service options include Amtrak with stops in Fullerton and Anaheim, and Metrolink with a stop in Buena Park. All three are just a short Uber/Lyft ride from your destination. Several bus lines offer service to Buena Park as well.
To help you get started on your getaway, Visit Buena Park is even offering a free travel guide service for when you arrive.