When I first heard about the Anaheim Packing District, I imagined it as some kind of unattractive place and simply dismissed the idea of ever going there. Eventually just out of curiosity, I visited the Anaheim Citrus Packing House— the main site in the District—with very little expectations.
However, the moment I stepped inside, I was in a completely different world. How could this vapid, ancient building transform into a lively, packed center of activity just by walking through the door? With country music—good country music—playing in the background and new restaurants, bars, and ice cream shops, this is one place not to be missed out on.
My first look at the exterior of the Anaheim Citrus Packing House made me wonder why I came here in the first place since it resembled like a farmers market. However, I then learned that this packing house was built in the heart of Anaheim in 1919 and was one of the last remaining houses to be restored to its primary state. Located near the South Pacific rail line, this historic site once received carts of citrus fruit and distributed them nationwide. During the restoration, two flatbed cars were installed beside the packing house and are currently used as an outdoor dining area for the restaurants.
Ranging from Indian to Japanese cuisine, restaurants in the Packing House uniquely present their culture-based meals. Though all restaurants in this two-story building had customers waiting in line, the most popular one seemed to be PopBar, an eccentric ice cream shop that required at least a 15-minute wait before actually reaching the shop. Customers can choose from two types of popsicles—gelato or sorbetto—with a variety of flavors, which can be half dipped, full dipped or drizzled by the sauce of their choice.
Just outside of the Packing House, a ping pong table was set up next to a garden filled with vegetables and fruits such as peppers, pumpkins and tomatoes. For those who didn’t want to sit inside, there was an outside grass area with seats, guaranteeing shade on a hot day.
Because of the positive atmosphere, I felt peaceful and was able to enjoy my time there. With the music and different combinations of aroma lingering in the air, time seemed to slow down at the Citrus Packing House. When it was time to leave, something held me back and I knew that I would be back one day.