Buena Park, California, is old school. It’s like walking back in time, with a sharp coolness factor to it, and incredible flowers blooming everywhere! One could quickly get intoxicated from the plants and flowers’ exotic smells just walking the street as I did outside of my Knott’s Berry Farm Hotel.
My first time in Buena Park was short but long enough to make an impact. From amazing pastries and tantalizing food with a rock & roll twist to riding some of the best roller coasters in the country, here is how to spend 24 hours in Buena Park, California, to have a perfect day.
Indulge in A Delicious Breakfast
Portos Bakery & Cafe is a huge Cuban bakery chain in Southern California with six locations. The one in Buena Park is so big that it may need its own zip code! Anything pastry related that you can think of is offered in this world-class eatery. You can also order your drink of choice ranging from teas, coffee, and smoothies to soda, juice, milk, and mojito fusions.
It isn’t only sweets on the menu at Portos, there are also tasty sandwiches, breakfast items, soups, and salads. The Spanish and Latin-inspired empanadas are top-notch, even able to compete with South Florida’s backyard. If you are looking for some yummy things to try, consider the cheese roll, potato ball, and guava & cheese strudel.
I was in awe, watching hundreds of people file in and out of Portos Bakery to order and pick up whole sheet cakes. This is a big thing in Buena Park, with lines almost out the door. The cakes were gorgeous, too, with quite a few to pick from. I was intrigued by the Milk ‘N Berries one.
Visit California’s First Theme Park
I’d heard about Knott’s Berry Farm my entire life, but other than Snoopy, Charlie Brown, and their friends being the park mascots, I knew little about it. Now I know how cool this theme park is, offering a bonus of living history and a brush of nostalgia. Knott’s Berry Farms provides 160 acres of family fun, including rides for the whole family, a water park, live entertainment daily, and shows.
The first thing I did at Knott’s Berry Farms was to ride three fantastic coasters. HangTime (steepest vertical drop in California), Xcelerator the Ride (0 to 82 mph in 2 seconds), and Silver Bullet (2 minutes of loops, spirals, corkscrews, and cobra roll) are all excellent thrill rides, and ones I would wait in line to ride.
Something Knott’s Berry Farm offers that is different than a typical theme park is a Western-themed town, which is the concept it was founded on. Living history interpreters are scattered throughout the businesses and Western facades and take their roles very seriously. Don’t expect the Town Marshall to be anything other than his character, no matter what you ask him—or any other colorful characters you’ll find here.
The Knott’s Berry Farm Food Scene
As for the food, Knott’s Berry Farm has incredible food and drink selections, with restaurants and kiosks set up all over the park; 32 to be exact. Be sure to try Mrs. Knott’s Chicken, the most famous item on the park menu, found at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant. This meal has been in existence since the park first opened and was one of the reasons for its success. There are several dishes with boysenberries, too. This is another staple and ongoing menu item since the early days of Knott’s Berry Farms, as the park grew from a small berry farm.
A Personal Note: Something I noticed is that families are all having fun at Knott’s Berry Farm. Being a Florida resident, I go to theme parks all the time, but I don’t really see the family connect as I did at Knott’s Berry Farm. There didn’t appear to be agendas or schedules to cross off every ride in some ridiculous amount of time. Families were happy being together, strolling through the park, enjoying the beautiful scenery and attractions, and very in the moment. Other than capturing photographic memories, cell phones weren’t their priority. It was a very refreshing sight and made me appreciate this park even more.
Eat a Tasty Dinner While Rocking Out
KISS frontmen and band members, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley are the co-owners of Rock & Brews Restaurant, a chain restaurant (21 locations) with killer eats, outdoor fun, and eclectic decor. Browse rock and roll memorabilia as you wander around the restaurant (similar to the Hard Rock Cafe’s decor but much cooler). I immediately wanted to dance or play air-guitar as “Christine Sixteen,” “Freebird,” “Smoke on the Water,” and “Detroit Rock City” blasted from the speakers.
Rock & Brew’s menu aims to please, with a wide variety of American comfort food selections. Some friends and I who were traveling with me, settled on gourmet salads, fish tacos, and honkin’ big craft burgers for dinner. I chose the Demon Chicken, a fried chicken patty in rockin’ hot sauce, with pepper cheese spread, marinated red onions, and jalepeños. This was one tasty but messy sandwich. I loved every bite!
As the name implies, there are hundreds of brews (bottled and draft) to choose from. Over 50 of them are on tap. I chose a flight, sampling the stouts and hefe-weisse. While at Rock & Brews, visit the outdoor patios, set up for corn hole and other group-style games. Join in for Happy Hour Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 PM.
Buena Park: A California Classic
Buena Park is worth a visit on your next Southern California travels. Whether you feel the need to taste internationally known baked goods, take the family to an amazing theme park with noteworthy attractions, or have a-rockin’ good dinner, you can find it in Buena Park. I hope these suggestions will help you plan your 24 hours in Buena Park.
Want to know more about Buena Park? Visit Buena Park tourism.
Need a Hotel?
The Knott’s Berry Farm Hotel is within walking distance of the park and many downtown attractions. Rates are affordable, and the rooms are comfortable. There is an onsite restaurant, Amber Waves, that serves good food, namely the Chicken Quesadilla. An outdoor pool, lighted sports courts, and a fitness room are other perks for staying at the hotel.
Thanks to Visit Buena Park for hosting my meals and park ticket. As always, opinions and reviews are 100% my own and unbiased.
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