The city of Norwalk started out as the original land of the Shoshonean Native American tribe. In the years that followed, Norwalk expanded as a result of its strategic location on the El Camino Real Trail and was named “North Walk”.
In the present day Norwalk is a mainly a residential part of sunny California, but if you happen to be in the area then this is a great place to get outdoors and enjoy the scenery that made this an important stop on the Anaheim Branch Railroad Line.
Leafy parks and nature areas can be found all over Norwalk, and while you can come here and enjoy the serene atmosphere, the city is also close to premier attractions in the California area such as the legendary Knott’s Berry Farm.
Lets explore the best things to do in Norwalk:
1. Norwalk Park
Norwalk Park is the signature park in the city and is a magnet for anyone who loves basketball thanks to its large central court. Whenever you go, you should be able to either take in or watch a game here, and if you want to do something a little more relaxing then there are plenty of other attractions in Norwalk Park. Some of these include playgrounds for children as well as picnic areas for the whole family to enjoy.
2. Norwalk Arts and Sports Complex
If you want to do some exercise while you are in Norwalk then head to the Norwalk Arts and Sports Complex where you can purchase a day pass to use the facilities if you are not a resident. Here you can enjoy one of the best equipped fitness centers in the region and can try out a weight room, basketball court, handball courts, and even fun activities such as a ping pong table. There are even personal trainers who are on hand to help you work out to your full potential.
3. Aquatic Pavilion
For those looking to make a splash, look no further than the Aquatic Pavilion in Norwalk which is a state of the art swimming facility. You can cool off here or get in a serious workout in the full sized outdoor swimming pool that is available. There are also swimming lessons and other programs such as fitness classes that you can follow here and visitors are welcome to come for a swim along with local residents.
4. Hargitt House
Overseen by the Historical Society, the Hargitt House is open to the public several times a month and is a powerhouse of period architecture in Norwalk. The house was built in 1891 and is modeled in the Victorian style, so if you want to know how things would have looked in Norwalk in days gone by then this is the place to come. The Hargitt House is still much as it would have been when the Hargitt family lived here and is staffed by friendly docents who will take you on a guided tour of the house to explain the history and cultural significance of the building and the antiques found inside.
5. Robert White Park
Robert White Park is a well loved park in Norwalk as it has a full range of amenities for those who visit. The park is known for its large playground area that will suit visitors of all ages as well as its basketball courts if you fancy either playing or watching a game. There is also a campsite located on the edges of the park if you plan to do a little camping while you are in town.
6. Norwalk Nature Center
The Norwalk Nature Center is open several times a month and is the perfect place for a family visit. The center has a range of domestic animals such as lambs, goats, hens, and donkeys that children can play with, and there are idyllic gardens for visitors to walk through as well as romantic orchards with fruit trees and a vegetable garden. Pretty streams and ponds are also found in the center and there is a signature old-fashioned carousel with painted horses that younger visitors are sure to love.
7. Cultural Arts Center
For some culture in Norwalk head to the Cultural Arts Center where you can enjoy a range of classes and workshops that are guaranteed to unleash your creativity. Many of these classes are aimed at children and teenagers and encompass a range of arts and crafts to keep youngsters occupied. In a nod to the strong Hispanic roots of the city you can even try out mariachi classes for those under the age of eighteen, and there are dance performances also held here throughout the year.
8. Mary Paxon Art Gallery
Part of the Cultural Arts Center, the Mary Paxon Art Gallery is known for being the cultural and arts hub of the city of Norwalk. The gallery was founded by local resident Mary Paxon and is dedicated to showcasing the very best of local and regional art work. With that in mind exhibitions here are on a rotating basis and have a strong emphasis on providing opportunities to little known or developing artists as a place to show their works.
9. Golf ‘n’ Stuff
If Golf ‘n’ Stuff looks familiar to you it may be because several scenes from the classic film The Karate Kid were actually filmed on location here. This golfing park is one of the best places to come if you are looking for some family entertainment in Norwalk, and you will find miniature golf courses as well as go-carting tracks and bumper cars. To add to the fun there are also arcade games here and snack bars so that you won’t go hungry during your trip.
10. Gilbert Sproul Museum
One of the founding families of Norwalk were the Sprouls, who were originally from Oregon but who fell in love with the fertile lands and scenery of this part of California. Brothers Atwood and Gilbert Spoul bought land in Norwalk and set up a home here in 1869, and the home that is now the Sproul Museum was built in 1870. Nowadays the museum is full of period artifacts and Sproul family heirlooms that offer a fascinating glimpse into how this town came to grow into the city it is today. Tours are available here and are staffed by local volunteers
11. Norwalk All-City Youth Band
The Norwalk All-City Youth Band is run by talented young musicians from the Norwalk area who are dedicated to bringing the best music to the city. The band performs regularly at concerts in the city, as well as at city parades and events, so make sure to look out for local listings of where they will be playing when you are in town.
12. Discovery Cube
Just twenty minutes outside of Norwalk in neighboring Santa Ana you will find the Discovery Cube. Formerly known as the Discovery Science Center, the Cube is a massive science exhibit that is dedicated to educating visitors all about science through interactive play. There are over 100 hands-on exhibits here for you to try that cover areas such as biology, the environment, space flight, and much more, and different sections of the center are themed according to different scientific areas. There are also rotating exhibits here depending on when you visit, such as dinosaur themed digs and galleries. You can even learn all about the science of sport here as part of the facility is dedicated to the Anaheim Ducks hockey team.
13. Norwalk Skate Park
For those who love skating or biking, Norwalk Skate Park is the ideal place to practice your moves. The park is conveniently adjacent to the city’s Aquatic Pavilion and is open to all ability levels and ages, so even if you are a novice you can still have fun learning the ropes. Biking in and around the area is also popular and is a great way to take in the California scenery.
14. Norwalk Golf Center
Newly renovated and opened in 2016 with a fresh new look, the Norwalk Golf Center is now one of the premier attractions in the city of Norwalk. The new greens features a 9 hole par 3 golf course as well as practice pitching greens, a fully equipped clubhouse, and a putting green. What makes this facility even more amazing is that it is entirely lighted so that you can even play here in the evening.
15. Knott’s Berry Farm
Located just eight miles away from Norwalk in neighboring Buena Park, Knott’s Berry Farm is known for being one of the most visited theme parks in the entire United States. The farm started life as a humble berry stand before turning into a theme park that now has over 165 rides for visitors of all ages to enjoy. The park is split into themed areas and there are rides for all different ages depending on how much of a thrill you want to have. There is a scenic boardwalk, a spooky haunted house, and even an old town where you might engage in a cowboy shootout. The park is also known for its food, and you can try out a range of delicious all-American theme park snacks here such as banana cream pie.