The residential neighborhood of Fairhaven
is located directly north of Santa Ana.
It sits in the heart of a triangle outlined by Interstate 5 to the south and southwest, Garden Grove Freeway to the north, and Costa Mesa Freeway to the east. These bordering areas give convenient access to both Santa Ana and Orange, while allowing residents more options for shopping and dining that the actual neighborhood lacks.
Restaurants & Nightlife
At the southeastern end of Fairhaven, residents find a collection of restaurants at the corner of North Grand Avenue and 17th Street. Chain restaurants, as well as American and Mexican establishments, dominate the area. Locals love Tacos Sinaloa, which serves a spicy, green salsa and offers tortilla chips free with every authentic Mexican meal.
Other nearby favorites include Buccaneer Pizza and Bangkok Taste Restaurant, located near Hart Park where North Grand Avenue meets Garden Grove Freeway. The masum curry and reasonable prices draw people into Bangkok Taste. Over at Buccaneer Pizza, the thick crust and Italian sausage makes it a local favorite.
There are no bars or pubs in Fairhaven, but several cluster together along Main Street in nearby Santa Ana. A popular place to spend the evening, the Playground has American favorites, such as fried chicken and pork chops, accompanied by a collection of beer, wine and cocktails. Playground's special late-night menu keeps patrons snacking well into the evening. Regular events include themed menus with regional cuisine and dinner parties.
Residents can catch a movie at the Picture Show Main Place at Westfield Mainplace. The theater screens new releases and family favorites, and it strives to keep prices on concessions lower than competitors.
History & Culture
Orange County was named for the citrus fruit that grew there, and the name was meant to attract vacationers and new residents. After the Pacific Electric Railway was built, the area become much more accessible and attracted celebrities for weekend retreats.
One of the most popular museums in the area is the Bowers Museum on the other side of Interstate 5. It features a variety of exhibits and events on topics from international to local history. Admission is free the first Sunday of every month. For a less mainstream art center, the Santiago Art District gives residents of the general area a place to soak up some culture.
Since the neighborhood is situated between I-5, Garden Grove and the Costa Messa Freeway, residents have easy access to the nearby cities and neighborhoods; however, I-5 becomes more like a parking lot than a freeway during rush hour. Surface streets like East 17th Street, Fairhaven Avenue or East Santa Clara Avenue take drivers east and west. North Grand Avenue takes residents south into Santa Clara or north towards Orange.
The Orange County Transportation Authority offers drivers an alternative to driving altogether. Buses come fitted with bike racks, and the OCTA actively encourages locals to bike or carpool whenever possible. Fairhaven does not boast many bike lanes though, and traffic along major streets limits commuting on foot or bicycle in many areas.
You won't hail a cab from a corner in Fairhaven, but you can call for rides. Santa Ana's California Yellow Cab services the area, as does Union Taxi Cab based out of Orange. Similarly, Uber services Los Angeles and the surrounding area, but it does not focus on Orange County or Fairhaven.
Parking in Fairhaven generally means using lots provided by businesses or searching for space along the street. Public lots are almost nonexistent in the area. Fortunately, most businesses and shopping centers invest in large lots. For instance, the large parking lot at Westfield Mainplace generally provides enough space for shoppers.
The cost of living in Fairhaven is 9 percent greater than Santa Ana's average and 40 percent higher than the national average. From movie tickets to $5 beers, almost everything costs more. A one-bedroom
apartments rents for $1,420 a month on average. Gas averages 15 percent more than the nation's average, but buses offer a cheaper alternative at $2.00 a trip. The Orange Country Transit Authority also offers $5 day passes or $69 monthly passes.
Many residents drive northwest
to North Main Street and shop at MainPlace Mall. Here, you'll find chains such as JCPenney and Nordstrom as well as Children's Place and other family-friendly shops. The mall also has higher-end shops and favorite treats at Yogurt Land and See's Candy.
Around the southwestern corner of Fairhaven, where North Grand Avenue meets East 17th Street, a few shops give residents a closer option. Familiar stores like Target, CVS Pharmacy and Walgreens keep daily needs in stock, and Goodwill offers residents a place to shop on a budget. Avid readers will want to check out Rags for its wide selection of magazines and news papers.
Those who prefer to avoid chain stores can also travel north into Orange. Here, readers frequent Bookman, a used book shop with great prices and a store credit exchange program. Their shelves house everything from cookbooks to fairy tales and touch on topics like history, travel and even the metaphysical. Another Orange favorite, Elsewhere Vintage deals in clothing and decor from the roaring '20s through to the 1960s.
While there aren't any grocery stores within Fairhaven's boarders, an Albertsons sits west, up 17th Street and Mother's Market, near Westfield Mainplace, to make for a convenient stop for shoppers in the area. Mother's makes an especially good resource for those on limited diets or who prefer to eat organic.
The closest farmers market, seven miles away, sets up in downtown Santa Clara on the Spurgeon Promenade. The DTSA Farmers' Market hosts vendors selling arts, produce and meat among other things. The market also features local chefs and aims to built a community around its Thursday evening market.
The closest park, Portola Park, has two small play areas and a stretch of green where kids and dogs can get some exercise.
A more popular choice, Hart Park draws residents north, to the other side of Garden Grove Freeway. Its swimming pool, bike trail, baseball field and basketball court make the trip worth it. The park also has a number of tables and grills for picnics and large green spaces for dogs and people to stretch their legs.
Heading west out of Fairhaven, Santiago Park Nature Reserve hides from the city. Visitors hike along the creek, let the kids loose on the play area or walk their dogs. The park also invites visitors to try out some archery or take note of the local foliage.
Orange County Parks throughout the area host a number of events from ranger led or exercise-centric hikes to tours of native plants, but these events do not include the handful of parks around Fairhaven, so residents must commit to a drive if they wish to reach them.