Santa Ana, CA

Overview

Santa Ana is situated near the center of Orange County running along the Santa Ana River, off the Santa Ana Freeway and the Costa Mesa Freeway. Santa Ana lies 33 miles South of Los Angeles. Santa Ana is widely recognized to be the political and principal administrative center of Orange County. Life in Santa Ana reflects a sense of community pride and strong connection to its rich cultural heritage. Cultural events and community engagement programs promote a healthy connection within the neighborhood. With its varied restaurant and nightlife scene as well as the vast number of outdoor recreational facilities, Santa Ana provides nearly endless entertainment opportunities.

Restaurants & Nightlife

Dining in the Santa Ana area blends classic all-American cuisine with the various techniques and flavors of California-style gastronomy. If you're looking for a unique dining experience, be sure to check out the Playground. This restaurant puts a local twist on the classic upscale dining experience. The menu changes daily, but Playground always serves up gourmet cuisine made from local ingredients and cooked to perfection. From filet mignon to burgers, everything made at Playhouse is prepared with care. Enjoy a specially handpicked craft beer with your meal, and stop in for the weekly Sunday supper meal special that includes 14 courses. Crave dishes out the best breakfast in town. The extensive breakfast menu ranges from the classics, such as French toast, to options that include the açai fruit bowl and garden frittatas. If you're feeling creative, customize your own omelet, choosing from an array of fresh ingredients. Order the BLTA sandwich, which includes applewood bacon, lettuce, tomato and avocado on a crispy sourdough bread. Don't forget to caffeinate by accompanying your meal with a freshly prepared espresso drink or blended beverage. Sample the flavors of Venezuelan cuisine when you dine at Mil Jugos. Order up some arepas, soft pockets of dough filled with tender, slowly cooked beef. Mil Jugos provides a wide variety of freshly squeezed juices, such as passion fruit, cantaloupe and papaya juice. Chow down on the queso chachapa, a sweet cornbread stuffed with cream and cheese. Santa Ana presents a lively and varied nightlife scene. Dance the night away at a club, such as Proof Bar, or kick back with a beer at Native Son Alehouse. On the weekends, locals head to The Copper Door for a night of entertainment out on the town. Grab a beer from the extensive menu of craft beers while shoot some pool, sip on a cocktail as you listen to live music from local artists on the stage, or drop in for happy hour to grab a slider with your beer.

History & Culture

The city of Santa Ana came from humble beginnings in 1869, when William H. Spurgeon purchased 74 acres for a mere $595. Spurgeon opened a general store in the small city and also became the postmaster. The city began to experience population growth in 1874 with the introduction of the Santa Fe railroad. By 1905 the city was connected to Los Angeles by train as well, opening up more opportunities for trade and travel. Be sure to drop by the Heritage Museum of Orange County for more information regarding the fascinating history of the area. Various festivals and events occur throughout the year in Santa Ana. Locals get together for the annual Fiestas Patrias that is held in historical downtown Santa Ana. This festival presents an opportunity to get out and enjoy some live music and entertainment, amusement rides, and regional delicacies to chow down on.

Transportation

It takes around 15 minutes to drive from Santa Ana to Anaheim on the 5. It should only take about 45 minutes to drive from Santa Ana to Los Angeles also on the 5, making it easily accessible for a weekend getaway to the big city. Public on-street parking in widely available throughout the city. Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) provides numerous bus routes that run throughout Santa Ana, which makes public transportation an affordable option for commuting to work. There are numerous bicycle trails that run throughout the city, including a trail that runs along the river. The area is also easily walkable due to its high concentration of amenities. If you're in need of a cab, arrange for an Uber rideshare or taxi service, which provides regular service to Santa Ana and surrounding areas.

Cost

The median monthly rental rate for a one-bedroom apartment in the Santa Ana area is around $1,385.34, which is slightly lower than the average for the Orange County area. A pint of beer at a local bar costs around $4 to $6, and gas prices hover around 11 percent higher than the national average. A one-way ticket on the Orange County public transit bus costs $2, and a full day pass costs $5. The overall cost of living in the Santa Ana area is about the same as the average for the state of California.

Shopping

Along with unique specialty stores, Santa Ana provides all the shopping staples from bargain stores to high-end retailers, including Goodwill, Forever 21 and Nordstrom. Spend your afternoon browsing upscale shops such as Niko Mika boutique in the trendy East End section of downtown. Niko Mika caters to fashion enthusiasts, carrying hip and chic clothing items bound to turn heads. Niko Mika stocks unique high-quality items not found in chain stores. Fill up your pantry with groceries from stores such as Trader Joe's, Ralphs, Food 4 Less or Vons. DTSA Farmers' Market promotes wellness and clean living. At DTSA, discover fresh organic produce, handmade products, pieces from local artists and more. From organic grass-fed beef to freshly picked apples from the orchard, healthy options abound at this farmers market.

Parks

The Santa Ana area is abundant with sprawling park lands and natural areas. Be sure to check out Santiago Creek Wildlife and Watershed Center. Walk or bike along the park's 10 miles of paved trails. Grill up some burgers on the BBQ in the secluded picnic area, or take the kids to play on the playground. The park also houses a tennis court and a baseball field. It’s also a dog-friendly area so you can feel free to bring your canine companions for a walk as long as you keep them on a leash. Spend the afternoon exploring Carl Thorton Park. Get fit when you make your way to the park's well-maintained soccer fields, baseball fields and jogging trails. Cast out your line into the creek that runs through the park, or just sprawl out and relax with a good book in the park’s spacious open areas.

9 Neighborhoods in Santa Ana, CA

  • Central OC West of I-5

    The central Orange County area west of I-5 in California is known for its sunny weather, palm trees and quiet residential neighborhoods that sit next to busy industrial and commercial areas. When traveling in the various neighborhoods that make up central Orange County, you can find many single-family homes, apartment buildings, and a wide selection of retail businesses and restaurants.

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  • Eastside

    Leasing an apartment in the Eastside neighborhood puts you within a half-mile of downtown Santa Ana's Historic District. The city of Orange sits four miles away, along with the Outlets at Orange mega-mall, and downtown Los Angeles just a short drive north via Interstate 5. Drive a little farther to reach Disneyland in nearby Anaheim. Closer to home, enjoy concerts and shows at the Yost Theater in the Historic District, or visit the Santa Ana Zoo.

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  • Fairhaven

    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.

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  • Flower Park

    The Flower Park neighborhood lies in downtown Santa Ana, California, just a few minutes off Interstates 5 and 405. Apartments for rent in this area put you a short walk from Santa Ana’s business district and the many amenities located throughout the city.

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  • Meredith Parkwood

    In the populous city of Santa Ana, California rests the quiet suburb of Meredith Parkwood. Beautifully maintained homes sit on tree-lined streets in this tight-knit community. The sunny, Mediterranean-like climate makes this an ideal place for outdoor enthusiasts. Apartments in Meredith Parkwood provide easy access to the rugged Limestone Canyon Regional Park, a mountainous hiking area, as well as the stunning and world-famous West Coast beaches like Huntington Beach, just 13 miles west.

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  • Riverglen

    Nestled six miles outside of central Orange County lies the small Santa Ana suburb of Riverglen. The scenic neighborhood has a small, diverse population. The greater Santa Ana area remains the second most populous city in Orange County.

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  • Riverview West

    Riverview West brings the best of Orange County living to a pleasant little neighborhood. Located 37 miles southeast of Los Angeles, this segment of Santa Ana lies close to three golf courses and several area parks. Locals hit the green at Riverview Golf Course or stroll with the geese at Centennial Regional Park.

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  • Santa Anita Park

    Rent your apartment in the Santa Anita Park neighborhood, about three miles from downtown Santa Ana, and enjoy the sunny climate of Southern California and easy access to the Garden Grove Freeway and Interstate 405. Take in a baseball game at nearby Angel Stadium or enjoy a day at Disneyland, only an eight-mile drive. You might even see Disneyland's nightly fireworks from the comfort of your home.

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  • Willard

    Willard residents treasure living in the heart of Santa Ana. Located 38 miles southeast of Los Angeles, this Orange County neighborhood enjoys easy access to the civic center, which holds City Hall, the Orange County Public Law Library and the Old Orange County Courthouse.

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