Santa Ana is one of the largest communities in Southern California. The city is located in the middle of Orange County, along the Santa Ana River, halfway between the mountains and the beach. If you have ever driven through California on Interstate 5, then you have been here – the freeway runs right through town.
Merely passing through would be a huge mistake, however. Santa Ana is home to some of the area’s most popular attractions. Best of all, because there is so much happening in this city, it is easy to have fun no matter where your interests lie.
Here are a few of the places and activities we recommend:
For History Buffs
- Old Orange County Courthouse. Dedicated in 1901, this 30,000-square-foot landmark has been completely restored in recent years. Visitors can now see how county business was conducted in Santa Ana more than 100 years ago. Walk into Courtroom No. 1 – with its beautiful wood benches, tall ceilings, and authentic chandeliers – and you will feel as though you stepped back into an earlier era. It is no wonder that so many Hollywood courtroom dramas have been filmed here. (Norma Rae, Catch Me If You Can, and Legally Blonde, to name a few).
- Lyon Air Museum. Nearly everyone who visits the Lyon Air Museum comes away pleased with the experience. And for those interested in World War II aircraft, the museum is absolutely a must-see. Display planes include:
- B-17 Flying Fortress
- O-1E Birddog
- A-26 Invader
- C-47 Dakota
- B-25 Mitchell Bomber
- T-6 Texan
- DC-3 Airliner
- Santa Ana Zoo. Encourage your kids to appreciate the natural world by spending a day at the zoo. The Santa Ana Zoo has more than 120 species of animals, including camels, two-toed sloths, hedgehogs, boa constrictors, and ocelots. You can also learn about the conservation efforts underway at this zoo and other AZA-accredited institutions around the country.
- The Discovery Cube. At the Discovery Cube in Santa Ana, learning about science is a hands-on activity. Kids can explore dozens of interactive science exhibits designed to appeal to their natural curiosity about “how things work.” From a two-story-high dinosaur, to a planetary research station, the Discovery Cube offers a full day’s worth of educational entertainment.
- South Coast Plaza. Southern Californians know that when it comes to shopping, there are malls, and then there are malls. South Coast Plaza is a luxury shopping center located just south of Santa Ana city limits and north of the 405 freeway. In addition to high-end retailers like Prada and Louis Vuitton, the Plaza offers three valet parking stations, personal shopping/style assistants, and currency exchange for foreign travelers.
- 4th Street Market. The 4th Street Market is a marketplace and eatery known for its phenomenal food and quirky, hip ambiance. It offers 15 food vendors, a 300-person seating capacity, and a central location near shopping and other activities. But make no mistake, this is not some glorified food court. It is foodie paradise. Take a virtual tour to get a taste of what 4th Street Market is all about.
For Art Lovers
- Grand Central Art Center. This giant, multi-use art complex is the result of a partnership between the City of Santa Ana and Cal State Fullerton. It covers an entire city block and incorporates:
- A main art gallery
- An 85-seat round theater
- Live/work spaces for resident artists
- Teaching facilities
- A Flamenco dance
- Orange County Center for Contemporary Art. Attending an art show at the OCCCA is a wonderful way to spend a night out in the city. This non-profit gallery is located in Santa Ana’s Artist Village. Its mission is to explore contemporary art in an atmosphere conducive to experimentation and risk-taking, “without the specter of censorship.”
At Neale & Fhima, we encourage you to get out and experience the wonderful city of Santa Ana. Please stay safe as you do. And if you happen to become involved in an accident, our local personal injury attorneys are available to assist.