1. The Best Coffee Isn’t At Starbucks
Source: Portola Coffee Lab via Facebook
The best cup of coffee in the whole county can be had at the Portola Coffee Lab. Their Kyoto iced coffee is to die for, and a bag of freshly ground CADENA + MELGAR blend will allow you to create the perfect brew right at home.
2. Santa Ana’s Science Center Is More Entertaining Than An Amusement Park
Source: Discovery Science Center via Facebook
The amazingly awesome and incredible Discovery Science Center is probably the coolest place in Santa Ana. It’s better than having Disneyland in your backyard.
This center makes science fun with interactive exhibits like Indiana Jones & The Adventure of Archeology. Make sure to check out the annual Bubble Fest–the most popular event at the Discovery Cube!
3. High School Baseball Is A Big Deal
Source: Santa Ana High School Saints Baseball via Facebook
High school baseball is the city’s most beloved sport, and the programs in the public school system provide great opportunities for athletic teens. Mater Dei High School is ranked 17th of the top 25 teams in the U.S.
4. Santa Ana’s Got Better Streets For Walking, Biking And Driving
Source: Flickr user Chris
The Santa Ana Complete Streets movement has created wider lanes for automobiles, designated space for bikers and plenty of sidewalks. You can basically get around any darn way you please without any problem.
5. Santa Ana Hosts An Etsy Event of Epic Proportions
Source: Patchwork Show via Facebook
The Patchwork Indie Arts & Crafts Festival takes place each year in 5 different cities in the Southwest. But Santa Ana is the original home of this crafty event. Over 100 local artisans come out to peddle their wares on the streets of downtown.
6. Fun In The Sun Is A Short Car Ride Away
Source: Flickr user Mark Weston
One of the coolest things about life in Santa Ana is the close proximity to beautiful beaches. Newport Beach is a mere 20-minute drive from here and always makes for a great weekend getaway.
7. The Locals Are Always Willing To Lend A Hand
Source: Flickr user Preeclampsia Foundation
This city has heart. Orange County in general is known for the amazing volunteers that champion her needs. And Santa Ana is no exception. The Orange County Rescue Mission and The Center OC are two organizations that provide volunteer opportunities in the city.
8. The Greatest Catwoman Ever Is From Santa Ana
Source: Wikipedia user Jeremiah Christopher
No offense to Anne Hathaway, but Michelle Pfeiffer will always be our favorite Catwoman. Why? Because she’s a born and bred Santa Ana girl! Pfeiffer even graduated from Fountain Valley High School.
9. Forbes Says: Safe!
Source: Flickr user HeacPhotos
In 2011, Forbes ranked Santa Ana as the 4th safest city (250,000+ residents) in America. The murder rate has dropped dramatically in the last few decades and so has the rate of vehicle-related fatalities. This city has definitely earned its ranking.
10. Santa Ana’s Teachers Actually Care
Source: St. Joseph Church & School via Facebook
The schools in Santa Ana have earned a number of awards, including 4 National Blue Ribbons and 28 acknowledgments for California Distinguished Schools. Santa Ana parents dearly love the teachers at both public and private schools.
11. It’s Easy to Make A Quick Commute Or A Speedy Escape
Source: Flickr user brainchildvn
If you ever find yourself in need of a quick ticket to anywhere but here, you can head to the local Amtrak station and hop the next train out. The Metrolink also passes through, for those commuting to L.A.
12. You’ll Be Running Full-Speed Towards The Creepy Candy Vans
Source: Flickr user HeacPhotos
These corner-stores-on-wheels conveniently carry fresh produce, tasty candy and even ice cream. You can get the best salad fixings for the cheapest prices. And I promise they won’t try to kidnap you.
13. Whatever Is Happening, It’s Happening At The Yost
Source: The Yost Theater via Facebook
From live concerts and theatre productions to DJs and club nights, the historic Yost Theater in Santa Ana is one of the most popular destinations in all of Orange County. Save a few bucks by parking on the street–it’s free after 8:00 PM.
14. Santa Ana Has Its Own Zoo
Source: Flickr user Anthony
And it’s a pretty darn good one, too. One of its biggest events is the summertime Brew at the Zoo, with live music, beer tasting, craft tables and animal appearances. In keeping with the founder’s wishes, the Santa Ana Zoo is home to at least 50 monkeys at all times.
15. And The Best Wine On This Side Of The Grapevine
Source: Twisted Vine Wine Bar & Shop via Facebook
The charming, intimate atmosphere at the Twisted Vine Wine Bar & Shop is just one of the many reasons it’s a local favorite for date night. The al fresco dining, delicious tapas and specialty wines are out of this world. An order of baked brie with sourdough bread pairs perfectly with some Sea Salt Chardonnay.
16. This City Has Culture Coming Out Its Ears
Source: Bowers Museum via Facebook
A perfect place to soak in all the culture in is the Bowers Museum. Hailed as the best museum in Orange County, it has hosted awesome exhibits of mummified animals from ancient Egypt, terra cotta warriors from China and religious pieces from the Vatican Museum.
17. Santa Ana Will Have You Climbing The Walls At Sender One
Source: Sender One Climbing via Facebook
If you’re into rock climbing, yoga, crossfit and obstacle courses, then have I got the place for you. One Climbing facility is outfitted with a 50 foot climbing wall with courses ranging from the easiest levels to ones that are nearly impossible. This is by far the nicest gym you’ll find in Orange County.
18. Everyone Is Obsessed With Carne Asada
Source: Soho Taco Gourmet Taco Catering via Facebook
Probably because it’s the best carne asada you will ever consume. The Soho Gourmet Taco Truck serves its carne asada on homemade tortillas with fresh mango salsa, and Alebrije’s Grill on South Main Street dishes its meat up with a side of cactus.
19. The Santa Ana Artwalk Is Where It’s At
Source: Downtown Santa Ana via Facebook
On the first Saturday of each month, trot downtown for a night of dining and plenty of opportunities to buy original art during the Santa Ana Artwalk.
20. Dia De Los Muertos Is Bigger Than Christmas
Source: El Centro Cultural de Mexico via Facebook
The Mexican holiday of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is celebrated throughout Santa Ana in more ways than one.
In addition to the traditional face skull face painting, the Bowers Museums hosts a family festival and there’s a parade that lasts well into the night. Did I mention there are plenty of sugary treats?
21. The Santa Ana Winds Make Life Positively Balmy
Source: Flickr user Rachael Moore
The weather here is perfect, and thanks to the Santa Ana winds the colder months rarely see temperatures lower than 68°F. Unlike other areas of Southern California, you won’t be facing scorching days or frigid nights.
22. The Playground Is The Equivalent Of Foodie Heaven
Source: The Playground via Facebook
The Playground is a stand-out fine dining establishment in Santa Ana. The menu is always changing, but the maple glazed pork chops and the toffee pudding are two signature dishes you won’t want to miss. This is also the best place in town to try some handcrafted beer.
23. Santa Ana Is In Love With Street Fairs
Source: Flickr user Neil Williams
Any holiday makes a perfect excuse to shut down the roadways and roll out the party. Cinco de Mayo, the 4th of July, Independence Day and Fiestas Patrias are just a few of the biggest street events that take place each year. You’ll want to stick around for the fireworks, live music and pulled pork sliders from tent vendors.
24. Get Your Sherlock Holmes On With The Dinner Detective
Source: The Dinner Detective Murder Mystery Dinner Show via Facebook
The Dinner Detective Murder Mystery Show is the biggest event of its kind in America. This modern, funny engagement is interactive and unpredictable. A four-course meal, drinks and prizes for solving the mystery are all included in the ticket price.