Located in the fourth-densest city in the U.S., Downtown Santa Ana is home to a thriving community of creatives and a bevy of eclectic shops, restaurants, breweries, and galleries. It’s also listed on the National Register of Historic Places and boasts a unique mixture of historic architectural styles, including Victorian, Craftsman, and Art Deco, some of which date back to the late 19th century.
The unique locale has evolved considerably since its establishment in 1869, thanks in large part to thoughtful urban planning that has resulted in a diverse mix of land uses. You’ll find everything from shops and restaurants to government buildings, offices, industrial warehouses, and lofts. The wide variety of land uses has attracted an equally diverse community, with entrepreneurs, real estate investors, artists, and retailers of various kinds calling Downtown Santa Ana home.
The area is comprised of several different neighborhoods, each offering its own unique appeal. For instance, creatives flock to the Artists Village, which is bound by 1st and 4th streets and Bush and Birch streets. The neighborhood features design workshops, galleries, creative offices, and art studios in addition to several restaurants and a growing number of artist-centric residential developments. These residential developments started sprouting up in the early 2000s, with many offering on live-work lofts, like Main Street Studio Lofts and Artists Village.
Another popular area of downtown is Historic 4th Street, also called La Calle Cuatro, which spans East to West from Grand Ave to Sasscer Park. Here, you’ll discover restaurants, breweries, and coffee shops alongside retailers, barbershops, and theaters. A favorite destination in this area is the Frida Cinema, which is a newly-refurbished two-screen theater that was converted into an art-house theater showing independent films. In addition to films, it hosts many events, like film festivals and weekly Sunday matinees.
If you love historic architecture as much as we do, then you’ll love The West End, located between Ross, Broadway, and W. 4th Street. The neighborhood is home to many prominent buildings, including the Civic Center Plaza, the Old Orange County Courthouse, and the Ronald Reagan Federal Building. The West End also hosts cultural and entertainment destinations geared toward the LGBT community, including Theater Out, VLVT Lounge, and the annual Orange County Pride Festival.
In addition to exploring many thriving neighborhoods, visitors to Downtown Santa Ana can participate in any number of annual and monthly events. For instance, the area hosts 1st Saturday Downtown Art Walk, which features over 25 participating art galleries inviting you to peruse their wares, as well as live music performances, pop-up vendors, and countless bars and restaurants offering deals for the occasion. You can also check out handmade creative treasures from the annual Patchwork Craft Fair and attend the largest free Dia De Los Muertos celebration in California on the first Saturday of November.
Live in Downtown Santa Ana
Whether you’re an art enthusiast, a foodie, a beer snob, an architecture aficionado, or all of the above, Downtown Santa Ana has a ton to offer. If you’re interested in calling this historic locale home, be sure to peruse our curated list of homes for sale in Downtown Santa Ana.
Check out Noted. by Nook to read more from our curated list of places to go, people to know, and top trends in style and design.