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Two Days in Santa Ana

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The beautiful city of Santa Ana is home to several eye-catching tourist attractions including historical buildings, verdant parks, wonderful art galleries and museums. Since Santa Ana has a Mediterranean climate, there is no best time to visit the city. It can be visiting throughout the year. On a two day trip to Santa Ana, you can indulge in a number of activities including shopping, sightseeing and trying out different cuisines in the city.

48 Hours in Santa Ana

Image by Elena Omelchenko via Panoramio.com

Santa Ana Day 1 Tour!

Breakfast at 9:00 am

Start your day early in the morning with a delicious breakfast at one of the famous cafes of Santa Ana. Drive down to Nate’s Korner (3950 S Main Street) for a hearty breakfast of deli-style sandwiches, crispy harsh browns and breakfast burritos. If you are in a mood for French pastries, omelets and sandwiches with freshly made bread, then head towards La Petite Sourie (2801 West MacArthur Boulevard Suite A). Euro Caffe (3950 S Bristol Street) is another popular breakfast place in Santa Ana, known for its unique lattes, crepes, grilled Panini and pastries. Do no forget to try their Nutella Iced Latte, Lavender Latter and Greek Goddess Crepes.

Bowers Museum of Cultural Art at 10:00 am

After breakfast, head towards one of the most popular museums and art galleries in the city of Santa Ana. Built in 1931, Bowers Museum of Cultural Art is known for its more than 100,000 pieces of artworks, each collection representing different cultures from around the world.

The museum also plays hosts to various exhibitions, art classes, travel programs and other community events. Bowers Museum of Cultural Art is also home to a children’s museum – Kidseum that offers various educational and cultural experiences for the children and their families.

Address: 2002 N Main St, Santa Ana, CA 92706, United States
Phone: 1 714-567-3600
Website: www.bowers.org/
Distance from Santa Ana City Center: 1.3 Miles or 5 minutes drive

Discovery Cube Orange County at 11:00 am

Also known as Discovery Science Center, Discovery Cube Orange County is another popular museum in the city of Santa Ana, known for its more than 100 interactive and hands-on exhibits. It is a great to visit, especially if you have children, as there are many activities for them to engage in including Dino Quest, Rock Climbing, Touch Tornado, Eco Challenge and experiencing a real life 6.4 magnitude earthquake at Shake Shack. Do not forget to visit the ten-story solar cube at the museum, which uses solar power to provide electricity for the entire building. Since there is a lot to do over here, it might take some time to cover all of it.

Address: 2500 N Main St, Santa Ana, CA 92705, United States
Phone: 1 714-542-2823
Website: www.discoverycube.org/
Distance from Bowers Museum of Cultural Art: 0.6 Miles or 3 minutes drive

Lunch at 1:00 pm

Turn south on Main Street and head towards Mil Jugos (320 W 5th Street) for a delicious Venezuelan lunch. This restaurant has been operating for more than 10 years now and is known for its slow cooked meats, corns and other fresh vegetables. Do try their cachapas and arepas for lunch. For authentic American comfort food, burgers and beef jerky, head to The North Left (400 N Broadway). If you are more into healthy food and gluten free options, Crave Restaurant (410 W 4th Street) is the place for you.

Old Orange County Courthouse at 2:00 pm

No visit to Santa Ana can be complete without visiting its most important and historical landmark - Old Orange County Courthouse. It is one of oldest courthouses in Southern California and has witnessed many financial transactions that have shaped today’s Orange County.

The most attractive feature about this beautiful landmark is that it is made completely out of red sandstone and granite, which gives its exterior a wonderful red-orange color. The courthouse also houses the Orange County History Center and a museum.

Address: 211 W. Santa Ana Blvd., Santa Ana, California
Phone: (714) 973-6605 or (714) 973-6607
Website: http://ocparks.com/historic/oldcourt/
Distance from Mil Jugos: 0.1 Mile or 2 minutes walk

Orange County Center for Contemporary Art (OCCCA) at 3:00 pm

Located in Downtown Santa Ana, the OCCCA is non-profit organization that is dedicated to the freedom of expression in arts. Established in 1980, it focuses on the significance of social engagement, global networking, intellectual exchange, information sharing and collaborations. This exquisite art gallery has several exhibitions, programs and workshops for the guests to engage in. One can even rent an art gallery here to showcase their work. Since OCCCA is closed on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, it is advisable to check with the gallery before you visit.

Address: 117 N Sycamore St, Santa Ana, CA 92701, United States
Phone: 1 714-667-1517
Hours: 12:00 pm – 05:00 pm
Website: www.occca.org/
Distance from Old Orange County Courthouse: 0.3 Miles or 7 minutes walk

Grand Central Art Center at 4:30 pm – 5:00 pm

A joint partnership between California State University and the city of Santa Ana, Fullerton’s Grand Central Art Center is a very popular art gallery over here. Its aim is to promote modern art and culture through various collaborations between artists, students and the community. Spread over 45,000 square feet, Grand Central Art Center has three floors, each with a studio space displaying different works of arts by the students. There is also a cafe here for evening snacks. The Gallery is open till 7pm on Saturday and Sunday’s and on other days it is only open till 4pm. Therefore, please check before visiting.

Address: 125 N Broadway, Santa Ana, CA 92701, United States
Phone: 1 714-567-7233
Website: www.grandcentralartcenter.com/
Distance from Orange County Center for Contemporary Art: 0.1 Mile or 2 minutes walk

Downtown Santa Ana Historic Districts at 6:00 pm

The recently renovated Downtown Santa Ana is a popular urban center that is known for its arts, culture, delicious cocktails, craft beer and farm-to-table restaurants. Visitors can spend the entire evening just roaming around along with shopping and eating. Spread over 24.5 acres, Downtown Santa Ana Historic Districts is mainly divided into three parts – Artists Village, Historic 4th Street and East End and The West End.

Artists Village is where all the art galleries are including the two famous art galleries - Grand Central Art Center and Orange County Center for Contemporary Art. There is also an Artists Village Art Walk every first Saturday of the month. Be sure to catch that if you are around. The Historic 4th Street and East End is known for its famous The Fiesta Marketplace, a Hispanic outdoor shopping mall with small boutiques and restaurants. Lastly, The West End is renowned for its various historical buildings including the Ronald Reagan Federal Building.

Address: Downtown, Inc., 200 North Main Street, Santa Ana, CA 92701
Website: http://www.downtown-santaana.com/
Distance from Grand Central Art Center: 0.3 Miles or 5 minutes walk

Dinner at 8:00 pm

After a long and exhausting day, sit down for a nice and relaxing dinner at Chapter One: The Modern Local (227 North Broadway). This restaurant is known for its fresh, seasonal menu and old-man drinks. It is open till 2 am and each night offers a different kind of entertainment including live music. If you love wines, then head towards The Robbins Nest (214 N Sycamore Street), a wine bar and bistro that has a huge collection of wines including ones which you have never heard about. Lola Gasper (211 W 2nd Street) is another popular place in Santa Ana, known for its delicious tapas and creative cocktails.

Explore Santa Ana’s nightlife at 10:00 pm

Swing by VLVT: Velvet Lounge (416 W 4th Street) for an amazing night-out with friends. It is the latest LGBT friendly nightclub in the city that offers a fully stocked bar, a huge dance floor, great music and a vibrant ambience. If you want something more laidback, then head towards The Olde Ship (1120 W 17th Street) for a relaxing drink with family and friends.

Santa Ana Day 1 Tour Map Guide

Santa Ana Day 2 Journey Begins!

Breakfast at 9:00 am

Start your day with a delicious and lip-smacking breakfast at Cowgirls Cafe (1720 S Grand Avenue). It is a classic American western themed diner that is famous for traditional style breakfasts and grand lunches. You can also head to IHOP (1740 E Edinger Avenue), a famous chain, known for its pancakes and other breakfast items.

Stroll through Floral Park Neighborhood at 10:30 am

There is nothing like taking an early morning stroll through one of the most beautiful neighborhoods of Santa Ana. Situated on the northern side of the city, Floral Park is home to more than 600 beautiful vintage homes, which were built between the years of 1920 and 1950. Surrounded by lush shaded trees, colorful flowers, verdant lawns, friendly neighbors and unique houses, this quaint neighborhood represent the bygone era. Once covered by avocado, orange and walnut groves, Floral Park neighborhood also features farmhouses and that sweet smell of orange blossoms. It also received the 2005 Neighborhood of the Year Award by Neighborhood, USA and was also ranked as the Number One Neighborhood in the year 2007.

Address: Floral Park Neighborhood, Santa Ana, CA 92711-1366, United States
Website: http://www.floralpark.com/
Distance from Santa Ana City Center: 1.7 Miles or 7 minutes drive

Heritage Museum of Orange County at 11:30 am

One of the most interesting historical and cultural centers of Orange County, Heritage Museum of Orange County is a must-visit place in Santa Ana. Spread over 12 acres amidst the citrus groves and floral gardens, do visit the centerpiece of the museum – Historical Plaza and other old buildings, most of which date back to the 19th century. Out of these, Kellogg House is the most popular, especially for school field trips. The museum only opens at 11 am on Saturday and Sunday and on Friday it opens at 1 pm, therefore you will have to plan your tour accordingly.

Address: 3101 W Harvard Street, Santa Ana, CA 92704, United States
Phone: 1 714-540-0404
Hours: Friday – 01:00 pm to 05:00 pm, Saturday – 11 am to 2 pm, Sunday – 11 am to 3 pm, Closed Monday to Thursday
Website: http://heritagemuseumoc.org/
Distance from Floral Park Neighborhood: 5.0 Miles or 14 minutes drive

Lunch at 1:00 pm

With over 15 restaurants in one place, 4th Street Market (201 E 4th Street) is like an all-in-one food hall. You can choose from sandwiches, Chinese, Mexican, pork chops to waffles to eat over here. It is a great place to go if you are in a mood for more than one kind of food. You can also head to Jerry’s Wood Fired Dogs (2276 E 17th Street), which is known for its wood-fired burgers, hot-dogs, sausages, wine and beer.

The Dr. Willella Howe-Waffle House and Medical Museum at 2:00 pm

Built in 1989 by Doctor Alvin and Doctor Willella Howe, The Dr. Willella Howe-Waffle House and Museum is one of the most significant landmarks of Santa Ana city. It is also registered under National Register of Historic Places. Currently, the house only conducts tours on first Saturdays of February, April, June, August, October and December.

Address: 120 W Civic Center Dr, Santa Ana, CA 92701, United States
Phone: 1 714-547-9645
Website: http://www.santaanahistory.com/dr_howe-waffle.html
Distance from 4th Street Market: 0.3 Miles or 6 minutes walk

Santa Ana Zoo at 3:00 pm

Located at Prentice Park, Santa Ana Zoo is among the most popular tourist attractions in the city. Opened in 1952, the zoo is home to several plants and animals from South and Central America including camel, bald eagle, anteater and sloth. It is also famous for its large collection of primates from around the world. Apart from this, the zoo also has other recreational activities including taking a walk through the Brazilian jungles of Amazon or riding the Zoofari Express Train and Conservation Carrousel. There is also a small cafe here for afternoon snacks.

Address: 1801 E Chestnut Ave, Santa Ana, CA 92701, United States
Phone: 1 714-836-4000
Website: www.santaanazoo.org/
Distance from Dr. Willella Howe-Waffle House: 2.0 Miles or 7 minutes drive

Westfield MainPlace Shopping Mall at 5:00 pm

The vibrant Westfield MainPlace shopping center is one of the most popular shopping malls in Santa Ana. Located in a trendy and comfortable location, Westfield MainPlace houses more than 180 shops, boutiques, restaurants, 6 movie theaters and children’s play area. From big departmental stores to the latest fashion trends, this mall has it all. Moreover, there are also a number of free services offered here including ATM’s, strollers, family lounges, valet parking and electric scooters.

Address: 2800, N. Main Street, Santa Ana, CA 92705
Phone: 714-547-7800
Website: https://www.westfield.com/mainplace
Distance from Santa Ana Zoo: 3.1 Miles or 6 minutes drive

Dinner at 8:00 pm

Westfield MainPlace Shopping Center features a plethora of eateries including California Pizza Kitchen, Hot Dog on a Stick and many more. If you want something more sophisticated, head towards Playground (220 E 4th St #102), which is known for its ever-changing menu featuring fresh and seasonal ingredients. If you are looking for an American upscale bistro, head to Little Sparrow Cafe (300 N Main Street). Do try their creamy Cauliflower Gnocchi with Kale and the tender Roasted Bone Marrow.

Santa Ana Nightlife at 10:00 pm

The Quill Lounge (1630 Mabury Street) is a great place to visit in the city if you are looking to just relax with a drink or two with friends without having to shout over the music or pay exorbitantly for the drinks. The Copper Door (225 N Broadway) is another great place for drinks and music in Santa Ana. The best thing about this place is the friendly bar staff who even let you sample drinks before you buy them.

Santa Ana Day 2 Tour Map Guide

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