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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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