Would you like to know the best things to do in Santa Ana, California, you are in for lots of fun in this fun-filled city of California.
Santa Ana is a city situated at about 45 minutes to the south of Los Angeles, California. This makes a fun place to spend a vacation, with the varying choices of museums, engaging exhibits, awesome activities, classic restaurant, a well-organized zoo, Santa Ana brings that dream vacation.
You can tale a tour infamous Bowers Museum (houses global artifacts), the interactive Discovery Cube science museum for kids and adults, enjoy the ancient green at Willowick Golf Course, or improve your cooking skills at Hipcooks Orange County.
To help plan your trip, here are the best things to do in Santa Ana, CA.
Things to Do in Santa Ana
1. Heritage Museum of Orange County
Situated on a 12-acre space of scenic flower gardens and citrus groves, the Heritage Museum of Orange County is of great historical importance and is one of the Santa Ana attractions.
Located in the center is a plaza that has a set of many buildings from the 1890s like the popular Kellogg House. Designed and erected in 1898 using the Queen Anne style, the Kellogg House house several amazing features.
The design and building were done by Hiram Clay Kellogg which superb architectural elegance. The interior of this house is filled with exhibits that magnify his nautical interest, as Kellogg was a fan of ships.
This museum has the aim of protecting the history of Orange County and they work to this by providing programs packages for families and children.
Don’t miss out on this exciting place, makes what to do in Santa Ana for a family fun time.
Address: 3101 West Harvard Street.
2. Lyon Air Museum
The Lying Air Museum is situated on the west of John Wayne Airport and was founded by Major General William Lyon.
This museum is home to several genuine World War II military vehicles, motorcycles, and aircraft. The sight of them will certainly capture your fancy.
There are many other related war memorabilia and rare vintage automobiles in the museum. Some of these aircraft are a Cessna O-1E Bird Dog, a Douglas C-47, and a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress.
You will also find Japanese, American, and German motorcycle amongst the numerous automobiles in the museum.
All of these exhibits will fascinate you like other visitors. You can have a close-up view of almost everything here.
Address: 19300 Ike Jones Road.
3. Willowick Golf Course
Willowick Golf Course is an 18-hole golf course situated just some miles in the west of Disneyland. This is the oldest course in Orange County and is proudly one of Santa Ana attractions.
You will love this 18-hole course because of its extraordinary design which has wide fairways, three-putting greens for practice, two sets of tees, golf carts, and a grass driving range.
They have a pro shop where you can buy items like golf balls and other golf equipment, sunglasses, tee shirts, and clothing.
To serve you better, a 5,00 sq ft full-service restaurant and bar was opened. It is an outdoor setting and offers imported beer as well as American-bistro cuisine.
Address: 3017 West 5th Street.
4. 4th Street Market
The 4th Street Market is a beautiful place to be. Visiting here makes for one of the best things to do in Santa Ana.
This is a food hall for food lovers, a fine hotspot where food artisans, chefs, food admirers, and buff meet to share ideas, spend time together, try out delicious dishes while learning from each other too.
It occupies a 30,000 ft space and has a feel of the combination of an upscale market, a gallery opening, and an upscale market.
The massive graffiti mural drawn on the wall brings in a lease of fresh excitement in the air.
People move between the Thai noodle place, the fancy cookies place, the European butcher, and the section featuring an amazing selection of fine coffees.
Also, fully equipped kitchen spaces, ten East End Incubator Kitchens, and 5 food vendors (meticulously selected) are available for rent. Go, enjoy the cool live music all for your listening pleasure.
Address: 201 E 4th St, Santa Ana, CA 92701, United States
5. Pacific Symphony
This is something for music lovers. It is said that music is food for the soul, so this is for everyone.
For 37 seasons now, Pacific Symphony has been treating people with good music. The last 26 has been under the supervision of Carl St. Clair, the music director.
This orchestra is the largest in America and was constituted 50 years ago. They have gained both national and international recognition for their marvelous performances and is loved for being a coordinated group of talented musicians.
On annual basis, the orchestra put up about 100 concerts, community educational programs, and diverse events.
When you check their repertoire, you’ll love the classic works done by excellent master of the game down to modern recognized composers. One highlight in their annual performance is the American Composers Festival.
Address: 3631 S. Harbor Blvd., Suite 100.
6. The Santa Ana Zoo
The Santa Ana Zoo occupies 20 acres of space at Prentice Park and focuses on animals and plants of South and Central America.
This zoo was opened in 1952 after Joseph Prentice donated the land to Santa Ana city.
Fascinating rides and attractions you’ll find in this zoo include the Colors of the Amazon Aviary, the Jack Lynch Aviary, the Amazon’s Edge, the Zoofari Express Train Ride, the Crean Family Farm, and the Tierra de las Pampas.
I’m sure you would love to see some of the many animals available for your pleasure. They include giant anteaters, green iguanas, greater rheas, white-faced saki monkeys, and howler monkeys.
The aviaries provide tropical home to exotic birds, visiting the Santa Ana Zoo is just one of the best things to do in Santa Ana, do consider this activity for your checklist.
Address: 1801 East Chestnut Avenue.
A popular sandwich place, Crave is where visitors and locals love to stop and have a bite.
They make sandwiches with some sourdough bread baked by them and filled with roasted or smoked meats and some vegetables gotten from the local farms. It’s like a treasure you discovered and would always go back.
Crave offers very nice fresh salads, they also prepare salad dressings themselves, also enjoy the fresh soups cooked every day.
Meticulously, they busk and bake all of their goods including cookies, muffins, brownies, bagels, and others.
Go for fresh fruit smoothie or coffee from their vast list of options. You can choose to eat at the restaurant, grab a takeaway package or contact them for a delivery.
Address: 410 West 4th Street.
8. The Discovery Cube
Amongst the unique things to do in Santa Ana is visiting the Discovery Cube. This is an interactive science museum built to provide good orientation to families with over 100 hands-on exhibits.
It used to be the Discovery Science Center but now it is known as the Discovery Cube. The reason for this change is because of its ten-story solar cube which is now a well-recognized landmark.
The exhibits in this museum ignites the curiosity in children thereby helping them learn.
There are several sections in the Discovery Cube, grouped by the themes Quake Zone, Air and Space, Rocket Lab, Quake Zone, Rocket Lab, Science of Hockey, Dynamic Earth, Rocket Lab, and Eco-Challenge.
Another popular appointment is Dino Quest, because of the appealing life-size dinosaurs.
Well, if at the end you still desire more, you can check out the Showcase Gallery which houses travel exhibits.
Would like to know one fun things to do in Santa Ana with your kids, then The Discovery Cube suits perfectly.
Address: 2500 North Main Street.
9. River View Golf Course
What about getting an extra golf challenge? River View Golf Course does pretty well in offering that sort of challenge than other courses in Orange County.
The flow of the seasonal Santa Ana river in adjacent directions to the holes present additional hindrances which you need to avoid as you take shots.
If you try to play hard against the river, you are signing up for an expensive round. So, you have to play smart so your scores could look more healthier.
This presents a great way to have some fun, makes what to do in Santa Ana for golf lovers.
10. Sender One Climbing, Yoga, and Fitness
Sender One Climbing, Yoga, and Fitness is accommodated in a 25,000 sq ft infrastructure. They are a world-class climbing, yoga, and fitness center.
Sender one proudly owns one of the biggest and highest climbing gyms in the US. Visitors are taught how to climb by embracing private instructions or by joining any of the numerous classes offered.
One super feature Sender One has is Funtopia. This is a peer responsive climbing center targeting children and families.
This fitness center is not lacking in free weights and cardiovascular equipment. Finally, yoga sessions take place all through the week.
Address: 1441 South Village Way.
11. Hipcooks Orange County
Here is a cooking school for you. If you have ever wanted to learn to cook or improve your skills, Santa Ana provides you with that opportunity in Hipcooks Orange County.
They offer frontline cooking classes for every participant, from learners to expert cooks.
At Hipcooks, the kitchen takes an urban arrangement with emphasis placed on having fun. Cooks are motivated towards foregoing measuring tools and written recipes and instead use their instincts and taste buds.
Cooks do prepare their dishes with fresh ingredients most times obtained locally.
The Hipcooks kitchen is well-stocked with all the essentials needed by a cook. You will see an oven, food processor, a refrigerator, blender, pots and pans, mixing bowls, dishwasher, pots, knife and cutlery, mixer, and very sufficient space.
There are also instruction classes on wine tasting, so take advantage of this.
Address: 125 North Broadway.
12. The Copper Door
Hiding under Santa Ana’s historical Pacific Building and occupying 6,000 sq ft is a Broadway underground bar, the Copper Door.
This bar is known especially for the wide range of craft cocktails and beers they have. There are on the tap, craft beer which they rotate every week, and a eight signature moonshine cocktails.
As you start walking down the stairs, you begin to feel like you are entering a forbode-age blind tiger. This sensation gets intense when you see the big communal tables constructed using ponderosa pine tree (400 years old), ornate decorative pieces, flickering candle lights, and about 300 people roaming the place.
There is a stage if 15×15 ft where weekly entertainers perform. You might be lucky to see musicians, DJs, burlesque shows, or painters. You will also see two large billiard tables where visitors can seat and enjoy.
Address: 225 1/2 N. Broadway
13. Montanya Spa
The Montanya Spa, located just across the Bowers Museum is a class facility that provides diverse treatment from massages to couples massages to body wraps to facials, to manicure and pedicure, and other spa packages.
This spa is situated in a revamped house and is known as the quiet environment in which they offer excellent services.
Before they start up any process, skin analysis is performed by estheticians and then cleansing, exfoliation, and a relieving facial massage
Body treatment is not left out from what you can enjoy. They include raindrop therapy, sea salt body glow, non I body treatment, and sanctuary body treatment.
Address: 120 West 20th Street
14. The Bowers Museum
The Bowers Museum was opened in 1936 and is one of the best Santa Ana attractions. This museum was named in honor of Charles Bowers, he donated the land on which this museum is built.
The original structure took up the Mission Revival-style and was a beautiful building however after two series of expansion, the present museum is about ten times bigger than the former structure.
This organization is tasked to help visitors to learn about other cultures and appreciate them.
To fulfill this goal, the Bowers Museum attracts visitors into the building by the display of over 10,000 objects gotten from Asia, Africa, and the South Pacific.
There are also beautiful exhibits of Native American and Pre-Columbian art. These unique collections are unforgettable and include “Terra Cotta Warriors,” “Mummies: Death and the Afterlife in Ancient Egypt” and “Treasures from the British Museum,”
Kids are not left out at the Bowers, as also they feature Kidseum – a children’s museum.
Address: 2002 North Main Street.
15. Blackmarket Bakery
Scattered all over the San Diego region, one situated in Santa Ana, Blackmarket Bakery is simply one of the best places to visit in Santa Ana city.
This bakery and cafe was made from scratch. The restaurant here is manned by chef Rachel Klemek, the owner, he consistently works in recreating the homestyle healthiness of Southern candy shops and bakeries.
They offer a heterogeneous menu of baked and light cafe good all through the day.
For breakfast, you can enjoy egg sandwiches, cleverly-flavored croissants, and eclectic scones matched with espresso cafe beverages which is prepared by Kean Coffee.
Don’t miss the hearty fresh o grilled deli sandwiches. There are also cakes, homemade breads, super cookies, and tarts available all through the day.
Address: 211 N Broadway, Santa Ana, CA 92701.
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16. Outpost Fest
This is a one-day annual celebration in Santa Ana.
In this festival, the entire streets of Downtown Santa Ana is turned into an art, cultural and music festival.
There is an idea behind this festival which is “no fluff and no fillers”. That means that only the bands loved by the people are allowed to play, the atmosphere is a reflection of the rhythm of the arts, craftsmen, and music.
An outdoor stage is usually set up and this allows people to listen and flow with the bands that perform all day long.
There are also diverse food trucks stationed around during the event and they serve fresh classics like monster burgers.
17. Burritos La Palma
Burritos La Palma is a favorite spot in Santa Ana and is ranked as one of the most preferred burrito spots in California by the food critic, Jonathan Gold.
It was originally opened in 1980 by the Bañuelos Lugo family as a tortilleria in Zacatecas. The restaurant started its first American spot in 2012 at El Monte and is highly recognized for its award-winning burritos. These burritos are crafted using housemade flour tortillas.
As a diner, you can make your choice of a filling which maybe cheese and traditional refried beans, chicharron pork rinds, signature barrio de res shredded beef stew, or chicken tinga.
Quesadillas are readily available and can be served with specialty pork loin tortas, refried beans, shredded beef flautas de maiz, double birria burrito platters with green chile pork sauce.
Get a meal at the Burritos La Palma, this makes one of the best things to in Santa Ana.
Address: 410 N Bristol St, Santa Ana, CA 92703.
18. The Playground
Do you need a nice place to have some food to eat? If yes, The Playground is a is wonderful for such purpose. This restaurant is owned and managed by the same set who owns the Lime Truck gourmet food truck.
The Playground has got an amazing staff team who are energetic, a mixture of craft beer and delicious meals prepared with fresh ingredients
They have expanded at a seemingly unimagined pace and you will know the reason after one trip to the Playground.
19. Blinking Owl Distillery
How about a visit to the first craft distillery in Orange County, the Blinking Owl Distillery. In 2016, it was opened for public access in Santa Ana.
This distillery was the first liquor entity to have a Type 74 Craft Distillers license, allowing them to run a tasting room and also sell liquor (takeaway purpose) on the premises
This was named in commemoration of the Blinking Owl Bar (from mid-century) by owners Robin and Brian Christenson in honor of the rich craft cocktail history of Santa Ana.
The liquors produced yearly include traditional and barrel-aged Aquavit and gin, rye and bourbon whiskey varieties, orange and standard vodkas.
Visitors are allowed to go on educational tasting and tours where the company explains their pattern of operation and offer tasting opportunity for all partakers.
Do add Blinking Owl Distillery to your wish list of things to do in Santa Ana.
Address: 802 E Washington Ave, Santa Ana, CA 92701.
For an experience of an old Italian castle, do visit Antonello. The high ceilings, oversized furniture, crystal chandeliers, and original beams all depict a replica of what you will see in Italy.
It is magnificent, luxurious and has an over the top design to suit and give you comfort.
Aside from the spacious dining room, there are eight personal dining rooms and of course, a widely praised wine bar featured over 700 labels from around the world.
The food is served are the traditional Italian dishes, made simple but exquisite using original Italian ingredients and recipes either purchased from the local farms or imported from Italy.
Antonello has quite a vast menu, so you might want to try something more special like taking Smoked Wild Boar carpaccio alongside Parmigiano Reggiano cheese chunks sprinkled lightly with oil and drizzled sweet basil.
Enjoy the live music every day (6:30 pm – 8:30 pm) at the wine bar also on Thursday evenings, wine and food lovers attend the Antonello’s Wine Flight Night.
Address: 3800 South Plaza Drive.
21. Orange County Center for Contemporary Art (OCCCA)
The Orange County Center for Contemporary Art (OCCCA) was opened in 1980 and is accommodated by a 6,300 square foot structure situated in the significant Downtown Santa Ana Artist Village.
The fascinating and interesting studios, shops, galleries, and restaurants capture the attention of visitors or individuals who have an interest in the art.
OCCCA helps in promoting artworks done by the locals of Orange County with many other works by guest artists showcased too. For 35 years of its existence, there have been over 800 of them.
OCCCA organizes workshops and seminars for all age brackets, children inclusive. At some, of these workshops participants are developed in skill areas like painting, sculpture, and printmaking.
They also organize and host musical events, instance is the Annual Santa Ana Noise Fest.
Address: 117 North Sycamore Street.
22. The Observatory OC
Observatory OC is a nice place to get some live music while you are in Santa Ana. It is one of Santa Ana attractions and makes our list of fun things to do in Santa Ana.
Here, small and medium bands perform in a captivating manner, and to keep the suspense, lineups of bands are constantly changed, so you can not tell which one is chosen to out a show.
The venue is not too large, so this small and intimate arena adds to the vibes that flow. You will still see a reasonable crowd and some bars sell drinks too.
23. OC Helicopters
Here is something special. If you want to try something different from the normal in Santa Ana, you should go on a helicopter ride.
The OC Helicopter operates in Santa Ana and other nearby areas. You can start with them by a 10-minute journey from the OC coast and back to your custom location
You get yo see the city and landscape from the aircraft which presents quite some amazing views.
This makes what to do in Santa Ana with a loved one, get to appreciate the beauty of nature through a bird eye view of Santa Ana during your visit here.
Plan a Trip to Santa Ana
Santa Ana makes a fun place for a vacation, its museums, parks, golf courses, historic landmarks, classy restaurants, and many more are a piece of the jigsaw.
Filled with hospitable locals, this should make your next vacation. Begin plans towards enjoying a holiday with your family and loved ones in Santa Ana, and do have a fun trip.