Santa Ana Information and Photos


Santa Ana is the county seat for Orange County and the home of Orange County's John Wayne Airport.


Pictured above is the Bowers Museum which features art of the Americas and Pacific Rim, plus art festivals, film programs, a lecture series and an acclaimed restaurant, Tangata Café.  The Santa Ana Zoo (bottom middle) includes exotic birds, monkeys, a mountain lion and barnyard animals.


Santa Ana is just a very unusual place where cultures amazingly co-exist. Boundaries are difficult to comprehend so you generally fly by the seat of your pants in trying to understand the customs and approach.  Next door neighbors such as Westminster with its Asian community have started to acculturate to American customs and laws. Falling into line with no-smoking policies, the Asian Garden Mall and other shops have removed smoking from their shops, for instance.


In Santa Ana, there are street pushcarts selling foods and wares that by all appearances, bring the comforts and pleasures Hispanics are accustomed to south of the border. Many stores in downtown Santa Ana sell the gifts and clothing geared solely toward a Hispanic audience. Yet in the midst of this non-English speaking section of town you'll find some lofts, renovated buildings and cool, trendy hangouts that are throwbacks to the hippie era. And don't forget that Santa Ana is the heart of county government.


Christened in honor of Saint Anne, on July 26, 1769,  Spanish expedition party leader, Don Gaspár de Portolá, discovered the picturesque valley and river Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana. But it was José Antonio Yorba and Juan Peralta who were given a Spanish land grant. They developed the property for cattle grazing and farming.


100 years later Santa Ana became a city when William H. Spurgeon purchased 70 acres from the Yorba family in 1869.  Incorporated in 1886, it was separated from Los Angeles County  and was named the County seat just three years later.


The population is 74% Hispanic with restaurants, shops and markets catering to an audience whose primary language is Spanish. Many residents are bilingual, especially youngsters and long time residents but in Santa Ana, you'll feel right at home if Spanish is your native tongue. Holidays are celebrated in a unique way with Christmas one of the biggest events. It includes a procession in a local stadium and breaking of piñatas as part of holiday festivities. 


Things to see and do:

Historic downtown Santa Ana is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.  Dr. Howe-Waffle House and Medical Museum Open first Saturday & Sunday each month Noon - 4 p.m., 120 Civic Center Dr., (714) 547-9645 


Santa Ana is home to the Orange County court system. There's a beautiful  old courthouse  which is a historic landmark and is used as a set for filming in  hundreds of television shows and movies.


Bowers Museum  2002 North Main Street, Santa Ana, CA 92706  (714) 567-3600


Santa Ana Zoo, 1801 E. Chestnut Ave., Santa Ana, CA 92701 Open daily except Christmas and New Year's Day. 


This local treasure has been in existence for over 50 years. The zoo includes a special children's petting area, regularly featured exhibits that include a female Golden Lion Tamarin, female Pygmy Marmoset, a ram named Casper, emus, ewes, Millipedes and more!