Santa Ana, California 2020

Santa Ana is a small city located in Orange County, in the Greater Los Angeles area of ​​Southern California. Santa Ana is the 13th most populous city in California and the 4th most densely populated city in the country after New York, San Francisco and Boston. The city is also the main economic and cultural center of the Orange Coast. Nestled on the banks of the Santa Ana River, Santa Ana is an exceptional vacation destination offering something for everyone.

Geography and Climate of Santa Ana

Aerial view of the urban core of downtown Santa Ana, California
Aerial view of the urban core of downtown Santa Ana, California.

Santa Ana is located on flat, low plains with minimal fluctuation in ground elevation. The massively channeled Santa Ana River, which runs through the western part of the city, became largely seasonal after the construction of the Prado and Seven Oaks dams. Despite the dams, the Santa Ana River caused multiple devastating floods in the 20th century and remains of concern. Santa Ana covers a total area of ​​70.89 km2, of which 70.81 km2 is occupied by land and 0.08 km2 by water.

According to the Koppen climate classification, Santa Ana experiences a hot semi-arid climate, with hot, dry summers and mild winters with minimal rainfall. The hottest months in Santa Ana are June, July and May, while the coldest months are December and January. According to the Tourism Score, the ideal season to visit Santa Ana for warm weather activities is from late May to early October.

History of Santa Ana

The Old Orange County Courthouse
The Old Orange County Courthouse, opened in 1901, is a granite and sandstone Romanesque Revival building located in the historic downtown district of Santa Ana.

Santa Ana takes its name from the first Spanish expedition to the area. In 1769, Don Gaspar de Portolá, the commander of the Spanish expedition team, discovered a beautiful valley and a river in southern California, which he named Santa Ana. The region was formed as Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana as part of a concession of Spanish land for grazing and growing livestock. When William H. Spurgeon purchased 70 acres in 1869 and planned a townsite, he followed tradition and named the new town Santa Ana. Santa Ana was incorporated as a city in 1886 and is currently the political and economic center of Orange County as well as a major city in California.

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Population and Economy of Santa Ana

The main building and main entrance to the Santa Ana Regional Transportation Center
The main building and main entrance to the Santa Ana Regional Transportation Center. Editorial credit: The Image Party / Shutterstock.com

According to the last US census, Santa Ana has a population of 310,227. The population of Santa Ana is now decreasing at an annual rate of -0.46%, and it has decreased by -0.92% since the 2010 census, which reported a population of 324,528. Santa Ana has an income household median of $83,475. The poverty rate is 13.43% and more than 21% of the population lives below the federal poverty line. More than 161,000 inhabitants are employed as civilians. Several important companies have their corporate and regional offices in the city. Nonetheless, Orange County is the largest employer, employing nearly 16,856 people. Other prominent businesses in the city include Ingram Micro, Rancho Santiago Community College District, Tenet Healthcare, and the United States Postal Service.

Attractions in Santa Ana

The Bowers Museum

The Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, California
The Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, California. Editorial credit: Sandra Foyt / Shutterstock.com

The Bowers Museum is named for Charles Bowers, who donated the site on which the museum stands. The original building, which opened in 1936, is a stunning Mission Revival-style construction. After two extensions, the museum is now ten times larger than the original design. The main objective of the museum is to make known and respect the different cultures to the tourists. The Bowers Museum attracts tourists with its collection of around 10,000 artifacts from Africa, Asia and the South Pacific.

The Discovery Cube

Aerial view of traffic on Highway 5 passing through the Discovery Tube in downtown Santa Ana, California
Aerial view of traffic on the 5 freeway passing through the Discovery Tube in downtown Santa Ana, California. Editorial credit: Matt Gush / Shutterstock.com

The Discovery Cube is a family-friendly interactive science museum featuring over 100 interactive exhibits. It was once known as the Discovery Science Center, but is now recognized as the Discovery Cube due to its ten-story solar cube, which has become a well-known landmark. Museum exhibits inspire young people to learn by sparking their interests. Air and Space, Dynamic Earth, Eco-Challenge, Quake Zone, Rocket Lab, and Hockey Science are among the Discovery Cube areas grouped by theme.

Lyon Air Museum

American Airlines plane at the Lyon Air Museum, Santa Ana, California
HDR photograph of American Airlines Douglas DC-3 US Mail Air Express at the Lyon Air Museum, Santa Ana, California. Editorial credit: Denis Blofield / Shutterstock.com

Major General William Lyon established the Lyon Air Museum, located on the west side of John Wayne Airport. The museum has several WWII military aircraft, vehicles and motorcycles that will pique the interest of visitors. There are also unique antique cars and related war relics in the museum. A Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, a Cessna O-1E Bird Dog and a Douglas C-47 Skytrain are among the various aircraft on display at the museum.

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Santa Ana Zoo

Crean Family Farms Barn at the Santa Ana Zoo in Prentice Park, Santa Ana, California
Crean Family Farms Barn at the Santa Ana Zoo in Prentice Park, Santa Ana, California. Editorial credit: Steve Cukrov / Shutterstock.com

The Santa Ana Zoo, located in a 20-acre area near Prentice Park, focuses on flora and animals from Central and South America. The location of the zoo was donated to the city of Santa Ana by Joseph Prentice, and the zoo got its start in 1952. The Amazon’s Edge, the Colors of the Amazon Aviary, and the Crean Family Farm are among the incredible attractions and rides from the zoo.

The Orange County Contemporary Art Center

The Orange County Center for Contemporary Art building in downtown Santa Ana, California
The Orange County Center for Contemporary Art building in downtown Santa Ana, California. Editorial credit: Steve Cukrov / Shutterstock.com

The center was founded in 1980 and is located in a 6,300 square foot facility in the former artists’ village of downtown Santa Ana. Its unique and entertaining galleries, studios, cafes and shops attract a large number of art-loving tourists. The center features works by regional Orange County artists and has hosted more than 800 special guests throughout its 35-year history.

Orange County Heritage Museum

H. Clay Kellogg House at the Heritage Museum of Orange County, Santa Ana, California
H. Clay Kellogg House at the Heritage Museum of Orange County, Santa Ana, California. Editorial credit: Steve Cukrov / Shutterstock.com

The Orange County Heritage Museum is a historic attraction set on 12 acres of beautiful citrus trees and floral gardens. A plaza in the middle features many structures from the 1890s, such as the famous Kellogg House. Hiram Clay Kellogg planned and built the Kellogg House in 1898, using Queen Anne influence in the architecture. Kellogg was captivated by ships and the interior of the house has various intriguing aspects that show his nautical interest.

The most beautiful things come in small packages, as the saying goes, and this beautiful city is no exception. Anyone visiting Santa Ana will enjoy the various activities and attractions this Orange County town has to offer.

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