Santa Ana is part of the greater Los Angeles area, the county seat of Orange County with a population of approximately 335,000 (2014 estimate), and 78 percent are of Hispanic ethnicity. The city occupies 27 square miles and is the fourth most densely populated city in the U.S. Santa Ana shares its name with the Santa Ana Mountains to the east, and with the Santa Ana winds, notorious for fueling wildfires in southern California.
Santa Ana History
Historians offer varying perspectives on the origin of Santa Ana, Spanish for “Saint Anne.” Some attribute the advent of western culture to the arrival of Don Gaspár de Portolá and his Spanish expedition. The original founding father of the town, William Spurgeon, hailed from Kentucky. Other historians say the early influence of missionaries, especially Friar Junipero Serra, is the foundation for western culture in Santa Ana. Here are a couple of links to more on the community’s history:
Santa Ana Weather
Santa Ana’s climate is classified as hot-summer Mediterranean. It’s so agreeable, some refer to it as “forever summer.” Between June and September, daytime high temperatures average 83°F with nighttime lows of 63°F. From December through March, you’ll experience an average high of 70 °F and lows of 48 °F. The climate is dry, with only about 14 inches of annual rainfall.
Santa Ana Transportation
Santa Ana and Orange County feature a well-developed infrastructure for public transportation: buses and shuttles (Orange County Transportation Authority and Greyhound Bus); bus service for people with disabilities (ACCESS); trains (Amtrak and MetroLink); limos and taxis. Santa Ana is home to John Wayne Airport, an international airport and aviation museum. Four other airports serve Orange County as well, including Los Angeles International (LAX). The average travel time to work is 25 minutes.
Cost of Living in Santa Ana
Expect to pay a premium if you live in Santa Ana. The costs for living essentials are about 30 percent higher than national averages. And while California’s state income tax is considerably lower than most states, the sales taxes for Santa Ana (total 8 percent) are substantially higher.
Santa Ana Schools
The Santa Ana Unified School District provides public education (K-12) via 62 schools, including seven high schools and three alternative high schools. Private school options (K-12) include 25 Catholic schools within 10 miles of Santa Ana. For post-secondary studies, Santa Ana College offers a highly respected curriculum centered on workforce development. Pepperdine’s Irvine campus provides several graduate degree programs. All told, there are more than 100 colleges within an hour’s drive of Santa Ana.
Santa Ana Hospitals
An online search for hospitals finds nearly 100 in or near Santa Ana. Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley (12 miles) was named among the nation’s best breast centers in 2015 (Women’s Choice Award). Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo (20 miles) is part of the St. Joseph Health Ministry and an extensive network of regional care centers spanning multiple specialties.
Santa Ana Real Estate
There are 77,610 housing units in Santa Ana (2016 estimate/California State Department of Finance). The costs for buying or renting a home in Santa Ana are well above most U.S. cities. The median value (2010-2014) of owner-occupied units is $343,000, and the median gross rent for the same period is $1,929.
Santa Ana Hotels
An overnight stay in Santa Ana will likely cost you around $90 to $120. A stay at the four-star Ayres Hotel Orange with a big menu of amenities will run you closer to $200. If you’re planning a visit to Disneyland, the Best Western Plus Meridian Inn and Suites is just a few minutes away. If you seek the luxury of a five-star property, there are several on Route One along the Pacific coast.
Santa Ana Restaurants
As you’d expect, fresh Mexican cuisine is popular in Santa Ana with a population that is 80 percent Hispanic. And so are a myriad of creative ethnic fusions. How about some chicken wings tossed in a tangy sambal-pineapple sauce with housemade kimchi? Visit Chapter One on North Broadway for lunch. In a burger-and-craft-beer kind of mood? You can’t go wrong with The Playground on East 4th Street. And, with the “forever summer” weather, you’ll find lots of choices for open-air “al fresco” dining.
Things To Do in Santa Ana
Whale watching. Jetpack flying. Surfing. The list of things to do in Santa Ana and Orange County is a long one. It’s a top destination for golfing, with agreeable weather year round. It’s home to fabulous theme parks, including the granddaddy of them all, Disneyland, and the top rated Knott’s Berry Farm. For an educational adventure, visit the Cube, a hands-on science and discovery experience where children think and learn using their hands.