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Welcome to My City:  Santa Ana – A Place for Arts, Culture, and Entertainment


Nhu-Y (Terra) Nguyen is an Administrative Assistant in the Santa Ana field office. Terra has worked in this office since June 1999. The Santa Ana field office is one of two located in the greater Los Angeles area and is near the Orange County satellite office of San Diego.

Santa Ana, Crystal Cove

In my experience, I have found Santa Ana and the surrounding area to be a nice and affordable place to live, work, and play. Santa Ana is part of the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area. Los Angeles is the entertainment capital of the United States. There are very few limits to what you can do in this area.

What I like the most about Santa Ana is that it is a place for arts, culture, and entertainment. Home to world-class art exhibits, award-winning artists, unique local activities, and classic architecture, Santa Ana offers something for everyone. Also, the weather in the area is very nice and provides for a wide range of educational and outdoor recreational activities for all ages and interests throughout the year.

The best kept secret in Santa Ana is the free Santa Ana Art Walk, which takes place downtown on the first Saturday evening of each month, rain or shine. The stroll is a short four blocks, from Broadway Avenue to Spurgeon Street, along the Second Street Promenade, where fountains, palm trees, and sidewalk cafes line the streets. You can buy a variety of original artwork from some of southern California’s most talented artists or converse with them. The Art Walk is the best time to visit the heart of Santa Ana, a little-known artsy pocket of Orange County.

Whatever you do, be sure to check out the Bowers Museum, a world-class art museum with acclaimed exhibits, exciting family festivals, engaging lectures, films, and workshops in a beautiful setting. This museum, which I visit occasionally with my family, is consistently rated the best museum by the local newspaper, the Orange County Register. You can also spend  an afternoon at the Discovery Science Center, Orange County’s leading destination for hands-on science fun that the whole family can enjoy.

If you like animals, the Santa Ana Zoo at Prentice Park is a charming place to spend a day. There is always something to delight anyone with a curious mind.

If you feel like shopping, take a short ride to the Westfield MainPlace Mall where you can buy just about anything you want. You also might have heard about our scenic coastlines!  The most popular beaches are Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Dana Point, and Huntington Beach. All feature abundant recreational opportunities and spectacular views. A romantic weekend getaway to any of those beaches would be truly memorable. As with any other city, Santa Ana holds annual festivals throughout the year to celebrate such holidays as Cinco de Mayo, and Mexican Independence Day. There is also the Caribbean Family Festival, Winter Solstice Festival, and Boo at the Zoo. In late April, don’t miss an opportunity to stroll the historic Floral Park neighborhood in the northern tip of Santa Ana during the Annual Home and Garden tour.

My three favorite restaurants in Santa Ana are the Shabu Shabu Bar on 17th Street, where you pick your own items and sauce, and cook it yourself in a hot pan. Perhaps you would like to enjoy an Italian meal al fresco at Tuttlo Fresco, or maybe a quick soup and sandwich at the Corner Bakery, which is nestled in downtown Santa Ana. I would be remiss to leave out the Cream Pan, a nice little bakery nearby, especially for those of you who have a sweet tooth like I do!

And finally I would add, as you pack your suitcase for a visit to the area, be sure to pack your self-control, as there are plenty of tempting restaurant choices in Santa Ana.

Last Updated: 10/21/2014