1. Travel

Santa Ana: The Seat of Orange County

By

Santa Ana is an Orange County city characterized by its rich history and the revitalization of its downtown area. Dubbed the "Seat of Orange County," Santa Ana is quite possibly the most populous city in the county and the home of a thriving arts community.

A Brief History

Santa Ana is part of a rare Spanish land grant, Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana. The property was made up of more than 60,000 acres of land that included modern day Santa Ana, Costa Mesa, Orange, Tustin, El Modena, Villa Park, Tustin and parts of Irvine. Over time parts of the Rancho were sold to pay off debt. Today, Santa Ana is considered the seat of Orange County.

Lay of the Land

The city of Santa Ana covers approximately 27 miles of Orange County's central valley, starting at the Santa Ana River on the west and stretching to the 55 Fwy and Red Hill Ave. on the east. Santa Ana is bordered by the 22 Fwy and the city of Anaheim to the north and Costa Mesa to the south.

Housing and Real Estate

Residential real estate in Santa Ana spans the gambit from condos and townhouses, detached single-family homes and multi-unity housing, fabricated and mobile homes, to vacant lots earmarked for multi-unit housing developments. This central O.C. city also abundant with affordable rental housing and reasonable property values as well.
Median House or Condo Value: $330,900
Media Rent: $1,242

Santa Ana School District

Santa Ana schools serve nearly 60,000 students, 94 percent of whom are Latino and 60 percent of whom are English language learners. While several of Santa Ana's schools have earned awards for academic achievement -- including two National Blue Ribbons awards and six Distinguished California Schools awards -- the school district has a history of over-crowding and under-performance. In fact four Santa Ana high schools and two intermediate schools have been listed as "persistently lowest-achieving" by the California Department of Education.

Arts & Entertainment

Historically downtown Santa Ana is a hub of civic activity. However, over the last 10 years there has been a revitalization effort and the downtown area has evolved into several distinct districts: the Civic Center District, the Midtown District, the Historic District on 4th St., the Museum District and the Artist Village. This heart of the city includes museums, funky shops, chic eateries and a thriving arts community. Key points of interest are the Bowers Museum, the monthly Art Walk, the Discovery Science Center, the Heritage Museum and the Lyon Air Museum. Aside from the artsy shops throughout the Artist Village, additional shopping can be found at the Westfield MainPlace Mall.

Santa Ana by the Numbers

Population: 340,340
Median Age: 26
Median Income: $53,211

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.