Santa Ana California City Guide
Researching Santa Ana city? Here is a complete guide with the most up to date information about city of Santa Ana!
Santa Ana City Limits
City Overview: Founded in 1869, Santa Ana is the seat of Orange County and currently has a population of around 335,000 residents. This densely populated city is ranked as the 4th safest city of over 250,000 residents nationally by Forbes, and the New York Times describes Santa Ana as a city that represents California culturally, demographically, and electorally.
Santa Ana has a longhand vibrant history, and the city’s past is reflected in today’s times through the preservation of historic buildings and locations. Downtown, Midtown, Metro East, and South Coast Metro are several influential and iconic Santa Ana neighborhoods where the city’s atmosphere and culture can be explored.
The city is home to incredible restaurants, shops, parks, and other highly rated venues. Many families settle down in Santa Ana, and young professionals also find themselves at home in the city. Additionally, Santa Ana is also ranked as one of the healthiest and most outdoor-friendly cities in the country by Niche.com.
Top City Highlights
- Densely populated city
- Low crime rates
- Rich history
- Great schools
- Ethnically diverse population
- Healthy economy
- Many outdoor locations
- Liberal population
Location: Found in California’s southern corner, Santa Ana is directly west of the Santa Ana River and around 10 miles from the Pacific Coast. The city consists of 27.5 square miles.
Garden Grove and Anaheim are both northwest of Santa Ana, and Orange is directly north of the city. Tustin is the city’s neighbor to the east, and Irvine is southeast of Santa Ana. Costa Mesa makes up Santa Ana’s southern border, and Fountain Valley and Huntington Beach are found southwest of the city.
Santa Ana is about 30 miles southeast of Los Angeles, and the city is also around 88 miles northwest of San Diego.
Commutes: The mean commute time in Santa Ana is 25.5 minutes, which can be considered relatively short.
Santa Ana residents benefit from several freeways cutting through the city. The Santa Ana Freeway runs north to Los Angeles, and Interstate 5 leads to Orange County’s southern areas and San Diego. State Route 22, or Garden Grove Freeway, is found in the city’s northern area and leads to Long Beach and Orange. State Route 55, or Costa Mesa Freeway, leads to Costa Mesa.
Specifically, it takes about an hour and a half to reach San Diego from Santa Ana, and Los Angeles is around an hour’s drive from the city as well.
Culture: Santa Ana is the second largest city in the county based on population and is also the 4th densely populated city in the country.
77% of the population is Hispanic, and 11% of residents are Asian. 9% of residents are White, 1% are African American, and 1% of residents are biracial or multiracial.
21% of Santa Ana’s population has some college education or an associate’s degree, and 10% of residents have a bachelor’s degree. 4% of residents have a master’s degree or above.
Santa Ana’s unemployment rate is 4.4%, and the poverty rate tracks around 19.4%. The median household income sits at $57K, and the individual income is $21K.
Santa Ana uses a mayor-council system of government, and the city council is made up of 7 members including the city’s mayor. Each member is elected at-large and serves for a 4-year term of office with a limit of 3 terms.
Council meetings take place on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of every month, and meetings are open to the public.
Address: 22 Civic Center Plaza Santa Ana, CA 92701
The mayor of Santa Ana is elected on an at-large basis to serve for a 2-year term of office. A mayor can serve a maximum of 4 consecutive terms.
The city’s mayor works to create economic opportunities and better the quality of life for Santa Ana residents, among other responsibilities having to do with the daily management of the city.
Address: 22 Civic Center Plaza Santa Ana, CA 92701
Chamber of Commerce
The Santa Ana Chamber of Commerce works to further the city’s economic growth and prosperity while also transforming the local community for the better.
This chamber works to mobilize resources for its members, act with integrity, encourage collaboration between local businesses, and support social equity and beneficial business opportunities so that Santa Ana will continue to improve.
Address: 1631 W Sunflower Ave C-35 Santa Ana, CA 92704
Overview: Although Santa Ana Unified School District only covers 24 square miles, this district is the 7th largest in the state and services 58,000 students.
Ranked by Niche.com to be the #15 top school district in Orange County, Santa Ana Unified School District is a well-rated school system with an average student-teacher ratio of 25 to 1. Schools in this district are known for having highly impressive teachers, an emphasis on college preparatory programs, and solid health and safety records.
Across all schools in the district, 93% of students are Latino, 2.8% are White, 3% are Asian/Pacific Islander, and around 1% of students are of other ethnic backgrounds, which is to say that this district’s schools are known for diverse student populations.
This district has around 40 elementary school campuses, 15 intermediate schools, and 12 high school campuses, in addition to several alternative schools and special education programs.
Outside of SAUSD, local private schools are also impressive.
Some of the top elementary schools in Santa Ana Unified School District include K-5 campuses like Jim Thorpe Fundamental, John Muir Fundamental Elementary, Greenville Fundamental Elementary, and Walker Elementary School.
Other great K-8 campuses include El Sol Santa Ana Science & Arts Academy, Orange County Educational Arts Academy, and Santiago Elementary to name only a few.
Middle school campuses in Santa Ana Unified School District are commonly praised for having inviting school environments, attentive teachers, economically and ethnically diverse student populations, engaging curriculum, and relatively small class sizes.
Campuses like Douglas Macarthur Fundamental Intermediate School and Gonzalo Felicitas Mendez Fundamental Intermediate School are 2 such campuses that showcase these impressive qualities.
There are multiple impressive high schools within Santa Ana Unified School District, and many campuses are ranked highly by Niche.com compared with all public 9-12 schools in the state.
Orange County School of Arts, Godinez Fundamental High School, Middle College High School, Segerstrom High School, and Nova Academy are several impressively rated campuses in this district.
There are around 20 private campuses in Santa Ana that generally have student-teacher ratios of around 10 to 1. Many of the city’s private schools are religious institutions with excellent academic records, qualified teachers, and impressive reviews.
Mater Dei High School, Calvary Chapel High School, and Bethel Baptist Church are only 4 private schools in Santa Ana that stand out.
Overview: There are around 76,000 listed housing options in Santa Ana, and 44.8% of properties are owner-occupied, which leaves 55.2% of residences being rented. The vacancy rate in the city tracks around 2.5%.
22.3% of properties have 1 bedroom, and 31.4% have 2 bedrooms. 28.4% of Santa Ana residences have 3 bedroom layouts, and 14.7% have 4 bedroom layouts. Meanwhile, just 3.2% of properties have 5 or more bedrooms.
3.9% of properties were built in or after 2000, and 41% of housing options were constructed between 1970-1999. The majority of Santa Ana homes at 48.2% were built between 1940-1969, and 6.8% of residences were constructed in or before 1939.
Around 52% of properties in the city are single family detached homes, and 31.6% are apartment complexes. 9.7% of residences are smaller apartment buildings, and 6.2% of housing options in the city are condominiums and attached properties.
On average, 1 bedroom detached houses go for $333K and are small in number. Meanwhile, 2 bedroom detached family homes average at $434K.
3 bedroom homes are more prevalent in Santa Ana, and the cost of 3 bedroom properties jumps to an average of $630K. 4 bedroom homes in Santa Ana tend to be more expensive and average at $880K.
Newly built housing options in Santa Ana generally come with significantly higher price tags attached than properties with a few years under their belts.
To be more specific, a recently built 3 bedroom house in the city may cost $1 million, and new 4 bedroom homes in Santa Ana can be found at starting costs of $1.2 million.
1-2 bedroom condos in Santa Ana aren’t as commonplace as 3-4 bedroom condos, but still can be found for around $275K. That said, more expensive options can stretch to $330K.
3-4 bedroom condos likewise vary in terms of price points. A 3 bedroom condominium may go for $410K or $490K, and larger condos can be found for $500K and over.
For context, Santa Ana residents pay an average monthly rent of $2,089.
The average monthly price of a studio apartment in Santa Ana is $2,496, and 1 bedroom apartments average at $1,358 per month.
2 bedroom apartments come with an average monthly rent of $1,937, and larger 3 bedroom apartments average at $2,397 per month.
Homes for Sale
If you’re interested in buying a home in this area, we invite you to search homes for sale on our website. You are also welcome to check out the following resources listed below. If you would rather speak directly to a professional and licensed Realtor, feel free to contact Morales Team.
List of Santa Ana Real Estate Listings by Property Types
List of Santa Ana Real Estate Listings by Popular Searches
If you’re interested in selling your own property, contact Morales Team, your go-to local real estate company, by clicking the link below:
Overview: The median property value in Santa Ana is estimated to be $530K, which is high compared to national trends but is seen as affordable when stacked against California averages.
5.7% of properties in the city are worth under $64K, and 3.1% are worth between $64K-$128K. 6.6% of real estate is priced between $128K-$256K, and 12.3% of properties are valued between $256K-$385K. 21.4% of properties are priced between $385K-$513K, and 24% are worth between $513K-$641K. Another 22.5% of Santa Ana properties vary between $641K-$962K, and 4.4% of real estate is worth over $962K.
Santa Ana’s property appreciation rates are among some of the highest in the nation. Specifically, real estate appreciated 78.12% between December 2009 and December 2019, which breaks down into an average annual appreciation rate of 5.94%. With this in mind, buying real estate in Santa Ana is likely to pay off in time.
Things to Do
Overview: Found only 15 miles away from Huntington Beach and the Pacific Coast, Santa Ana has a diverse set of attractions and local activities residents are welcome to enjoy.
Green spaces abound in Santa Ana, which means tennis courts, baseball fields, hiking trails, picnic areas, and so much more are within short distance for residents. Plus, Disneyland Park is directly north of Santa Ana.
Beyond many annual cultural festivals and community events like Fiestas Patrias, Santa Ana is especially notable for its wide variety of entertaining venues like Discover Cube Orange County and historic venues found in Downtown Santa Ana. Plus, creative types feel right at home in venues like Grand Central Art Center, and shopaholics can explore multiple retail areas.
As expected of such a culturally diverse city, Santa Ana’s restaurants showcase an impressive range of authentic cuisines from around the world. The local nightlife scene is also vibrant, so the fun doesn’t have to end when the sun sets.
Retail & Entertainment
Parks & Recreation
Huge nature preserves are located just outside of Santa Ana, and multiple golf courses are found west of the city. Santa Ana Zoo is a hit across all ages, and Centennial Regional Park has a riverside location.
Plus, Santiago Creek Wildlife and Watershed Center has 10 miles of paved walking and biking trails, picnic areas, and play structures for kids.
There are many shopping malls in the city and surrounding areas. Some of the highest rated retail centers include MainPlace Mall, The Outlets at Orange, South Coast Plaza, Santa Ana Mini Mall, and Santa Ana Plaza.
Shopping malls aside, there are also excellent boutiques to visit around Santa Ana like MOA Boutique, Fashion Avenue, Niko Mika, Melissa Bleu, and Fashion Q.
Art & Culture
The Heritage Museum of Orange County has fascinating exhibits, and Discovery Cube Orange County showcases interactive and engaging exhibits.
Bowers Museum has global art, and Orange County Museum of Art has modern art exhibits. Kidseum is aimed for children and families, and Marconi Automotive Museum has varied car displays.
Of course, Santa Ana’s downtown is a historic neighborhood in itself.
Mission Bar is a popular beer hall, and Vacation serves craft cocktails with a tropical atmosphere. Meanwhile, The Copper Door is an underground spot with live music, and Fling Cocktail Lounge is a popular old school venue.
VLVT, Native Son Alehouse, Lola Gaspar, Quill Lounge, The Olde Ship, Stagecoach Bar, 616 Club, and Wursthaus are several other stand-out local hotspots.
Playground is a can’t-miss venue with creative American dishes, and Crave Restaurant attracts a health-conscious crowd. Mix Mix Kitchen Bar has an eclectic menu, and Antonello Ristorante serves posh Italian fare.
Other eateries to check out are local establishments like Ritter’s Steam Kettle Cooking, Lola Gaspar, El Mercado Modern Cuisine, and Little Onion Mexican Restaurant to name only a few.
As one of the most densely populated cities in the country, Santa Ana has over 100 neighborhoods and several notable districts like Downtown, Midtown, Metro East, and South Coast Metro to name only a few.
Although housing widely varies in the city, northern neighborhoods tend to be the most expensive parts of town. Specifically, the city’s northeastern corner has a median real estate price of over $1 million, which is more costly than 85.3% of California neighborhoods and 97% of neighborhoods nationally.
Southern neighborhoods are more affordable and have a median real estate price of $718K. However, this still tracks as being more expensive than 66.2% of residential areas in the state and 92.1% nationally.
Generally speaking, the most affordable Santa Ana neighborhoods are centrally located. Specifically near City Center, the median real estate price is $345K. This median price is considered more affordable than over 78% of California neighborhoods and 31% of neighborhoods across the country.