Santa Ana, California




Sunny Days: 279
44100 Affordability
80100 Schools
60100 Diversity
77100 Safety

We only have two kinds of weather in California, magnificent and unusual. – James M Cain

The Good, the Bad and The Ugly

Let’s get this out of the way; Santa Ana is largely frowned upon by the rest of Orange County, particularly, of course, coastal Orange County. The crime and homelessness really makes them clutch their pearls. But, if you’re coming from elsewhere you’re going to notice that it’s still SoCal climate and there are some nice neighborhoods.

Although downtown Santa Ana was the subject of a revitalization effort and it’s got lots of accoutrements, Downtown is generally a place you go, not a place you live. The upper-middle and middle-class subdivisions are set apart from the rest of Santa Ana. Santa Ana is not necessarily an inexpensive place to settle by any means. Up in the hills, behind gates one can also live in the Santa Ana zip code.

The Best Thing About Santa Ana?


Santa Ana is centrally located and a quick drive to beaches and John Wayne Airport.
Shopping is diverse including South Coast Plaza (Costa Mesa) It is centrally located to the rest of Orange County, ten minutes from the beach, 2 hours from the mountains, 1 hour to LA, and 2 hours to San Diego. Also, the candy/produce/snack vans/trucks. And The MetroLink passes through providing train access to LA.

Here's a Santa Ana lifer on the progress Santa Ana has made:
Over the past 15 years, things started to change. It has now gotten to a point were the city was selected by Forbes as the 4th safest in the country (large cities). Streets are getting improved, neighborhoods are being revitalized, downtown is taking shape, and most importantly residents are now completely involved with preventing crime. The city still has pockets of apartment complexes that have issues, but they are small and isolated areas. Santa Ana has beautiful neighborhoods. The best downtown in OC that is getting better fast!

For more reviews of what living in Santa Ana is like from locals check out: The Buzz

The Worst Thing About Santa Ana?

The Reputation

Santa Ana's reputation was built in the 80's and 90's when things got rough. It's a very different city now but the reputation for crime has clung to the city. If that bothers you then you won't like it here.

Here's one local's point of view on the issue of Santa Ana's reputation:
I think there is certainly a negative stereotype of the city, that being said my dad grew up in Santa Ana before the white flight (he's black) but he said it definitely got worse in terms of crime in the 80s/90s but since the 2000s it has gotten much much better.

Lifestyle Of Santa Ana

Downtown Santa Ana has gone through a major revitalization in recent years. Much of this is driven by an arts movement that has given the city a cool vibe. Combine that arts scene with growing restaurant and bar options and the downtown area offers increasing social and cultural options. Future growth is planned but the city continues to wrestle with a desire for Downtown development and a fear of gentrification that displaces the majority hispanic community. In the meantime most of Santa Ana has a more family-focused “suburban” lifestyle with gated neighborhoods and amenities focused on keeping kiddos and parents happy.

Worklife of Santa Ana

The big drivers of the local economy in Santa Ana include government, financial, aerospace and electronics. The development project in downtown resulted in the creation of 10 new banking and financial building and the civic center for local, state and federal government buildings. Which means you can live and work in the city. That said, plenty of people live in Santa Ana and commute to Orange county cities like Irvine or Anaheim. While commuting is a thing we would strongly advise not moving to Santa Ana and then leaving yourself a long commute to LA or any other SoCal city.

Why You Should Move Here Now?

It's SoCal

All the usual SoCal reasons. The climate is temperate (those famous Santa Ana Winds keep the nights balmy) and you can move strategically around Santa Ana and it’s neighboring communities and be quite comfortable.

Neighborhoods in Santa Ana

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Downtown Historic District

Young Professionals

The Downtown Santa Ana Historic District pulls in young people for culture and socializing and now it’s increasingly pulling them in for living. Growth in apartment, loft and condo options make it the first place to check out if considering moving here. It’s a center for restaurants, bars, coffee shops and a growing Artist’s Village scene that’s all easily walkable. It also has Birch Park for those craving a bit of greenery amidst the commercial district.

  • Downtown Historic District

French Park


The French Park and French Court neighborhoods are good options for singles and couples looking for commercial districts with plenty of restaurants, bars and shopping but are ready for moving on from a strictly “Downtown” experience. These are historic neighborhoods with beautiful housing options and good walkscores but not the density of downtown.

  • French Park
  • French Court

The Artist's Village


Santa Ana doesn’t have a particularly dense LGBTQ+ neighborhood but the growth of Downtown and in particular The Artist’s Village is driving growth in the city. Anyone new to Santa Ana looking for a community would do well to start their search here.

  • Downtown
  • The Artist’s Village

Meredith Parkwood


Meredith Parkwood is a good place to start the search for families. It has a commercial district, with shops, restaurants and grocery stores, but it also has schools, parks and open spaces for the kiddos to enjoy. While housing is more expensive here the neighborhood is also extremely safe for families so many make the tradeoff. Floral Park is another great option. The neighborhood has over 600 historic homes and it feels like a neighborhood from an earlier era. The blocks are tree-lined and the homes tree-shaded (critical during hot summers) and the community feels like its own small town rather than just a part of a bigger city.

  • Meredith Parkwood
  • Floral Park
  • West Floral Park