Moving to Santa Ana, CA? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

Did you know that before Santa Ana, CA, was officially founded in 1869, it was nothing but an empty mustard field in the middle of nowhere? Looking at the sprawling cityscape that exists now, you’d never imagine its humble beginnings. 

You won’t find many mustard fields in Santa Ana these days, but there are plenty of great attractions, restaurants, shopping, and much more in this beautiful California city. We’ve put together a guide to Santa Ana, CA, that will tell you everything you need to know about this great city. Check it out below!

Outdoor Recreation
Local Attractions
What’s in the Area?

Cost of Living


Santa Ana, CA, like most of southern California, is known for its pleasant weather year round. That’s one of the major reasons it’s such a popular place to live. Winters range from lows in the 40s to highs in the 70s. Springs warm slightly, and summers reach an average temperature of 85 degrees, though heat waves can bring temperatures into the 90s, and storms can drop it down below 70. Fall gradually lowers the temperature into the 70s and is a great time of year to be outside. 

Santa Ana receives only a third of the average US rainfall: just 13 inches per year. It’s a great place for those who like clear, sunny weather. However, it’s not a great place for those who don’t like the wind. The Santa Ana winds are a common phenomenon in the Los Angeles basin, starting in the fall and continuing through the winter. These dry winds can be a nightmare if there are any active forest fires in the area. The winds will fan the flames and increase the damage created by the fires. The Santa Ana winds aren’t just in Santa Ana but affect the entire region as well.

Despite the occasional wind, though, Santa Ana is a great place to live.

Interested in the current weather? Here’s the 10-day forecast.


Santa Ana has always been a melting pot of different cultures and experiences. The vibrant food scene is proof of this. No matter what you’re craving, you’ll likely find an entire restaurant dedicated to that food. South American, African, Vietnamese, Japanese, and many other cuisines, both famous and obscure, are represented in Santa Ana, CA! Here are some of our favorites.

Playground – This upscale restaurant is serving dishes bursting with flavor. Whether you’re looking for a fresh, locally sourced salad or an impeccably seasoned wagyu steak, you’ll find it at this celebrated restaurant. With almost 1,000 reviews and an overall 4.7-star rating, you’re not the only one who will be dining in, so make sure you reserve a table!

Chapter One: The Modern Local – Featuring local, sustainable, seasonal, and all-natural ingredients in every dish, this restaurant brings the flavor and quality to a higher level. Their menu features an eclectic mix of dishes from different cuisines, including fish tacos, duck fat fries, charcuterie boards, and plenty of great drinks. Don’t miss this great local restaurant!
Mil Jugos – This traditional Venezuelan restaurant prides itself on its fresh and flavorful ingredients and its dedication to producing the highest-quality dishes possible. If you’re in the mood for arepas, empanadas, or Venezuelan sweet corn pancakes, you’ve got to check out this great restaurant!
Wursthaus – Serving bratwurst and beer, this restaurant might seem run-of-the-mill, but its unique sausages and fantastic beer selection will have you coming back time and time again! Sample some of their flavorful brats featuring duck, boar, and even kangaroo meat alongside garlic, paprika, and a wide selection of other flavorful spices. You won’t find dishes like these anywhere else!
Benchmark – Three important words: local, season, and fresh. That’s the mantra of the chefs at Benchmark. They believe that food is meant to be shared, and that’s exactly the experience that Benchmark offers. The comfortable atmosphere and fresh food make it easy to get a group of friends together and enjoy each other’s company around the table. However you experience Benchmark, it’s worth the trip. Don’t miss out on this local gem!


There are countless places to shop in Santa Ana, CA. Whatever you’re looking for, from used furniture to diamond earrings, you’ll find it in Santa Ana. Here are a few of the larger local malls and shopping centers, but good shopping can be found at every turn in Santa Ana!

MainPlace Mall – This site is home to retail stores such as Macy’s, Ashley Homestore, JCPenney, 24 Hour Fitness, and more.

Bristol Swap Mall – Visit one of the largest swap meets in the county! You’ll find great deals and great food at this swap mall.

Centre on Seventeenth – Shoppers will find electronics stores, supplement retailers, and plenty of restaurants.

Outdoor Recreation

Santa Ana, CA, is in the heart of the Los Angeles basin, but nature can still be found and enjoyed throughout the city. Here are some of the local areas where you can get outside and enjoy nature.

River View Golf Course – This is one of the most unique golf courses in southern California! Nowhere else will you find a river running right through the middle of the golf course. The river means that golfers will have to use their heads to play this course successfully. Over the years, this golf course has hosted dozens of golf tournaments, and it is well manicured at all times. If you’re in the area, play a round at Riverview Golf Course.

Centennial Regional Park – This park contains dozens of great features like a pond with geese, turtles, and even herons, a baseball field, tennis courts, and plenty of open space for picnics, frisbee, and all sorts of other games.
Santiago Creek Wildlife & Watershed Center – This nature center features educational exhibits for children that teach all about the local ecology and what makes this part of California so special.

Local Attractions

Discovery Cube Orange County – This children’s science museum is tons of fun for all ages. The focus at this museum is hands-on learning, and there are dozens of exhibits that let children and all visitors get up close and personal while learning about dinosaurs and fossils, planets and their orbits, and much more. The museum suggests buying tickets in advance to make sure you can get in at the time that works best for you.

Santa Ana Zoo – This zoo was founded with the stipulation that there be at least 50 monkeys present at all times. The Santa Ana Zoo has remained true to their promise. If you visit this zoo, see if you can find all 50! In addition to the monkeys, visitors will see anteaters, tropical birds, and a host of other animals, including a special farm exhibit where visitors can learn all about life on a Santa Ana farm. You can even milk an artificial cow!

Bowers Museum – From its humble beginnings as a small museum dedicated to Orange County history in the early part of the 1900s, the Bowers Museum has grown by leaps and bounds to become the largest museum in Orange County and hosts some of the greatest art exhibitions in the world! There are several exhibitions and displays that are always available at the museum, and a large selection of exhibitions come and go on a regular basis. Check their website for the latest exhibitions and displays.

What’s in the Area?

Santa Ana, CA, is surrounded by the best of Southern California. Just to the north is Anaheim, home to Disneyland and the Angels Stadium. To the east are the Santa Ana Mountains, which offer great opportunities for hikes both easy and hard, beautiful views, and mountain waterfalls. Driving through the Santa Ana Mountains on one of the scenic routes can also be a great way to experience the mountains. 

Santa Ana is inland but still only a short drive from the beach. Taking the 55 will lead you right into Newport Beach and connect you to the Pacific Coast Highway, which runs up and down the California coast. The other closest beach town is Huntington Beach, CA. 

To the southeast is Crystal Cove State Park, a great place for both hiking and camping. For those less thrilled by the idea of camping, there are also cottages and a restaurant in the park that are available to visitors. 

Northwest of Santa Ana is Los Angeles. There you’ll find some of the best shopping, dining, and entertainment in the world.


The Santa Ana unified school district is responsible for educating over 58,000 students in the Santa Ana area. In fact, it’s the seventh-largest school district in the state. Some of the schools are rated more highly than others, but the average graduation rate is over 90 percent across all Santa Ana high schools. The student-to-teacher ratio is roughly 26:1.

While there aren’t any universities in Santa Ana, there are several in neighboring cities, including Chapman University and University of California Irvine. Santa Ana, CA, does have a community college: Santa Ana College.


Santa Ana is home to over 13,000 individual businesses. Some of the major employers in the Santa Ana region include companies in the aerospace and technology industries as well as the city itself. Many Santa Ana residents also work at Disneyland in Anaheim. Other large employers include local banks, hospitals, and schools. 

Orange County, where Santa Ana is located, receives over 40 million tourists per year. The tourism industry provides a steady source of employment for many in the Santa Ana area as well. Restaurants, bars, and other recreational venues are often hiring.

Looking for a job in Santa Ana, CA? Here are the latest job listings.

Cost of Living

California has a reputation for being a very expensive place to live. That’s true when it comes to home prices. The average price of a home in Orange County is over $650,000. This is understandably out of the range of most residents. Here at Riverhouse Apartment Homes, we know how important living conditions are to overall quality of life, so we provide our residents with comfortable and safe accommodations at a competitive price. 

Housing is certainly expensive, but other living costs, such as groceries and utilities, are slightly below the national average. Thrifty shoppers can save tons of money each year by taking advantage of cheaper groceries and other necessary items available in the area.

Here’s more about the cost of living in Santa Ana, CA.


Santa Ana’s residents come from a wide variety of backgrounds, both geographically and socioeconomically. Different neighborhoods have different cultural makeups and feels. Many of the city’s residents are Hispanic and influence the culture of the city. There are street vendors selling food, candy, and toys, as well as local shops run by members of the community.

Some parts of Santa Ana, CA, are very wealthy. Much of the available real estate in Santa Ana has been purchased and held for development in the future. Because so many residents are renters (over 60 percent), there is a sense of movement and change within the city and its communities. But more than anything, the residents of Santa Ana are resilient.


Santa Ana is a transportation hub for Orange County. Residents enjoy a robust grid of bus routes, a light rail system called Metrolink, and OCFlex, an on-demand local shuttle. 

Santa Ana itself is one of the easiest cities to travel in via public transportation. Buses run along many routes and come with predictable frequency. Here’s a map of Santa Ana bus routes and their connections in the county.


Santa Ana, CA, is a wonderful place to live. We couldn’t dream of being anywhere else! The weather’s great, and there are so many great restaurants, malls, and local attractions waiting to be explored.

If you’re thinking of moving to Santa Ana, CA, consider checking out Riverhouse Apartment Homes. We strive to provide the best housing in the Santa Ana area. Call us at (714) 640-6357, or come in for a tour today!

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(714) 640-6357


2111 W. 17th Street, Santa Ana, CA 92706