What to do and see in Santa Ana, United States: The Best Places and Tips

December 22, 2017 Elouise Mccaul

Santa Ana /ˌsæntə ˈænə/ (Spanish for "Saint Anne") is the county seat and second most populous city in Orange County, California. The United States Census Bureau estimated its 2011 population at 329,427, making Santa Ana the 57th most-populous city in the United States.
Restaurants in Santa Ana

1. Lyon Air Museum

19300 Ike Jones Rd, 19300 Ike Jones Road, 92707, Santa Ana, California, Santa Ana, CA 92707-5229 +1 714-210-4585
Excellent
69%
Good
27%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 131 reviews

Lyon Air Museum

Lyon Air Museum (LAM) is a 30,000-sq.ft. facility based at John Wayne Airport in Orange County, Calif. Founded by Maj. Gen. William Lyon, USAF (Ret), the museum houses a fleet of superbly conditioned, operational and historically significant World War II-era aircraft and vehicles. Docent-led tours take visitors for a walk through history as they stroll among machines and artifacts that helped define the 20th century. Interactive educational exhibits intended to inspire viewers provide in-depth narratives about the history of each aircraft.

Reviewed By ransom007 - Anaheim, California

Located near the John Wayne Airport, this museum is an aircraft hangar with some magnificent specimens of World War II aircraft including a B-17 and a B-25. There are other military vehicles as well as some vintage automobiles.There are several large maps on the walls showing air operation theaters from World War II along with several displays of interest. There is a good amount of free parking available right outside the entrance. The is a great place to spend a couple of hours, especially if you are interested in World War II history. When I went, there was a docent available for further information.

2. Disney California Adventure Park

1313 Disneyland Drive, Anaheim, CA 92803-3232 +1 714-781-4565
Excellent
70%
Good
22%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 13 reviews

Disney California Adventure Park

Experience the thrill of the an old wooden rollercoaster, but with modern twists, turns and technology, at "California Screamin." Or enjoy a live performance by your favorite characters at Disney's newest theme park, featuring a slew of exciting rides and family entertainment.

Reviewed By 2again - Chatham, Illinois

Disney knows how to run a park. We had a great morning here and then went to Disneyland. We wish we had more time. For some advice, read my review of Disneyland. Enjoy!!!

3. Crystal Cathedral

12141 Lewis St, Garden Grove, CA 92840-4699 +1 714-971-4000
Excellent
48%
Good
35%
Satisfactory
12%
Poor
2%
Terrible
3%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 238 reviews

Crystal Cathedral

Unique cathedral composed of 10,000 panes of glass forming a four-pointed star.

Reviewed By c17360

This landmark has three distinct buildings each by a well known designer. The ownership changed only recently to the Catholic Church. The newest structure was designed by Richard Meier whose design are all over the world. The original 'crystal cathedral' was designed by Phillip Johnson many years back. It is quite spectacular. This leads to the original church building that was designed by Richard Neutra which also includes a bell tower. Each building has its unique quality that represented that particular period. Enjoy.

4. Segerstrom Center for the Arts

600 Town Center Dr, Costa Mesa, CA 92626-1997 +1 714-556-2121
Excellent
77%
Good
18%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 270 reviews

Segerstrom Center for the Arts

One of the region's premier performance venues.

Reviewed By GeoWayland_NYUSA - Wayland, NY USA

We had the 2018 Midwinter Barbershop Harmony Convention here. All of the musical events were held in the concert hall. The last night featured over 800 voices, the organ, plus the voices of those in the audience. This is a stunning place to hear music.

5. Marconi Automotive Museum

1302 Industrial Dr, Tustin, CA 92780-6416 +1 714-258-3001
Excellent
76%
Good
23%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 65 reviews

Marconi Automotive Museum

Reviewed By Allan S - Brookings, United States

Second time I visited here. Suggested donation is $5.00 which is very reasonable. Nice collection of cars with lots of Italian exotics but American muscle and motor cycles also. Something for any one interested in cars. Self guided tour. Building is not air conditioned so it can get warm.

6. Bowers Museum of Cultural Art

2002 N. Main St. at 20th St., Santa Ana, CA +1 714-567-3600
Excellent
65%
Good
30%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 342 reviews

Bowers Museum of Cultural Art

Exhibits specialize in the art of the world's indigenous peoples.

Reviewed By Linda C - Moorpark, California

We've been to the Bower's numerous times since we frequently return for special exhibits. They currently have a wonderful exhibit of treasures from the Summer Palace, revolving around Cixi (pronounced she she), a fascinating ruler of the Qing Dynasty who reigned roughly during the same period as Queen Victoria. The items are varied and many are quite remarkable. We had lunch there at Tangata, which will validate your parking, saving you $6. The food and service are always excellent. I read a scholarly book on Cixi before our visit, which made it even more interesting but you might also just do a quick online search to learn more about her and the period. Allow time for the other exhibits and permanent collection if you're able.

7. Disneyland Park

1313 Disneyland Dr, Anaheim, CA 92803 +1 714-781-4565
Excellent
67%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
3%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 24 reviews

Disneyland Park

Welcome to the place where imagination is the destination. For young and old, big and small — it's the happiest place on earth! Come build memories with your family that last a lifetime as you discover the wonder of this magical, fantastical world. When you enter the lands that comprise Disneyland Park, stories come to life around you, immersing you in tales from some of your favorite Disney films.

Reviewed By Chris A - Columbia, Missouri

Expectations were high for the entire family and Disneyland did not disappoint.

We’d been to Disneyworld in FL but never Disneyland. We really liked the smaller size of Disneyland. The weather was perfect during the day but got chilly at night. Not sure what we were thinking but we didn’t bring enough layers so most of us were pretty cold by the end of the day.

8. South Coast Plaza

3333 Bristol St, Costa Mesa, CA 92626-1873 +1 800-782-8888
South Coast Plaza

Reviewed By Lumerian - Costa Mesa, California

The malls are dying out and South Coast Plaza is a classic that is still alive. All of the top stores are represented. Two sides connected by a bridge. My wife and I love to eat at Ruby's on the Crystal Court side of the mall. See's Candies is a Southern California legend and is a must try for any traveler. Even if you don't buy anything, the food options are amazing.

9. Radiator Springs Racers

1313 Disneyland Drive, Cars Land, Anaheim, CA
Excellent
83%
Good
13%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
0%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 140 reviews

Radiator Springs Racers

Reviewed By Dmarkwind - Kansas City, Missouri

It’s amazing how they’ve brought the world of Cars to life and make you feel as it you’re really in a southwestern landscape complete with ancient car fin-shaped flatirons! (But if you look really closely, you can see that a group of pigeons like to hang out on one of those formations. LOL.) This was easily our group’s favorite ride of the California Adventure park, and even my 75+ mother was up for going twice! It’s kind of like a cross between one of the storybook rides of Disneyland, and the Indiana Jones Adventure, although this doesn’t jerk you around as much as that ride does. You start off with a slow ride through some scenes from the movie, but you ride in a large stylized and independent vehicle (not like a regular roller coaster car) which holds up to six people, and you end with a race through that Cars scenery. It’s fun and is over way too quick. When we got to this ride, there was a 90-minute wait in the regular line, but the attendant said if our group of three used the single riders line and rode separately to help fill in the car capacity, we could get on much quicker. We did that and were through the line and riding within 15 minutes. We did the same thing later when there was a two-hour wait in the regular line and were riding within 30 minutes.

10. Discovery Cube Orange County

2500 N Main St, Santa Ana, CA 92705-6600 +1 714-542-2823
Excellent
44%
Good
38%
Satisfactory
12%
Poor
4%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 303 reviews

Discovery Cube Orange County

Imaginations twist and fly through more than 100 hands-on exhibits at Discovery Cube OC (previously Discovery Science Center). Take the Eco Challenge and become a green superhero, feel the power of a real rocket engine "launch" and explore the inner workings of a two-story tall dinosaur! Traveling exhibits and annual events such as Spooky Science and Science of Gingerbread throughout the year ensure that there is always something new to discover.

Reviewed By geotech522

We visited the Discovery Cube to see the Boeing exhibit on "Above and Beyond" celebrating the 100th anniversary of Boeing. We found the Discovery Cube's other exhibits were also very good. It appeals to youth and also has something for adults, but mostly for the youth. They do a good job of making things interesting with lots of great visual effects and the exhibits are very hands on. Parking on weekends can be a little tight with their main parking lot, but there is an overflow lot across the street.

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