Anaheim Adjacent:
Santa Ana

Just 8 miles south of Anaheim, Santa Ana has built a reputation as a burgeoning arts district in Orange County. Entrepreneurs, restaurateurs and artists flock to this cultural haven, which boasts everything from contemporary galleries and studios to cocktail lounges and chef-driven specialty restaurants at 4th Street Market and beyond. While there’s much to explore throughout the downtown neighborhood, check out these seven spots that celebrate the independent spirit of Santa Ana.

Hopper & Burr

Get your caffeine fix to jump-start the day at Hopper & Burr, which keeps it simple with a modern, minimalistic space and a curated menu featuring a rotating mix of coffees from around the world.

Photo Courtesy of Hopper and Burr

Grand Central Art Center

Part of the California State University, Fullerton College of the Arts, the Grand Central Art Center is in the heart of Santa Ana’s Artists Village. Three gallery spaces showcase works from local, national and international artists.

Photo Courtesy of Grand Central Art Center

Blinking Owl Distillery

Book a 45-minute tour of Orange County’s first distillery, which produces vodka, gin, aquavit and aged whiskey. Each Blinking Owl tour caps off with a tasting flight of spirits or a signature cocktail.

4th Street Market

A popular space for chef-owners to test out new concepts, 4th Street Market is helping to bring diverse tastes to Santa Ana’s downtown culinary landscape. Try Lebanese street food at Falasophy, a food truck vendor that recently opened as a brick-and-mortar shop, or Asian-Latin fusion at Dos Chinos. There are more than a dozen vendors to choose from and a fun patio with communal tables, perfect for people-watching.

Photo Courtesy of 4th Street Market

The Frida Cinema

Immerse yourself in an arthouse experience at The Frida Cinema. In addition to screenings of foreign language, independent, documentary and experimental films, The Frida Cinema presents spoken word performances, panel discussions and other special events that aim to engage audience members through art.

Mix Mix Kitchen & Bar

Stop for drinks or dinner at one of downtown Santa Ana’s newest restaurants from first-time owner Ross Pangilinan, the former Executive Chef at Leatherby’s Café Rouge in Costa Mesa. Filipino ceviche and chorizo potato croquettes are just a few of the innovative dishes on the global menu, which features small plates as well as multicourse prix-fixe experiences.

Playground 2.0

Those willing to splurge and put their trust in the chef will be blown away by the all-inclusive themed dinners at Playground 2.0. Purchase advance tickets for this experience, heralded as “culinary theater,” and expect around 16 courses paired with sommelier-chosen wines.

Photo Courtesy of Playground