With an exploding food scene, unique retail developments, as well as a growing entertainment hub, Downtown Santa Ana, or Historical Downtown, is one of America’s Coolest Cities.
Historical Downtown Santa Ana has been revitalized and the beautify of the Downtown’s retail section continues to attract new businesses, entrepreneurs, and locals looking for a true Southern California urban destination.
The Historical Downtown area contains the Santa Ana Civic Center, which includes the Old Orange County Courthouse, the Ronald Reagan Federal Building, the United States Courthouse, and the California Court of Appeal.
The restaurant and retail sections of Historical Downtown Santa Ana have three distinct business districts namely the Artists Village, Calle Cuatro Marketplace and the West and East End.
The Artists Village corridor is a thriving area of art galleries, studios, creative offices, as well as home to several popular restaurants. Located on Second Street at Broadway, in the heart of historic downtown Santa Ana. The village extends from First Street to Fourth Street, and Bush Street to Birch, surrounding the Second Street Mall between Broadway and Sycamore Street.
Originally proposed in the mid-1980s, the village was meant to revitalize one of Orange County’s oldest cities and bring back part of a once-thriving downtown, with dozens of historical buildings, most vacant for years.
The Grand Central Art Center is an anchor and catalyst for a ten-square block area in the heart of downtown designated as the Artists Village. The subsequent success of the Artists Village has helped spawn a cultural and economic renewal.
Lofts were built in the Artist’s Village in theearly 2000s, several live-work loft developments came to the downtown including Main Street Studio Lofts and the Santa Ana Lofts, East Village Lofts as well as Artists Village lofts. These artist-centric developments allowed homeowners to experience downtown living while providing them an opportunity to help the flourishing art movement continue to move forward.
An example of the modern interior of the modern lofts include the Santa Ana Lofts. Interior finishes at Santa Ana Lofts include modern kitchen cabinetry, granite kitchen counter tops and undercounted stainless steel sinks. Commercial grade steel stairs reduce maintenance over long term ownership. Energy Efficient Milgard Low-E Fiberglass windows for reduced outside sound and improved durability over vinyl and steel competitors. Historically influenced brick veneer and brick pavers.
Today, the Artists Village is the home to various restaurants, shops, artist galleries, as well as art institutions, including Cal State Fullerton Grand Central Art Center and the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art.
East 4th Street (Calle Quatro) (bounded by French Street and Broadway) is a .3 mile corridor lined with a variety of boutique shops, restaurants, as well as various other retail shops and services.
The centerpiece of Historic 4th Street is the East End known as The Fiesta Marketplace. The East End is a pedestrian-friendly outdoor mall that markets to both the local community and a wider socioeconomic demographic in an effort to retain and attract an audience looking for an alternative to indoor malls and chain restaurants.
The newest refurbished amenity is The Frida Cinema; a two-screen theater converted to an art-house theater showcasing independent film and film related progrmaming, community-building, and education.
In February 2015, The 4th Street Market opened, introducing an indoor food market to compliment the expanding food scene. Similar to the Grand Central Market in Downtown Los Angeles or the Boston Public Market, the 4th Street Market includes a variety of tenants including Portola Coffee, Electric City Butcher, as well as host an incubator/accelerator kitchens where up-and-coming food producers can utilize the Market’s facilities to prepare, package, and sell their goods.
The West End (located between Ross Street and Broadway and West 4th Street) is a unique corridor home to many historic buildings and is located directly across the Ronald Reagan Federal Building and United States Courthouse.
Over the past years, this section of the downtown has successfully blossomed into a cultural and entertainment hub for Orange County’s LGBT population, with notable LGBT-friendly destinations including Theater Out, VLVT Lounge, as well as the West 4th Street corridor playing host to the annual Orange County Pride Festival.
Located less than a quarter mile away on Civic Center Drive is the Santa Ana Civic Center, home to several institutional City and County buildings including:
- Santa Ana City Hall (Civic Center Plaza)
- Santa Ana Civic Center Plaza (Ross, Civic Center, Santa Ana Blvd, Flower)
- Santa Ana Public Library (Civic Center Dr. & Ross)
- Santa Ana Transit Terminal – OCTA (Santa Ana Blvd & Ross)
- Old Orange County Courthouse (Civic Center, Broadway, Sycamore, Santa Ana Blvd.)
- Orange County Courthouse (Civic Center Plaza)
- Orange County Public Law Library (Civic Center Plaza)
- Ronald Reagan Federal Building and United States Courthouse (4th & Broadway)
- The Civic Center/Courthouse District