Best Urban Neighborhood Orange County 2008 - Downtown Santa Ana
Ten years ago, maybe not so hot. But these days, bustling downtown Santa Ana is part quaint Mexican pueblito and part artsy urban "village" for the young and creative-minded. The lofts sitting above restaurants and galleries mean that those who live in downtown Santa Ana emerge daily to consume its goods—whether they be botanical supplies or a burger from Memphis. Art students living in the Cal State Fullerton lofts crowd the Gypsy Den during open-mic nights, while others spill out from the lofts across the street or near the train station for other art-themed nights. It's not New York, but it's quaint, urban, young, hip and one of the few centers in the county where living and going out to eat or grab a drink doesn't involve wide lanes and highways.