Uncover Santa Ana

Free and Cheap Things to Do in Central Orange County

Uncover Santa Ana
Free and Cheap Things to Do in Central Orange County

Looking for fun free things to do in Orange County that won’t break the bank? Whether you’re looking to spend the day perusing the latest in contemporary art or simply want to spend the day browsing the latest fashion trends at the mall, Santa Ana offers lots of affordable activities for visitors and residents alike. Here are a few of our favorites. 


1. Santa Ana Art Walk: Free Monthly Arts, Music, and Entertainment Festival

Artists, art enthusiasts, and all who enjoy a night out in a vibrant city are welcome at the Santa Ana Art Walk, a reoccurring family-friendly festival that takes place every first Saturday of the month in downtown. Enjoy an artful evening exploring over 20+ art galleries, studios, artisan street vendors, restaurants, pop-up artists, live music, and so much more!

Address: 125 North Broadway, Santa Ana, CA 92701

Website: https://www.dtsaartwalk.org/

Phone: (714) 702-5097

Hours: First Saturday of Month: 6pm to 10pm

Santa Ana Art Walk

2. Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA): Free Tours, Lectures, and Gallery Talks on Contemporary Art

The OCMA has recently relocated from Newport Beach to the streets of Santa Ana as they plan to expand and re-build the museum in Costa Mesa’s Segerstrom Center for the Arts by 2021. During the next few years of remodeling, the OCMA will be temporarily located in Santa Ana and will continue to host exhibitions, gallery talks, lectures, performances, and other fun programs. Visitors can come and enjoy free admission to exhibits featuring the work of contemporary artists from California and the Pacific region.  

Address: 1661 West Sunflower Avenue, Santa Ana, CA 92704

Website: https://www.ocmaexpand.org/

Phone: (714) 667-1517

Hours: Thursday: 11am to 8pm | Friday – Sunday: 11am to 6pm | Saturday/Sunday: Free tours at 2pm

Photo:  @jacob__bz  Artwork:  @kathryngarcia

Photo: @jacob__bz Artwork: @kathryngarcia


3. Orange County Center for Contemporary Art: Explore More Contemporary Art!

Located in Historic Downtown Santa Ana’s Artists’ Village, OCCCA is an all-volunteer art organization dedicated to helping artists develop ideas, exhibitions, and projects while encouraging experimentation and risk-taking. The space welcomes guests to view monthly exhibits, films, forums, concerts, workshops, classes and artist receptions during the Santa Ana Art Walk.

Address: 117 South Sycamore Street, Santa Ana, CA 92701

Website: http://www.occca.org/

Phone: (714) 667-1517

Hours: Thursday – Sunday: 12pm to 5pm


4. #Hashtag Lunchbag OC: Help Santa Ana’s Homeless Community

#HashtagLunchbagOC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to giving back to the Orange County community by providing lunches, love letters, and other goods to those experiencing homelessness in our city. Every second Sunday of the month join them at 4th Street Market to help assemble and distribute lunch bags. Though not mandatory, monetary donations are always welcomed to help cover the costs of food and supplies.

Address: 201 East 4th Street, Santa Ana, CA 92701

Website: https://www.facebook.com/HashtagLunchbagOC/

Hours: Second Sunday of Month: 9:30am to Noon


5. El Mercadito El Carrusel: Free Entry to Santa Ana’s Monthly Artisan and Food Fair

El Mercadito El Carrusel is a monthly market place that encourages and supports members of the community in selling their handmade crafts, clothes, foods, and much more! Come experience traditional food, goods and entertainment and join for a celebration of local culture, talent, creativity, and entrepreneurship.

Address: 837 North Ross Street Santa Ana, CA 92701

Website: https://www.facebook.com/elmercaditocarrusel/

Hours: Second Saturday of Month: 2pm to 7pm

6. Bristol Swap Mall: Santa Ana’s Indoor Swap Meet and Food Court

Take a fun, leisurely stroll through the thriving marketplace off of Bristol Street with good deals and great food. This indoor shopping center is the perfect place to go window shopping with the family for random household needs and delicious Mexican goodies.

Address: 3412 Westminster Avenue, Santa Ana, CA 92703

Website: https://www.yelp.com/biz/bristol-swap-mall-santa-ana

Phone: (714) 554-9200

Hours: Sunday/Monday, Wednesday/Thursday: 10am to 7pm | Friday/Saturday: 10am to 7:30pm


7. Dale Carnegie Training Center of Orange County: Free Workshops and Career Training

If your goal is to pick up a couple new career skills this year, look no further! Dale Carnegie Training of Orange County provides free workshops all year-long in areas of leadership, sales, human relations, customer service, communications and so much more! Boost your resume, life skills, and professional development through their free workshops, seminars, and courses!

Address: 1805 East Dyer Road #109, Santa Ana, CA 92705

Website: https://ocdalecarnegie.com/schedule/#freeworkshops

Phone: (949) 833-3252

Hours: Monday – Friday: 8am to 5pm | Saturday/Sunday: Closed

Photo:  Helloquence  on  Unsplash

8. Old Orange County Courthouse Museum: Learn About Santa Ana’s History

Outside of being a popular TV and Movie set location and wedding photo destination in Southern California, the Old Orange County Courthouse is a recognized Californian Historical Landmark that houses the Orange County History Center with an exhibition gallery that displays both temporary and permanent exhibits on local and regional history. Come dive into the Orange County Archives, the library of the Pacific Coast Archaeological Society and Orange County History Center to learn more about the history of this city!

Address: 211 West Santa Ana Blvd, Santa Ana, CA 92701

Website: http://www.ocparks.com/historic/oldcourt/

Phone: (714) 973-6605

Hours: Monday – Friday: 8am to 4:30pm | Saturday/Sunday: Closed

Cover photo by: @ocmuseumofart