17 Fun-Filled Summer Activities in and around Santa Ana, CA
Heading to the beach and stopping by your favorite ice cream place on the way home is a classic summer activity. But if you’re looking to expand your horizons, you’ll be happy to know that there are tons of other summer activities in Santa Ana and surrounding areas! There’s entertainment, library events, fairs and markets, and water activities for everyone. Here are a few of the best:
Some summer days call for vegging out in the AC at home. Others call for adventure. And still others call for heading out to watch a show that will make you smile. As far as summer activities in Santa Ana go, there are plenty of options that fit into that last category. Here are just three of our favorites:
Movies in the Park
Every Wednesday until August 31, you can catch a movie in one of Santa Ana’s parks. There are crafts for kids, free popcorn for the first 500 guests each night, and food vendors offering tasty dinner and dessert options. The showings are free to attend—just bring your own lawn chairs and blankets to make it a comfy experience! Here are a few of the movies that will show this summer:
- July 6 – Back to the Future (PG) at Santiago Park
- July 20 – Luca (PG) at Lillie King Park
- August 3 – Coco (PG) at El Salvador Park
- August 17 – Jungle Cruise (PG-13) at Madison Park
See the full schedule here.
Reptile Super Show
For the reptile lover, this really is a super show! Held in the Anaheim Convention Center on July 9 and 10, the Reptile Super Show spans more than four acres, 700 tables, and over 200 vendors showcasing everything reptile. Check it out to see some amazing reptiles, amphibians, and turtles, and take part in educational workshops. Tickets range from $10 to $50.
Enchanted Escape Magic & Cocktails
Up-close magic and tropical drinks make Enchanted Escape events a lot of fun! Held on Sunday nights through August 7 at Stowaway in Tristin, these two-hour evenings begin with a cocktail hour and end with a bar magic show featuring performers who have been on Penn & Teller: Fool Us. Here are a few of the performers you can look forward to:
- Howdy on July 10
- Elizabeth & Thirsten on July 17
- Lauro Castillo on July 24
- Tam Vo on July 31
- Joel Ward on August 7
For Book Lovers
Books are for everyone, but it’s especially important to help kids and teens learn to love reading! For some of the best summer activities in Santa Ana, check out one of these events hosted by our local libraries:
Every Monday from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., you can head over to the Friends of the Santa Ana Public Library at 26 Civic Center Plaza to browse their collection of well-loved books. You could always hop on Amazon to get a new title or download something to your e-reader, but there’s nothing like a book you can hold in your hands (and a discount doesn’t hurt, either!).
Summer Reading Shows
Every Wednesday at 6:30 p.m., the Santa Ana Public Library hosts the Children’s Summer Reading Performer Series. It’s a fun experience for the whole family! Here are some of the shows you can look forward to:
- July 6: Joseph Peck’s Caribean Drum Circle
- July 13: Marc Griffith’s Oceans of Possibility Ventriloquism Show
- July 20: Zany Zoe’s Magical Discovery
- July 27: Best Bubble Show
- August 3: Luce Puppet Company, The Reluctant Dragon
Similar to the Children’s Summer Reading Performer Series, Storytime Adventures helps children love to read. Every Thursday at 10:30 a.m., the Newhope Library branch hosts an activity for children with stories, interactive songs, finger plays, and a take-home activity to enjoy later.
Manga Cat Café
Teens and preteens are invited to the Santa Ana Public Library every Thursday from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. to relax, check out ebooks, and participate in cat-themed activities at the Manga Cat Café. Can’t beat literacy—nor cat café fun!
Speaking of teenagers, the Santa Ana Public Library also hosts Teen Mindfulness sessions every Friday from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. Teens will journal and explore “other mindful activities for mental health awareness and personal growth.”
Fairs, Markets, and Expos
If fairs and markets make you happy, then these ones in our area are sure to become some of your favorite summer activities in Santa Ana! There’s something for everyone and every interest. Here are seven to choose from:
Patches & Pins Expo
Love repping your favorite comic book hero? Then Patches & Pins at the Anaheim Convention Center may be just the place for you. You’ll find pins, patches, vintage clothing, and limited edition sneakers from over 200 vendors. It’s a great opportunity to get awesome swag and support small businesses! The event will take place on Saturday, July 23, from 12:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, July 24, from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. General admission is free, but you can upgrade your ticket to skip the line or get VIP perks.
Anaheim GardenWalk Cars & Coffee
Even if you’re not a huge fan of cars or coffee, this event is still sure to be an amazing experience for you. Any Saturday morning, head over to the STC Anaheim GardenWalk in Anaheim to see some beautiful vehicles and sip some joe at Cars & Coffee. As the event page explains, whether your car fits in the category of “Classic, antique, exotics, streets, tweaked for speed, lifted & lowered and more,” you are invited! The event is free.
Cheat Day Tuesday
Eating delicious, healthful foods is a wonderful goal, but sometimes you just need to enjoy a treat and not worry about its macronutrients or sugar content. That’s what Cheat Day Tuesday is for! Enjoy the night’s featured treat (like flan, acai bowls, corn dogs, or donuts, to name a few recent examples) and dance the night away to techno music from a vast array of artists. Head over to The Circle OC in Huntington Beach any Tuesday starting at 9:00 p.m. Admission is $10.
Gente Night Market
The Gente Night Market at the Blue Lot in Santa Ana is a lot of fun. Shop local vendors; enjoy 90s hip-hop, R&B, funk, and old schol music; and snack on tasty foods every first Saturday of the month from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Bring your friends or even your dog! Admission is free, and there’s even free two-hour parking in the downtown parking structures.
First Fridays Huntington Beach
What’s better: farmers markets or street fairs? If you can’t decide, the First Fridays Night Market is the best of both worlds. Held the first Friday of every month at Golden West College in Huntington Beach, this event features over 70 makers and designers of local goods, food trucks, produce, and kids crafts. The whole family will love it, and your dog, too! Admission is free, as is parking.
SoCal Etsy Guild Market Orange
Have you ever been scrolling on Etsy and wished you could see the handmade items in person before purchasing? The SoCal Etsy Guild events are perfect for that. Every Sunday from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the Outlets at Orange, you’ll see live art, local designers, handmade crafts vendors, and more. Tickets are $25.
Laguna Hills Vegan Fest
You don’t have to be vegan to enjoy vegan food. But if you’re vegan, you’ll really enjoy the Laguna Hills Vegan Fest. Mark it on your calendar: Saturday, July 9, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Laguna Hills Mall. There will be over 60 plant-based vendors selling everything from pizza to sushi to donuts to ice cream. If you can’t make it this time, there will be another event in September!
Fun in the Sun
We are so lucky to live in a place that has a ton of water to cool off and have fun in. Check out these water parks and water sports for some of the best summer activities in Santa Ana:
- Adventure Lagoon in Anaheim, open every day from 10:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., is home to a huge floating aqua park sitting on a beautiful clear lake. Enjoy the obstacle course, a bouncing dome, a couple of zero-entry slides, and challenging climbing structures. General admission is $30.
- The Splash Zone is a fun splash pad next to a good-sized pool in Rosemead. Kids will love it, and you can’t beat admission at only $2 for adults and $1 for kids! Head over to Rosemead Aquatic Center to check it out.
- Ridgeline Park is open all day and has a great splash pad for the little ones. For adults and older kids, the park has a nice view of the mountains and lots of open space for running, playing frisbee, or having a picnic.
- Located in Newport Beach, Balboa Water Sports is a fantastic place to rent Jet Skis and Seadoos at $145 for one hour or $270 for two hours. They provide safety training so everyone feels confident, and they give you extra time to get in and out of the water so you don’t have to rush. Head over earlier in the day to avoid choppy waves.
- At SoCal Boat Rentals, you and five of your friends can ride in style on a 20-foot Bayliner Capri with an open bow for $450 for three hours. You can provide your own captain, or the company can supply one for you.
This summer, you can enjoy everything from movie nights in the park to book events at your local library. Whether you’re looking for a fun way to spend a few days or a more relaxing way to spend a few hours, there’s something for everyone in Santa Ana and the surrounding areas.
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