I have to admit, I didn’t grow up in California and I find all these strip malls and low profile stucco buildings quite ugly and unimaginative. I’m always happy when I stumble upon an area that I’ve long neglected to visit and encounter a pleasant surprise with architecture that still has character, and the stores and streets echo the vibe of the artists that frequent the area.
A long time ago, one of my co-workers recommended I visit the Artists Village in Santa Ana. They are known to have art walks and gallery openings on the weekends. I have not yet attended these, but I did recently go to the Golden Years Vintage Market that is held there every so often, typically on a Saturday, and then wandered off to see the other artsy shops as well as hip eateries. A cluster of places to visit are located close to Main St. and 4th Street, where you’ll find a number of options for eating and a mix of Hispanic shops next to high end clothing, books, gifts and stationery stores. I spent an entire afternoon there and really enjoyed it. We were also there on Cinco de Mayo, not intentionally, but the streets were blocked off with festivities and it was fun to see everyone having a good time, with the bands playing, and the collection of vintage cars that drove through.