Santa Ana is the seat of Greater Orange County, east of Long Beach. It lies between Orange and Costa Mesa along Interstate 5, near Lake Mathews and the Pacific Ocean. In 1769, a Spanish exploration party named the area after Saint Anne. Used first for cattle grazing, Santa Ana also grew as a farming community. It was laid out in 1869 and incorporated in 1886. Santa Ana saw rapid industrial and residential development in the mid-20th century.
Today, Santa Ana is the commercial, financial and governmental hub of the county. Manufacturing, retail and professional services are vital economic sectors.
Downtown Santa Ana is home to a cluster of artist-oriented facilities and homes called the Artists Village, which includes the Grand Central Art Center of California State University at nearby Fullerton. Also, in downtown, is a historic district. El Toro Marine Corps Air Station lies south of the city.
Santa Ana is part of the Orange County, California metro area.