Costa Mesa, CA, USA

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Fun and Free Things to Do at (and around) the OC Fair

Posted on July 30, 2021 | 11:00am

Planning to go to the OC Fair this year? It may be a bit different with limited capacity and advance tickets required, but your favorite rides, games, food and entertainment are there to enjoy. You will also find a number of fun and free things to do at the fair and nearby! With so much to do, why not make it a weekend getaway with one of our “SoCal So Cool” summer hotel deals?

Centennial Farm

Stop by Centennial Farm, a three-acre working farm with livestock, as well as fruit and vegetable gardens. During the fair, there are a number of free things to check out including dairy goats, milking demonstration, OC beekeepers and, of course, the new piglets. (Take a peek at the piglets on the pig cam.) 

California Fresh Exhibit 

The California Fresh Exhibit, located in the OC Promenade, celebrates the diversity of California’s agriculture. You can learn about different crops, grab some recipe cards, play the AR game County Bounty Treasure Hunt or watch a cooking demonstration. Visiting with kids? The exhibit has coloring sheets to dress the California bear for a trip to the OC Fair! 

heroes hall costa mesa

Heroes Hall

Heroes Hall is a museum and education center that honors the legacy of Orange County veterans and others who have served the country. The current exhibit is Private Charles J. Miller WWII Paintings from the South Pacific. You can decorate postcards to veterans and active duty troops which will be distributed by Operation Community Cares.

Entertainment

The OC Fair has a number of free events each day. Live entertainment varies, so be sure to check out the calender of events and OC Fair map. Whether you like magic shows, want to see the pig races or music (even dueling pianos), you’ll find something fun to see. Visual arts displays include everything from dragons to woodworking. 

woman meditating in TeWinkle Park

Costa Mesa Parks

Spending a couple of days in Costa Mesa? Make a trip to one of Costa Mesa’s parks. Popular parks include Fairview Park and TeWinkle Park. Sports enthusiasts will enjoy Costa Mesa Skate Park or Talbert Regional Park, which has a BMX area. If you’re traveling with small children, we also recommend Lions Park, with a newly renovated playground.

Orange County Beaches

Costa Mesa is only a few minutes from popular Orange County beaches, Newport Beach and Huntington Beach. Enjoy beautiful Southern California weather while you surf, swim or relax on the beach.

Find more to do with our itineraries for solo, couple, family and pet-friendly travel. 

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Posted in Events, Hotels, Play

It’s “Time for Fun” as the OC Fair returns in person to SoCal

Posted on June 28, 2021 | 3:00pm

The OC Fair is back in person and California is fully reopen! The fair opens July 16 through August 15 with plenty of food, live entertainment and carnival rides. Get the most out of your experience with our guide to the OC Fair. For safety precautions, the OC Fair is limiting the number of visitors each day. Advanced ticket purchase is required. Whether you’re a Californian or traveling from another state, Orange County is ready to welcome you back. Be sure to visit our SoCal So Cool summer hotel deals too!

Fair Food

There’s exciting new food this year from Pink’s Hot Dogs, Chicken Charlie’s, Pepe’s Mariscos Fresh Mexican Seafood, Mom’s Bakeshoppe and more. You can also view the full list of food vendors here. We recommend visiting the fair on Thursdays for the $3 Taste of Fair Food where you can sample a variety of items for $3 each!

Carnival Rides & Games

Ride the ferris wheel, win a prize and more. There are new rides, such as Windsurf and Liberty Wheel, and lots of returning favorites. Try your hand at carnival games like balloon pop, water races or beer pong. You can view the rides, games and number of tickets needed here and purchase tickets here

Live Entertainment

There’s a variety of live entertainment at Pacific Amphitheatre and The Hangar this summer. You can see popular tribute bands, such as The Fab Four and Dead Man’s Party, as well as comedians and artists, like Dwight Yoakam and Colbie Caillat. Bring the kids to Toy Story in Concert with Pacific Symphony for a live performance of the soundtrack while watching the classic Pixar film.

Fun Events

Before you go, take a look at the OC Fair events calendar for the full lineup of events during your visit. Check out our events calendar for events throughout Costa Mesa, including at Segerstrom Center for the Arts. 

Stay Local

Beat the heat, and the traffic, by staying at one of Costa Mesa’s nearby hotels. Best Western Plus is within walking distance to the OC Fair, plus they offer a complimentary breakfast. Costa Mesa is centrally located between Los Angeles and San Diego. It’s also only minutes from the beach!

With so much to do in SoCal this summer, now is the perfect time to visit!

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Posted in Events, Food, Hotels, Music & Art

Your Mother’s Day Dining & Entertainment Guide in Costa Mesa

Posted on May 4, 2021 | 4:47am

As lives return to something closer to normal, it’s time to celebrate Mom (safely, of course) on Mother’s Day with great gift ideas, special brunches and other great offers. Here’s how to make the most of your Mother’s Day in Costa Mesa!

Pampering Mom couldn’t be sweeter and more treasured this year, with the loosening of COVID-19 restrictions in Costa Mesa. Choose South Coast Plaza for a great day of shopping and perfect ideas for a Mother’s Day bite. Here are some offers from South Coast Plaza restaurants for the big day:

tiffany blue box cafe south coast plaza

Tiffany & Co. Blue Box Cafe

Breakfast at Tiffany For Two

If only Audrey Hepburn could join you! The world-famous jewelry retailer offers their special cafe experience in only two spots in the U.S., including at South Coast Plaza. The bento box packaged menu includes chia seed yogurt pudding with farmer’s market fruit, croissants with organic strawberries and lavender mascarpone, Tiffany avocado toast, smoked salmon and buckwheat mille feuille, and Bellocq No. 727 The Tiffany Blend:  a floral infusion of Chinese and Ceylon black tea with notes of lychee, rose buds, lavender and vanilla.

Tea For Two

A delightfully elegant tea service for you and Mom begins with assorted scones and Devonshire cream, cherry ginger marmalade and wildflower honey.  Next tea sandwiches with a variety of fillings—smoked salmon, lemon cucumber, chicken salad, truffle and mushroom butter, goat cheese, fig and honey–as well as a petit lobster roll. End with a generous selection of petit fours and confections such as chocolate hazelnut Rocher, opera cake, citrus-olive oil cake and Key lime cheesecake. Included is a tin of Bellocq No. 727 Tiffany Blend Tea.Breakfast for 2, $120, excluding tax. Tea for 2, $150, excluding tax. For more details and to preorder 48 hours in advance, or for information, please call (714) 540-5330 and press 7.

knife pleat south coast plaza

Knife Pleat

Knife Pleat offers Mother’s Day tea on Sunday, May 9th! Guests will begin the classic tea service with scones, clotted cream and house-made marmalades. Finger sandwiches on assorted breads include Persian cucumber, egg salad, beet-cured salmon and chicken salad. End on a sweet note with cream puffs, seasonal fruit tart, macaron and the signature chocolate Louis XV. Select from six teas such as jasmine, Earl Grey, rooibos raspberry vanilla, assam and sencha.  À la carte champagne and caviar service will be available.  

11am-2:30pm (last seating) $75 per person, $36 children, exclusive of tax/gratuity. Reservations advised.

Terrace by Mix Mix

One of Costa Mesa’s hottest chefs, Ross Pangilinan, is serving a three-course brunch for Mother’s Day at his beautiful terrace restaurant in the Macy’s Home Store wing.

Guests will have a choice of four starters: seared yellowfin tuna, house Caesar, “snack” plate of bacon-wrapped date, mushroom tempura and signature albacore tostada or a trio of toast:  avocado, goat cheese and chicken liver mousse.  

Main course selections are house-made bucatini, diver scallops & pork belly Benedict, prosciutto pizza, or for a $10 surcharge, beef ribeye with sides.  A lemon semifreddo or chocolate potato cake are offered for dessert. Kids’ menu has three choices: French toast, cheese pizza, or pork adobo with fried rice.

11am-3pm. $50 per person, $12.50 kids, excluding tax/gratuity. Reservations advised.

water grill seafood tower

Water Grill

Enjoy an unparalleled offering of fresh seafood such as wild Alaskan halibut, iced shellfish platters, sushi and seasonal soft-shell crab. For Mother’s Day only, there will be specials for the day, a new spring cocktail and dessert featuring Harry’s Berries over lemon sable cake.

11am-10pm, Reservations advised.

The Capital Grille

The Capital Grille will open early serving the full dinner menu of contemporary classics as well as three brunch features: lobster frittata, bone-in NY strip steak and eggs and 8 oz. filet mignon from 11am-2pm. 
 

Another option is Mother’s Day at home. A three-course dinner features whole roasted tenderloin of beef with butter poached lobster tails as the main course with accompaniments to share.  Guests will start with a butter leaf lettuce salad and French rolls and finish with flourless chocolate espresso cake and chocolate covered strawberries. The pre-ordered dinner will be ready to warm and enjoy at home.

11am-9pm. Reservations needed for dine-in à la carte menu. Mother’s Day at Home starts at $165, excluding tax. Available for pick up May 8, 12-5pm; May 9, 10am-12pm.

cedar plank salmon seasons 52

Seasons 52

Seasons 52 offers dine-in and outdoor seating for Mother’s Day with its popular, fresh à la carte menu that includes brunch selections.  A takeout Green Box is the perfect option for those who prefer to dine at home. It offers three entrée selections and is available in two sizes.   

Brunch, served 10am-2pm, includes à la carte specials for Mother’s Day. Avocado toast, strawberry spinach salad, asparagus soup and lobster bisque are starters for the day.  Brunch entrées include crab and cheddar quiche, French toast, apricot-glazed ham and wood-grilled shrimp and grits. 

Green Box three-course menu starts with either field green or Caesar salad. Wood-grilled beef tenderloin, whole side of cedar plank-roasted salmon and apricot-glazed spiral ham are selections for the group entrée, served with roasted French green beans and a choice of sweet potato mash with maple-pecan streusel or marble potatoes. Finish with Mini-Indulgences: chocolate-dipped strawberry, coconut cream pie or raspberry chocolate chip cannoli. Food is chilled and ready to be reheated when convenient; pre-order required. 

10am-2pm, brunch; à la carte menu until 9pm, Reservations needed for dine-in.  Mother’s Day Green Box for 2 or 4-6; prices range from $55-$165 depending on size and entrée selection, excluding tax. Available for pickup May 7-8.

Outside of South Coast Plaza, there are even more great brunch celebrations to choose from. Here’s more:

Silver Trumpet

Choose the spacious outdoor lakeside patio to enjoy Mom this Sunday. Silver Trumpet Restaurant at the Avenue of the Arts Hotel presents a very special Mother’s Day brunch! Choose from many items such as Smoked Trout Tartine to Steak & Eggs or Blueberry Pancakes – there’s also a build-your-own omelet bar. See the menu for all offerings in this special brunch. Please reserve your spot by calling the restaurant at (714) 442-8593.

Le Chateau Garden Bistro

The beautiful Le Chateau inside the Ayres Hotel is offering a brunch in their outdoor courtyard that will make Mom feel as if she’s been transported to the French countryside. With an omelet station and an à la carte menu as well, let Mom choose from eggs benedict, Belgian waffles, herb-crusted prime rib or Le Chateau’s famous Monte Cristo sandwich. Plus, bottomless mimosas for just $15! Available Sunday from 10am to 3pm. See the full menu here and call (714) 549-0300 for reservations.

cafe sevilla brunch

Cafe Sevilla

Celebrate Mother’s Day at Cafe Sevilla this Sunday, May 9th. You can spoil mom 3 different ways on her special day as outlined below:

Champagne Brunch and Live Music

Treat mom to our delicious brunch menu while listening to live Spanish guitar and vocals from 10am-3pm. All moms will receive a complimentary glass of champagne during brunch. The menu includes favorites such as our Spanish Eggs Benedict (Poached farm fresh eggs, Spanish jamón Serrano crisp and saffron hollandaise on Kalamata olive loaf); Short Rib Hash (Hash of 16 hour braised Rioja short ribs, papas bravas, bell peppers and onions topped with two fried eggs); or the Breakfast Meat Paella (Pork tenderloin, grilled sausages, chicken and flat iron steak served over authentic saffron bomba rice and topped with two fried eggs). Bottomless mimosas are also available (with a 1.5 time limit). Dinner menu is also available during brunch.

Dinner and Live Music

The Mother’s Day celebrations continue into the evening with dinner and live Latin music by Tian Musica from 6pm-8pm.

Special Mother’s Day Flamenco Show at Cafe Sevilla!

Looking for something extra special for mom this Mother’s Day? Treat her to Cafe Sevilla’s Flamenco Dinner Show, offering a sensory indulgence of sight, sound, and taste, leaving her with a piece of truly Spanish culture. Marvel at the passion, beauty, and athleticism of this traditional art form as you enjoy a welcome glass of cava sangria paired with a 3-course dinner featuring our Shaved Jamón Serrano Ensalada Sevillana followed by our award-winning Paella Valenciana and Lemon Tart with Linguee Cherries for dessert. ​The Flamenco Dinner Show is $89.50 per person* and tickets must be purchased in advance. Doors open at 5pm and the show starts promptly at 5:30pm. *price does not include tax/gratuity.

To provide an enjoyable and safe dining experience, Cafe Sevilla has a spacious​ patio for outdoor dining as well as limited capacity indoor dining.

Fill Bakeshop

Stay home with mom and make some sweet treats! Fill Bakeshop is teaming up with Manoa Bake Co. to offer two bags of Mochi Baking Mix and two mochi doughnut Molds for $24.99. This adorable offering will come inside their half-dozen box and makes the perfect Mother’s Day gift. Preorder now!

Where will you be taking Mom for Mother’s Day, or will you be staying in? Let us know in the comments. Either way, have a Happy Mother’s Day!

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Posted in Events, Food, Locals

Family-Friendly February in Costa Mesa

Posted on January 31, 2021 | 9:00pm

You’re probably ready to enjoy a few safe, socially distanced activities with the whole family, now that the stay-at-home order has been lifted. Costa Mesa has some exciting options in February. There are also plenty of outdoor dining options, outdoor shopping and more. Be sure to check our calendar for the latest updates!

Jurassic Quest Drive-Thru Experience

Jurassic Quest returns to OC Fair & Event Center February 5-14. This year, experience over 70 realistic dinosaurs, including the popular T. Rex. Drive through scenes with Jurassic Quest’s animatronic herd as they roar and move. Listen to the digital audio tour featuring performers and dino wranglers. Jurassic Quest Drive-Thru lasts about an hour, ending with a free family-photo. Tickets start at $49 per vehicle. 

Costa Mesa Art Walk Audio Tour

Our new Costa Mesa Art Walk Audio Tour is a great way to get in some education (and exercise). The tour starts at California Scenario by the acclaimed Isamu Noguchi, then goes by Segerstrom Center for the Arts and South Coast Repertory. The art walk ends at Jewel Court in  South Coast Plaza, the perfect place to grab a bite.

Photo courtesy of @aiden_oc_baby

The LAB & The CAMP

A trip to Costa Mesa isn’t complete without a visit to The LAB Anti-Mall or The CAMP. These two outdoor retail centers are home to unique shops, delicious food and some of Costa Mesa’s most Instagrammable spots.

There are plenty of family-friendly activities this February in Costa Mesa. Whether you’re visiting for an event or spending time exploring the city, be sure to stay safe. Be sure to bring your face masks, stay at least 6 feet away from people not in your household and wash your hands frequently. And please continue to support local Costa Mesa restaurants when you can!

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Posted in Events, Misc

Happy Socially Distanced Halloween in OC

Posted on October 20, 2020 | 1:05pm

Trick-or-treating may be canceled this year, but Orange County has plenty of ways to celebrate Halloween in 2020. We’ve put together a selection of both the family-friendly and the frightening. Want to go to more than one? Check out our latest hotel deals to make it a Halloween getaway.

Photo courtesy of Urban Legends

Urban Legends Drive-Thru Haunt

The OC Fair & Event Center, in Costa Mesa, is leading the way in drive-thru entertainment. (If you haven’t checked out the Fair Food Drive-Thru, it’s open until October 25th). The Urban Legends Drive-Thru Haunt is a socially distanced way to get your Halloween fright on. Guests wild drive through a theatrical storytelling experience with scary sets and monsters. The event runs Tuesday –  Sunday until November 1. Admission starts at $59.99 per vehicle. The production includes strobe lights, haze and fog, so children under 13 and pets are not allowed. 

Families with children 12 and under can enjoy Little Legends Spooktacular Halloween Car Parade on Halloween from 5-7pm. Decorate your car and come in costume for a “Spooktacular” parade and COVID-safe goody bags.

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

The LAB Anti-Mall is showing It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! on repeat from 6-9pm on Friday, October 30. Grab dinner from your favorite on-site restaurant, enjoy the Halloween decorations and see the family favorite. Socially distanced seating is provided and masks are required.

Tanaka Farms Pumpkin Patch

With a real pumpkin patch, Tanaka Farms Pumpkin Patch offers two options to get your pumpkin directly from the vine. The Drive-Thru Pumpkin Farm Experience, on Saturdays and Sundays, is a 1.5 mile drive around the farm that includes your pumpkin, scarecrow contest, samples, a barnyard educational exhibit with farm animals and views of the sunflowers. You can only exit your vehicle if you opt to pick your pumpkin from the vine. The drive-thru experience is $20 per person over the age of 3. 

The U-Pick Pumpkin with Wagon Ride, Mondays through Fridays, is an hour-long ride with tour guides over the 30-acre farm. The wagon ride includes the same package as the drive-thru and is $25 per person over the age of 3. Spaces are limited per wagon to allow for social distancing. Reservations are required for either.

Boo at the Zoo

Perfect for young children, Boo at the Zoo is a family-friendly Halloween trail through the Santa Ana Zoo. Walk through the zoo in costume as you enjoy the decorations and goody bags for the kids. Tickets are $15 for non-members over the age of 3 (members $10) and COVID safety measures, including masks and social distancing are in place. 

Photo courtesy of Pirate’s Cave Haunt

Pirate’s Cave Haunt

Join in an immersive yard display show with actors, special effects and more at the Pirate’s Cave Haunt in Orange. The free show takes place every 10 minutes and can be viewed safely from the sidewalk. COVID safety measures include social distancing, mandatory masks, temperature checks for the actors. Recommended for ages 10 and up.

Hocus Pocus Drive-In Movie

Revisit the story of the Sanderson sisters as Starlight Movies in San Clemente presents Hocus Pocus on Halloween night. The drive-in theater is offering a safe trick-or-treating pass for children 13 and under. The pass includes four spooky art installations where children receive sealed candy and gift cards. For more information, visit the Starlight Movies Halloween Series.

Spook-tacular Halloween Crafts

If you’re more comfortable spending time at home this Halloween, but would still like something special to do, the Newport Beach Public Library is offering Spook-tacular Halloween Crafts to go. In addition to the grab-and-go crafts, available at any Newport Beach Public Library branch, the event includes a virtual costume parade and prizes. 

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Posted in Events