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

Why Costa Mesa is Perfect for Solo Travel

Posted on September 30, 2020 | 8:24pm

You’re independent and ready to travel. You want to go someplace fun, safe and close to home. Hop in the car and head to the heart of Orange County. Whether you’re coming for a weekend getaway or a mid-week retreat, Costa Mesa is the perfect destination for your next solo trip. Before you make plans, be sure to check out our hotel deals.

Relax at the beach

Fall may be here, but the weather is still warm enough to head to the nearest beach. If you want to stay active, start off at one of our beach-adjacent parks and hike or bike to the beach. Otherwise, Orange County beaches are just a short drive for our hotels. Nothing says getaway quite like a day at the beach. We recommend getting a Sidecar donut to take with you.

Go on the Costa Mesa Art Walk

Costa Mesa is the City of the Arts® and no stay would be complete without seeing some of the art the city has to offer. Enjoy your solitude by getting outside and socially distancing on the Costa Mesa Art Walk. Stroll along our self-guided path to see the unique sculptures, as well as the area around Segerstrom Center for the Arts and over to South Coast Plaza. It’s all about you, so take your time. 

Shop at SOCO & The OC Mix

From Michelin star dining to boutique shopping, SOCO & The OC Mix is a must for a solo trip to Costa Mesa. Make some you-time by shopping small boutiques like Local Fare, The Mixing Glass or Bona Spera. Sit outside to sip award-winning Portola Coffee Roasters. Grab takeout from Michelin star Taco Maria. The indoor/outdoor space is great for exploring the shops before relaxing at a quiet table.

Dine at The CAMP

There are tons of amazing restaurants in Costa Mesa. We recommend visiting The CAMP at least once during your stay. The eco-friendly campus is home to great dining. Old Vine Restaurant & Bar has delicious food and extended patio seating, including OVKB The Roof. Stopping by for Sunday brunch? Definitely try the Baked Caramel Apple French Toast. When you’re done, walk across the street to The LAB Anti-Mall for more unique shops, restaurants and Instagram-worthy pics.

Stay safe at our hotels

Our Costa Mesa hotels make your health a priority. They’ve put into place new safety and cleanliness standards, so you can have peace of mind. Some hotels––such as Avenue of the Arts, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, and Ayres Hotel––have restaurants with patio dining open. No matter which hotel you choose, be sure to ask the front desk for the Travel Costa Mesa QR code for our event highlights for that week!

Come to Costa Mesa for a mid-week break or a weekend adventure. There’s plenty to do safely while you’re here. Want more ideas? Visit our Create Your Escape page for a solo itinerary, hotel deals and more. 

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Posted in Food, Hotels, Music & Art, Play, Shopping

Top 3 Ways to Beat the Heat and Unwind in Costa Mesa

Posted on August 13, 2020 | 8:27am

National Relaxation Day is August 15, but we think that any day you can relax is a reason to celebrate. Coming to Costa Mesa? Follow our guide to add a little zen to your visit. There are plenty of activities, shopping and dining open in Costa Mesa. Be sure to bring your masks because they are required. Can’t make the trip? Don’t worry. We have a relaxing virtual vacation as well.

Play outside

Get outdoors from some fresh air and the beauty of Costa Mesa parks. TeWinkle Park is particularly serene, with a lake and soothing waterfall. It’s the perfect backdrop to unwind with some yoga or reading. You can also hike or bike from Fairview Park or Talbert Regional Park to the beach.

If you’re making it a mini-break and staying overnight, lounge by one of our Costa Mesa hotel pools. All of our hotels offer increased safety and cleanliness procedures

The Pavilion at South Coast Plaza on July 29, 2020, in Costa Mesa, California. (Photo by Ryan Miller/Capture Imaging)

Shop in the open air

Indoor shopping may be closed, but Costa Mesa has a range of open-air shopping choices for everyone. The Pavilion at South Coast Plaza recently opened with 14 newly built suites on the second level of the North parking structure. You can pamper yourself with a private in-person shopping experience in elegant South Coast Plaza tradition. The Pavilion is available by complimentary appointment. Find out more information about reserving your suite, and participating boutiques, here.

Head over to The LAB and The CAMP for an array of small, local businesses in two unique settings. The LAB, which stands for “little American business,” has a variety of shops including  vintage clothing, zero waste and more. Across the street at The CAMP, you’ll find stores that celebrate the outdoor, eco-friendly vibe. 

For more information about which stores are currently open, visit our Costa Mesa Business Updates page.

Dine al fresco

Enjoy a delicious meal at one of Costa Mesa’s acclaimed restaurants while staying safe with innovative dining options. AnQi unveiled an unparalleled dining experience with their “An the Garden” patio dining. Guests can dine on small plates, AnQi’s signature dishes and Noodle Bar menu. Stay safe with the House of AN’s “Extra Care and Contactless Service,” which includes hermetically sealed silverware, UV blue-light wands and auto butler buzzers on each table.

Old Vine Kitchen & Bar recently opened OVKB The Roof, a beautiful rooftop dining space with socially distanced tables. Chef Mark McDonald also debuted an exciting new menu with wine pairing options by sommelier Kate Perry. 

To find out which restaurants offer patio dining, as well as takeout and delivery, visit our open restaurants page.

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Create Your Escape in Costa Mesa

Posted on June 30, 2020 | 7:48pm

Ready to get away, but don’t want to go far from home? Costa Mesa is located 35 miles south of Los Angeles, in the heart of Orange County. With plenty of options open, you’ll find something no matter what type of traveler you are. Make it a weekend getaway with one of our “Create Your Escape” hotel deals.

Go to the Park

With 30 parks of all sizes, Costa Mesa has plenty of outdoor space to enjoy. Fairview Park has trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding. There are also open spaces for flying kites or playing frisbee. Nearby Talbert Regional Park offers 9 trails, a BMX area and a pond. You can follow along the Santa Ana River Bicycle Trail straight to the beach. If you want a more relaxing atmosphere, head to TeWinkle Park. The lake and waterfall make a perfect backdrop for a picnic, an afternoon reading or some yoga. If you’re traveling with a pup, TeWinkle is also home to Costa Mesa Bark Park for some off leash fun.

Take a Day Trip to the Beach

Take a short drive to one of our nearest beaches to soak up the Southern California sun. Known as Surf City USA®, Huntington Beach is popular for surfing, volleyball or just enjoying the view. It also has one of Southern California’s only dog beaches. World-famous Newport Beach is home to The Wedge, an area where waves can reach up to 30 feet. You can spend the day surfing, sunbathing or even snorkeling. Both Huntington Beach and Newport Beach have fire pits for bonfires, concessions and more.

Please note: Beaches are closed 4th of July weekend.

See the Arts

Costa Mesa is the City of the Arts™ and you’ll find plenty of art around the city. Take a stroll around Segerstrom Center for the Arts, South Coast Repertory and South Coast Plaza on the Costa Mesa Art Walk. You’ll discover more than 20 sculptures, including California Scenario by the acclaimed sculptor Isamu Noguchi. You’ll find art throughout the city too. Even our utility boxes celebrate art. Be sure to snap a selfie in front of one of Costa Mesa’s many murals. If you’re on Instagram, be sure to tag us for a chance to be featured on #MuralMonday.

Enjoy a Little Shopping

A trip to Costa Mesa wouldn’t be complete without a stop at South Coast Plaza. It’s one of the largest shopping destinations on the west coast, with 250 boutiques and 30 restaurants. From designers, like Dior and Gucci, to department stores, like Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue, South Coast Plaza is a shopper’s dream. There are even two Sephora locations! Find out about their new health and safety procedures here

Looking to shop small? We have options for you too. Visit The LAB Anti-Mall, which celebrates the “little American business,” with independent retailers and restaurants. Across the street you’ll find The CAMP, an eco-friendly retail space with lots of food options.

Eat Award-Winning Food

Stop in TERRACE by Mix Mix at South Coast Plaza for a delicious lunch on a lush patio where you’ll feel you’ve escaped into your personal oasis. Acclaimed chef Ross Pangilinan has crafted a menu of shared and small plates so you can try his popular Pork Cheek Adobo and Albacore Tostado, as well as a variety of pizzas, meats and cheeses. Grab Top Chef winner Richard Blais’ Southern California-style fried chicken on your way to the park or beach at The Crack Shack. Fellow Top Chef alum Amar Santana has two Costa Mesa restaurants, Vaca and The Hall: Global Eatery. You can also get food takeout at chef Carlos Salgado’s Michelin-star Taco María. Find our full list of open Costa Mesa restaurants here.

Want more suggestions? We’ve created itineraries for solo, couple, family and pet-friendly travel. No matter what you choose to do during your visit, be sure to follow California state guidelines and wear a mask, practice social distancing and frequently wash your hands. For more information on how Costa Mesa is doing our part to keep you healthy, visit our hotel safety and cleanliness procedures page.

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Posted in Food, Hotels, Misc, Music & Art, Shopping