Costa Mesa, CA, USA

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Your Guide to Pet-Friendly Costa Mesa

Posted on July 20, 2021 | 7:00am

Ready to travel, but don’t want to leave your pup at home? Costa Mesa offers plenty of pet-friendly places for dining, shopping and more. Costa Mesa’s location makes it ideal for exploring Southern California. Between Los Angeles and San Diego, and just a short drive from Orange County beaches, Costa Mesa is the perfect spot to cool off with your pet this summer. Before you visit, check out our guide to pet-friendly Costa Mesa below and our summer hotel deals!

Pet-Friendly Hotels

You have several options for you and your pup at one of our pet-friendly hotels. Stay within walking distance of South Coast Plaza and Segerstrom Center for the Arts at Avenue of the Arts, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, or The Westin South Coast Plaza. Further south is the SoBeCa district, known for retail campuses The LAB Anti-Mall and The CAMP, as well as the Costa Mesa Beer Trail. Nearby pet-friendly hotels include Hilton and Residence Inn by Marriott. For a European feel, including patio dining at Le Chateau Bistro, Ayres Hotel is within minutes of Newport Beach.

Photo courtesy of @vixendog on Instagram

Outdoor Entertainment

Bring your dog to Concerts @ The CAMP for a free, outdoor concert every Thursday through September 30. There’s patio seating around the stage and plenty of parking, if you’d prefer a drive-in experience. Segerstrom Center for the Arts also has a series of summer concerts and events on the Argyros Plaza. Snuggle up with your pup for an evening at the world-class performing arts center, just make sure to bring your own blanket or chair. Check out our calendar for outdoor events.

Photo courtesy of @lexithepupski on Instagram

Instagram-worthy Spots

As the City of the Arts®, Costa Mesa has a variety of art throughout the city. You’ll find murals, installations and street art that make a picture perfect snapshot. Check out our guide to the Top 10 Instagrammable spots in Costa Mesa. Tag @travelscostamesa so we can share your pet-friendly vacation!

The LAB

The LAB Anti-Mall is a pet-friendly, indoor/outdoor retail and dining campus. Shop at one of The LAB’s small boutiques or signature airstream trailers. You can even find sustainable dog toys and supplies at Eco Now, a zero waste shop and refill station. Enjoy patio dining at one of The LAB’s popular restaurants, including vegan favorite Seabirds and the always popular Habana. Don’t forget to snap that perfect Instagram shot in front one of the murals or art installations.

Photo courtesy of @instant.schnoodle on Instagram

The CAMP

Located just across from The LAB, The CAMP is another pet-friendly indoor/outdoor retail and dining center. You can shop for eco-friendly and sustainable clothing, home goods and more at SEED Peoples Market. Restaurants include Old Vine Kitchen & Bar, which has three outdoor dining areas, as well as Blackmarket Bakery, from Chopped champion Rachel Klemek. Other fare includes pizza, gelato, burgers and, opening soon, ramen.

Photo courtesy of @tailsofariandapollo on Instagram

Costa Mesa Parks

There are thirty parks of various sizes located within Costa Mesa. Popular parks Fairview Park and Talbert Regional Park are close to the beach, while TeWinkle Park has ducks and a lake. TeWinkle Park is also home to the Bark Park. Find more about Costa Mesa parks here.

Photo courtesy of @kiwi.thedoubledoodle on Instagram

Bark Park

If your pup is looking for some off-leash fun, the Bark Park is just the place. The 2-acre park has both large and small dog areas, fresh grass, trees and fresh water. Costa Mesa Bark Park is open 7:30 am to 8:45 pm, except Wednesdays. The park also offers breed nights where specific dog breed groups can meet.

Want more ideas for you and your pup? Visit our pet-friendly travel itinerary.

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7 Reasons to Celebrate Pride in Costa Mesa

Posted on June 15, 2021 | 7:00am

Costa Mesa is at the heart of Pride Month in Orange County, including the official OC Pride closing party at STRUT Bar & Club, but that’s not the only reason to visit Costa Mesa during Pride. We have 7 reasons we think Costa Mesa is the perfect destination during Pride. Be sure to check out our summer hotel deals too.

Photo credit: @themattvaldez on Instagram

1. Stay in the heart of Orange County

With its central location in Orange County, you can make Costa Mesa your “home base” for OC Pride events and visit popular Southern California attractions. Costa Mesa is only 37 miles south of Los Angeles and 88 miles north of San Diego, though there’s plenty to do within the city.

2. #1 Destination for Outdoor Art

Men’s Journal named Costa Mesa the #1 Destination for Outdoor Art in the country! Costa Mesa is known as the City of the Arts® and getting outdoors means you’ll see plenty of art around. We even have a free art walk audio tour that you can listen to on your phone. The tour takes you through the South Coast Metro area to visit some of Costa Mesa’s acclaimed sculptures, including California Scenario by famed sculptor Isamu Noguchi. You can also visit our murals and street art page for more information about Costa Mesa’s beautiful art.

3. Award-winning dining and entertainment

Costa Mesa is home to award-winning dining worthy of an Eatcation®. You’ll find Orange County’s only two Michelin star restaurants, restaurants from two of Bravo’s Top Chef contestants and a Food Network Chopped champion. There’s also plenty of entertainment, including The Art of Flamenco dinner show at Cafe Sevilla. 

4. STRUT Bar & Club

STRUT Bar & Club is quickly making a name for itself as one of the best LGBTQ+ spots in Orange County. Visit during any time of the year for Drag Bingo, Strawberry Disco and Drag Brunch. There are two official OC Pride events held at STRUT this year, OC Pride STRUT Brunch featuring Mimosa Girls and the Official OC Pride Closing Party. Brunch will be held on Sunday, June 20 from 12-2:30pm and tickets start at $20. The closing party is free and will be on Saturday, June 26 from 6pm-2am.

Photo courtesy of Tin Lizzie Saloon

5. Tin Lizzie Saloon 

Tin Lizzie Saloon has a distinctly Victorian vibe with red pin-and-tuck banquettes, brass foot rails and velvet-embossed flocked wallpaper.  Its welcoming environment makes it a perfect place to “mix, mingle and indulge” in mixed drinks, fine wines and liqueurs.

6. Unique shopping

Costa Mesa has several unique shopping options, including The LAB Anti-Mall which honors the “Little American Business.” Across the street for The LAB is The CAMP, one of the first eco-friendly retail campuses in the country. Foodies will love SOCO & The OC Mix where you can find everything for cocktail lovers, home cooks and more. South Coast Plaza, the largest shopping destination on the West Coast.

Photo credit @hunter.c.official on Instagram

7. Orange County beaches

Costa Mesa is only a few minutes from two of Orange County’s most popular beaches, Newport Beach and Huntington Beach. Take a relaxing break, surf lessons or go out on a Duffy Boat.

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7 Ways To Find Your Happy in Orange County This Summer

Posted on May 28, 2021 | 7:00pm

California is officially reopening on June 15, so now is the time to plan your summer getaway. Theme parks, performing arts centers and more are all ready to welcome you back. If Orange County or Southern California are your destination, Costa Mesa’s central location makes it the perfect home base for your visit. Check out our “Find Your Happy” hotel deals with rates as low as $112 a night. Here are 7 ways to make your stay even happier.

1. Disneyland Resort®

The Happiest Place on Earth is always a favorite Southern California destination. Plus, it’s just a short 13-mile drive from Costa Mesa. The Disneyland Resort® has a phased reopening plan and is already open for California residents. Visit their website for open attractions, restaurants and updates.

2. OC Fair

It’s “Time for Fun” as the OC Fair return in person July 16 – August 15, 2021! Enjoy four weeks of fun, food, and entertainment. Ticket prices start at $12 on weekdays and $14 on weekends with various discounted prices for children and seniors. Advance ticket purchase is required this year, so be sure to plan ahead.

3. Happy Hour

The Costa Mesa Happy Hour scene can be experienced every night of the week with so many independently owned and diverse dining options; some with live music and dinner shows throughout the week. It’s a great time to explore this popular foodie town and support local businesses. Get a taste of the experience through the happy hour video series.

Photo courtesy of The CAMP

4. Concerts @ The CAMP

Free, outdoor Concerts @ The Camp every Thursday evening at 5:30 p.m through September 30. The CAMP is a unique dining and retail spot in Costa Mesa and one of the first-known sustainable campuses in the U.S. It features vegan, Vietnamese, Italian and American fare, plus some of the best baked goods in town by Food Network Chopped champion and Blackmarket Bakery owner, Rachel Klemek, all to enjoy during the concert.

Photo courtesy of Segerstrom Center for the Arts

5. Segerstrom Center for the Arts

Segerstrom Center for the Arts has live entertainment on the outdoor Argyros Plaza. Upcoming performances include Polynesian dance classes, comedian Maria Bramford and NBC’s The Voice 2012 contestant, Broadway performer and songwriter, Chris Mann. Advanced reservations are required and can be secured online. Visit our calendar for the latest events.

free things to do at the oc fair

6. 2021 Toyota Summer Concert Series

Live concerts and performances are back as part of the 2021 Toyota Summer Concert Series at the Pacific Amphitheatre and will feature guests like Cole Swindell, Cheap Trick, Blue Oyster Cult along with a wide range of cover bands performing in The Hangar at OC Fair & Event Center.

7. Orange County Beaches

Have fun in the sun at one of these hidden gems and lesser-known beaches in Orange County – take a picnic, rent bikes or even take a surf or standup paddle board lesson.


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Where to Celebrate AAPI Heritage Month in Costa Mesa

Posted on May 7, 2021 | 8:20am

Costa Mesa is a proudly diverse city that offers a unique experience for visitors. Within the city you can find a variety of small businesses, the largest shopping destination on the west coast, street art and a world-class performing arts center. The cultural influences throughout Costa Mesa can especially be seen through the dining and small businesses that make up the city. In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, we’re highlighting some of the AAPI restaurants and businesses in Costa Mesa here and on social media. Follow us on throughout the month to see even more AAPI restaurants and businesses in Costa Mesa. 

The LAB

Photo courtesy of Hana re

Hana re

Every seat is at the chef’s table at this one-of-a-kind Michelin Star restaurant. With only 2 tables, and 10 seats, Hana re is more than a sushi bar. It’s a truly unique Costa Mesa experience.You’ll dine from one of the omakase menus and enjoy watching chef Atsushi Yokoyama prepare his exquisite dishes. If you’re planning to visit Hana re during your Costa Mesa getaway, check with the restaurant about reservations early.  

Good Town Doughnuts

Try the handcrafted brioche donuts in flavors like raspberry pistachio, hibiscus or Nutella. There are plenty of vegan and gluten-free options. Good Town Doughnuts uses high quality ingredients such as organic sugar, pure maple syrup and fresh fruit. 

Blends/Carve

Originally from Japan, owners Tak Kato and Mike Toe blend international taste with global products, including apparel and accessories. They’ll also be opening Kuro Pizza at The LAB soon.

Nook Coffee Bar

Nook Coffee Bar serves signature drinks such as the Spanish latte, honey lavender latte and honey oat latte. Grab a specialty coffee to enjoy while sitting at one of The LAB’s outdoor tables.

The CAMP

Photo courtesy of The CAMP / Folks

Folks

From partners Chloe Tran and chef Joey Baugh, Folks has already won accolades in its first two years. The naturally leavened pizza dough, along with the rest of the menu, makes Folks a must visit in Costa Mesa. The meatballs with pork cheek gravy are delicious, as are the chicken wings with Italian fish sauce, calabrian chilies, parsley and lemon. 

East Borough

Enjoy Vietnamese street-cart style foods, such as bánh mi sandwiches, spring rolls or bo kho stew at East Borough. Everything is packaged for takeaway, so you can grab a spot at one of The CAMP’s many outdoor seating areas and take in the view.

South Coast Plaza

Terrace by Mix Mix

Chef Ross Pangilinan’s eclectic menu at TERRACE by Mix Mix is inspired by Italian, French and modern Filipino flavors. The pork cheek adobo and the bone marrow pizza are always popular. We recommend trying one of his pre-fixe menus.

Royal Khybar Fine Indian Cuisine

Located across Sunflower Ave., in South Coast Plaza Village, Royal Khybar Fine Indian Cuisine offers modern and classic dishes. The menu is prepared with locally grown produce, fresh spices, handcrafted cheese and yogurt. 

AnQi Bistro

AnQi Bistro is the noodle bar and bistro concept by House of AN, of Crustacean fame. Popular dishes include filet mignon potstickers and pan-roasted lobster. There’s also a secret kitchen menu with some of House of AN’s famous dishes such roasted crab and famous garlic noodles.

Photo courtesy of The Hall: Global Eatery

Poke Bar at The Hall: Global Eatery

The popular Hawaiian dish gets the Top Chef treatment at The Hall: Global Eatery from chef Amar Santana. Build your bowl with choices of base, protein, toppings and sauce. 

Learn more information about AAPI month at South Coast Plaza here.

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Posted in Food, Misc, Shopping

Stay Sustainable in Costa Mesa

Posted on April 15, 2021 | 7:00am

Sustainability is quickly becoming an important consideration with those planning to travel. If you’re thinking about sustainable travel, Costa Mesa should definitely be on your destinations list. The City of Costa Mesa has been named a LEED Gold City, recognized for sustainability achievement and a Tree City USA community in California by the Arbor Day Foundation. The City of Costa Mesa’s Department of Energy and Sustainability develops and implements programs that reduce its carbon footprint, increase resource efficacy and minimize waste. Not only is the City committed to sustainability, but so are many of our businesses. We’ve put together a list of our most sustainable places to shop while you’re visiting. 

The CAMP

Visitors may recognize The CAMP as one of Costa Mesa’s most Instagrammable spots, but The CAMP is also one of the first eco-friendly retail and dining campuses in the country. It’s designed with tanks, filters and percolation wells underneath the parking lot that treats stormwater before it’s absorbed into the soil and underground water storage. Around the property, there are 12 gardens growing herbs, fruit and vegetables so the restaurants can source locally grown ingredients for their dishes. 

Clothing

SEED Peoples Market

At SEED Peoples Market, you’ll find a curated collection of eco-friendly and ethical brands. They inspire sustainable living and highlight unique items from local and global artisans. SEED Peoples Market is one of our favorites and we recommend checking out their latest finds for a true Costa Mesa experience.

PÜRRE Boutique

PÜRRE Boutique has a blend of unique new and vintage finds along with home and beauty items from local and women-owned businesses. 

2nd Street USA

The popular Japanese second-hand store 2nd Street USA offers premium, one-of-a-kind pieces at a great value. Over 15 million tons of clothing ends up in US landfills each year, so second-hand is a truly sustainable way to shop.

Bulk & Refilling Shops

Eco Now

Orange County’s first zero waste and refill shop, Eco Now has plenty of plastic free options as well as refills for everything from laundry detergent to shampoo. It’s located just across the street from The CAMP at The LAB Anti-Mall. The friendly staff are happy to answer questions for those who aren’t familiar with zero waste or plastic free living. 

We Olive & Wine Bar

We Olive & Wine Bar at SOCO & The OC Mix offers refillable bottles of olive oil and vinegar. You can sample before you buy to find your favorite. Bring back your clean, empty bottle to refill and enjoy a discount.

Savory Spice Shop

Home cooks will love the selection at Savory Spice Shop, also at SOCO & The OC Mix, but the option to refill makes it a sustainable choice. You can purchase spices by weight, or prepared jars. They also have wonderful gift collections for everyone from new cooks to seasoned pros. 

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