Costa Mesa, CA, USA

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Shop, dine and play in Costa Mesa

Posted on August 31, 2021 | 10:00am

It’s back-to-school time, which means new clothes, gadgets and more. Whether you’re shopping for kids or just want a wardrobe refresh, Costa Mesa has unique boutiques and the largest shopping destination on the West Coast. While you’re here, check out the world-class dining and entertainment options available too. Want to make it a mini-getaway? Check out our summer hotel deals!

Photo courtesy of @aiden_oc_baby

The LAB

The LAB Anti-Mall is a great place for shopping small and, even, environmentally conscious. Buffalo Exchange is a second-hand shop offering basics, designer, trendy and one-of-a-kind fashion. On the opposite side of The LAB, you’ll find an Urban Outfitters too. Looking for sustainable school supplies? Eco Now, a zero-waste shop and refill station offers plastic free lunch containers, bags, utensils and more. There’s also a cosmetic and skincare section. 

There are plenty of restaurants, if you need a bite to eat. The Den Café serves a variety of breakfast and lunch dishes. Seabirds Kitchen is a popular vegan restaurant. Try their avo taco, a vegan version of the fish taco. The LAB also has a Baba’s Hot Chicken. Habana is a favorite of locals and visitors alike. 

Photo courtesy of @johnnybayday

The CAMP

Eco-friendly retail campus The CAMP has several shops that favor environmentally conscious clothing. SEED Peoples Market offers curated fashion from local vendors and responsible brands, such as Patagonia. 2nd Street USA is a second-hand shop where you can find clothes and accessories. Purre Boutique has women’s clothing, home goods and accessories.

Take a break from shopping at one of The CAMP’s Eatcation®-worthy restaurants. Old Vine Kitchen & Bar has something delicious any time you visit. Stop in on the weekend for an incredible brunch (make sure to get a cinnamon roll). Chopped champion Rachel Klemek’s Blackmarket Bakery offers breakfast, lunch, pastries, desserts and a full coffee menu. Vegan diners will love Native Foods. For a quick bite, try East Borough’s take on classic Vietnamese dishes. Vitaly is always a great option for traditional Italian food, including gelato. If you’re visiting after 4, make a reservation at Folks. Their naturally leavened pizza and natural wines are a definite treat. We also recommend trying their amazing meatballs.

South Coast Plaza

The premier destination for shopping on the West Coast has everything you need for back-to-school shopping. Whether you’re picking up new tech from the Apple Store, shopping for clothes at one of the boutiques or department stores, you can find it at South Coast Plaza. For a full list of stores for kids clothes, shoes and accessories, click here

There are more than 30 restaurants to choose from at South Coast Plaza. Try the latest concept, Collage Culinary Experience, a food hall with Paradise Dynasty, Le Shrimp Ramen and Mah Jongs by Chef Mike currently open. The grand opening takes place this fall. You can find a list of all South Coast Plaza restaurants here.

SOCO & The OC Mix

If you’re also shopping for babies or toddlers, check out Whimsical Charm at SOCO & The OC Mix. You’ll find adorable clothes, robes, blankets and shoes. While you’re there, stop for coffee at Portola Coffee Roasters or a meal at one of their restaurants. The Cheese Shop serves sandwiches, get pizza at ARC or have dinner at Michelin star Taco Maria.

Things to Do

Check out our previous blog for Broadway shows and concerts coming to Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Visit our calendar for all the entertainment options coming to Costa Mesa during your visit. 

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Posted in Misc, Play, Shopping

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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Posted in Misc

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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Posted in Misc

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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Posted in Misc

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