Costa Mesa, CA, USA

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Costa Mesa Drive-In Concerts, Fair Food and More

Posted on August 31, 2020 | 3:35pm

The drive-in is making a comeback in the age of COVID. Drive-in movies and concerts have been featured in cities all over the country, including Concerts @ The CAMP here in Costa Mesa. This fall promises new, exciting drive-in and drive-thru experiences at OC Fair & Event Center. Find out how you can visit Costa Mesa and enjoy these events from the safety of your car. Masks are required throughout California, also remember to remain at least 6 feet away from those outside of your household and wash your hands frequently. That way, everyone can stay healthy and have fun.

Woman holding funnel cake at the OC Fair.

OC Fair Food Drive-Thru

What’s summer in Orange County without OC Fair funnel cake? The fair may have gone virtual this year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get your favorite food. From August 28-October 31, the OC Fair Food Drive-Thru is hosting five food vendors: Hawaiian Chicken Bowl, Hot Dog on a Stick, Dippin’ Dots, Cathy’s Cookies and Juicy’s Funnel Cake. The drive-thru is open Friday and Saturday from noon to 8:00pm and Sunday from noon to 6:00pm. It’s drive-thru only; no parking is available. Entry is free. For more information, including menus and pricing, visit the link above. 

Photo courtesy of Autosonic Concerts

Drive-In Concert Series

Visit September 25-27 for the Autosonic Drive-In Concert Series. Each night features two 60-minute concerts with local and national bands. Performances are at 6:30pm and 9:00pm. The concerts offer contactless, QR-code entry and a variety of parking options. Tickets range from $75-$199 per vehicle, up to 4 people. Since you bring your own food, we recommend checking our restaurants page and grabbing a bite from your Costa Mesa favorites to make the night extra special. Bands include Which One’s Pink? (Pink Floyd cover band) on Friday, Queen Nation (Queen cover band) on Saturday and Dead Man’s Party (a Oingo Boingo and Danny Elfman tribute band) on Sunday.

Urban Legends Drive-Thru Haunt

Celebrate Halloween in Costa Mesa with the Urban Legends Drive-Thru Haunt, from the creators of Winter Fest OC. Drive through an immersive, storytelling experience with three unique show zones, special effects, monsters and more. Urban Legends Drive-Thru Haunt is open Wednesday-Sunday from October 1 to November 1. Tickets start at $49.99 per vehicle. The event is for 10-and-over. Due to special effects, pets are not allowed.

OC Fair & Event Center is still a “center of fun,” even if things look a little different right now. Make the most of social distancing with these drive-thru and drive-in events. Coming for Labor Day weekend? Check out our latest hotel deals, hotel safety protocols and our latest COVID-19 information. For the latest socially-distant events, visit our calendar.

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Posted in Events, Food, Misc, Music & Art, Play

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

Hungry? These Costa Mesa restaurants are open for dine-in!

Posted on May 28, 2020 | 3:21pm

Costa Mesa restaurants are opening for dine-in service. We don’t know about you, but we’re excited. Learn how they’re incorporating new health and safety practices from Executive Chef Zach Scherer of Wild Goose Tavern, Playa Mesa and The Country Club. Not sure which restaurant to go to first? We’ve got suggestions.

Select South Coast Plaza restaurants

South Coast Plaza is reopening on June 1, but several of their restaurants are already open. You can find full service dining at Water Grill, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Maggiano’s Little Italy and Morton’s (in South Coast Village). 

Photo courtesy of Playa Mesa

Playa Mesa

If you’re in the mood for authentic Mexican food, or the best margarita in Orange County, Playa Mesa has you covered. Their menu includes enchiladas, burritos, salads and more, including a weekend brunch. We suggest going for their Taco Tuesday platter to pair with one of their award-winning margaritas. You can mix and match the 6 tacos with any combination of birria, carne asada, carnitas, chicken, or veggie.

Photo courtesy of SOCIAL Costa Mesa

SOCIAL

Named the Best Bar Program in 2019, Social Costa Mesa is serving up their award-winning cocktails and tasty food. Split the Brussels sprouts with honey butter, roasted hazelnuts and sweet potato hay as an appetizer. For an entree, try their wood fired steak frites with Wagyu flank steak, chimichurri and fries. Make sure to enjoy one of their craft cocktails too. We’re fans of the Mamba Mentality.

Photo courtesy of Shuck Oyster Bar

Shuck Oyster Bar

Have you been craving seafood? Shuck Oyster Bar at SOCO & The OC Mix reopened for dine in service, so you can get your favorites like lobster rolls, oysters and fish and chips. We recommend their crab cakes or their octopus ceviche. 

ARC

We’ve missed the smoky aroma of ARC’s wood fire grill and oven when walking through SOCO & The OC Mix. Now open for dinner service, you can enjoy ARC pizza, salads and entrees. Try their duck fat potatoes and ARC burger or the ½ roast chicken with lemon, garlic and butter. Pair your dinner with a craft cocktail, wine or beer.

Photo courtesy of Kate Coburn (@eatplayliftoc)

Landers Liquor Bar

Looking for a lively place for late night cocktails and food? Landers Liquor Bar has a large selection of spirits, along with wine and beer. We recommend trying one of their craft cocktails, though, like the Rebel Rebel. You can’t visit without sharing a charcuterie plate or their Brussels sprouts. For an entree we suggest their Landers burger with chipotle mayo and a choice of fries or tater tots. You can also substitute the Black Angus beef with an Impossible Burger.

No matter where you choose to dine, be sure to wear a mask and practice social distancing. For city guidelines, visit our COVID-19 information page. Not quite ready to dine in? That’s okay, too. Our restaurants are still serving up delicious takeout and delivery. See our list of open Costa Mesa restaurants and their dining options. 

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Posted in Misc

Travel Costa Mesa with Virtual Happy Hour

Posted on May 14, 2020 | 4:25pm

Restaurants continue to offer takeout and delivery options, as California begins moving into Stage 2 of reopening. It may be some time, though, before groups can gather for things like happy hour. Stay-at-home orders have caused people to get clever to stay connected. From birthdays to networking events, virtual gatherings are taking place all over the country. You may not be able to visit us just yet, but you can travel Costa Mesa with a virtual happy hour! Here’s how.

Make Cocktails at Home

Photo courtesy of Old Vine Kitchen & Bar

Just because you can’t get out to your favorite restaurant or bar, doesn’t mean you can’t have your favorite cocktail. Restaurants are sharing their recipes online. Disney is even posting recipes, including their famous Dole Whip, for you to try at home. 

For your virtual happy hour, follow along with Mitch Barela from Old Vine Kitchen & Bar. He’s  shaking up some favorites, like the Aperol Spritz, on their Instagram. You can also try recipes like the Yu Rebel from The Hall: Global Eatery or The Girlfriend from The Guild Club.

Dine on Bar Bites

Photo courtesy of Vaca Group

A proper happy hour, even a virtual one, needs some yummy food. Bring Costa Mesa into your kitchen with our Chef Spotlight playlist. Discover the secrets of popular dishes, like the ARC burger, from chef Noah von Blöm, or Top Chef winner Richard Blais’ fried chicken oysters. Vaca created a YouTube channel featuring chef Amar Santana teaching you how to make his popular dishes like Brussels sprouts from his Laguna Beach restaurant, Broadway.

Don’t Forget Our Zoom Backgrounds

If you’re hosting your virtual happy hour on Zoom, make it festive with one of our Costa Mesa-themed Zoom backgrounds. Choose from popular spots like Segerstrom Center for the Arts or the OC Fair & Event Center.

If you live near Costa Mesa, check our list of open restaurants for takeout and delivery options. Many are offering cocktails to go as well. Old Vine Kitchen & Bar even offers a virtual wine tasting with chef Mark McDonald and sommelier Kate Perry. Want a little more inspiration? Watch our recent Cinco de Mayo virtual happy hour with #MenWhoBlog.

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Posted in Misc

How to DIY De-Stress

Posted on April 23, 2020 | 1:41pm

Is the second month of staying at home getting you down? We’re working from home, we’ve binged Tiger King and baked all the bread. We don’t know about you, but our minds and bodies could use a little break. We’ve gathered together some ideas for how to stay healthy and stay sane while staying at home.

Try Meditation

If you feel like things are monotonous, it may be time to try something calming for the mind. The app Headspace is offering free “Weathering the Storm” meditations and exercises that are as short as 1-10 minutes. Titles like “Stressed,” “Walking at Home” and “Focus” are perfect for coping with quarantine. They’ve even added a special section for New Yorkers. Headspace also has a 7 day trial for their non-Covid related meditations and exercises.

woman teaching yoga alone in studio
Photo courtesy of LXR Yoga

Get Exercise

We’ve all been visiting the kitchen more frequently these days. We’re also working, and pretty much everything else, from home. Gyms are closed, but even getting outside for a walk (with a mask) can help you de-stress. You can also find a local fitness studio on social media to see if they’re posting classes online. LXR Yoga, in Costa Mesa, has a YouTube channel with free yoga and meditation classes. Trim Fitness Studio, at The CAMP, started Trim at Home, 45 minute Lagree-inspired Zoom classes. Find a way to move, even for a few minutes, to keep the stir crazy at bay.

paint by numbers
Photo courtesy of Local Fare

Have Fun

Doing everything from home often means lines get blurred. You might be working longer hours, spending the day in your pajamas (no judgement) or filling multiple roles in your household. We recommend finding something that’s fun for you and schedule it into your calendar. Spending 20 or 30 minutes doing something fun for yourself can actually help you be more productive in other areas of your stay-at-home life. Adult coloring books, crafts, cooking or baking are just some options. Local Fare, here in Costa Mesa, has a section on their website devoted to activities that help you unplug. Visit some of your local gift shops online to see if they have activities that interest you. 

woman's hand with pink manicure

Treat Yourself

You can’t get out to the salon or spa, but you can create a tranquil space and treat yourself anyway. We love the idea from What to Pack of turning your bathroom into a French spa, though all you really need are the essentials. Order a face mask for a quick facial from a local store, like Bono Spera at The OC Mix. Need a manicure? Lollipop Nail Studio shared their secret to a perfect manicure on their Instagram page: prep and polish. Add some candles and a relaxing playlist for the ultimate DIY spa experience. 

The uncertainty of COVID-19 is stressful. We encourage you to take time out of your busy schedule to take care of yourself. A short walk, a fun game or a mini-spa treatment can help make all the difference in your day. If possible, we recommend shopping local because helping the community also makes us feel better. Stay safe, stay well and let us know what you’re doing by tagging us on social media: @travelcostamesa.

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Posted in Misc