Costa Mesa, CA, USA

Travel Costa Mesa Blog

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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

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

Dad’s Day Out: Why You Should Spend Father’s Day in Costa Mesa

Posted on June 12, 2020 | 2:58pm

Father’s Day is June 21. With Orange County moving into Stage 3 of reopening, there’s so much to do in Costa Mesa while keeping your family safe (and making things easy on mom). Here are our recommendations for spending a day in the City of the Arts®.

Activities 

Photo courtesy of Michael Lovato (@michael.arthur.800)


Costa Mesa Country Club offers plenty of fun for golf lovers. You can practice on the range or putting green, or play a full 18 holes on one of two municipal courses. You can even schedule a golf lesson with a PGA pro! Grab lunch at 19th Hole, a restaurant with a full service bar, three televisions and views of the course. Insider tip: for the best rates, book your tee time online.

Photo courtesy of Asher Hung

If golf isn’t his thing, enjoy an afternoon at one of Costa Mesa’s beautiful parks. Most city parks are open for active or passive use, including picnics. Select Fairview Park trails are open as well, though Costa Mesa Skate Park and Bark Park remain closed. Whether you want to bring your bikes, play games, hike or have a picnic, you can enjoy the warm California weather and Costa Mesa scenery.

You can also take dad on a scenic tour of the Costa Mesa Art Walk. The art walk features sculptures around South Coast Plaza, Segerstrom Center for the Arts and South Coast Repertory. The tour includes one of the country’s preeminent sculpture gardens, California Scenario (also known as Noguchi Garden). For more information on the sculptures, check out our guide to visual arts here.

Dining

Photo courtesy of The Capital Grille

Celebrate dad (and give mom a night off) by getting dinner from one of Costa Mesa’s acclaimed restaurants. Restaurants are open for dine in and take out, so you can enjoy a night out or keep the party going at home. Find out which restaurants are open on our restaurants updates page

In addition to regular menu items, some restaurants are serving special Father’s Day menus. Get BBQ and beer curbside from Old Vine Kitchen & Bar, which includes a pound of pulled pork confit, corn slaw and cheddar buns for 4. The Capital Grille’s three course “Man of the Hour” dinner, for either 2 or 4, comes with a prime roasted rack of ribeye, mashed potatoes and cheesecake, along with a special gift for dad–a jar of their signature steak sauce. Start the day off with Plum’s Cafe Father’s Day Take Away brunch, for 6 or 8, with a pancake bar, pepper bacon and apple sausage, frittata and more.

However you choose to spend dad’s day in Costa Mesa, be sure to bring your face masks and maintain appropriate social distance to keep your family safest.

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Posted in Events, Food, Locals, Music & Art

5 Ways to Show Your Love in Costa Mesa

Posted on January 29, 2020 | 4:33pm

Whether you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day, Galentine’s Day or just a long weekend, show your love with these events over Presidents Day weekend. Make it a special getaway with one of our Valentine hotel deals.

Chris Botti with trumpet
Photo courtesy of Segerstrom Center for the Arts

Valentine’s with Chris Botti

The Grammy Award winning trumpeter Chris Botti is performing February 14 and 15 at Segerstrom Center for the Arts. His combination of jazz, classical, pop and rock has earned him acclaim throughout the world. He’s performed with everyone from Frank Sinatra, Steven Tyler and Yo-Yo Ma. Spend Valentine’s with Chris Botti to see his unforgettable new show.

She Loves Me cast at South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa
Photo courtesy of South Coast Repertory

She Loves Me

Fans of You’ve Got Mail and The Shop Around the Corner will fall for She Loves Me, at South Coast Repertory until February 22. Georg and Amalia can’t seem to get along working at Maraczek’s Parfumerie. After hours, though, they are both falling in love with each other as secret pen pals. She Loves Me is a charming musical comedy that’s perfect for both Valentine’s Day or Galentine’s Day.

Couple at a spa getting a massage

Spa Nordstrom

Pamper your Valentine, and yourself, with a visit to Spa Nordstrom at South Coast Plaza. Named one of the top 5 day spas in Orange County, Spa Nordstrom offers facials, massages, body treatments and more. Get a couples massage and relaxing facials. Staying for more of a girls weekend? Try Two Hours in Heaven that includes a full body massage, wrap and facial, scalp and foot pressure-point massage. You can also look at their full menu of services to find the perfect option for you.

Couple at The LAB in Costa Mesa

The LAB

Take a trip to The LAB (Little American Business) for a unique shopping and dining experience, not to mention plenty of selfie spots. Prism Boutique offers a variety of clothing, accessories and home goods or find some jewelry at May Martin. Grab dinner at Habana or drinks at the eclectic Ruin Bar. Be sure to snap a photo while you’re there and share it with us on social media

Dish from Vaca in Costa Mesa
Photo courtesy of Chuck Pebenito

Vaca

Chef Amar Santana has a special menu planned for Valentine’s Day at Vaca. Start with the ostiones, cornmeal crusted fried oysters with wagyu steak tartare and tonnato sauce. Then, try the salchicha de mariscos, a seafood sausage with a shellfish pork butter sauce. Finish your meal with the budino de chocolate, a white chocolate budino with maraschino cherries and toasted pistachios. The cocktails from Vaca Group’s beverage director, Michael Rooney, are a must too.

However you decide to spend your Valentine’s Day, make it a fun weekend getaway with our hotel deals and visitor guide.

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