Costa Mesa, CA, USA

Travel Costa Mesa Blog

Archives for Play

March Madness in Costa Mesa

Posted on February 27, 2020 | 4:13pm

From big games to St. Patrick’s Day celebrations there’s a lot to drink to in March. Costa Mesa is home to several unique bars that are great for a night out or a weekend brunch. Whether you want to watch the big game or enjoy happy hour with friends, you’ll find something perfect for you.

Photo by Sarah King, courtesy of The Hall: Global Eatery

The Hall: Global Eatery 

Although the food hall from Top Chef finalist Amar Santana and Ahmed Labbate has been the talk of Orange County, the bar is also making news. Beverage director Michael Rooney’s cocktails and wine selection takes inspiration from The Hall’s global concept. You’ll find everything from Japanese whiskey to Mediterranean wine, but we recommend trying one of his signature cocktails. Bonus: the bar now serves happy hour Monday – Thursday from 3pm – 5pm and 8pm – close, Friday – Saturday from 3pm – 5pm and 9pm – close and all day Sunday.

Photo courtesy of Playa Mesa

Playa Mesa

Last year, OC Weekly named the margaritas at Playa Mesa the best in Orange County. They weren’t kidding. There are 9 margaritas to choose from, but we recommend trying the Margarita A La Casa, the Spicy Cucumber Margarita or, our favorite, the Sandia Margarita with watermelon and strawberry. Their homemade chips and salsa are a must too. The bar is a great spot to watch a game or catch up with friends. They also serve brunch on the weekends from 9am – 2pm. 

The Country Club

Step into The Country Club and you’ll feel like you’re in a mid-century, private club. Think Don Draper sipping an Old Fashioned at the bar. They offer seasonal cocktails, along with staples like the Ladybird, the Ron Burgandy and, of course, the Costa Mesa Old Fashioned. Bourbon fans have to try the Smoking Jacket, with bacon washed bourbon, maple syrup, pecan tincture and chocolate bitters. The showstopper is the smoking gun that gives the drink its name, along with their logo stamped on an ice cube. Don’t miss out on the hangar steak tacos while you’re there. The Country Club turns into a dance club at night and weekends include their boozy brunch.

Photo courtesy of Ruin Bar

Ruin Bar

The eclectic decor and location inside The LAB give Ruin Bar its kitschy feel. Enjoy craft cocktails like DunGINS and Dragons, Chiquita Banana or Lego My Ego. Have fun counting the number of cat objects or play the piano that’s built into the bar. 

Hennessey’s Tavern

Spend St. Patrick’s Day at this popular Irish pub. Hennessey’s Tavern just opened their newest location in Costa Mesa. Cocktails include a signature Bloody Mary and Irish coffee. They offer a selection of mocktails as well. Their menu includes Irish classics like corned beef and hash, Shepherd’s pie, and fish and chips. You can also enjoy a number of California-inspired dishes such as their Cobb salad and Baja fish tacos.

Whatever you’re celebrating this March, enjoy the shopping, dining and activities that Costa Mesa has to offer with a weekend getaway.

No Comments

Posted in Food, Play

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.

No Comments

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

Fun and food for an active getaway in Costa Mesa

Posted on December 24, 2019 | 12:10pm

It’s the start of a new year, and a new decade. Whether you’re ready to tackle those resolutions, or just want to get healthy after the holidays, here is your curated list for an active getaway to Costa Mesa that’s still full of fun and food! Our holiday hotel deals are available until January 15.

Fun 

Fairview Park

There’s no shortage of hiking trails in Orange County, but we’re partial to Fairview Park. Costa Mesa’s largest park includes 7 miles of scenic trails for hiking, running, biking and even horseback riding. The 208-acre park also features a forested sanctuary, open fields and hills. You’ll find plenty to do, including the Goat Hill Junction Railroad, offering free model train rides on the third weekend of each month.

Photo courtesy of Rockreation

Rockreation

Orange County’s best indoor climbing facility, Rockreation, features 12,000 square feet of climbing terrain. It includes varying angles, top-rope climbing and bouldering. It’s a great environment for first timers to seasoned climbers. The only thing you need is workout clothes and Rockreation will provide the rest. You’ll also find exercise machines, cardio equipment and weights. 

Surf lessons

What could be more synonymous with California than surfing? Take a short drive from your hotel to the beach for surfing lessons. Surf schools offer group and private instruction, with wet suits and boards provided. Lessons are, typically, about 2 hours. You’ll be catching a wave in no time.

Photo courtesy of Pedego Electric Bike Tours

Pedego Electric Bike Tours

Head over to nearby Corona Del Mar where Pedego Electric Bike Tours offers a guided bike tour through Corona Del Mar, Balboa Island & Balboa Peninsula. You’ll see highlights of the area, including the quaint shops of Balboa Island to the stunning view of the ocean. You can also rent bikes in 2-hour, 3-hour or all day options, if you’d prefer taking your own path or want to follow our Costa Mesa Bike Route.

Costa Mesa Art Walk

Take in the City of the Arts by following our Costa Mesa Art Walk. The art walk showcases the free public art located around Segerstrom Center for the Arts, South Coast Repertory and South Coast Plaza. Continue your art tour by walking to Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA), across the street from South Coast Plaza. Stay within walking distance at Avenue of the Arts, The Westin South Coast Plaza or Costa Mesa Marriott.

Tavern + Bowl

End your trip with a fun night of bowling at Tavern + Bowl at Triangle Square. You can reserve one of their state-of-the-art bowling lanes for up to 6 people, starting at $35 per hour. Online reservations are available as early as 1 week in advance. Just make sure to book at least the day before, as same day reservations are not accepted. 

Food

Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop

From organically grown produce to flame-grilled proteins, Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop at SOCO & The OC Mix is the perfect stop for a healthy lunch. We recommend getting one of their delicious salads, like Zorra the Greek or antioxidant orchard. This fast-casual restaurant also has build-your-own salad and entree options.

The Den Café

Located in The LAB Anti-Mall, The Den Café offers healthy options for every meal (including brunch). Try the sunrise yogurt bowl for breakfast or the quinoa veggie burger for lunch. There are plenty of vegan and vegetarian options as well.

Birdie Bowl & Juicery 

Also in SOCO & The OC Mix is Birdie Bowl & Juicery. Split an acai bowl (they’re big enough to share), or try one of their cold-pressed juices. It’s a great spot to stop for a break during an active day.

Costa Mesa is full of things to do during a healthy getaway. Learn about all the activities available in and around the city for more options. For more dining choices, we have a list of health conscious dining and a full list of Costa Mesa restaurants. If you want a relaxing break, make an appointment at one of our spas. Don’t forget to also check out our holiday hotel deals before they end on January 15!

No Comments

Posted in Food, Misc, Play

7 Eatcation-worthy Happy Hours in Costa Mesa

Posted on September 23, 2019 | 10:54am

Whether you’re a local Orange County resident or traveling and staying in one of our hotels, knowing which happy hour to choose can be tough. How can you find great deals on drinks and delicious food? That’s why we’ve put together a list of happy hours worthy of an Eatcation™.

Playa Mesa margarita, quesito, and pork confit ribs

Playa Mesa Mexican Kitchen

Named “Best New Mexican Restaurant 2019,” Playa Mesa Mexican Kitchen offers up some tasty treats on their happy hour menu. Try the pork confit spare ribs with chives and a piloncillo glaze ($8) or the quesito with scallions and house-made chorizo ($6). Their drafts are $1 off, along with a wine, beer and margarita selection. Playa Mesa serves happy hour Monday-Friday from 3-6pm. They also have a “Tacos & Tequila Tuesday” with $6 margaritas and $3.50 tacos.

Old Vine cocktail and focaccia

Old Vine Kitchen & Bar

You can find half-off bar bites and $3 off classic cocktails at Old Vine Kitchen & Bar. The house-baked focaccia ($5) and the borlotti bean dip ($5) showcase Chef Mark McDonald’s Italian training. Old Vine’s happy hour is available Tuesday-Friday and Sunday from 3-6pm. There’s also a late night happy hour, also Tuesday-Friday and Sunday, from 10pm-midnight with $5 draft Hefeweizen Weihenstephaner and $9 Old Vine classic cocktails.

Wine Lab wine glass with logo and wine flight

Wine Lab

Wine and cheese lovers, rejoice! Not only does Wine Lab offer cheese and charcuterie plates ($13) on their happy hour menu, but they also serve an early-bird cheese plate ($9) until 4pm on weekdays and 3pm on weekends. All beer and selected wines are $2 off, or try the happy hour wine fight for $10.

Memphis Cafe cocktail and crab cakes

Memphis Cafe

A homestyle Southern restaurant may not be an obvious choice for happy hour, but Memphis Cafe’s extensive food selection makes it one of our Eatcation-worthy picks. Chef and co-founder Diego Velasco serves everything from gumbo cheese fries ($7) to steamed mussles and clams with andouille sausage in a tomato broth ($8). You can find $1 off drafts and $2 off wine by the glass. Crafted cocktails are $6 and specialty cocktails are $8. Stop by Memphis Cafe Monday-Friday from 3-6pm for their happy hour menu and specials.

Seasons 52 broccoli flatbread and white wine

Seasons 52

The Seasons 52 happy hour menu is not to be missed. Their small plates are just $5 and include dishes such as Kona-crusted lamb, caramelized grilled sea scallops with lemon mosto and micro greens, and ginger-sesame chicken skewers. They offer a selection wines ($6), cocktails ($6), specialty cocktails ($7) and beers ($4) on the menu. They also have a glass of wine and flatbread special ($12). Seasons 52 serves happy hour Monday-Friday from 3-6pm and is located in South Coast Plaza.

Silver Trumpet cocktail close up

Silver Trumpet Restaurant and Bar

Conveniently in Avenue of the Arts hotel, Silver Trumpet offers a selection of their bar menu items during their happy hour. Try a chophouse slider with caper remoulade, brie and crispy onions ($3), charred Brussels sprouts with toasted cashews and cilantro ($8) or calamari with pickled vegetables and sweet cilantro glaze ($11). Beers are $1 off, well drinks and happy hour wines are $7. You can stop by Monday-Thursday from 2-6pm and 9:30-close, as well as Friday from 2-6pm and all day Sunday.

For even more great Costa Mesa happy hour ideas, check out the “Happiest of Happy Hours.” What’s your favorite happy hour in Costa Mesa?

No Comments

Posted in Food, Play

The OC Fair returns to SoCal with more “Acres of Fun” than ever!

Posted on June 20, 2019 | 2:23pm

Orange County’s most anticipated annual event, the OC Fair, returns to Costa Mesa July 12 through August 11! This year’s theme, “Acres of Fun,” is fitting for the seventh largest county fair in the U.S., A holiday in
Orange County , is very relaxing – find out more. which fills every inch of its grounds with ride, games, exhibitions and live performances.

Read More

No Comments

Posted in Events, Play