Costa Mesa, CA, USA

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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

Top 3 Ways to Beat the Heat and Unwind in Costa Mesa

Posted on August 13, 2020 | 8:27am

National Relaxation Day is August 15, but we think that any day you can relax is a reason to celebrate. Coming to Costa Mesa? Follow our guide to add a little zen to your visit. There are plenty of activities, shopping and dining open in Costa Mesa. Be sure to bring your masks because they are required. Can’t make the trip? Don’t worry. We have a relaxing virtual vacation as well.

Play outside

Get outdoors from some fresh air and the beauty of Costa Mesa parks. TeWinkle Park is particularly serene, with a lake and soothing waterfall. It’s the perfect backdrop to unwind with some yoga or reading. You can also hike or bike from Fairview Park or Talbert Regional Park to the beach.

If you’re making it a mini-break and staying overnight, lounge by one of our Costa Mesa hotel pools. All of our hotels offer increased safety and cleanliness procedures

The Pavilion at South Coast Plaza on July 29, 2020, in Costa Mesa, California. (Photo by Ryan Miller/Capture Imaging)

Shop in the open air

Indoor shopping may be closed, but Costa Mesa has a range of open-air shopping choices for everyone. The Pavilion at South Coast Plaza recently opened with 14 newly built suites on the second level of the North parking structure. You can pamper yourself with a private in-person shopping experience in elegant South Coast Plaza tradition. The Pavilion is available by complimentary appointment. Find out more information about reserving your suite, and participating boutiques, here.

Head over to The LAB and The CAMP for an array of small, local businesses in two unique settings. The LAB, which stands for “little American business,” has a variety of shops including  vintage clothing, zero waste and more. Across the street at The CAMP, you’ll find stores that celebrate the outdoor, eco-friendly vibe. 

For more information about which stores are currently open, visit our Costa Mesa Business Updates page.

Dine al fresco

Enjoy a delicious meal at one of Costa Mesa’s acclaimed restaurants while staying safe with innovative dining options. AnQi unveiled an unparalleled dining experience with their “An the Garden” patio dining. Guests can dine on small plates, AnQi’s signature dishes and Noodle Bar menu. Stay safe with the House of AN’s “Extra Care and Contactless Service,” which includes hermetically sealed silverware, UV blue-light wands and auto butler buzzers on each table.

Old Vine Kitchen & Bar recently opened OVKB The Roof, a beautiful rooftop dining space with socially distanced tables. Chef Mark McDonald also debuted an exciting new menu with wine pairing options by sommelier Kate Perry. 

To find out which restaurants offer patio dining, as well as takeout and delivery, visit our open restaurants page.

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Posted in Food, Hotels, Play, Shopping

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.

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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.

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