Costa Mesa, CA, USA

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Fun and Free Things to Do at (and around) the OC Fair

Posted on July 30, 2021 | 11:00am

Planning to go to the OC Fair this year? It may be a bit different with limited capacity and advance tickets required, but your favorite rides, games, food and entertainment are there to enjoy. You will also find a number of fun and free things to do at the fair and nearby! With so much to do, why not make it a weekend getaway with one of our “SoCal So Cool” summer hotel deals?

Centennial Farm

Stop by Centennial Farm, a three-acre working farm with livestock, as well as fruit and vegetable gardens. During the fair, there are a number of free things to check out including dairy goats, milking demonstration, OC beekeepers and, of course, the new piglets. (Take a peek at the piglets on the pig cam.) 

California Fresh Exhibit 

The California Fresh Exhibit, located in the OC Promenade, celebrates the diversity of California’s agriculture. You can learn about different crops, grab some recipe cards, play the AR game County Bounty Treasure Hunt or watch a cooking demonstration. Visiting with kids? The exhibit has coloring sheets to dress the California bear for a trip to the OC Fair! 

heroes hall costa mesa

Heroes Hall

Heroes Hall is a museum and education center that honors the legacy of Orange County veterans and others who have served the country. The current exhibit is Private Charles J. Miller WWII Paintings from the South Pacific. You can decorate postcards to veterans and active duty troops which will be distributed by Operation Community Cares.

Entertainment

The OC Fair has a number of free events each day. Live entertainment varies, so be sure to check out the calender of events and OC Fair map. Whether you like magic shows, want to see the pig races or music (even dueling pianos), you’ll find something fun to see. Visual arts displays include everything from dragons to woodworking. 

woman meditating in TeWinkle Park

Costa Mesa Parks

Spending a couple of days in Costa Mesa? Make a trip to one of Costa Mesa’s parks. Popular parks include Fairview Park and TeWinkle Park. Sports enthusiasts will enjoy Costa Mesa Skate Park or Talbert Regional Park, which has a BMX area. If you’re traveling with small children, we also recommend Lions Park, with a newly renovated playground.

Orange County Beaches

Costa Mesa is only a few minutes from popular Orange County beaches, Newport Beach and Huntington Beach. Enjoy beautiful Southern California weather while you surf, swim or relax on the beach.

Find more to do with our itineraries for solo, couple, family and pet-friendly travel. 

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Posted in Events, Hotels, Play

Costa Mesa’s Best Family-Friendly Outdoor Activities During Winter Break

Posted on December 19, 2020 | 4:26pm

School is out and you might be thinking there’s nothing for the kids to do. It’s important for everyone to get fresh air, though, and Costa Mesa has some great family-friendly outdoor activities. Spend an afternoon or a day in the City of the Arts to beat those winter blues. Be sure to wear your masks and socially distance from others.

Art Walk Audio Tour

Our newly launched Costa Mesa Art Walk Audio Tour is fun, educational and will help burn off some of that out-of-school energy. Walk through California Scenario, also known as Noguchi Garden, by famed sculptor Isamu Noguchi. The Art Walk then takes you over to Segerstrom Center for the Arts and South Coast Repertory, ending at South Coast Plaza. 

Parks

Want to spend a little time in nature? Costa Mesa has several parks that are perfect for biking, hiking, horseback riding and more. Fairview Park is the city’s largest park, so there’s plenty of space for social distancing. Talbert Regional Park includes a BMX area, along with 9 hiking trails. Both are near enough to the beach to hike or bike there. Grab takeout from one of Costa Mesa’s restaurants and head over to TeWinkle Park, a relaxing setting for a family picnic. You can enjoy the lake and waterfall or continue on with the fun at Costa Mesa Skate Park.

Night of Lights

Not technically an outdoor activity, Night of Lights is a drive-thru winter wonderland experience with a tree lighting, music and more. You can preorder holiday treats, including tamales, cookies and hot chocolate. Then, drive through a million magical holiday lights. Appearances by Santa until December 24. It’s a perfect way to end your day in Costa Mesa. 

Travel Costa Mesa wishes you a safe and happy holiday season!

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Posted in Misc, Play

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