Costa Mesa, CA, USA

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Top 10 Things to Experience in Orange County

Posted on January 30, 2017 | 3:18pm

At the heart of Southern California is Orange County, the destination of choice for more than 46 million visitors each year. And nestled within Orange County is the internationally acclaimed arts and theater district – Costa Mesa.

Costa Mesa Art of Dining

 

1. Top Designer Shopping, World-Class Restaurants at South Coast Plaza

Rivaling the trend-setting shopping meccas of Fifth Avenue in New York and Bond Street in London, as well as Avenue Montaigne in Paris and Ginza in Tokyo, South Coast Plaza is the largest shopping center in California. With over 250 retailers representing the highest concentration of design fashion retail in the United States, its stellar cast of shops by Fendi, Harry Winston, Gucci and Chanel has visitors from all over the world flocking to this luxury-shopping destination.

 

South Coast Plaza Unity Bridge

 

2. Hit the Beach 

Costa Mesa is a great home base when visiting Southern California. Located in the heart of Orange County, Costa Mesa is just about a 10-minute drive to the sparkling Pacific Ocean where you can stroll the boardwalk along Balboa Island, have lunch on the pier in Surf City USA, watch the professional surfers catch some of the best waves and enjoy the year-round mild weather, cool ocean breezes and endless sunshine that Southern California is known for.

 

Beach

 

3. Award-Winning Broadway Theater at Segerstrom Center for the Arts

Segerstrom Center for the Arts is the largest nonprofit arts organization in Orange County. The Center offers the world’s leading dance companies, Broadway shows and is the home of 3 resident Orange County companies: Pacific Symphony, the Philharmonic Society and Pacific Chorale. The arts complex also includes Costa Mesa’s Tony® Award-winning resident theater, South Coast Repertory.

If an evening of dinner and the theater is an activity you enjoy, there’s no need to head to Los Angeles, or even New York City when Costa Mesa hosts the latest Broadway shows throughout the year. Segerstrom Center for the Arts is the crown jewel and arts complex in Orange County’s theater district. Visitors can check the Costa Mesa calendar to find shows featuring music legends like Tony Bennett, talented actress and producer Rita Rudner, or catch popular Broadway shows like Lion King, Wicked and Hamilton – coming to the stage in 2018..

 

Segerstrom Center for the Arts - Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall from Box Circle - Credit Cris Costea (JPG)

 

 

4. Free Airport Shuttle and Hotel Shuttle to Disneyland® Resort 

Whether you’re searching for a luxury weekend with room service in a suite, or a casual stay with accommodations for the whole family, there are a variety of hotels for every traveler’s needs, many of which offer regular deals or shopping packages. From rooftop swimming pools to highly rated restaurants, staying in Costa Mesa offers easy access to all the top attractions in Orange County.

 

Be sure to check deals and flight schedules into Orange County’s only commercial airport – John Wayne Airport (SNA). It is the closest airport to Costa Mesa, located just 4 miles away, with FREE shuttle service offered by most Costa Mesa hotels.

 

If you’re planning a day at Disneyland® Resort, it’s made easy by taking advantage of the convenient Anaheim Resort Transportation shuttle service to and from the resort area, about 20 minutes from Costa Mesa.

ART-Disneyland Resort

 

5. Fine Cuisine from “Top Chef” Star Amar Santana at Vaca

Voted one of America’s Best Restaurants by gayot.com, Vaca is the dining concept of Chef Amar Santana, finalist on “Top Chef” Season 13, Bravo TV’s hit chef competition. Vaca is authentically Spanish, serving everything from mouthwatering tapas and savory paellas to freshly cut steaks and ocean-caught seafood. Ninety percent of the food is jet-flown from Spain. Chef Amar prides himself in offering the finest cuts of meats and cheeses.

 

 

 

6. Health & Fitness Retailers at The CAMP 

Located in Costa Mesa’s SoBeCa District, The CAMP offers customers a nontraditional retail community in a casual and lively atmosphere. All of the stores are health conscious or fitness related, with a strong emphasis on an active lifestyle. “Green” is everywhere, from the native vegetation to the progressive and select retailers offering their organic wares in the first-known environmentally sensitive retail campus in the United States. Be sure to visit SEED People’s Market – a collection of handmade and recycled items. Serving as a “green” department store, SEED carries a variety of products from the most practical outerwear and shoes for any outdoor atmosphere, to unique hand-crafted alternatives created with the environment in mind.

 

The CAMP overview

 

7. Stroll Charming Balboa Island

Immerse yourself in the hidden and quaint community of Balboa Island, located in Newport Beach. Despite its remote location, it has attracted a rich array of famous people and fascinating characters for more than 100 years. Marine Avenue is the main street of activity where you can sit on the patio of a cozy restaurant for breakfast or lunch, followed by a treat from the famous frozen banana stand, as featured in the TV show “Arrested Development.” Enjoy a stroll along the boardwalk lined with homes of some of the rich and famous, with views of one of the larges yacht harbors in California. At the end of the boardwalk, board the Balboa Island Ferry (on foot, bike or by car) and take it to the other side to experience the thrill of The Fun Zone, a throwback to the boardwalks of the past. This is a great place, for families, couples and friends alike.

 

The scenic Entrance Channel offers boats of all types easy access to Newport Harbor and Newport Bay.

 

8. Thrill Seekers and Foodies Will Enjoy The OC Fair

The Orange County Fair has had its home in Costa Mesa has since 1953, and it is one of the top 10 largest fairs in the United States running for three weeks from July to August.

The fair’s biggest ride, La Grande Wheel, is the largest traveling Ferris wheel in the Western hemisphere and is 15 stories high. The ride is so large, it takes three weeks to assemble. At 200 metric tons, it requires a steel-reinforced pad beneath it to keep it from sinking.

 

OC Fair & Event Center

 

9. OC is Home to Amazing Restaurants like Taco María 

Creating homestyle Mexican cuisine with a contemporary flair, Taco María offers California-Mexican fusion dishes by Michelin-starred chef Carlos Salgado, where he uses recipes straight from his mom, the restaurant’s namesake. Taco María has been rated by the Los Angeles Times as one of the best restaurants in Southern California and one of America’s Best Restaurants by Gayot.com. Seating is at a premium, but worth the wait.

 

Taco Maria-Guacamole

 

10. Cruise Legendary Huntington Beach

The city that put California on the map for surf culture is lined with 10 miles of uninterrupted coastline. One of the most well-known and iconic locations is the Huntington Beach Pier, playing backdrop to many professional surfers including legendary Duke Kahanamoku. The pier is the perfect vantage point to watch professionals and amateurs take on some of the best waves in Southern California. Take a stroll to the very end of the pier and grab a bite at Ruby’s Surf City Diner. Most importantly, don’t miss the opportunity to snap a photo of the spectacular sunsets. Huntington Beach is also known to be one of the most pet-friendly cities in Orange County, the neighboring city to Costa Mesa.

Huntington Beach Pier blog

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

A Foodie’s Tasting Heaven at SOCIAL Costa Mesa

Posted on July 31, 2016 | 9:15am

 

SOCIAL Costa Mesa is one of the hottest foodie spots in SoCal, a rustic American eatery with a modern twist. Calling themselves “new-American inspired,” SOCIAL really focuses on fresh ingredients sourced locally in California by their inventive Executive Chef Brian Jenzer and Chef de Cuisine Daniel Chavez, not to mention mixologist David Valiante at the helm of SOCIAL’s incredible craft cocktail list. One of SOCIAL’s owners, Andrew Dorsey, invited us and a few other lucky guests to sample the new menu, and rolled us out about 3 hours later.

 

social costa mesa menu

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Posted in Food, Locals

OC Fair 2016 Food Preview: Deep Fried Goodness

Posted on June 29, 2016 | 3:45am

The 2016 OC Fair, themed “Get Your Fair Face On!”, and while we love the rides, carnival games, exhibits and concerts, we all know that we’re really just there for the deep-fried food and food on a stick. Well, maybe that’s a stretch, but food is definitely one of the top draws of the OC Fair. Let’s get a preview of what’s cooking this year!

OC Fair 2016 get your fair face on

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Posted in Events, Food, Locals

Farm to Fork Series – A Locally Sourced Food Experience

Posted on May 16, 2016 | 1:22pm

Costa Mesa offers a number of unique dining experiences, but the recent Farm-to-Fork dinner at OC Fair & Event Center‘s Centennial Farm was truly an event not to be missed. The dinner took place on Saturday, May 14 and featured the culinary skills of chef Cathy Pavlos of Lucca and Provenance in Newport Beach.

oc fair centennial farm to fork dinner

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4 Fun Costa Mesa Spots for St. Patrick’s Day

Posted on March 16, 2015 | 9:37am

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! While the history of March 17 is mostly forgotten, in today’s day and age it’s known as a night to go out with friends and enjoy some green beer and maybe even wear a bowler hat. You don’t need the luck of the Irish to find a great spot for happy hour, drinks or St. Patrick’s Day fun in Costa Mesa – that’s what we’re here for!

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Posted in Events