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Posts Tagged ‘free things to do in orange county’

8 Fun and Free Things to Do in Costa Mesa During the Holidays

Posted on November 23, 2021 | 7:00pm

Holiday events are happening in Costa Mesa. It’s the perfect time for a quick getaway, with hotel deals as low as $99! From the return of A Christmas Carol at South Coast Repertory to Night of Lights OC at OC Fair & Event Center, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Looking for some fun and free things to do during the holidays too? Check out these 8 family-friendly events!

Holidays Around the World 

Segerstrom Center for the Arts 5th annual Holidays Around the World celebrates holiday traditions from around the world with live performances from local music and dance groups, seasonal crafts and a snowfall on Argyos Plaza! There are two opportunities to see Holidays Around the World this year, December 4th and 11th.

Costa Mesa Art Walk Audio Tour

The Costa Mesa Art Walk Audio Tour showcases the sculptures around South Coast Plaza, Segerstrom Center for the Arts and South Coast Repertory. You can listen to the audio tour directly on your phone. During the holidays, you can also see the 90-foot South Coast Plaza holiday tree that has over 94,000 lights! The tree is located in Town Center Park.

Centennial Farm in Orange County Fairgrounds and Event Center on December 1, 2017. (Photo by Michael Goulding)

Discovery Day at Centennial Farm

Take the kids to a real working farm at OC Fair & Event Center for Discovery Day at Centennial Farm. Discovery Day has group activities such as radish seed planting for children to plant seeds to take to school, chick education to learn about the chick development process, oxen demonstration, cow milking demonstration and seasonal crops. Livestock includes pigs, goats, cows, poultry, sheep and rabbits. Visit Discovery Day December 1, 9 or 17. Both Discovery Day and parking are free!

Photo courtesy of The Makers Hive

The Makers Hive Market at The CAMP

The Makers Hive Market is a pop-up market with local makers and artisans, live music and photo ops. The CAMP is an eco-friendly retail campus with award-winning dining. Walk across the street to The LAB Anti-Mall for more small businesses and Instagrammable spots.

The Original OC Swap Meet

Everyone’s favorite swap meet returns to the OC Fair & Event Center! The Original OC Swap Meet has over 150 local small businesses. Find out why this is one of Travel Costa Mesa’s most asked about events November 27, December 11 and December 18. The event is free, but parking is $10.

Photo courtesy of Creative Babe Market

Creative Babe Market 

Shop over 100 local businesses, that are mainly women owned, at Creative Babe Market at OC Fair & Event Center on December 4th. You’ll find holiday gifts, hand-crafted items, seasonal items, home decor, clothing and even goodies for your pet. Traveling with kids? Enjoy family-friendly activities such as face painting, sensory kids workshop, live reading and signing with a children’s author, succulent wreath workshop and family photo ops. There will be lots of food and drinks available as well. 

Makeshift Muse Holiday Market 

Makeshift Muse Holiday Market at SOCO & The OC Mix is a curated pop-up market with 80 local makers. The event features live, local music and a food court. This event is $10, but will be waived for anyone that brings a toy or non-perishable food donation for the food and toy drive.

Photo courtesy of SOCO & The OC Mix

Holiday Story Time with Mrs. Claus

Small children will love Holiday Story Time with Mrs. Claus at SOCO & The OC Mix. Mrs. Claus will read stories and lead a holiday sing-a-long every Saturday from November 27 to December 18. Kids get to make and take home their own musical instrument, plus enjoy complimentary hot chocolate, seasonal treats and take photos with Mrs. Claus.  The event is free, but tickets are required. 

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Posted in Events, Misc, Play, Shopping

Fun (and Free!) Things To Do In Orange County This Fall

Posted on September 3, 2019 | 6:23am

Orange County might be known for its “forever summer,” but there is still plenty to do during the autumn months—and tons of free events and activities. From Oktoberfest to free museum admissions to hiking, here are our picks for what to do in Orange County during fall.
Enjoy your day at the beach, and then return to your luxury vacation rental home forthe perfect holiday, vallartarentals.com/ want you to enjoy the distinguished warmth and hospitality,

Best of all? Costa Mesa is your perfect central location to stay for the weekend, but quickly get to all the top spots of The OC. There are plenty of great hotel deals in Costa Mesa that can act as the perfect springboard for your fun fall Orange County activities.

Take the Kids to the Orange County Children’s Book Festival

Grab the kids and go to this family-friendly event, which has free admission. On September 30, head to Orange Coast College, where more than 125 authors (this year, Kobe Bryant is a special guest) and 25 illustrators will be in attendance. See how popular characters are illustrated, attend readings and discussion panels, and visit the petting zoo and wild animal stage. It’s a great (and free) way to get your children interested in literature.

Celebrate Oktoberfest in Huntington Beach

You don’t have to go to Germany to celebrate Oktoberfest! Every Wednesday through Sunday throughout September and October, head to Huntington Beach’s huge Oktoberfest celebration. From oom-pah bands to bratwurst to pretzels to, of course, tons of beer, this fun festival has it all, including a parade and a special Kinderfest celebration for families. Best of all? Admission is free on Wednesdays and Thursdays, making this celebration budget-friendly.

Attend a Free Event at Argyros Plaza

The free events at Argyros Plaza have become a huge draw to Costa Mesa, and they continue into the fall. September 21 is National Dance Day, which will feature live performances and interactive lessons. Also on the calendar are a Silent Disco on October 11, a special fall celebration with storytelling, tunes, dance and more on October 19, and the All Abilities Celebration with art-making and performances on October 26. There’s something for everyone at the Argyros Plaza.

Visit Newport Bay and Muth Interpretive Center

A walk around Newport Bay is always a good idea, especially when temperatures cool off. Wander down the various paths or cycle around the area, and don’t forget to stop at the Muth Interpretive Center, where you’ll learn all about the species that can be found at the bay. Parking is also free and ample around the area.

Attend the Laguna Beach Plein Air Painting Invitational

From October 5 to 13, attend this classic Laguna Beach event. Watch painting demonstrations and learn all about art from these master plein air painters. You can also enjoy refreshments and meet the artists at certain events and attend special Q&As, all for free.

Take the Family to the Environmental Nature Center

The Environmental Nature Center in Newport Beach is always a fun place to spend a few hours visiting the butterfly house and learning about Orange County’s habitats. But in the fall, they host the Fall Faire and Pumpkin Patch on October 13, which features plenty of games, a petting zoo, live animals, DJs, face painting and a plethora of pumpkins. This yearly event is a huge draw, so get there early.

Attend an Art Walk in Costa Mesa, Santa Ana or Laguna Beach

On the third Saturday of the month, Costa Mesa offers an art walk at Lions Park, including offerings from great local artists, live music, DJ, food trucks and end the afternoon with an awesome Dance battle! Every first Thursday of the month, head to Laguna Beach for their local art walk, when the town’s galleries stay open later so guests can check out art artwork and nibble on refreshments. This is also a great day to check out the Laguna Art Museum, which offers free admission on first Thursdays and boasts an absolutely amazing collection of California art. Meanwhile, Santa Ana hosts their own Art Walk on the first Saturday of the month, and just opened a free trolley earlier this year that can take visitors to the city’s myriad galleries. Both days are also a good opportunity to explore the respective cities and all they have to offer.

Take a Hike!Cooler temperatures means hiking just got a whole lot easier. Head out to local trails in Orange County like Talbert Regional Park Nature Preserve in Costa Mesa, Quail Hill in Irvine, challenging Whiting Ranch in Trabuco Canyon, Peters Canyon Regional Park in Orange, Laguna Coast Wilderness Park in Laguna Beach, Black Star Canyon in Santa Ana, or Salt Creek Trail in Laguna Niguel. Learn more about OC Parks here!

There are plenty of trails for all fitness levels around Orange County and street parking is typically available for free. You can also bring your bike to cycle around the trails; here’s a map of Costa Mesa bike trails. Experienced hikers will love Whiting Ranch and Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, while those looking for a more low-key hike will love exploring Bommer Canyon and Quail Hill.

Visit Discovery Cube OC

Are you a Bank of America cardholder? Then head to Discovery Cube OC on the first Sunday of the first full weekend of the month for free admission to this fun, kid-friendly museum. There are always cool exhibits at this interactive museum, covering everything from superheroes to healthy cooking to dinosaurs and rockets. This is another fun way to get kids interested in STEM subjects.

Check Out Sherman Library & Gardens

Admission is free at this cool library and garden on the first Monday of every month. Check out their amazing collection of cacti and succulents, herbs, flowers like orchids, roses, and heliconias, and more. Meanwhile, the library documents the development of Southern California with books, photographs, maps and newspapers. You can spend an afternoon whiling away the hours at this informative (and beautiful) spot in Newport Beach, learning all about Orange County.

Visit California Scenario (and Take Some Pictures)

You’ve seen it all over Instagram: California Scenario, created by Isamu Noguchi (locals call it “Noguchi Garden.”) Spend an hour or two checking out this tranquil sculpture garden located in the heart of Costa Mesa’s Arts District, which documents the various elements that make up our state. Situated on 1.6 acres, the garden in its design symbolizes various geographical characteristics in California, incorporating indigenous plants and materials. Not only is it a great photo opportunity, but a nice place to spend some quiet time and maybe even enjoy lunch.

Stroll the OC Great Park

Free parking means visiting the OC Great Park is a great deal. This gigantic park has plenty of space to cycle, skateboard, or just stroll around. There’s also plenty of free art to check out, including a gigantic walkable timeline that outlines the history of the park and Orange County in general. Also check out the rotating contemporary art exhibits at the Palm Springs Courtyard and the cool, old-school planes at Hangar 244.

Celebrate Halloween

There’s plenty of fun, free Halloween-themed events in Orange County! Check this list for some ideas, but we’ve got some too. Go trick-or-treating at Anaheim Plaza, where stores and restaurants will be dishing out candy. There will also be face painting, a kid-friendly DJ, and a balloon artist. Or head to the Halloween Spooktacular & Trunk or Treat in Dana Point, which will have free refreshments, crafts, entertainment, carnival games, movie showcases, and plenty more.

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Explore the OC Fair Without Breaking the Bank

Posted on June 28, 2018 | 11:01am

The annual Orange County Fair returns this July for 23 days of rides, games and everyone’s favorite fair foods! This year’s OC Fair theme is “Acres of Fun” and will incorporate even more agricultural-inspired education, family-friendly programming and art installations than ever before.

And while the fair attracts more than one million visitors each year, we don’t think you should have to spend a million to enjoy your time…although we highly encourage you to take advantage of some of the fair food $3 sample deals while you’re there (more on that at the end)!

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Posted in Events, Food, Play

Free Things to Do in Orange County This Summer

Posted on May 25, 2018 | 11:18am

Ah, summer. Time to plan that family vacation! Getting away with the family can be the highlight of the summer months, but there’s no reason to break the bank in the process. Sure, picking the right family-friendly hotel in Orange County is important, and of course you’ll want to experience some incredible food and fun (and maybe even a little Broadway theater). But if you’re planning a Southern California vacation, there are plenty of free things to do in Orange County this summer. Not least of which includes free admission to the popular OC Fair (which draws in more than a million visitors each year), free family-friendly movies, watching the Los Angeles Chargers and, of course, a visit to those gorgeous beaches!

 

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Posted in Events, Food, Music & Art, Play

Los Angeles Chargers NFL Training Camp Kicks Off in Costa Mesa

Posted on July 27, 2017 | 2:05pm

Are you ready for some football? We know we are! The Los Angeles Chargers’ highly anticipated season kicks off this weekend in Orange County. That’s right, America’s favorite rough-and-tumble, play-hard sport is back. For the first time, the LA Chargers will make their appearance practicing at their new training facility in Costa Mesa, the Jack Hammett Stadium. As noted in an earlier blog post, this is one of the top free things to do in Orange County this summer.

 

Beginning Sunday, July 30 at 10 a.m. with practices running most days from 10 a.m. to noon, this is your chance to get in on the action. See the newest draft picks, team favorites, and arrive early for a chance to slap hands with the Chargers as they head out to the field. The team is ready to welcome all fans at their “Activation Zone” (aka fan zone).

All 13 Chargers practices at Jack Hammett Sports Complex in Costa Mesa (2750 Fairview Rd.) and are open to the public and are free of charge. While Training Camp is ticketless and walk-ups are welcome, fans are encouraged to reserve free bleacher seating passes – available on a first-come, first-served basis – in advance.

 

During the nearly four weeks of practice, there will be some exciting preseason games to see – including the Chargers vs. the New Orleans Saints at Stub Hub Center in LA. Stop into Chargers practice the week before and see the Saints join them at Jack Hammett for practice. The Chargers will also hold a joint practice with the LA Rams. Speaking of which, the LA Rams hold their preseason training camp just down the street from Costa Mesa in the City of Irvine. If you want to catch these two teams head to head, free of charge, mark your calendar for August 9 when the Rams host the Chargers at UC Irvine.

The NFL preseason gets underway this weekend and continues almost daily through the third week of August. Check out the Chargers training camp schedule and plan your final summer vacation in Costa Mesa to gear up for football season! If you’re looking for things to do outside the of the daily practices, Orange County beaches are just a short drive, as is one of Orange County’s main attractions, Disneyland ® Resort – and Costa Mesa hotels offer easy, convenient transportation to and from the park.

 

What will you be doing to celebrate the end of the summer?

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Posted in Events, Locals, Play