Costa Mesa vc_costamesa_southcoastplaza_supplied_ic16031_1280x640

Costa Mesa

Costa Mesa
This Orange County town spoils foodies and shoppers

Although it was named after its topography —“coastal tableland”—Costa Mesa has become better known as a centre for Orange County sophistication. Centrally located between San Diego and Los Angeles, the town (also home of summer’s OC Fair) combines a vibrant arts scene, renowned shopping, and a burgeoning foodie culture, all a mile from the Pacific Ocean. 

Even if you play at the beach (or shop) by day, make time for a show at night in the acclaimed arts and theatre districtGrab tickets to a summer concert at the Pacific Amphitheatre or visit one of Costa Mesa’s more than three dozen art galleries, including the renowned Martin Lawrence Galleries. At the centre of the art scene is the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, the home stage for the American Ballet Theatre’s Gillespie School of Dance, the Pacific Symphony, and the Philharmonic Society. Even if you can’t snag tickets to a performance, you can take a free, behind-the-scenes tour or browse the more than two dozen pieces of public art in and around the theatre complex. 

If you’re more inspired by shopping bags than sculptures, head to South Coast Plaza, a destination mall with more than 250 designer retailers (including big names such as Hermès, Baccarat, Gucci, and more), an indoor carousel, and rotating art exhibits. Looking for something less mainstream? Try The LAB Anti-Mall, a unique indoor/outdoor shopping centre highlighting the “Little American Business” (LAB) with cool boutiques, vintage finds, and hipster favourites.

To refuel, start browsing the local, and seriously diverse, foodie scene. Try Habana for Cuban specialties, Memphis Café for Southern fried chicken, or search out Anjin (hidden in a nondescript strip mall) for worth-the-wait Japanese-style BBQ prepared on your table's grill.

Shoppers and foodies alike can find common ground at the retail-meets-restaurants SoCo Collection and The OC Mix. Start your day with an Eggslice sandwich or a pitaya bowl from Birdie Bowl & Juicery. Then shop your way through more than 20 different interior design showrooms and fashion boutiques. Grab lunch at Taco María, helmed by two-time James Beard Award-nominated chef Carlos Salgado, then head to a chocolate macaron class at The Pastry School, where master pastry chef Stéphane Tréand can teach anyone how to craft irresistible modern and traditional French pastries. (No judgment if you only go for a scoop of their house-made gelato.) 

Get your second wind with a cup of fresh brew from Portola Coffee, at their flagship coffeehouse, or a bone broth latte from Farm & Culture Co. Once you’ve shopped ’til you’ve dropped, end your day with a glass of wine and a briny dozen at Shuck Oyster Bar, or with the wood-fired pizzas and comfort food from ARC.

Costa Mesa OC_Hero_HuntingtonCouple_Mansfield_1280x642_sized
Huntington Beach by Scott Mansfield

Southern California

Discover Orange County

Costa Mesa vca_maps_orangecounty
11
November
Average (°C)
Sept - Nov
31°
High
5°
Low
Dec - Feb
15°
High
2°
Low
Mar - May
26°
High
5°
Low
June - Aug
35°
High
11°
Low

Whether it is manicured beach towns or celebrated theme parks, all framed by oceanfront towns and luxury yachts, 'The OC' stands out as one of the state’s most iconic destinations. The always amazing Disneyland Resort, about one hours’ drive south of Los Angeles and two hours’ north of San Diego, continues to be one of the best loved theme parks in the world, while Knott’s Berry Farms and other OC attractions amp up the fun metre. 

“Surfing is like golf. . . it keeps knocking you down. But when you stay with it and catch that wave. . . magic.”  --actor Dennis Quaid

Shop at spectacular South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, or get the surfer look in Huntington Beach, aka Surf City, USA. 

Costa Mesa vc_luxuryminute_pelicanhill_supplied_coliseumpooloceanviewday_1280x640
Courtesy of Pelican Hill

The Resort at Pelican Hill

Indulge in Mediterranean elegance, world-class golf courses and five-star service at this Newport Beach resort

Tuscan elegance paired with panoramic ocean views is central to the eternal allure of ...

Costa Mesa FF_VCW_D_OC_T10_BalboaBeach_Mansfield
Mission San Juan Capistrano, founded in 1776, was the first winery in California.
Costa Mesa 1_SpotlightAnaheim_Opener_gty_RF_139695934_1280x640_downsized_0
Carsten Erler/Getty Images

Spotlight: Anaheim

Costa Mesa vca_maps_orangecounty
Amazing attractions, shopping and dining in the one-of-a-kind Orange County town

With its laid back vibe and unbeatable attractions, this vibrant city on the northwest side of Orange County has become a popular destination for...

Costa Mesa VCW_D_Disneyland_Hero_Disneyland_4_08_DL_09847_1280x642
Courtesy of Disneyland Resort

Spotlight: Disneyland Resort

Costa Mesa vca_maps_orangecounty
Just saying the name sets a child’s face glowing

The undisputed granddaddy of theme parks has been leading the way since 1955, inviting visitors to spend the day in the ultimate land of make-...

The magic of Disneyland, walking through the tunnel underneath the train station to Main Street, it just transports you to other places and other times.
John Lasseter
Costa Mesa VCW_TI_8_hero_Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 11.35.53 AM_v3

Trip 4-5 days 10 stops

Pacific Coast Highway - South

Beach Towns, Iconic Theme Parks
Costa Mesa VCW_D_SantaBarbara_Hero_CC_SBarbaraPier_KG_1280x642

Start your coastal cruise in this elegant city hugging the coastal mountains, where classic Spanish architecture gives the region a sun washed European look straight out of the Riviera. Santa Barbara, nicknamed 'the American Riviera,' has a burnished antique look like much of the Mediterranean,...

Costa Mesa BalboaPark_night_1280x642

End your trip with at this sunny, waterfront city. Downtown, shop at Horton Plaza, or catch a baseball game at Petco Park. See the giant pandas at the San Diego Zoo. Next, explore one of the city’s diverse neighbourhoods, Little Italy, North Park, South Park, East Village, pedestrian friendly...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Unleash the kid within at California’s ultimate play lands

From Disneyland classics to beachfront carousels, the Golden State’s best-in-class theme parks deliver something for everyone, from tots and teens to film buffs and daredevils. Find out what is...

Costa Mesa AmazingThemeParks_preview_868x686
Lucas Himovitz
Orange County is the cultural center of the surf world and Huntington Beach is like the heartbeat.
Corky Carroll (Orange County surf legend)
Costa Mesa VCW_D_OC_T4_Shopping_Manley1280x642
Harriot Manley/Sunset Publishing

O.C. Shopping

Discover boutique brands and bargains

Shopping in The O.C. is almost as legendary as surfing. Start at expansive South Coast Plaza, California’s largest luxury shopping complex, with...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Where to release your inner fashionista

Shopping is an art form in California. Whether you are in search of the perfect cocktail dress or an authentic Mexican piñata, you will find it here. Want to sample fresh fruits and...

Costa Mesa Shopping_SpecialFeature_preview_686x885_0
Prayitno/Flickr
July/August

With a nickname like ‘Surf City, USA’, Huntington Beach is the obvious place for this 9-day, sun-and-wave extravaganza, the world’s largest surf event. Top pros including Kelly Slater and Rob...

Costa Mesa VansUSOpenSurfing_preview_686x885
William Fovall/Flickr
Costa Mesa vca_maps_orangecounty
Costa Mesa RitzCarltonLagunaNiguel_1280x642
Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel

Orange County's Luxury Resorts

Live like a star at posh getaways

The good life might have been invented in ‘The O.C.’—especially when it comes to resort destinations. With spas, elegant dining, five-star...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Get into the coastal vibe

Maybe it’s the sun-streaked hair, the frequent smiles, the eyes always gazing west, looking to the horizon to see when the next set might roll in. It’s the unmistakable look and vibe of a...

Costa Mesa VCW_TI_8_hero_Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 11.35.53 AM
Costa Mesa vcw_ti_6_hero_cc_bigsur_coast_ts_1280x642_0

Trip 5-7 days 10 stops

Highway One Classic

Take the trip that captures the heart and soul of the Golden State
SPECIAL FEATURE
Discover the awesome sports scene in the Golden State

With nearly twice as many professional teams as any other state, California is big league all the way. But the state’s sports scene goes far beyond football and baseball, with a diverse line-up of...

Costa Mesa PebbleBeachProAm_ChristinaLauren_preview_686x885
Christina Lauren/Flickr
Costa Mesa VCW_D_OC_T7_IMG_5467_1280x642
Harriot Manley/Sunset Publishing

Crystal Cove State Park

Stroll a perfect beach with an intriguing past

In 1912, an early Laguna Beach artist described finding a rugged coastline “with cove after cove and headland after headland, golden cliffs and...

SPECIAL FEATURE
From Gold Rush history to 8th wonders of the world, visit these favorites

If there was ever a box of chocolates—and all of them delicious—it’s the rich collection of natural treasures, fascinating...

Costa Mesa McWayFalls_JPB_SP_preview_686x885
Amy Meredith/Flickr
Costa Mesa CTTC_Pelican_Golf3-047_sized_0

Golf in Orange County

Tee up at top courses, with some ocean views

With ideal Southern California weather and some of the country’s most celebrated courses, Orange County justly earns the nickname ‘California Golf...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Check these amazing experiences off your bucket list

Kiss a beluga, see cool movie props, and learn about Walt’s secret hideaway on exclusive and behind the scenes tours at California’s theme parks and attractions. Here’s a roundup of actvities...

Costa Mesa VCW_SI_VIP_T1_MichaelSaechang_preview_686x885
Photo by Michael Saechang/Flickr
Costa Mesa VCW_D_T9_Great Park Balloon above the Palm Court Arts Complex_sized
Courtesy of Orange County Great Park

Orange County Great Park

Explore an impressive urban park

Turning former military land into a roughly 1,300-acre green space, this Irvine park is as ambitious as it is beautiful. Though it...

Costa Mesa FunFact_Great Park Balloon above the Palm Court Arts Complex_sized
Every year, the Orange County Great Park Balloon dons a smiling jack-o-lantern mask, marking the unofficial start of fall in Orange County.