Costa Mesa

Costa Mesa is a city in Orange County, a region of Southern California.

37 things to do

All Places United States California

Segerstrom Center for the Arts

The Segerstrom Center for the Arts (formerly the Orange County Performing Arts Center) features several auditoriums the range in capacity from 250-3,000 people to host a variety of plays, ballets, and symphonic performances. The center comprises the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall and Samueli Theater, plus the Tony-Award-winning [ South Coast Repertory] (SCR), and a visual arts facility to be built at a later date. An expansive 46,000 ft² community plaza, which was created by Peter Walker and Partners, unites the two Centers. There are also many outstanding works of art, including Connector, a towering sculpture designed by Richard Sera that graces the plaza. Visitors are encouraged to take a walking tour of the district to experience the spectacular works of Jean Dubuffet, Henry Moore, Joan Miro, Charles O. Perry, and Isamu Noguchi, among other world-class figures whose artistry is on public display locally. A centerpiece is Noguchi’s 1.6-acre collection of sculptures and plantings called California Scenario.

DO   —  600 Town Center Dr

California Scenario

This is a relaxing and worthwhile attraction to visit, but it is not visible from the street nor is it really on Anton Blvd. It also is not a museum, although if you do a web search on this term, you will be referred to the website of the Noguchi Museum in Queens, New York. Instead, it is a work of public art by Isamu Noguchi that integrates landscaping, sculpture, fountains, surface-level and underground channels of water, and arrangements of rocks and plants. It has a very Zen sensibility that may remind you of traditional Japanese temple rock gardens, but also integrates elements of modernism. Noguchi also was responsible for the construction of some buildings adjoining this courtyard, which are also made from yellow sandstone. Some of the office workers who work in the highrise office towers surrounding this courtyard take their coffee or lunch breaks while sitting here on one of the benches.

SEE   —  611 Anton Blvd

The Lab/The Camp

On the other side of the 405 is the outdoor "anti-mall" the Lab, featuring hip nationwide chains such as Urban Outfitters and Buffalo Exchange, but has also contains 2 fabulous restaurants, the vegan-friendly Gyspy Cafe, a great hair salon and more than enough independent boutiques (Carve, Blends, Treasury Dept, etc) Across Bristol St. is the also outdoor Camp, which is newer and more gastronomically-centered. Highlights include the Seed People's Market, Active, tattoo parlor Outer Limits and the restaurants Ecco Italian Cuisine, Native Foods and Valhalla Table. Both have incredible architecture and plenty of places to lounge, including a hammock. Though unaffiliated with the mall, an '''American Apparel store''' is located a few blocks away.

BUY   —  2930 Bristol St

Orange County Fairgrounds

The Orange County Fair is in full effect from mid-July to mid-August, featuring a wide variety of rides, food, games, and live events; with most of the latter being held at the 8,500-capacity Pacific Amphitheater and has featured performers such as ZZ Top, B.B. King, Weird Al Yankovic, Leann Rimes, and Fergie (from The Black Eyed Peas). When the fair isn't in effect, the fairgrounds are open year-round for a wide variety of trade shows, expos, and other events.

DO   —  88 Fair Dr

South Coast Plaza

An enormous shopping plaza that is so large that it has its has two campuses directly across from each other. Shops include the high-end boutiques that are also found on Beverly Hills' Rodeo Drive as well as chain stores such as Gap and Abercrombie & Fitch. It is accessible from the 405 and 5 freeways. Directly across from the mall is the '''Metro Pointe at South Coast''' which is an open-air retail, entertainment, and commercial center.

BUY   —  3333 Bristol St

The Wayfarer

A 300-capacity music venue has found itself to be home to a wide variety of acts that have come through town (hip-hop artist GZA from the Wu-Tang Clan has performed here, as have grunge metal pioneers The Melvins in addition to local house DJs on Fridays and karaoke singers on Sundays.) Mondays always feature free cover and showcase the local band of the month all month long.

DRINK   —  +1 949 642-0600 —  843 West 19th St

Silver Trumpet at the Wyndham Orange County

Casual, dining overlooking a picturesque lake with outdoor clubhouse seating for those who prefer the fresh air. Breakfast available with fresh fruit, muffins and croissants baked daily, cooked to order omelets. Brasserie-style lunch and dinner menu includes char-grilled meats, fresh seafood and seasonal specialties. Wine list with over 20 California and regional selections.

Mastro's Steakhouse

Live entertainment in an elegant yet energetic atmosphere. Hand-cut USDA steaks on 400⁰ steak plates and fresh seafood. The piano lounge runs 7 nights a week and features specialty dry-ice martinis and cocktails. Mastro’s is Zagat Rated and named one of “the top 10 steakhouses in the US (Gayot).

Avenue of the Arts Hotel

Costa Mesa's only AAA recognized 4 Diamond hotel. Amenities include an outdoor pool with private cabanas, the Silver Trumpet Restaurant, complimentary Wi-Fi, complimentary shuttle to/from John Wayne Airport, 24-hour room service, fitness center and concierge desk. Self-parking is $22 per day.

Motel 6 Newport Beach

Despite the name, this motel is in Costa Mesa. It is an independently-owned motel that is franchised to Motel 6 and is much nicer (e.g., more comfortable beds, cleaner, with much prettier landscaping) than the great majority of other Motel 6 motels. Front desk staff is friendly and helpful.

Taqueria El Granjenal

Mexican eatery is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Mexican favorites such as mojarra and menudo (weekends only) but also cater to more American tastes with hamburgers, burritos, and tortas. Ffresh juices. Kim's tacos, pork or beef tacos where the meat is spicy and Korean flavored.

Hi-Time Wine Cellar

Though not a bar, Hi-Time has a broad selection of beer, wine, and spirits. Wine bar, a cooled wine cellar and a cooled walk-in beer refrigerator with exotic beverages from around the world. Hi-Time also features cigars and bulk-food items.

DRINK   —  250 Ogle St

La Cave

Subterranean steakhouse and lounge. Stiff pours, best entertainment in town. Keep a look out for "Sega Genacide," a 90's cover band. Dimly lit lounge and bar area. Great dance floor, throwback to a bygone era.

DRINK   —  +1 949 646-7944 —  1695 Irvine Ave.


L.A.-type of environment with high energy and high fashion. Regularly has house music to dance to but established hip hop and electronic music artists are known to throw parties there.

DRINK   —  1870 Harbor Blvd

Shark Club

Two dance floors and 2,000 gallon shark tank, they also have an open kitchen. VIP treatment and bottle service available, The Shark Club is expensive and high-energy.

DRINK   —  841 Baker St

Taco Mesa

Gourmet Mexican place. Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Try to visit between peak hours as this place is very popular.

Costa Mesa Marriott

Quality rooms, smallish bedroom but with adjoining lounge with sofa and refrigerator. Many rooms have nice view of lake.

SLEEP   —  +1 714 957-1100 —  500 Anton Blvd

Doria's Haus of Pizza

Family-run hole-in-the-wall is a great place for inexpensive Italian food. German name, Italian menu, US style pizza.

Goat Hill Tavern

Very fun, gritty bar complete with a peanut shell-covered floor. 141 different beers on tap. Varied crowd,

Rooster Cafe

Great place for breakfast. Basic decor, seating inside and out. Mix of US and Mexican style meals.

Mitsuwa Marketplace

Japanese supermarket with a food court that has a excellent choice of Japanese meals.

Tin Lizze Saloon

One of Orange Counties few remaining bars for gays, lesbians, and straights.

DRINK   —  752 Saint Clair

Seasons 52

Seasonally-inspired dining choices.

Hotties Pizza

Locally owned and operated.

EAT   —  +1 949 650-6205 —  440 Fair Dr

Nello Cucina

Reasonable Italian fare

EAT   —  Map

About Costa Mesa

Throughout the 1800s, this area consisted mostly of a few farms and some apple orchards. Costa Mesa was officially incorporated in 1920; its name meaning "coast tableland" in Spanish. During World War II, Costa Mesa was the site of the Santa Ana Army Air Base, a military installation that existed from 1942-1946. Today, Costa Mesa has expanded into a robust community that features a focus on performing arts and entertainment. Costa Mesa provides a city-like feel in a suburban setting with a vast amount of storefront shops and residential areas. The west side of the city features industrial properties that specialize in manufacturing while the northern part of the city features commercial properties that specialize in business.

Source: wikivoyage