If you are visiting Costa Mesa, you'll most likely be using the 405 or 55 freeways which get so crowded during the week and on the weekend. On weekdays, it's best to avoid the freeway in the morning from 6-9 am and also in the evening from 4-6 pm. In addition, expect a slowdown on Newport Blvd, a killjoy artery of the city after which the 55 fwy ends (pictured).
If you have to "bus it" in Costa mesa as I would sometimes, you can travel easily each day on the "57" OCTA bus.
South Coast Metro's finest venue, the Orange County Performing Arts Center/Segestrom Hall is just walking distance from here. For shopping, South Coast Plaza, the beloved "Anti-Mall" shops and Fashion Island (few minutes away in Newport Beach) can all be reached along the 57. Ride time in Costa Mesa on this bus is just about 30 minutes.
Check websites for schedule.
OK, so you are in Orange county without a car and after taking in Disneyland, you want to escape and experience non-Mickey Mouse diversion? Head on the OCTA 43 South from the main park entrance along Harbor Blvd. I have made this trip several times to arrive to Costa Mesa. It's one of the more common rides of the OCTA system. For travelling, there are late night routes serviced and each day the bus runs (check full schedule on OCTA.net). The final destination of the 43 is Triangle Square, which represents a very loose kind of downtown area where people gather for coffee, the movies and dining close to city buildings.
If you are visiting the Southern California area, you have many choices on arrival airports. If you are specifically interested in Costa Mesa however, your best bet is to fly into John Wayne Airport (Airport code: SNA).
This is located just miles from South Coast Plaza and the rest of the Orange County!
Alaska, Aloha, America West, American, Continental, Delta, Frontier, Midwest, Northwest, Southwest, and United.
There is a small island named Balboa between Newport Peninsula and the PCH and it has the cutest ferry to connect the island to the peninsula.
The best way to get to Balboa (although probably the longest!) is to drive to the end of Newport Peninsula and take the ferry. You cannot miss the ferry, it is right next to an amusement arcade and is signposted as you drive down the peninsula.
The ferry takes a maximum of three cars (price approx $2.00) and also takes pedestrians and cyclists. The ride only takes about five minutes - but it is great fun!
Once you get onto Balboa you follow the road signs to a bridge back to the mainland. If you have time, stop for a coffee or icecream on the main street where there are some cute shops to explore.