Costa Mesa Travel Guide

  • Costa Mesa, OC hotspot , California
    Costa Mesa, OC hotspot , California
    by marinarena
  • bridge connecting parts of South Coast Plaza(CA)
    bridge connecting parts of South Coast...
    by marinarena
  • The Lab Anti-Mall, Costa Mesa (CA)
    The Lab Anti-Mall, Costa Mesa (CA)
    by marinarena

Costa Mesa Things to Do

  • The Bridge of Gardens

    The Bridge of Gardens is a 600-foot open-air garden walkway designed by KathrynGustafson that connects two main shopping centers that crosses over Bear Street. There are lovely pools of water, benches, cascading lights, which are lovely at night and beautiful eucalyptus, jacaranda trees, and Mediterranean plants. The Bridge is a work of art.

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  • Max Mara Heritage Display

    This exhibit may not be in the mall still, but I found it interesing. While on the third floor balcony looking down I noticed below this very lovely display of transparent capsules. Located in the Jewel Court, it is called the MaxMara Heritage. Turns out in each of the capsules is a historical piece of fashion. There is a kiosk that describes the...

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  • Carousel Ride

    This lovely carousel is located in Carousel Court-Level 1 and only charges a $1 a ride and is open during mall hours only. For Easter they change out the horses for bunnies! Sadly I cannot find any history of this carousel, so I am going assume it is not very historical, but at least it brings joy to kids and their parents.

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  • The Bridge Gardens

    Once you find the exit for the The Bridge, there is a lovely garden terrace of planters and a garden rivers with a pond of cascading water and cascade of blue and white lights designed by landscape architect Kathryn Gustafson. At night this area looks spectacular. I am sure during a hot summer day this is a wonderful refuge for guest to relax and...

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  • Baccarat Chandeliers

    They had this beautiful chandelier incased in the mall in front of Baccarat's store. The inscription on the casing of this spectacular chandelier reads: Since 1764 Baccarat has written the chapters of its remarkable history in sparkling letters. Founded in Lorraine, the world’s most famous Crystalworks has, over the ages, become a symbol of superb...

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  • South Coast Plaza

    South Coast Plaza was a last minute decision since I didn't want to spend my time waiting at the airport for my hubby to arrive from back east. What an impressive shopping mall with such stores as Bottega Veneta, Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels to Hermès, Gucci, Roger Vivier, COACH, UNIQLO and much more. There are three floors and I barely covered...

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  • See Segerstrom Part II: The Concert Hall

    Adjacent to the main Segerstrom Hall is the gorgeous Henry and Renee Segerstrom Concert Hall. The latter is suited for more intimacy and often is host to classical music performances. Within the concert hall is Samueli Theater and Founders Hall for even more intimate events. Check calendar for scheduled visits and updates. Box Office: (714)556-2787

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  • Shop, Eat and Drink the "Alternative" at...

    The Lab Anti-Mall is a spot especially for the alternative crowd or whomever yawns over the standard strip mall of suburbia. The urban chic staple Urban Outfitters is the main stop here for shopping. But by no means is this just a place to shop for long (just less than a dozen of other clothing/jewelry/accessoriesmisc boutiques here)- rather one to...

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  • Visit the Quaint, Eco-lovin' Camp

    The CAMP, "masculine" twin of the LAB shopping/dining spot, is worth a stop. If you are not impressed by the ultra commercial South Coast Plaza or think the latter is way too massive and crowded to enjoy, you may find charm at the nature-loving CAMP. Local flair is ever-present at the CAMP. The dozen+ eco-friendly businesses located in the area...

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Costa Mesa Hotels

Costa Mesa Restaurants

  • Maggiano's Little Italy/Corner Bakery

    4 out of 5 stars

    In a nutshell, Maggiano's is a pleasant spot for Italian-American dining and for gathering with family and friends. There are many locations of Maggiano's but the one in Costa Mesa is in a particularly lovely area, just a few steps away from the popular South Coast Plaza and fantastic Orange County Performing Arts Center. Overall, the menu is...

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  • 40's Theme~

    Ruby’s Diner is the premier 1940’s family restaurant with award-winning burgers, salads, fountain treats and dinner specials. I was killing some time since I was awaiting for my hubbies plane to land, I dediced this would be a nice place to enjoy. The food was really good and so was the service. I felt totally comfortable here and they had a screen...

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  • Whey Good Grubbin'

    Pacific Whey Cafe is an excellent choice for everyone with an appetite. It is a classy joint with sophistication menu-wise and from its dark-wood parlor interior. It is foodie without the fuss and $$$ on the menu. The salads are super deluxe. Consider to share. Same deal with the juicy gourmet burgers, which you can have your "whey" or pick from...

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  • Have More Than a Skosh at ex C.M....

    Skosh Monahan is a classy, cool hangout that combines as an Irish watering hole, full sports bar with several flat TVs, entertainment venue and a deluxe American steakhouse. The establishment's welcoming ambience matches its slogan: Where travelers and home folk join to celebrate the day". Trouble is that for the out-of-towner, Skosh is a bit hard...

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  • Indulge on Fries, and oh yeah, build a...

    Located at the Metrpointe Shopping center, just steps from South Coast Plaza, is Boardwalk Fresh Burgers and Fires, one of a growing number of "build your own burger" joints sweeping the nation. However, the main reason to come here is for the fresh cut fries, cooked to perfection nearly every time, always in peanut oil, the best to happen to fries...

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  • Taste French , American style

    Though it is likely not quite up to the strict standards of the French, Vie de France is satisfying enough indeed , especially for Californians. Vie de France is a regular place that I go to when I have been in Costa Mesa throughout the several years in the area.Inside of South Coast Plaza is the Costa Mesa bakery/cafe and this one just may be the...

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Costa Mesa Nightlife

  • The newest spot

    I haven't been here yet but it is all the rage. This is a new club (approx 6 months old) that opened in the Costa Mesa/Newport area. It is in Triangle Square at the corner of Harbor and Newport Blvd. Everyone that I know who has gone has said it is pretty cool. Problem: hard to get in!! They do serve dinner and they don't let the club goers in til...

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  • Drive to Vegas!!!

    If you set off after rush hour you can be in Vegas by midnight and home again in time for work the next day!! (no comment on productivity the following day - but a great drive!)

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  • Costa Mesa Hotels

    22 Hotels in Costa Mesa

    1 Reviews

Costa Mesa Transportation

  • John Wayne Airport

    Once called Orange County Airport and renamed to be called John Wayne Airport in 1979 is home to more than 600 general aviation aircraft, two runways that serve commercial and private aircraft, a 5,700-foot main runway and a 2,887-foot general aviation runway. The official airport code for John Wayne Airport is SNA. This is one of the nicest...

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  • Avoid CM Congestion

    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...

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  • Ride the "57" for major C.M./S Coast...

    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...

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Costa Mesa Shopping

  • Grab an Organic Bite

    Come in the Bite Market, a darling little, all gluten-free and dairy-free shop combined with a tea house for everyone to try- whether you are strictly a gluten-free dieter or not! Originally started as "the Bite Maket" about 9 miles away northeast in old towne Orange, the newly redone food and health establishment is sure to please in its new...

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  • Go to a More Fancy Swap Meet

    This is the best overall swap meet in the greater L.A. area, outside of the one held at outside of Pasadena's Rose Bowl. Despite the entrance fee (now $2) and the fight for parking at times, this is a pleasant outing for shopping. Come here around 8 AM to beat the crowd. Shop for clothing (most new and discounted), shoes, furniture, plants,...

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  • Shop Designer 4 Less, Pack Patience at...

    Nordstrom Rack stores are all over the U.S but the Costa Mesa location is perhaps the best for overall fashion choice. Located at the Metrpointe plaza across the big South Coast Plaza mall (by Bear St/South Coast Dr), the Rack has been a popular destination, especially popular for womens fashion and shoes but also accessories, mens and childrens...

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Costa Mesa Local Customs

  • Notice the "Little" Things: A "Graffiti...

    In so-called "alternative" spots like many in Costa Mesa, one will see a kind of art left on street poles. Sticker , decals and various paper media are attached on poles all in the spirit of the youth culture or simply , of promotion of the various sort (club shows, concerts, other events and private business)

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  • Theme Parks...a Southern California...

    Universal Studios is part theme park and part studio tour - the rides aren't as interactive as those at Disneyland, they are more like shows than themepark rides. At the moment they have a Waterworld show that is great - lots of jetski stunts and water spray - don't sit in the "splash zone" if you are wearing white!!You can take a bus tour around...

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  • Your pedicure and manicure must be...

    But if you didn't get time to get them done do not worry, there are dozens of little salons everywhere! You can get the basic treatment, or get pampered with a spa massage - whatever you chose your feet will thank you for it!

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Costa Mesa Tourist Traps

  • Oh the (almost) demise of Triangle...

    Here is a local hangout where you can see a movie in a quaint Edwards theater, try on new styish sneaks at Niketown and dine at the swank Sutra Lounge where there have been some star sightings (Yes, stars appear outside of Hollywood and Beverly Hills). This place used to be great, with a convenient Whole Foods Market, Virgin Megastore and more...

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  • Be a smart guest/shopper at South Coast...

    This is the biggest, most luxurious mall in So Cal. It is worth a look, although you may leave it disappointed because of the high prices for apparel, shoes and various items. Come here for several choices of dining, mostly at reasonable or moderate cost; and to people watch if not to shop. For family entertainment, go to the Rainforest Cafe here....

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  • Disneyland - Tourist Trap or Tourist...

    I LOVE Disneyland, but know that many people are not so enamoured with the "happiest place on earth"! Twenty minutes from Costa Mesa will find you in the heart of Disneyland, complete with helium balloons, screaming children, hour long lines for a five second ride, and permanently smiling employees.LOVE IT!!. Make sure you understand the tricks to...

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Costa Mesa Sports & Outdoors

  • Kona Lanes - Karyoke Ten Pin Bowling!!

    On a Friday or Saturday night go to the Kona Lanes on Harbor Blvd for "disco bowling" and karyoke - as much fun as you can have in someone elses shoes!!

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  • Anaheim Angels - just a stones throw...

    Just up the freeway is the home of the Anaheim Angels. We went to watch the pre-season game against the Colorado Rockies. With the right seating the view is outstanding!!

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  • Don't Forget Insurance

    If your current health insurance doesn't cover you while your abroad, you should consider getting international travel insurance just in case something should go wrong.

Costa Mesa Favorites

  • Do a self Art Tour

    Artistic Expression is all over Costa Mesa. It is concentrated in the hip part of town- at The Camp, and The Lab off Bristol St, and in the downtown area where there are about a dozen art galleries, mostly of the contemporary kind. CM is really deserving of an official "art walk" in Orange county, but if you are an art enthusiast, you can venture...

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  • Spin Spin Spin at 2nd Spin!

    Just a tip for those who buck the trend of getting music solely on Ipod. For all of you music collectors, Second Spin is a cool place to check out a great variety of music (all genres are reprsented here. Also, There is a great selection of DVDs (movie, music performances, etc). The only O.C. Second Spin is located in the heart of Costa Mesa, along...

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  • ESp. for Locals: Come to Garage sales...

    Garage sales! This is just a tip for locals and any garage/estate/rummage sale bargain hunters. I have had particularly good luck with garage sales here. Costa Mesa has a nice range of residents with charming homes, expensive and otherwise, with quality items and bargains at garage sales to offer. In my experiences, I have found and bought...

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