Travel Costa Mesa Blog
Try a New Restaurant, See the Latest Movie Release, Explore Local Museums
Presidents’ Weekend usually brings holiday weekend deals, movie releases and an extra day off of work for many. How you plan to spend your weekend is up to you – but we think you’ll want to check out our list of fun happenings in Costa Mesa when mapping out the long weekend.
Looking to try a new restaurant? There are plenty of Costa Mesa restaurants to choose from. Visit Chef Kristy Dunn of Shuck Oyster Bar at SoCo and The OC Mix. She’s the star of this month’s Chef Spotlight Series. Watch her prepare her mouthwatering clams and chorizo dish served with the signature “Batman” bread.
2. Experience “History on the Flight Line” at Lyon Air Museum
Speaking of things that fly, the Lyon Air Museum is bringing in surprise aircraft for an up-close experience with some of the vintage and antique aircraft that have been on the front lines. The display is expected to include a T-28 Trojan, an AT-6 Texan and a Boeing Stearman, plus military reenactors. This unique experience is on Saturday, Feb. 18, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Adult entry is $12; for children ages 5-17, it’s $6. Lyon Air Museum is on 19300 Ike Jones Road in Santa Ana, right next to John Wayne, Orange County Airport. Call 714.210.4585 for more details.
3. Deals on Dining, Entertainment and the Movies
Eat and be entertained like a VIP and take advantage of The Triangle (formerly Triangle Square) VIP discounts and deals. Eat at La Vida Cantina, take the family bowling at Tavern + Bowl and even get a free popcorn at Starlight Cinemas at The Triangle, which happens to be featuring The Lego Batman Movie, amongst other popular movies out in theaters now.
4. A New Costa Mesa Museum Experience
Newly opened this week, the Heroes Hall Veterans Museum features two inaugural exhibitions that pay tribute to veterans: the first features former Santa Ana Army Air Base residents and celebrities Joe DiMaggio, Gene Autry, Joseph Heller and Don the Beachcomber, and the second relays stories about Vietnam War veterans as told through text, photography, film, audio, digital media, art and personal items. Heroes Hall Veterans Museum is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Active-duty military and veterans receive free admission and are eligible to purchase up to (6) ½-price general admission tickets.
Check out even more holiday weekend deals and events happening in Costa Mesa!
It’s almost time for the most romantic day of the year! With Valentine’s Day falling mid-week this year, local restaurants and hotels are offering menus to allow you to extend the celebration by spending the weekend in Costa Mesa beginning February 10.
Whether you are planning to treat your sweetheart to a nice dinner out, a weekend away, or you’re looking for just the right gesture to show you care, Costa Mesa is your one-stop destination for exclusive gift ideas, Valentine’s Day menus and some great hotel deals to make getting away easy and memorable.
Silver Trumpet Restaurant and Bar at Avenue of the Arts – a Tribute Portfolio Hotel will offer a four-course prix fixe menu including baked brie; a pink cauliflower soup or heirloom salad, followed by a selection of entrees like a 10 oz. lobster tail, New York prime steak or wild mushroom risotto; and chocolate beignets for dessert. Guests will also enjoy a complimentary champagne toast. This menu is available for $75 per person on Friday, February 10 and Saturday, February 11 from 5 to 10 p.m. Reservations can be made through Opentable. To complete a romantic evening, check out the Kiss and Tell package being offered by Avenue of the Arts.
Le Chateau Garden Bistro, located at Ayres Hotel & Suites, is offering a full à la carte or prix fixe dinner menu. Start with Le Chateau’s signature lobster bisque and end with their chocolate lava cake or a heart-shaped red velvet cake. This dinner menu is available from 5 to 10 p.m. for $47 per person beginning February 10 through Tuesday, February 14. Call 714.549.0300 ex. 407 for reservations. Ayres Hotel & Suites also has a variety of special weekend packages.
Segerstrom Center for the Arts has a weekend lineup making for a perfect date night.
Actress, producer and Broadway star Rita Wilson is joined by talented songwriters Billy Steinberg, Holly Knight and Desmond Child on February 10 for an intimate evening performing and sharing the stories behind their music.
WEEKEND AND VALENTINE’S DAY DINNER SPECIALS
Habana offers a decadent Valentine’s Day menu and entertainment with special dishes like grilled filet mignon with Dungeness crab Béarnaise, fried yucca, and watercress salad. Live music and the special menu will be available February 11 to 14 from 5:30 p.m. to 12 a.m. Enjoy one of Open Table’s top 100 best al fresco dining spots in the U.S. Make reservations by calling 714-556-0176.
One of Costa Mesa’s top Indian restaurants offers a three-course prix fixe menu including an appetizer or choice of gourmet salad; a selection of entrées including their own Khyber Nectar (lamb shank aphrodisiac) and a selection of sweet desserts. This menu is available from February 10 to 14 beginning at 5:30 p.m. each evening for $39 per person. Make reservations on Opentable.
Open for an exclusive dining experience Valentine’s Eve, guests will enjoy complimentary Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label champagne, alongside chocolate-covered strawberries to celebrate the occasion. This offer is available on February 13. Make reservations online or by calling 714.432.1140.
VALENTINE’S DAY, FEBRUARY 14
- Bistro Papillote Hands-on Chocolate Dinner
Take your romantic dinner up a notch by participating in a hands-on cooking class at Bistro Papillote. You and your loved one will work together to create a Valentine chocolate dinner that’s sure to set the mood for a romantic evening! You’ll prepare pepper-crusted filet mignon and chocolate port wine sauce, fig and Stilton salad with port vinaigrette, potatoes sautéed in duck fat and a beautiful flourless chocolate torte for dessert. The price is $225 per couple and includes one bottle of Blanc de Blanc sparkling wine. The cooking class begins at 6:00 p.m., with the sitdown dinner to follow. For more information and to reserve your spot, please call 714-697-1707.
- Hamamori Restaurant and Sushi Bar Nine-Course Menu
Offering a special appetizer menu as well as a nine-course prix fixe menu this Valentine’s Day, guests will enjoy an appetizer selection that includes Ishiyaki Wagyu beef, miso-marinated lamb chops, seared scallops with black truffle, Kumamoto oysters, abalone and more. The prix-fixe menus include live spot prawn carpaccio with uni & caviar, foie gras steak, grilled Chilean sea bass and much more. The nine-course pre-fixe menu is $125 per person and includes Australian Wagyu; for $150 per person the nine-course menu includes Japanese Wagyu. Appetizers are priced per selection. This exclusive event is on Tuesday February 14, from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. For reservations please call 714.850.0880.
Enjoy the fresh, vibrant flavors of the Mediterranean this Valentine’s Day at Mezzet. In addition to the à la carte menu, a special four-course menu will be available. Begin with an appetizer sampler followed by an arugula salad. Entrée choices include chicken scaloppini or grilled salmon. For dessert, a decadent heart-shaped chocolate cake with coffee will be served. Two glasses of champagne and a red rose for the ladies will also be part of the prix-fixe menu for $55 per person; À la carte prices vary per selection. Enjoy this Valentine’s Day dinner at Mezzet (exclusive of tax and gratuity) Tuesday February 14, 2017, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. For reservations please call 714.540.3365.
Vaca by Amar Santana is offering their full menu, with some extra special Valentine’s Day items like seafood-stuffed squid ink canelon and their rum raisin ice cream with peanut chocolate crunch and caramel peanuts. Dinner service is on February 14 from 5 to 10:30 p.m. Make reservations or call 714.463.6060.
Offering three different tasting menus, guests can choose the Original, Vegetarian or Vegan Tasting Menu, each four courses and served with wine pairings. This special menu is offered on February 14 beginning at 5 p.m. Reservations are required and can be made calling 714.545.1411.
- Pueblo “Choose Your Own Adventure” Dinner
For Valentine’s Day, Pueblo will be doing an “Elige Tu Aventura” (Choose your Own Adventure) dinner, where each guest will have a list of 15 specially curated tapas for only that evening. Each table will have an option to freely order the items à la carte, as a combination of 5 or 9 items, or El Mundo, which is all of the above! The last option works beautifully for parties with 5 or more guests. The more a table orders, the better the value received. To make your reservation, please call 714.340-5775.
- Darya Fine Persian Cuisine and Live Music
Enjoy a holiday three-course menu, which includes an appetizer, entree and dessert featuring Darya’s most popular dishes. Live music by Amir will be featured throughout the evening. Pick one of two seating times on February 14 with two seating times. The first seating is from 5 to 7 p.m. and the second seating is from 7 p.m. to close. This dinner is $79 per person exclusive of tax and gratuity. Advanced reservations are required. 714.557.6600.
FOR A SWEET TREAT OR A NIGHT CAP…
Try Black Market Bakery at The CAMP for a delicious variety of baked goods, chocolates and their “Drunk in Love” cheesecake.
Popbar, a concept founded in New York, serves up frozen treats on a stick in a variety of blends including gelato and sorbet. With flavors like chocolate, vanilla, banana, mint or passion fruit, the all-natural Italian treat comes in a variety of flavors and can be customized with a variety of dips and toppings.
RUIN Bar: Cat Lady (and Gentlemen) Anti-Valentine’s Day Celebration February 10 from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. Enjoy anti-Valentine’s Day house drink specials, knitting, movies and more!
Love is sweet at Sugarfina! Fill your own customized XOXO bento box with festive chocolates and gummies including “Love You a Bunch” rosé roses imported from Germany, “You’re a Catch” Swedish fish imported from Sweden, “I Pine for You” Parisian pineapples imported from France, “Kiss Me” sugar lips from the USA and other domestic and imported goodies. Prices vary per selection. Sugarfina is located on the first floor between the Jewel and Carousel courts.
Enjoy a special heart-shaped shortbread cookie and espresso beverage at Antonello Espresso Café. Antonello Espresso Café is located on Level 2, Carousel Court.
Champagne French Bakery Café helps you say “I love you” with heart-shaped sugar cookies, chocolate dipped strawberries or heart-shaped cakes. Valentine’s Day specials will be available from February 1-14. Call for availability. Champagne is located on Level 1 of the Crate and Barrel Wing.
Stop by ST Pâtisserie Chocolat, Chef Stéphane Tréand’s elegant pastry shop in The OC Mix courtyard. Not only will you find lots of chocolate for this Valentine’s Day, but the selection of macarons will entice you to buy one of their specialty variety gift boxes. And, while wandering around SoCo Collection, stop into Restaurant Marin for made-from-scratch desserts including their amazing “cake-of-the-day” special!
At the heart of Southern California is Orange County, the destination of choice for more than 46 million visitors each year. And nestled within Orange County is the internationally acclaimed arts and theater district – Costa Mesa.
Rivaling the trend-setting shopping meccas of Fifth Avenue in New York and Bond Street in London, as well as Avenue Montaigne in Paris and Ginza in Tokyo, South Coast Plaza is the largest shopping center in California. With over 250 retailers representing the highest concentration of design fashion retail in the United States, its stellar cast of shops by Fendi, Harry Winston, Gucci and Chanel has visitors from all over the world flocking to this luxury-shopping destination.
Costa Mesa is a great home base when visiting Southern California. Located in the heart of Orange County, Costa Mesa is just about a 10-minute drive to the sparkling Pacific Ocean where you can stroll the boardwalk along Balboa Island, have lunch on the pier in Surf City USA, watch the professional surfers catch some of the best waves and enjoy the year-round mild weather, cool ocean breezes and endless sunshine that Southern California is known for.
Segerstrom Center for the Arts is the largest nonprofit arts organization in Orange County. The Center offers the world’s leading dance companies, Broadway shows and is the home of 3 resident Orange County companies: Pacific Symphony, the Philharmonic Society and Pacific Chorale. The arts complex also includes Costa Mesa’s Tony® Award-winning resident theater, South Coast Repertory.
If an evening of dinner and the theater is an activity you enjoy, there’s no need to head to Los Angeles, or even New York City when Costa Mesa hosts the latest Broadway shows throughout the year. Segerstrom Center for the Arts is the crown jewel and arts complex in Orange County’s theater district. Visitors can check the Costa Mesa calendar to find shows featuring music legends like Tony Bennett, talented actress and producer Rita Rudner, or catch popular Broadway shows like Lion King, Wicked and Hamilton – coming to the stage in 2018..
Whether you’re searching for a luxury weekend with room service in a suite, or a casual stay with accommodations for the whole family, there are a variety of hotels for every traveler’s needs, many of which offer regular deals or shopping packages. From rooftop swimming pools to highly rated restaurants, staying in Costa Mesa offers easy access to all the top attractions in Orange County.
Be sure to check deals and flight schedules into Orange County’s only commercial airport – John Wayne Airport (SNA). It is the closest airport to Costa Mesa, located just 4 miles away, with FREE shuttle service offered by most Costa Mesa hotels.
If you’re planning a day at Disneyland® Resort, it’s made easy by taking advantage of the convenient Anaheim Resort Transportation shuttle service to and from the resort area, about 20 minutes from Costa Mesa.
Voted one of America’s Best Restaurants by gayot.com, Vaca is the dining concept of Chef Amar Santana, finalist on “Top Chef” Season 13, Bravo TV’s hit chef competition. Vaca is authentically Spanish, serving everything from mouthwatering tapas and savory paellas to freshly cut steaks and ocean-caught seafood. Ninety percent of the food is jet-flown from Spain. Chef Amar prides himself in offering the finest cuts of meats and cheeses.
Located in Costa Mesa’s SoBeCa District, The CAMP offers customers a nontraditional retail community in a casual and lively atmosphere. All of the stores are health conscious or fitness related, with a strong emphasis on an active lifestyle. “Green” is everywhere, from the native vegetation to the progressive and select retailers offering their organic wares in the first-known environmentally sensitive retail campus in the United States. Be sure to visit SEED People’s Market – a collection of handmade and recycled items. Serving as a “green” department store, SEED carries a variety of products from the most practical outerwear and shoes for any outdoor atmosphere, to unique hand-crafted alternatives created with the environment in mind.
Immerse yourself in the hidden and quaint community of Balboa Island, located in Newport Beach. Despite its remote location, it has attracted a rich array of famous people and fascinating characters for more than 100 years. Marine Avenue is the main street of activity where you can sit on the patio of a cozy restaurant for breakfast or lunch, followed by a treat from the famous frozen banana stand, as featured in the TV show “Arrested Development.” Enjoy a stroll along the boardwalk lined with homes of some of the rich and famous, with views of one of the larges yacht harbors in California. At the end of the boardwalk, board the Balboa Island Ferry (on foot, bike or by car) and take it to the other side to experience the thrill of The Fun Zone, a throwback to the boardwalks of the past. This is a great place, for families, couples and friends alike.
The Orange County Fair has had its home in Costa Mesa has since 1953, and it is one of the top 10 largest fairs in the United States running for three weeks from July to August.
The fair’s biggest ride, La Grande Wheel, is the largest traveling Ferris wheel in the Western hemisphere and is 15 stories high. The ride is so large, it takes three weeks to assemble. At 200 metric tons, it requires a steel-reinforced pad beneath it to keep it from sinking.
Creating homestyle Mexican cuisine with a contemporary flair, Taco María offers California-Mexican fusion dishes by Michelin-starred chef Carlos Salgado, where he uses recipes straight from his mom, the restaurant’s namesake. Taco María has been rated by the Los Angeles Times as one of the best restaurants in Southern California and one of America’s Best Restaurants by Gayot.com. Seating is at a premium, but worth the wait.
The city that put California on the map for surf culture is lined with 10 miles of uninterrupted coastline. One of the most well-known and iconic locations is the Huntington Beach Pier, playing backdrop to many professional surfers including legendary Duke Kahanamoku. The pier is the perfect vantage point to watch professionals and amateurs take on some of the best waves in Southern California. Take a stroll to the very end of the pier and grab a bite at Ruby’s Surf City Diner. Most importantly, don’t miss the opportunity to snap a photo of the spectacular sunsets. Huntington Beach is also known to be one of the most pet-friendly cities in Orange County, the neighboring city to Costa Mesa.
It’s a new year, and while you may be returning to work from a holiday break, do you still feel like you need a vacation? Did you actually use all of your vacation time last year? If you’re thinking about some changes you hope to make in the new year, along with traditional goals of eating better and exercising, you might want to consider using some of those vacation hours – time off is proven to help you feel better in many ways, including improved health and well being. Why not resolve to work less, play more? That’s right, you and 49% of Americans leave hundreds of vacation hours on the table each year by not planning for vacation time off. Make it a 2017 resolution!
Here in Costa Mesa, one of Southern California’s top cities for shopping, dining and the arts, we host millions of travelers each year as they vacation with their friends and families. We want to help you accomplish whatever you’re set out to achieve in 2017, but that starts with taking time off. Give yourself a break!
Costa Mesa can take you to the next level of relaxation or whatever level of vacation experience you’re looking to accomplish, because you know you’re going to need one at some point. Start your day enjoying breakfast at a local outdoor café or on the patio of one of our hotel’s full-service restaurants; enjoy a serene walk around Segerstrom Center for the Arts and the 33,000-square-foot arts plaza; or make your way to world-renowned South Coast Plaza, with hundreds of boutique shops and 30 restaurants, all within walking distance.
If you’d prefer something off the beaten path, where the locals hang out, visit one of our outdoor malls with a host of locally-owned businesses and quaint dining experiences at The LAB or The CAMP. Grab a cup of coffee or fresh-squeezed juice and enjoy the outdoor seating and soak up some sun at SOCO and The OC Mix.
If you’re looking to be entertained, take in the latest Broadway production, enjoy the mild weather and year-round sunshine by the pool, or take a trip just a few minutes down the road to our miles of coastline and Orange County beaches. We want to help you live out your New Year’s resolutions, and if that means sticking to your exercise routine, most of our hotels have complimentary gyms open 24 hours a day to help keep you on track.
We say it’s time to take back your calendar, and before filling the days and weeks ahead with meetings, select some time for yourself to use those vacation days owed to you. You work hard for them, after all! You know how much better you feel when you leave the office, set down and turn off electronic devices for a while, so we suggest you prioritize “time off” in your schedule for the entire year. Vacation time is valuable for relationships, and our personal and professional success. One very important step that could help you get vacation on the books sooner than later is planning.
Here are 5 ways to start planning your vacation time for the year.
Don’t wait, January 31 is the U. S. Travel Association’s National “Plan for Vacation Day” – part of Project: Time Off. Together, we want to see more Americans get their vacation plans on the books this month. Won’t that give you so much to look forward for the rest of the year? Take control of your schedule and improve your productivity and success in 2017.
Learn more about Project: Time Off and National Plan For Vacation Day.