36 Hours in the South Coast Neighborhood of Costa Mesa


Serving as Costa Mesa Downtown area, South Coast Metro is the ideal hub for a genuine Orange County shopping experience. But it is also home to some of the most memorable and singular culinary experiences Costa Mesa has to offer. Prepare for a day (or several) of well-earned indulgence in this preeminent neighborhood.



Take a break from the downtown bustle with a visit to one of the several parks in the South Coast neighborhood, or take a stroll to explore the vibrant central part known as South Coast Metro. Packed with options for shopping, dining, and activities, this locale is a must-visit for any Costa Mesa trip. South Coast Plaza and Metro Pointe will be your two key hubs (more on these hotspots in the Shopping section below).

Whether visiting solo or with a family or group, Color Me Mine at Metro Point offers a fun, engaging experience for all ages. Take your time and craft a uniquely painted piece of pottery that will remind you of your visit every time you use it.

Nestled in the popular South Coast Plaza is the Martin Lawrence Gallery. This cozy setting features limited edition works by renowned artists like Warhol, Picasso, and Murakami, along with paintings and sculptures by artists from around the world. The staff encourages visitors to ask questions and discover new facts about the pieces they have on display.

Another South Coast Plaza stop is the Jewel Court Dome, which features installations and exhibits that vary throughout the year. If you visit during certain times of the year (Lunar New Year, Christmas, and more), you can stop by to see unique installations that set the holiday mood.



Power up for your day at Philz Coffee, a local favorite for coffee on the go and centrally located in the South Coast Metro neighborhood. Another option for starting your day, and also located in South Coast Plaza, Outpost Kitchen serves up gourmet coffee to keep you fueled during a shopping break. If you want to sit and stay for a moment, they also serve a renowned breakfast and all-day brunch, with many dishes providing a taste of the owner's Australian roots.

Culinary master Antonio Cagnolo delivers traditional Italian dishes with his own take on recipes and techniques at Antonello Ristorante. Experience the authentic flavors of Italy filtered through a modern style with fresh ingredients and all set in an old-world Tuscan atmosphere.

When you are ready for a food and beverage break, Karl Strauss serves up an eclectic range of craft beers alongside classic American bar food. If you are looking for something lighter, Brazuca Café serves up Brazilian fare with flavors that are sure to delight.




No visit to Costa Mesa is complete without a sojourn into South Coast Plaza. With eateries (from quick bites to gourmet options), shops (from world-renowned designers, and upscale amenities, visitors are bound for a memorable time at one of the most elevated shopping experiences in California. Visit at the right time and you may even get to experience one of the many exciting pop-ups in the Jewel Court.

For those looking for a more leisurely shopping venture, Metro Pointe offers the full shopping experience in a smaller outdoor package. That's not to say this location isn't filled with options. Catch a film, try a new dish, or tick off everything on your shopping list (from books to clothing to home accessories), all in this single location. The best time to stop by is on a weekend evening, when live music from local musicians can accompany your every step.

Saks OFF 5th is filled with designer clothing options (along with home and beauty goods), but at prices that keep your shopping guilt free. Expand your options with a stop by Nordstrom Rack, which is situated only a few steps away. Pop in at the right time and you may find excellent deals at either location, along with year-round reasonable pricing at both shops.



South Coast Metro offers a stimulating experience, but it can be a lot to take in after only a single day. Rest and recover in one of several hotels nearby, such as the conveniently located Westin South Coast Plaza. Or take the time to decide on your purchases at the Hilton or Crowne Plaza. Enjoy some privacy and luxury before starting a new day in Costa Mesa, exploring the rest of South Coast Metro or another neighborhood.

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