Costa Mesa, CA, USA

Travel Costa Mesa Blog

SPRING BREAK IN CALIFORNIA’S ORANGE COUNTY

Posted on February 27, 2018 | 4:48pm | Travel Costa Mesa

Thinking about taking the family on vacation this spring break? How about a little adventure in Orange County, nestled between Los Angeles and San Diego along 42 miles of the Pacific Coast in Southern California? Orange County is famous for attractions like the Disneyland® Resort and Knott’s Berry Farm in Anaheim, not to mention long stretches of jaw-dropping beaches from Huntington Beach to Laguna Beach.

If you’ve been glued to your TV watching the Winter Olympics, watching the jaw-dropping stunts accomplished by so many athletes around the world, then hopefully you’ve been inspired to get outside and try something adventurous yourself. Why not spend spring break exploring a lesser-known Orange County city called Costa Mesa? Right next to Newport Beach and just minutes from the ocean, the City of the Arts™ boasts world-class shopping, Broadway shows and concerts, and an innovative and diverse dining scene.

A hub of cultural events and places to explore, public art can be found in common spaces throughout the city. Read on for recommendations when planning your spring break. You’ll also find many more things to do on our calendar filled with springtime activities.

EAT SOME OF THE BEST FOOD AROUND

Costa Mesa has a variety of great options for the spring break traveler. Located centrally in the heart of Orange County, the city has a hands-on farm, shops owned by local artisans, a skate park and a culinary school, plus a diverse mix of food celebrating cultures around the world. And, because everyone needs to eat, if you happen to be in town March 4-10, it’s the perfect time to try out some of the award-winning restaurants at great prices during Orange County Restaurant Week. Prix fixe menus are available all over the county, including in Costa Mesa. Check out a favorite breakfast of Californians – the chicken and waffles from Memphis Café (pictured above). For restaurant ideas, check out Costa Mesa’s Chef Spotlight series to see great signature dishes made by local chefs at a variety of restaurants around town.

GET OUTSIDE AND PLAY

Try Equestrian Vaulting

While not an official Olympic sport, it is a sport of champions from around the U.S and many of these talented athletes practice at OC Fair & Event Center’s Equestrian center – at OC Vaulting. And no, you don’t have to be a professional, or even a horse-riding expert to try it. They’ll teach you everything you need to know about this gymnastic-like activity performed on horseback. Call to schedule a visit. If you’re around April 13-15, a free S.T.E.A.M. event called Imaginology will feature an OC Vaulting demonstration.

On the OC Fair and Event Center grounds, Centennial Farm is a fully operational 3-acre farm. Open daily, visitors can see the ‘stars’ of the pig cam, milk a cow, plant vegetables and learn about California’s rich history in agriculture. Check their website for hours.

Walk next door to Heroes Hall, a free veterans’ museum where you can explore photos and memorabilia from recent history, such as on-the-ground photos from Operation: Iraqi Freedom, as well as WWI and WWII.

For an added arts and culture experience, explore the Costa Mesa Art Walk. It’s free and, this map will guide you in and around Segerstrom Center for the Arts, the city’s performing arts complex, and California Scenario, an outdoor sculpture garden by Isamu Noguchi featuring a California-inspired landscape and architectural area.

SHOP ‘TIL YOU DROP

“If you’re a fan of fashion, but prefer to avoid the crowds, check out the O.C.’s mall alternatives, such as The LAB or The CAMP. These trendy spaces feature mostly small boutique shops and hip eateries.” – Forbes.com Top 10 Attractions in Orange County. The LAB and The CAMP are sister properties in Costa Mesa, eclectic and fun retail communities where you can find unique local goods, active lifestyle products, and a variety of cozy eateries including Cuban, Vietnamese and Italian food.

Costa Mesa is also known for South Coast Plaza – one of the largest collections of designer retailers on the West Coast. This ultimate shopping experience offers valet and concierge services, a VIP suite for relaxation and personal styling, along with over 250 boutiques and 30 restaurants…so if it’s high fashion and name brands like Gucci, Prada and Chanel you’re looking for, you should definitely add this shopping destination to your list.

Who doesn’t love a good deal, and a special find? Flea markets are an ideal place to find one of kind pieces of furniture, art, décor and vintage clothing. Costa Mesa has a few vintage and antique markets happening in March and April.

 

Flying Miz Daisy Vintage Market, March 2-3

At Flying Miz Daisy, the goal is to bring together the best vintage exhibitors on the West Coast selling unique goods.

Hours: Friday & Saturday, March 2-3, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Cost: $8 general admission; $5 senior (65+); free for children 12 and younger. Admission is good for both days. Parking is $8.

Lost & Found Vintage Flea Market at The CAMP

On the first Sunday of each month, head over to The CAMP, an eco-friendly, outdoor shopping and dining center. Explore the flea market’s unique goods, vintage clothing and then grab a coffee and a delicious pastry or sandwich at locally owned Blackmarket Bakery.

 

EXPLORE THE ART OF THE STAGE

Spring break happens to fall in the midst of Costa Mesa’s Broadway season at Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Catch favorites like The King and I or Book of Mormon in March. For a dramatic performance of art and dance, the Cloud Gate Dance Theater – Asia’s leading contemporary dance theater – makes its West Coast premiere in Formosa, March 16-18.

Free pre-show singalongs, dance and music lessons are scheduled on many weeknights and weekends in Segerstrom’s beautiful community plaza ahead of these popular productions.

These have been so popular here that, they made it all the way out to play out at Orlando dinner shows, the people there have been giving them rave reviews. Tickets are close to sold out each and every weekend though so be sure to book early.

Cirque du Soleil’s LUZIA runs through March 25. Bring the whole family for this amazing performance of acrobats, daring stunts, and celebration of the Mexican culture. Tickets are available, and if you’re reading this, you can get a 25% discount by using promotional code REVIEW.*

STAY CLOSE TO ALL THE ACTION

Costa Mesa is home to a wide array of hotels, whether you’re looking for luxury amenities, stylish boutique properties, or a laid-back environment. All hotels are within walking distance of Costa Mesa’s activities, dining and nightlife. Located just a mile from Newport Beach, you can easily make a visit to some of Orange County’s favorite beach spots from Costa Mesa.

Check out our hotel deals and get ready to experience the coolest city in SoCal.

For a lot more information and photos, visit the Travel Costa Mesa website, and download the Costa Mesa Official Visitor Guide.

*Offer valid 2/26-3/11/18. 25% off PL1, 2, 3 tickets on select weekday shows only.