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Over-The-Top Food For This Year’s OC Fair

Posted on June 24, 2024 | 7:22am

Chances are good that you’ve been waiting all year to see what deliciously eyebrow-raising foods the creative vendors of the OC Fair have cooked up for us this year. Of all the fun the OC Fair brings to Costa Mesa each year, the free pass to indulge in new and curious foods is hard to beat. That’s why we’re showing you some of the newest additions to this year’s OC Fair food menu, along with our old favorites.

If you want to fit the most into your your OC Fair food tour, stop by on Thursdays between noon and 4 p.m. when vendors will be offering a sampling of treats for $4 each! And be sure to buy your OC Fair tickets ahead of time, because advance tickets are required.

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Posted in Events, Food

Costa Mesa’s Pride Guide: LGBTQ Events for 2024

Posted on June 5, 2024 | 10:33am

June is here, the sun is out, and our rainbows are in full technicolor. We’re proud devotees of Dolly P. throughout the whole year—we have the mural to prove it, see below—and when June comes around, we can’t help turning the volume up on everything gay in Costa Mesa. 

Here are some of our favorite places to celebrate and take part in LGBTQ events in 2024:

Segerstrom Center for the Arts

Segerstrom Center for the Arts brings Orange County together through celebrating art, performance, and music. Visit Segerstrom for their world-class entertainment, from shows straight out of Broadway, to symphony performances, and movie screenings on the lawn.

Does the word “prom” give you nervous flashbacks to being too gay to be cool in high school? We get it, and so does Segerstrom. This June, they’re hosting Plaza Prom: Pride edition. This time, Prom means community, drag queens, and way better music.

  • Plaza Prom: Pride: Relive prom night as an adult with drag performances, free arcade games, and DIY corsages and boutonnieres.
  • Pride Live: Pride Anthems: Take a musical journey that spans 50 years of music celebrating LGBTQ culture. From heartache to liberation, experience the musical legacy of queer musicians. 

Strut Bar + Birdcage Lounge

Need to dance the night away? Strut Bar, OC’s premiere LGBTQ nightclub, has the beats to get your body moving. Walking into Strut, you’re instantly immersed in a familiar atmosphere with all the music you know and love, but with a community vibe that only exists in Costa Mesa. If you want something quieter for conversation, you don’t have to leave. Step into their all-new Birdcage Lounge, where you can cuddle up with your besties—or with a fantastic cocktail. The more intimate space serves flocktails in kitschy bird cups and flamingo pool floaties. 

Not one for nightlife? Dolly awaits. Strut is the home of a special tribute to Dolly Parton, featuring a fifty-two foot mural on the exterior of the building, recently restored by Long Beach artist David Gilmore. The owner of Strut, Luke Nero, says, “She represents love and light.” Enough said. 

Tin Lizzie Saloon

Coming here is being part of history. Tin Lizzie Saloon is not just the longest-standing gay & lesbian bar in Costa Mesa, but in all of Orange County. The saloon dates back to the 1950s, and as you step inside, the rest of the world falls away. Tin Lizzie sets its own tempo, moving at a pace that has marched and endured proudly for almost a century. 

The moody red lights and Victorian atmosphere offer a memorable night for locals and visitors alike.

OC Pride Festival & Parade

The OC Fair & Event Center has year-round experiences and entertainment, and summer’s OC Fair is the main event. This year brings big news: a new queen is in town, and she’s sashaying her way to the fairground for the OC Pride Festival & Parade. This is the official Pride event for OC, out-loud and in-color at its brand new home in Costa Mesa. Catch it on October 5th, 2024 at the fairgrounds. 

One-of-a-Kind Dining

Located in Costa Mesa’s famous South Coast Plaza, the two-story dining collective Collage Culinary Experience is a sensory delight. There’s not a label that fits the experience, and we’re okay with that. Collage offers local and global-inspired fare in a colorful, stylish space that celebrates authenticity and joy. You can pop in for a quick snack or bev at Blossoms and Brass to start the night out right—or make a day of it and eat your way through the best of Costa Mesa flavor. 

Shop Local, Shop Small

Change starts at the community level, and two alternative shopping centers in Costa Mesa are making it happen. Eschewing everything quick, corporate, and mass-produced, The LAB and The CAMP instead choose community and creators. The soul of a city is in its small businesses and its local dining, and there’s no better place to experience the DNA of Costa Mesa than The LAB and The CAMP.

  • The LAB Anti-Mall: A stomping ground for local creators and crave-worthy food. It’s the home of shops like House of Intuition, an LGBTQ owned shop with a mission to foster individual spirituality. 
  • The CAMP: Situated right across the street, The CAMP is a green and eco-friendly campus that balances modern needs with environmental consciousness. Visit LGBTQ-owned Blackmarket Bakery for sweets and treats you’ll be thinking about long after you leave, or hit up the local breweries for craft beers and new friends.

Stay the Night

Settle in and book a stay at one of Costa Mesa’s top hotels to give yourself time to see all the city has to offer. Every location on this guide is inclusive and welcoming. We want you to feel at home right away so you can focus instead on the comfy rooms, comprehensive amenities, and world-class service. 

If it’s your first visit to Costa Mesa, welcome! Thanks for being a friend.

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Posted in Events

Costa Mesa Celebrates National Travel and Tourism Week!

Posted on May 13, 2024 | 8:19am

Photo by Rachel Off Duty

Costa Mesa annually embraces millions of travelers at various points of interest throughout the city, such as South Coast Plaza, OC Fair & Event Center, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Orange County Museum of Arts, The LAB, and The CAMP. The fabulous restaurants and retail boutiques contribute to the city’s unique charm. Costa Mesa’s allure lies in its ever-changing landscape, ensuring there’s always something new to see, do, and taste

During National Travel and Tourism Week, we are honoring those who warmly embrace our visitors, promote our city with genuine passion and enthusiasm, and collaborate with others to achieve mutual success. We recognize our creative and driven business owners, big and small, and their incredibly dedicated staff, who show up daily to take care of our guests. We see our community pride growing as more stories and engagement spread. You are indispensable. 

As the city’s destination marketing organization, Travel Costa Mesa recognizes the significant role of tourism in our community. The jobs it creates and the security it brings are vital for our economy. Did you know that approximately 8 percent of all jobs in Costa Mesa are sustained by tourism? The transient occupancy tax our hoteliers collect in our city accounts for the fourth most significant revenue source in the city’s general fund, contributing to the city’s funding of police, fire, and other public services. Sales tax collected from retail and dining is crucial in financing essential city, state, and county services. 

Tourism has the potential to stimulate new business growth. The increased demand for goods and services, infrastructure, cultural and creative industries, collaboration, and business networking creates opportunities for entrepreneurs and enhances the visitor experience, generating more demand for goods and services. We take pride in being a part of a diverse industry that provides opportunities for economic growth. 

Photo by U.S. Travel Association

Collaboration is highly valued in our industry as it fosters success for businesses, guests, and residents. However, Travel Costa Mesa recognizes that it needs help to achieve its mission. Partnerships with forward-thinking companies and positive, creative individuals are essential to our objectives. We’ve partnered with multiple businesses and entrepreneurs in Costa Mesa and look forward to establishing more connections that enhance our travel and hospitality industry. When tourism thrives, communities thrive.

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Posted in Events, News, Travel

6 Ways to Spoil Mom on Mother’s Day in Costa Mesa

Posted on April 29, 2024 | 12:24pm

From floral arrangements to fine eating, Costa Mesa offers plenty of ways to show your mother some love and appreciation on this special day. Spoil Mom with one (or all) of these top things to do on Mother’s Day in Costa Mesa.

1: Relax with Facials + Recharge with Coffee

Photo by Facial Lounge

Treat Mom to a luxurious skincare experience at Facial Lounge. Every product is 100% all-natural, vegan, and cruelty-free for a spa day that is good for both you and the environment. Then head next door to Coffee Dose for a little pick-me-up. It’s got a fun Barbie-meets-coffee-shop vibe with its trendy pink decor. We recommend trying their  Mary Matcha latte or Espresso Tini to help mom unwind even more!

2: Gift Her an Everlasting Floral Bouquet

Photo by @phoebe_eats IG

If your mom loves flowers, why not gift her some that will last all year long? Hadley and Ren inside The OC Mix specialize in everlasting floral bouquets that are customizable, easy for Mom to care for, and eco-friendly. While at The OC Mix, swing by Balboa Gold to design custom matching charm bracelets with mom!

3: Spend an Evening of Wine & Painting

Photo by Inspired Art Wine

Inspired Art Wine is having two special painting sessions on Mother’s Day this year, each with a floral focus in two different styles. Reserve your spots ahead of time to ensure you have a seat and glass of wine waiting for you. Tickets include art supplies, instruction by an artist, and up to two glasses of wine. Bond and create works of art while enjoying fine wines from California vineyards.

4: South Coast Plaza Shopping to Show Mom Appreciation

Photo by South Coast Plaza

South Coast Plaza is the perfect place to spoil Mom with a day of shopping. Its collection of luxury brands and flagship stores ensures there’s something perfect for every mother. Come prepared by getting Mom a South Coast Plaza gift card, which can be redeemed at any of the 280+ shops and restaurants.

5: Treat Your Mom to a Memorable Brunch

Photo by Tableau Kitchen & Bar

Restaurants around Costa Mesa are planning special menus to make this upcoming Mother’s Day one for her to remember. Some of our hand-picked highlights include:

  • Silver Trumpet: Their Mother’s Day brunch offers delicious variety, satisfying both you and Mom. The special menu features a seafood station, a Lakeside Grill station, more than a dozen buffet options,as well as appetizers, desserts, and salads.
  • Ayres Hotel: Experience a gourmet brunch featuring omelet, carving, and seafood stations. To top it off, brunch includes bottomless mimosas.
  • Tableau Kitchen & Bar: Their Mother’s Day special starts with a fresh floral-infused cocktail that both looks and tastes like spring itself. Then, indulge in Miso Crab Benedict served for the main course, a unique twist and a culinary staple.
  • Verdant Café at OCMA: Settle in for a curated three-course meal with a focus on bright and exquisite flavors located in the Orange County Museum of Art. Blend culinary delight with art and culture for a memorable day.
  • Seasons 52: Enjoy a brunch menu that features freshly made soups, salads, and starters, along with four entrees, including a crab & cheddar quiche, upright French toast, apricot-glazed spiral ham, and wood-grilled shrimp & grits.
  • Plum’s Cafe: Considered one of the best brunch locations around, period, Plum’s Cafe offers everything from comfort foods to decadent indulgences. But since everything is made with fresh, high-quality ingredients, it’s a guilt-free experience.

6: Book Mom the Overnight Stay She Deserves

Photo by The Westin South Coast Plaza

Surprise Mom this Mother’s Day weekend with a plush hotel room where she can relax and feel extra pampered.  Book Mom an overnight stay at one of the 11 hotels in Costa Mesa, each with its own unique style and amenities.

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Posted in Events

Things to do in Costa Mesa This Spring

Posted on April 8, 2024 | 8:33am

Spring is here, and Orange County as always is packed with opportunities to make the most of the warming weather. Time your visit right and you will have a range of spring events to choose from in Costa Mesa, from foodie fairs to galleries, even to a full marathon.

OC Winefest

Photo by OC Wine Fest

When: April 20–April 21

Where: OC Fair & Event Center (The Hangar)

Admission: $55

More than 100 different wines from over 30 wineries will be available for a diverse wine tasting event hosted at the OC Fair & Event Center. For 3 hours, you can try wines from around the world made from some of the finest grapes ever grown.

South Coast Plaza Garden Show

Photo by South Coast Plaza

When: April 25–28

Where: South Coast Plaza Shopping Center

Admission: Free

The 34th Southern California Spring Garden show is set to happen at South Coast Plaza over four days. Featuring dozens of plant and garden vendors selling exotic plants, it is the perfect time to find something to make your living space stand out. There will be 8 display gardens showcasing the talent of SoCal horticulture specialists, along with a crowning centerpiece—a 25-foot floral installation.

Beetlejuice, the Musical

When: April 16–28

Where: Segerstrom Center for the Arts

Admission: $49–179 (varies by seating)

Experience this classic tale of family and fun in musical form at Segerstrom Hall. This adaptation of Tim Burton’s beloved film has been hailed by Variety as “SCREAMINGLY GOOD FUN” and was a Broadway favorite before making its way to Orange County.

OC Japan Fair

When: April 19 – April 21

Where: OC Fair & Event Center (Anaheim Building)

Admission: $10 (free for children 6 and under and adults 66 and over)

Gather your friends or family and prepare for a fun, educational experience about Japanese cultures. Featuring comedy, kimono models, music, cosplay, and more, this weekend-long event at the OC Fair & Event Center is the perfect way to start off your spring.

OCMA New Exhibit

Photo by OCMA

When: March 15—August 18

Where: Orange County Museum of Art

Admission: Free

Orange County Museum of Art’s latest exhibition, Color is the First Revelation of the World, features more than a dozen artists’ works exploring how color and form intersect. The works all center around hues of blue in a variety of styles, creating unique narratives using color as the central aesthetic element. Admission to the entire museum is free!

Mercado Gonzalez Miguelito’s Kids Classes

When: Saturdays in April (6, 13, 20, & 27)

Where: Mercado Gonzalez Northgate Market

Admission: Free

Stop by Mercado Gonzalez for a different kids class every Saturday morning throughout April. Each class will teach kids how to make their own version of food items such as sushi, paleta, sandwiches, and skewers.

OC Marathon

Photo by OC Marathon

When: May 4– May 5

Admission: $50+ (for participants, registration fees vary with event)

Whether running it or watching it, the OC Marathon is always a memorable event. This year it returns for its 20th anniversary. More than just running, the event as a whole spreads across the entire weekend and features live music, kids events, and some of the best breweries in OC. The main event (the HOAG OC Marathon) kicks off at 5:30 AM on May 5th, and the Half Marathon starts one hour later.

Disney’s Aladdin

When: May 7– May 12

Where: Segerstrom Center for the Arts

Admission: Starting at $49

The hit Broadway musical ALADDIN is coming to Segerstrom Hall for a week in May. Seize the chance to see a performance that critics across the board have heaped praise upon and experience a beautiful, spectacular, and moving retelling of Disney’s classic tale.

626 Night Market

Photo by 626 Night Market

When: May 31–June 2

Where: OC Fair & Event Center

Admission: $5 for pre-sale tickets

Enjoy the final weekend of spring at the 626 Night Market, a sprawling event featuring local businesses as they showcase some of the best food, handmade products, art and more. Live music will keep the energy going at this fun event for everyone.  

Extend Your Stay

There is no shortage of spring events in Costa Mesa offering opportunities for adventure and exploration. Make the most of your visit by booking an overnight stay at one of our eleven hotel properties in the city. 

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Posted in Events