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Travel Costa Mesa Blog

Archives for Locals

Los Angeles Chargers NFL Training Camp Kicks Off in Costa Mesa

Posted on July 27, 2017 | 2:05pm

Are you ready for some football? We know we are! The Los Angeles Chargers’ highly anticipated season kicks off this weekend in Orange County. That’s right, America’s favorite rough-and-tumble, play-hard sport is back. For the first time, the LA Chargers will make their appearance practicing at their new training facility in Costa Mesa, the Jack Hammett Stadium. As noted in an earlier blog post, this is one of the top free things to do in Orange County this summer.

 

Beginning Sunday, July 30 at 10 a.m. with practices running most days from 10 a.m. to noon, this is your chance to get in on the action. See the newest draft picks, team favorites, and arrive early for a chance to slap hands with the Chargers as they head out to the field. The team is ready to welcome all fans at their “Activation Zone” (aka fan zone).

All 13 Chargers practices at Jack Hammett Sports Complex in Costa Mesa (2750 Fairview Rd.) and are open to the public and are free of charge. While Training Camp is ticketless and walk-ups are welcome, fans are encouraged to reserve free bleacher seating passes – available on a first-come, first-served basis – in advance.

 

During the nearly four weeks of practice, there will be some exciting preseason games to see – including the Chargers vs. the New Orleans Saints at Stub Hub Center in LA. Stop into Chargers practice the week before and see the Saints join them at Jack Hammett for practice. The Chargers will also hold a joint practice with the LA Rams. Speaking of which, the LA Rams hold their preseason training camp just down the street from Costa Mesa in the City of Irvine. If you want to catch these two teams head to head, free of charge, mark your calendar for August 9 when the Rams host the Chargers at UC Irvine.

The NFL preseason gets underway this weekend and continues almost daily through the third week of August. Check out the Chargers training camp schedule and plan your final summer vacation in Costa Mesa to gear up for football season! If you’re looking for things to do outside the of the daily practices, Orange County beaches are just a short drive, as is one of Orange County’s main attractions, Disneyland ® Resort – and Costa Mesa hotels offer easy, convenient transportation to and from the park.

 

What will you be doing to celebrate the end of the summer?

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Posted in Events, Locals, Play

The OC Fair is Here! An Annual Costa Mesa Festival, With Concerts and Events Galore

Posted on July 14, 2017 | 1:18pm

With more than a million visitors to the OC Fair each year, visitors probably all have a slightly different take on how they approach this beloved Costa Mesa festival, the second largest in Southern California and one of the Top 10 in the United States. And it’s definitely one of the top Costa Mesa events for a month every summer!

 

“Farm Fresh Fun” is the theme for the OC Fair in 2017, and that about sums up how you might approach your experience. From tasting all the amazing fair food to exploring fresh produce and newborn animals in Centennial Farm, to the attractions and live Costa Mesa concerts, there is plenty of Farm, Fresh AND Fun to experience.

RIDES

Start your visit with a ride high above the OC Fair on the Sky Ride. An aerial tram that flies over the length of the Fairgrounds and back, the Sky Ride gives you a perfect overview of the OC Fair and a great way to see it all and navigate your fair strategy for the day. You’ll enjoy a nice breeze as you soar high above the visitors, you might even see an arena show underway, and you’ll definitely see the exhilarating rides in the midway area.

 

New this year to the OC Fair is La Grande Wheel XL, one of the largest observation wheels in the Western Hemisphere. See this beautiful Ferris wheel at night lit up with a glow that can be seen for miles. This is another great way to see the whole Orange County Fair from one vantage point. If you’ve already spent a few hours traversing the Fairgrounds, a ride on La Grande Wheel XL is a perfect way to give your feet a break without missing out on all the fun…and this year, your car will be air conditioned for a nice break from that hot SoCal summer sun. Fairgoers looking for a bit more of a rush can strap-in on Endeavor and experience 3G- acceleration.

COSTA MESA CONCERTS AND FREE ENTERTAINMENT

The opportunities to be amused and entertained at the Fair are endless! Pacific Amphitheatre, right on the OC Fairgrounds, is one of the best places to see an Orange County concert. This venue seats just 8,000 people, which means every seat in the outdoor amphitheater is a good one. This year’s lineup includes comedian Gabriel Iglesias, Lynyrd Skynyrd, the B-52s, Jake Owen, Michael McDonald and many others. An even more intimate space to see a local concert is The Hangar, with tribute bands performing nightly during the OC Fair.

 

All of the arenas and stages offer lively entertainment throughout the day and evening, from the jaw-dropping Peking Acrobats to the always-entertaining hypnotist (audience participation required) and Demolition Derby. An all-time favorite is the All Alaskan Racing Pigs, where eight pigs will race their little tails to the finish line. Grab a seat in the corral and watch the little piggies hustle!

 

Get your reality TV fix in person. On select days throughout the course of the Fair, chefs like Stéphane Tréand of Costa Mesa’s ST Patisserie Chocolat will showcase his talents creating delicate chocolate sculptures so beautiful, you almost won’t want to eat them. On July 27, the winner of Food Network’s “Chopped Jr.” in 2016, 14-year-old Mason Partak will once again put his skills to the test by competing live in a culinary competition with Chef Tréand. A full lineup of culinary demonstrations and intense competitions are planned and sure to make for great entertainment.

OC FAIR FOOD

Get a snack before a show, like a pie-sized soft pretzel, or wood-fired corn on the cob dressed with some mayo (or butter if you prefer), lemon juice and cayenne pepper for a kick.

 

Dinner or lunch options include burgers, tacos and a larger-than-usual handheld turkey leg, but there’s so much more. Having received accolades for creating the most unique fried items, it’s worth stopping by Chicken Charlie’s. Try the sample platter of mushrooms, artichokes and zucchini, deep-fried and served with ranch. Great way to get your daily serving of veggies! Or, go for the cheese curds – deep-fried and all. Plus each year, the OC Fair gives us something new try – like a hearty 5 lb. barbecued pig leg, or the Unicorn Pineapple Bomb that will have all the kids (and maybe adults) giddy about this tasty drink served in a pineapple garnished with rainbow candies!

 

The folks at the Fair know how good their food is, and they want you to try it all. So they created a sample size of many of the Fair foods – think fried, wrapped in bacon, or sprinkles of sugar on top. Every Thursday from noon to 4 p.m., samples of select Fair food are available for just $3.00.

 

Wine tasting with Orange County’s Wine Society gives you the opportunity to taste the best California wines from the 30,000 California wines entered into the OC Fair competition. Make this a stop on your journey through the Fair and enjoy a glass of wine with cheese and crackers. If you’re visiting on a weekend, check out the wine seminars. Sit back, sip and enjoy live music from the surrounding stages.

 

EXPLORE THE AWARD-WINNING FAIR EXHIBITS

DIY Inspiration can be found throughout the Fair, where Pinterest comes to life right in front of you. Find formal table settings, to award-winning jams and jellies and this year, some of the best brewers will have their craft beer blends on display.

 

And, if you’re a collector, or want to see someone else’s interesting collection, head over to the Centennial Farm area (inside adjacent to the award-winning produce display) and you’ll find collections of stamps, stuffed animals (think Ty Beanie Babies), Disney items, antique dolls and more.

PLAN YOUR VISIT AND MAKE A WEEKEND STAY OUT OF IT

With so much to do, there’s not enough time, but for 23 days this summer, you can return to the OC Fair to experience all it has to offer. You can always extend your stay in Costa Mesa to get the most out of the Fair, take a break at one of the nearby hotels, cool off and take a swim, or head to the beach for a day of relaxation.

 

OC Fair Admission is $12 during the week and $14 per person on the weekend. But there are also many ways to get discounts to the fair. A few of them are listed below.

Veterans and active-duty military personnel – Admission is always free with ID and their guests can purchase up to six half-price tickets.

We Care Wednesday – Get free admission and one free carnival ride when you donate items to select local nonprofits between noon and 3 p.m.

Kids Day – Each Thursday, children 12 and under get in free all day.

Best Deal Ever – On Saturdays and Sundays (from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.), Fairgoers can take advantage of half-price admission and carnival rides for half the usual number of tickets.

We hope to see you experience some good ‘ol “Farm, Fresh, Fun” this summer in Costa Mesa!

What ride, concert or event are you most excited to see?

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Posted in Events, Food, Locals, Misc, Music & Art, Play

Stay All Weekend and get $100 While Enjoying Costa Mesa Events

Posted on May 19, 2017 | 2:05pm

Looking for events this weekend or for Memorial Day? The Costa Mesa events calendar has something for the everyone. And, if you stay two nights, you’ll enjoy $100 to dine in the City of Costa Mesa.

Make a night out at the original and largest Asian-themed Night Market in the U.S. when it returns to OC Fair & Event Center May 19-21. The event hosts more than 200 attractions including food vendors, crafts, music and live entertainment and merchandise. The Night Market is open from 4 p.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday and from 4 to 11 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $5 and parking is $8. Children under 6 get in free.

Stay with Us, Dine on Us

Stay all weekend and experience Costa Mesa events and some of the top attractions in Orange County. Right now, through Memorial Day, Costa Mesa hotels are offering some great packages to help you extend your stay and put a little money back in your pocket. Select Costa Mesa hotels and the trendy dining and retail center, SOCO and The OC Mix invite you stay with us and dine on us.

SOCO and The OC Mix Courtyard Costa Mesa

Book a two-night stay through May 29. Costa Mesa hotel guests will receive $100 to experience some of the best dining in Southern California. Choose from more than 20 restaurants including authentic French crepes at Bistro Papillote, or Spanish tapas at Pueblo, or make your own plate with hand-cut cheese from The Cheese Shop, with olive oil and wine tasting at We Olive Wine Bar. These are just a few of the flavors you’ll find at SOCO and The OC Mix.

Cheese Shop SOCO and The OC Mix Costa Mesa

If you’re wondering what to do this Memorial Day weekend, we have some ideas.

Friday, May 26, check into your hotel; take in an early dinner at Leatherby’s Café Rouge, or Water Grill…walking distance from most hotels. Get tickets to see to the popular Celtic Women at Segerstrom Center for the Arts that evening. Experience the live stage performance of the Voices of Angels. Enjoy the angelic sound of the three Celtic women while they perform alongside new Celtic violinist Tara McNeill and watch as the trio makes stunning wardrobe changes throughout the evening.

Celtic Women and Voices of Angels in Costa Mesa

 

Saturday, May 27, head over to SOCO and The OC Mix where you can start putting your $100 gift card from your Stay and Shop package to use. Grab a seat on the patio for a late breakfast or lunch at Restaurant Marin…you’ll feel like you’ve been swept away to a different time in this charming location while you enjoy the comfort of freshly crafted menu items. Be sure to take the time to visit one of Orange County’s largest farmer’s markets from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. during your trip to SOCO and The OC Mix. There is plenty of fresh produce, floral arrangements and crafts for kids (gift card not redeemable at Farmer’s Market). Be sure to stroll around the center to see the creative boutiques and designer showrooms at this location.

Pueblo tapas and scallops in Costa Mesa

 

Memorial Day weekend also brings the Scottish Festival to Costa Mesa at OC Fair & Event Center on Saturday, May 26 and Sunday, May 27. Whether or not you’re of Scottish heritage, the Highland Games are a great form of entertainment and showmanship. Spend the day outside enjoying traditional food and music while experiencing this annual Southern California event.

Scottish Fest and Highland Games Costa Mesa

Costa Mesa dining, shopping and attractions are all within minutes of each other so it’s easy to head back to SOCO and The OC Mix anytime throughout the weekend to try the exceptional brew at Portola Coffee, sample the Kombucha sodas from Farm & Culture Co., or pick up a sweet treat at ST Patisserie Chocolat.

Kombucha Farm and Culture SOCO and The OC Mix Costa mesa

In the City of the Arts™, you won’t want to miss the experiential Costa Mesa Art Walk around Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Sculptures can be found in a hotel, concert hall, along pathways throughout the performing arts complex, and at South Coast Plaza – one of the largest shopping centers in California with hundreds of retailers, unique boutiques, designer retailers and restaurants.

Art Walk Costa Mesa Samueli Theater

Getting to Costa Mesa is easy being just 90 minutes north of San Diego, one hour south of Los Angeles and an hour flight by air from San Francisco, Phoenix and Las Vegas into John Wayne Airport, Orange County.

 

See you soon!

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Posted in Events, Food, Hotels, Locals, Misc, Music & Art, Play

50 Years of Fashion and Firsts at South Coast Plaza

Posted on March 23, 2017 | 3:07pm


For 50 years, visitors have arrived in Costa Mesa from neighborhoods around the corner, and from countries around the world. They come to shop at South Coast Plaza, one of the premier shopping destinations in the United States, celebrating its 50-year anniversary in 2017. In its early days, the center was anchored by May Company and Sears and opened the first Nordstrom outside the Pacific Northwest. Within the first 10 years, designer boutiques Courrèges and Halston opened. Most recently Les Parfumes Louis Vuitton and Dior Homme have joined the expansive shopping experience, continuing the legacy of being on the forefront of fashion.

Henry Segerstrom South Coast Plaza Costa Mesa 50 years Read More

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Posted in Events, Food, Locals, Misc

4 Things to Do on Presidents’ Day Weekend in Costa Mesa

Posted on February 17, 2017 | 2:46pm

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.

 

1. “Batman” Bread at Shuck Oyster Bar

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.

Lyon Air Museum

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.

The Triangle

 

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.

Heroes Hall Museum Costa Mesa copy

Check out even more holiday weekend deals and events happening in Costa Mesa!

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Posted in Events, Food, Locals, Misc, Play