• About
  • News
  • MAPS
  • Calendar & Events

Travel Costa Mesa Blog

Posts Tagged ‘food’

Our Best Tips and Tricks for The OC Fair

Posted on July 19, 2024 | 3:31pm

Once a year, Costa Mesa’s summer sun brings a special attraction where everyone can come together for a good time. The foodies and thrill seekers can find their latest adventure, the shoppers and artists can find new inspiration, and families, couples, or solo-riders can experience sights, sounds, and laughter they’ll remember all season.

Grab your sunscreen and your appetite: it’s time for the OC Fair.

Know Before You Go

From Friday, July 19th to Sunday, August 18th (closed on Mondays and Tuesdays), the OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa will be transformed into a fun-packed festival to fill up your summer days. We’ve pulled together our best tips, tricks, and insider information to help you have the best time ever at the fair this year.


  • Purchase tickets in advance. Limited daily capacity makes for a better experience for fairgoers.
  • Don’t wait until the end of the season thinking you’ll beat the crowd—the last several days of the fair often sell out.

How to Beat the Crowd

  • Rideshare is the way to go! It’s quicker and less stress than circling for a parking spot. That means more time to enjoy the fair.
  • If you do want to avoid the crowds, come to the fair early! It opens at 11am. Grab a breakfast burrito, fresh-baked cinnamon roll, or acai bowl as you sip your morning coffee and congratulate yourself on making it in before anyone else.
  • Better yet—turn it into an overnight stay. Stay at the Best Western Plus and walk to the fair. OC Hotel Costa Mesa or Holiday Inn Express & Suites Costa Mesa are a short Uber ride away from the Fair—or a longer walk for ambitious fairgoers. Hotels often sell out during the Fair, so book early. View all of Costa Mesa’s best hotels here.


    Tips to Save Some $$$

  • Tickets to performances at the Pacific Amphitheatre, The Hangar, and Action Sports Arena all include same-day entry. Visit The Hangar for tribute bands and singalong to Elton John, Prince, or Queen for a bargain, with fair admission included.

  • All exhibits are free with Fair admission, including blue-ribbon winning cake decorations, woodworking and fine arts, and The Art of Music Experience. (More on that below!)

  • New this year: $5 Taste of the Fair. Available daily, until 4pm, try smaller portions of fare favorites with a smaller price tag.


    Did You Know That…?

  • OC Fair is a celebration of Orange County’s agricultural heritage. From cattle to lima beans, agriculture was a driving force in the development of Orange County, and the Fair is a rare moment where we can get closer to our food production. Visit the Fair’s Centennial Farm, a year-round working farm, to meet animal educators, get up close and personal with exotic animals and barnyard favorites at the petting zoo, and cheer the pigs at the All-Alaskan Pig Races!


  • The Fair welcomes Out at the Fair on Sunday, August 11th, for a celebration of diversity and inclusiveness. Out at the Fair describes themselves as a “community-focused event designed to bring people together and promote a message of acceptance and love.” Out at the Fair curates a full day of entertainment at The Hangar with musicians, dancers, and performers.


  • The Art of Music Experience returns for the second year. View iconic art from your favorite albums, large-scale and hand painted. The experience includes pop-ups, like a vinyl shop, coffee lounge, themed bar, and live-painting demonstrations.


Remember: get your tickets in advance, go early, and carpool or rideshare. What are you looking forward to the most? See you at the Fair!

Comments Off on Our Best Tips and Tricks for The OC Fair

Posted in Events, Food, Misc, Play

The Ultimate Summer Destination for SoCal Travelers

Posted on July 2, 2024 | 12:13pm

If you’re looking for the ultimate location to plan a Southern California vacation, then Costa Mesa is the place to be! It’s the perfect home base if you want to explore Disneyland, Hollywood, and beyond. Experience our incredible dining options, shopping destinations, and exciting summer events —all in one trip.

The Perfect Location

Costa Mesa is located right in the middle of Southern California, which makes it super easy to hit up all your summer bucket list destinations.

  • Disneyland, 15 miles
  • Knott’s Berry Farm, 17 miles
  • Downtown Los Angeles, 40 miles
  • Hollywood, 45 miles
  • Angel’s Stadium, 15 miles
  • Aquarium of the Pacific, 29 miles
  • San Diego, 87 miles
  • Plus, if you’re all about spending as much time as you can at the beach, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, and Huntington Beach are all just a short drive away and we have plenty of beach-close hotels to choose from.

    Foodie Paradise

    Costa Mesa is the most flavorful destination in Southern California! With the only 2 Michelin Starred restaurants in Orange County plus 6 Michelin Recognized spots,  it’s truly the perfect city to take an Eatcation®. Whether you’re craving artisan coffee, gourmet burgers, or exotic eats, our city has it all. Dive into our insane variety of restaurants and discover new flavors!

    Boutique Bliss

    Did you know the largest shopping center on the West Coast is located in Costa Mesa?

    Experience designer shopping at South Coast Plaza where you can explore over 200 boutiques including a massive two-story Gucci store and the largest Balenciaga boutique in the Americas. But, if you are more into local finds, Costa Mesa has plenty of unique boutiques. Some of our favorites can be found at The LAB and The CAMP.

    After Dark Adventures

    The fun never ends in Costa Mesa. The nightlife here is lit with cool bars, craft breweries, and plenty of locations to enjoy live music. Whether you’re into dancing, enjoying craft cocktails, or catching a live band, Costa Mesa has you covered. We recommend visiting Mercado Gonzalez, a massive Mexican food hall offering a full cocktail bar and live mariachi music, or newly opened, Westwood Coast for country vibes and line dancing.

    Events and Concerts

    If you’re in town for the summer then you have to hit up the OC Fair which runs from July 19 – August 18th! It’s one of the top ten largest fairs in the U.S. and has no shortage of rides, carnival games, animals, arts and crafts, beer, food, and live music. Bonus tip: attend a concert at Pacific Amphitheater and get free fair admission. This year’s lineup includes UB40, Stray Cats, Big Time Rush and so many more, check out the full list.  

    Arts and Culture

    Explore the artsy side of Costa Mesa at Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA). Don’t miss the chance to walk through their new Yves Saint Laurent: Line and Expression exhibit. For the first time in the United States, you can explore the designer’s groundbreaking work from the 1960s until 2002, his last show. Admission is FREE!

    Segerstrom Center for the Arts is another great choice if you are looking to catch a Broadway show like Clue and Peter Pan.  This summer, they’re also hosting free events like outdoor movies and dance classes—perfect for making the most of your summer nights!

    Get Ready for an Unforgettable Summer

    So what are you waiting for? Drop this blog in the group chat, book your hotel stay, and get ready to experience the best SoCal vacation you’ve ever had. We can’t wait to see you here!

    Comments Off on The Ultimate Summer Destination for SoCal Travelers

    Posted in Events, Food, Hotels, Music & Art, Play, Shopping, Travel

    5 Fun Spots for St. Patrick’s Day in Costa Mesa

    Posted on March 8, 2024 | 12:21pm

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day! While the history of March 17 is mostly forgotten, in today’s day and age it’s known as a night to go out with friends and enjoy some green beer and maybe even wear a bowler hat. You don’t need the luck of the Irish to find a great spot for happy hour, drinks or St. Patrick’s Day fun in Costa Mesa – that’s what we’re here for!

    Read More

    Comments Off on 5 Fun Spots for St. Patrick’s Day in Costa Mesa

    Posted in Events

    Sustainable Eats in Costa Mesa

    Posted on May 25, 2023 | 11:10am

    famers market orange county

    Come find where the love of sustainability and slow living meets great eats. Many of our Costa Mesa restaurants prioritize supporting local and ethical food sourcing along with sustainable and limited food waste in their kitchens. This adds up to a dining experience that combines phenomenal taste with the support of our environment.

    Six Sustainably Focused Restaurants

    Outpost Kitchen: The gourmet coffee and organic food experience is reminiscent of his Australian hometown. From local, organic, fresh produce, delicious creations are made. The Avocado Toast is a good example; more than just toast and avocado, it includes Pappadew pesto, feta cheese, Asian greens and olive oil – and you can add a poached egg to put it over the top. 

    Fermentation Farm: Focused on creating health from the gut out. “Healthy Gut = Healthy Life,” with probiotic-rich and restorative foods. Enjoy fermented drinks like kombucha, plus brewed sodas, organic bone broth, plus yogurts, kefir, soups and more.

    Mother’s Organic Kitchen: Bringing wellness to SoCal since 1978. Beyond the market, where you can get fresh juice and smoothies, you can shop in the market filled with 100% organic products and groceries.

    Veg’d: Giving a whole new meaning to fast food. A 100% plant-based menu where even the patties are made without preservatives.

    Seabirds Kitchen: This vegan restaurant offers creative and flavorful dishes using fresh, organic ingredients. HINT: Try the Beer Battered Avocado Tacos

    The Plot: Coming late summer 2023. Restaurateurs Devin and Jessica Waite are bringing exciting plant-forward eating to OC with the opening of their second location of The Plot at The CAMP. The Plot’s menu features creative and sustainable plant-based dishes with a zero-waste ethos business model. They say their mission is to make plant-based food irresistible and to give back more than they take.

    Want to expand your sustainability support in Costa Mesa beyond restaurants? Explore these 10 ways that you can take your commitment to the environment to the next level.

    Comments Off on Sustainable Eats in Costa Mesa

    Posted in Food

    Cool Drinks to Sip this Summer

    Posted on May 24, 2023 | 1:40pm

    Things are heating up in Costa Mesa this summer and there’s nothing better than cooling off with a delicious cocktail! We’ve picked a few of the hottest places in town to get a cold libation.

    1. Silver Trumpet – Located in the Theater & Arts District, the mixologists at Silver Trumpet weave the taste of art into everything they make. HINT: Try the Summer Sounds Sangria.
    2. SOCIAL Restaurant & Bar – This upscale bar offers craft cocktails with fresh, unique ingredients.
    3. Playa Mesa – This Mexican restaurant offers a variety of margaritas and other tequila-based cocktails.
      playa mesa drinks
    4. Habana – This Michelin Guide Cuban restaurant at The LAB offers a variety of mojitos and other rum-based cocktails.
    5. Portola Coffee Roasters – This artisanal coffee shop offers some of the best coffee in Orange County, as well as refreshing iced coffee and cold brew options.

    Comments Off on Cool Drinks to Sip this Summer

    Posted in Food