• About
  • News
  • MAPS
  • Calendar & Events

Travel Costa Mesa Blog

Posts Tagged ‘holiday events’

2024 Lunar New Year: Embrace the Year of the Dragon in Costa Mesa 

Posted on February 5, 2024 | 5:28pm

Lunar New Year is nearly here, and Costa Mesa is one of the best places to spend it. From dining to unique experiences, the city is brimming with ways to join in the festivities and welcome in the Year of the Dragon. 

About Lunar New Year

Lunar New Year is a celebration of the arrival of spring and the beginning of the new year on the lunisolar calendar. It is one of the most important holidays in China, and it is also widely celebrated by other cultures. It is a fifteen-day celebration marked by many traditions in the home, auspicious wishes, shopping and spending time with family. The fifteenth and final day of the holiday is celebrated as the Lantern Festival, marked to end the celebration. Lunar New Year is part of a larger cycle, moving through the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac, bringing us out of the year of the rabbit into the year of the dragon. The only mythological creature of the Chinese zodiac, the dragon symbolizes good luck, strength, and power. 

In 2024, Costa Mesa will kick off with several celebrations and special events on the weekend of February 9–11th, providing cultural experiences that will entertain, educate, and allow you to explore with family and friends. But it doesn’t end there—many places will have ongoing opportunities to celebrate throughout the month.

The Lunar New Year Experience at South Coast Plaza

Shop, Dine, and Celebrate

South Coast Plaza eateries will feature unique menu options, special offers, and activities to immerse you in the festive spirit of the Lunar New Year. Expect thematic decor, special shopping deals, and events throughout the month. Be sure to visit Jewel Court for a themed year of the dragon installation.

South Coast Plaza Lunar New Year Flavors

Paradise Dynasty 

Paradise Dynasty will offer six specialty dishes designed by their chef, including Singapore-style stir-fried black pepper lobster, steamed Chilean sea bass, braised pork, Paradise salted duck, and Dynasty sticky rice. Specialty dishes are available through March 31st. Hot Tip: If you arrive for the Lunar New Year, you will receive a lucky red envelope with a certificate for 20% off a future visit.

Afternoon Tea at Knife Pleat

This Michelin-starred restaurant is adding Lunar New Year-inspired additions to its Saturday afternoon tea service on February 10th, 17th, and 24th. Some of the unique items will include mini mooncakes, black sesame balls with mandarin filling, and chocolate gold coins. Hot Tip: For something stronger try their commemorative year of the dragon cocktail.

Lucky Dishes at Din Tai Fung

Known for its xiao long bao (soup dumplings), Din Tai Fung is a great stop for the whole family, where they will be serving up lucky Lunar New Year dishes. Adding to the luck, every guest will receive a red envelope with a surprise inside. Hot Tip: Arrive early to put in your name then explore South Coast Plaza while you await your call back. 

For Sweet Temptations

Laderach, Sugarfina, and See’s Candies will all feature limited-run Lunar New Year sweets. All make great gifts to take home to share the Lunar New Year cheer with friends and family.

More Year of the Dragon Specials

  • Terrace by Mix Mix: Offering a three-course prix fixe menu with Asian fusion flavors throughout February. Featuring shrimp spring roll lettuce wraps, glazed duck breast, and coconut panna cotta.
  • AnQi: Featuring a prix fixe Good Luck Menu February 10–11th, either as six courses or à la carte. Dig into crispy quail, Wagyu “pop tarts,” shrimp and lobster money bags, and more.
  • Water Grill: An immersive experience with festive decor, symbolic à la carte dishes, and garlic noodles (for luck and a long, joyous life). Ongoing from February 8–24th.

Lunar New Year Cultural Events

Pacific Symphony Lunar Year at Segerstrom Center for the Arts

Saturday, February 10th


Experience a celebration of communities coming together with performances of Eastern and Western music and dance at Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. A total of more than 200 performers will showcase their talents, including distinguished soloist Fei-Fei Dong performing Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy. Other performers of note include:

  • Acclaimed pipa player Yu Liu
  • Zither player Brian Bùi
  • Pacific Choral
  • The American Feel-Young Chorus
  • Armonia Singers
  • The Ya Ya Dance Academy 
  • Wendy Hua’s Violin Studio at Orange County Music and Dance

Tết Festival at OC Fair & Event Center

February 9th–11th

Hours vary by day

Experience the largest Vietnamese Lunar New Year Festival at the OC Fair & Event Center from February 9th through the 11th. This family-friendly celebration offers a memorable experience where you can merge fun and education, learning about Vietnamese culture in the best ways possible—through delectable food, traditional performances, and cultural exhibitions. General admission is $8, and children 2 years old and under get in for free. 

Event parking is $12.

OC Lantern Festival at Segerstrom Center for the Arts

Saturday, March 2nd


At the tail end of the Lunar New Year celebrations on March 2nd is the OC Lantern Festival held at Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Free for the whole family, the event marks the end of the Lunar New Year season. Be dazzled by a lobby transformed with floating lanterns and the dive into the array of events, including music, dance, art making, food, riddles, and more. Then, it all culminates with a thrilling dragon dance held in the plaza!

Shen Yun at Segerstrom Center for the Arts

March 13th–17th

If the Lunar New Year celebrations have sparked your interest in learning more about the vibrant cultures across the continent of Asia, a performance of Shen Yun is a must see. This performance explores China’s rich 5000-year history through inspiring performances of classical Chinese dance and music with stunning costumes and backdrops. 

Stay the Night to Continue the Celebration

With Lunar New Year celebrations lasting fifteen days it’s a beautiful time of the year to extend your stay to experience everything this holiday has to offer. Start the Year of the Dragon with comfort and extensive amenities when you book an overnight stay at one of our eleven Costa Mesa hotels.

Comments Off on 2024 Lunar New Year: Embrace the Year of the Dragon in Costa Mesa 

Posted in Events

Holiday Events This November and December in Orange County

Posted on October 29, 2021 | 4:00pm

What if the holidays were exciting again? With theme parks, live theatre and more, the holidays are back in Orange County! Want to stay in the center of it all? Costa Mesa’s location makes an ideal home base for all the exciting holiday events happening in Orange County this year. Check out our holiday hotel deals for great packages and prices!

South Coast Plaza Tree Lighting

November 18

The annual South Coast Plaza Tree Lighting begins with a performance by the Orange County School for the Performing Arts with special guest Matthew Morrison. The celebration includes snow and an appearance by Santa! Then, watch as the 90-foot tree sparkles with nearly 100,000 lights. The event is free.

Winter Fest Presents Night of Lights OC at OC Fair & Event Center

November 26 – January 2

Winter Fest returns as Night of Lights OC, a drive-thru winter wonderland experience. The interactive drive-thru features over one million lights, tree lighting, holiday characters and an appearance by Santa. It’s a fun event for the whole family (pets are not permitted). You can even pre-order holiday treats to enjoy in your car through the drive. Night of Lights OC does include fog, haze and strobe light effects.

Photo by Doug Gifford

The Nutcracker at Segerstrom Center for the Arts

December 10 – 19

American Ballet Theatre’s exciting production of The Nutcracker returns to Orange County! Follow Clara and the Nutcracker Prince along a journey with toy soldiers, mischievous mice, snowflakes and a dazzling Christmas tree. Pacific Symphony performs Tchaikovsky’s enchanting score. A holiday treat for the whole family!

Photo courtesy of Disneyland Resort

Holidays at the Disneyland Resort

November 12 – January 9

Holidays at the Disneyland Resort return this year! See both Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure decorated for the holiday season. Both parks have a variety of holiday events and decorations. Enjoy the Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure Park, a celebration of multicultural music, food and traditions. Try tasty bites and spirits from diverse cultures and celebrations too. Rides getting a holiday makeover such as Mater’s Jingle Jamboree and Luigi’s Joy to the Whirl. Watch the tree lighting on Buena Vista Street and visit Santa at Redwood Creek Challenge Trail. At Disneyland Park, see the Wintertime Enchantment of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, the “it’s a small world” Holiday Lighting and the Haunted Mansion Holiday. “Believe…In Holiday Magic” fireworks display lights up the sky on select nights!

Photo courtesy of Sawdust Art Festival

Winter Fantasy at Sawdust Art Festival

November 20 – December 19

Visit the famous Sawdust Art Festival in Laguna Beach for Winter Fantasy. The holiday art festival features a wonderland of lights, decorations and falling snow! Shop handcrafted items from 150 makers and artists, take festival holiday classes with hands-on demonstrations and visit with Santa. There are also three stages of live entertainment from carolers, puppeteers, community performances and music. Winter Fantasy is open on Saturdays and Sundays, plus Black Friday, from 10 am to 7pm. 

Photo courtesy of Mission San Juan Capistrano

Capistrano Lights at Mission San Juan Capistrano

December 4 – December 30

Visit Mission San Juan Capistrano on select days in December for Capistrano Lights, an evening of holiday festivities. The evening includes a tree lighting of the Mission’s 30-foot tree, Dickensian carolers, surprise performers and photo opportunities under the 10-foot wreath and with Santa. The Serra Chapel will also be open after hours, along with the Mission Store and vendors with sweet treats and kids crafts. Tickets include daytime admission to Mission San Juan Capistrano, with multi-language audio tour, and holiday programming from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

Please visit individual venue websites for COVID-19 safety requirements.

Comments Off on Holiday Events This November and December in Orange County

Posted in Events, Play

Holiday Events in Orange County

Posted on November 1, 2017 | 3:22pm

Celebrate the Season with Holiday Events around Orange County

ABT's The Nutcracker Snowflakes photo by Gene Schiavone


Have you already filled your calendar with holiday events? Or does the word ‘holiday’ make you cringe and you can’t believe it’s that time of year again? So often the holidays are hectic, even stressful, and the thought of preparing a feast for a dozen people (or more) may be a bit daunting. If kids are involved, they will likely be out of school for a few weeks and looking for holiday events to keep busy? No matter what your mindset this time of year, the signs are everywhere…the holidays are upon us!


To help you plan for an enjoyable holiday season, whether it be with extended family, friends or just your immediate group of close pals, Costa Mesa has a lineup of holiday events and dining experiences to help you make the best of America’s biggest feasting holidays, along with activities and entertainment to get you in the holiday spirit. And, it’s easy to get to Costa Mesa by car, plane or train.


Argyros Plaza in Costa Mesa


Take a Break and a Weekend Escape

We’re not suggesting you skip out on the holidays, unless you want to, but with a few school and work holidays here and there, why not take a break from the norm and get away for a few days this holiday season? Costa Mesa has some of the best shopping in the world at South Coast Plaza. With 250 stores ranging from designer boutiques to department stores, it’s the perfect place to cross a few things off your list. Or, treat yourself to a little something, because we all deserve to indulge in ourselves once in a while. With a full calendar of holiday events scheduled at Segerstrom Center for the Arts, its the perfect time to experience all that Costa Mesa and The City of the Arts™ has to offer.


marriott pool costa mesa

Costa Mesa’s wide variety of hotel brands including Westin, Hilton, Holiday Inn and Marriott are ready to welcome you with special Costa Mesa hotel deals.


Something Rotten at Segerstrom Center for the Arts Costa Mesa


Tango Party on the Plaza and Broadway Season Begins November 7

With the recent opening of the Julianne and George Argyros Plaza at Segerstrom Center for the Arts, there are activities and entertainment most every night of the week in Orange County’s theater district. Kicking off the Broadway Season, Something Rotten! begins a two-week run on November 7. Pre-show activities will take place beginning at 6:30 p.m. and are free to the community, as well as theatergoers. Experience Center 360 Café and enjoy activities like free Tango Lessons and lively theatrical performances on The Argyros Plaza from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. A full schedule of pre-show and theater performances at Segerstrom Center for the Arts is now available, including Journey to Oz, The Nutcracker and Mannheim Steamroller.





The annual Sugar Plum Arts & Craft Festival returns to Costa Mesa November 9 through 11. This is a great place to start shopping for holiday decorations and unique gifts for friends and family. Kick off a long weekend in Costa Mesa browsing hundreds of holiday-themed booths at OC Fair & Event Center!

ARTventure, November 10 and 11

A two-day juried exhibition of art, ARTventure, makes its third annual appearance at Design Within Reach at SOCO and The OC Mix in Costa Mesa. ARTventure is a fusion of the arts and entertainment, showcasing the work of local Orange County artists. ARTVenture brings true meaning to the reason Costa Mesa is the “City of the Arts.” The artwork will be displayed in a state-of-the-art showroom and will be paired with live entertainment in musical, theatrical, literary and culinary form. Participants in this event include Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Bistro Papillote, Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop, Costa Mesa Ceramics, Chuck Jones Center for Creativity, Farrow and Ball and Inspired Art & Wine.


Whether you’re an artist yourself or a patron of the arts, all creative minds are welcome. This two-day event makes for a great opportunity to stay and play in Costa Mesa for the long Veterans Day weekend. A special discount for ARTventure attendees is available through the Hilton Costa Mesa. Or stay two-nights and receive $100 certificate to shop at South Coast Plaza.



Veterans Day image

Salute to our Veterans: Veterans Day, November 11


The 2nd Annual Center Salutes our Veterans will take place in the new Julianne and George Argyros Plaza at Segerstrom Center for the Arts beginning at 10:45 a.m. A presentation of colors and the National Anthem will kick of the family celebration, at 10:45 a.m. Then, the community is invited to help create care packages for active military, while listening to the sounds LA Muses, The Fresh Rhythm, Patriot Band Ensemble and listen to stories from veterans. Food and drinks are available onsite at the new Center 360 Café and the event goes until 2 p.m.



A free family event to honor the veterans and heroes is scheduled to take place at Heroes Hall at OC Fair & Event Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on November 11. Visitors can explore a Vietnam-era helicopter; military vehicles and more than 70 exhibit booths. A complimentary lunch for all attendees is included along with entertainment such as military reenactments, the Swing Cats band with swing dancers and the Pacific Symphony Brass Quintet and more. Get the kids involved on this important holiday with a special postcard project and donating goods for a food drive. Heroes Hall is also featuring a new exhibit titled ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom’ by Kimberly Millett.




To start the celebration of the 2017 holiday season, South Coast Plaza will light its 96-foot fir tree at Town Center Park (across from The Westin South Coast Plaza) at 6:30 p.m. on November 16. Enjoy a musical performance by Orange County’s School of the Arts, a visit with Santa and refreshments. Stay through the weekend and take in a Broadway show at Segerstrom Center for the Arts, enjoy dinner at nearby uber-hot Spanish restaurant Vaca by “Top Chef” alum Amar Santana, and enjoy pre-show entertainment in the arts plaza.


Holiday Performances and Snowfall on The Argyros Plaza

A month-long performance of A Christmas Carol begins the Friday after Thanksgiving, November 24, at South Coast Repertory. A week later, a magical Nutcracker comes alive inside Segerstrom Hall, and forecasters are predicting snow on The Argyros Plaza as the sights and sounds of holiday traditions come to Segerstrom Center for the Arts in a Holidays Around the World celebration from December 7 – 17.

Costa Mesa holiday home


Costa Mesa Home Tour

The 4th Annual Costa Mesa Home Tour takes place on Thursday, December 7 from 3-7 p.m. Guests on the tour will visit homes throughout Costa Mesa that are decorated for the holidays by some of the top Orange County designers. Following the tour, enjoy a reception with musical performances and holiday shopping at Pottery Barn in South Coast Plaza. Tickets for this annual event help support Arts & Science education and Heroes Hall, Orange County’s only veterans museum.

Veterans, military families, first responders & teachers can buy one ticket and receive an additional ticket at no cost.


The Westin South Coast Plaza Tree Lighting


Reindeer Sightings and Visits with Santa

All during this time, California’s largest shopping destination, South Coast Plaza, transforms into a winter wonderland to embrace the avid holiday shoppers and enhance the experience for visitors. Children will love the opportunity to ride a reindeer on the holiday carousel; visit Santa’s Workshop and capture some photos with the beautiful wintery backdrop of mountains and snow created inside South Coast Plaza.


Spend a few days in Costa Mesa and make lasting holiday memories. See the full calendar of events with entertainment for couples, friends and families.

Comments Off on Holiday Events in Orange County

Posted in Misc