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Itineraries We Created for You

Singles Itinerary

 

Singles Day 1:

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Afternoon: You’ve arrived. Check into your hotel and get ready for a fun-filled few days in Costa Mesa, known as the City of the Arts™.

Take a trip to SoCo Collection and The OC Mix. The complex is home to locally owned boutiques and award-winning eateries, a perfect spot for the ultimate retail experience. Browse through one of the many unique retailers that offer a one-of-a-kind experience. Grab a cup of freshly made coffee at Portola Coffee, whose extraordinary care for details ensures you’ll taste the earthen aromas of coffee. Exceptional boutiques include Alexander Gray, which is an outpost selling chic eyewear with distinctive designs from innovative and independent eyewear brands nationwide. The boutique offers a collection of stylish shades you won’t find anywhere else in Orange County.

While you’re there, enjoy dinner at ARC, an American eatery, whose wood-burning oven will make you come back for more smoke-imbued dishes and where the focus is on classic dishes, using freshly farmed and vibrant ingredients. Much of the dishes are crafted over an open fire with a focus on simplicity. The executive chef Noah Blom, who has worked at Michelin-starred Daniel in New York, was named “Chef of the Year” after ARC’s opening by the Orange County Register. Or sample a bit of Spain. Inspired by the scores of tapas in Barcelona, Pueblo is set in a hipster place that serves fresh and vibrant Spanish small bites. The Spanish-centric theme means you’ll taste everything from crisp potatoes to seared prawns to crisp squid.

Evening: Head to one of the evening venues in The Triangle, the dining and entertainment complex just one mile from the Pacific Ocean. Time Nightclub offers the most luxurious nightclub experience in Orange County. Time redefines nightlife by presenting some of the world’s top DJs and entertainment — everything from dance to hip-hop to electronica — situated in an energetic and modern ambience, using state-of-the-art audio and visual elements. Indeed, Time is so attractive that scores of upscale partygoers and celebrities at times from all over Southern California gather to dance to the tunes of pulsating music.  Or peruse through happy hour at Silver Trumpet Restaurant and Bar, whose specially prepared cocktails amid a purple-hued lounge-like atmosphere will make you come back for more. For late nights try Mesa, which often has DJs and live music. With an edgy look, eclectic crowd and freshly prepared food, this lounge-like venue features small plates everything from roasted beet salad to grilled Angus steak to mushroom and leek pizza, as well as creative cocktails. There are also savory appetizers like tempura green beans and flash fried calamari that you can try up until the late evening.

Singles Day 2:

Morning: Start your day with made-from-scratch perfectly crafted baked goods like scones, muffins, croissants and pastries for breakfast at Blackmarket Bakery, located at The CAMP. Don’t forget to browse around The CAMP, the first-known environmentally sensitive retail campus in the United States. It offers customers a nontraditional retail community in a casual and lively atmosphere. All of the stores here are health conscious or fitness related, with a strong emphasis on an active lifestyle. “Green” is everywhere, from the native vegetation to the progressive retailers offering their organic wares.

Next up is the center of gravity of Costa Mesa’s shopping: South Coast Plaza, a world-renowned retail destination, offering more than 250 stores and restaurants. It has one of the world’s highest concentrations of luxury boutiques under one roof— everything from the high French fashions of Chanel and Hermes to the Italian boutiques of Bottega Venetta and Prada. The shopping destination rivals Fifth Avenue in New York and Bond Street in London, as well as Ginza in Tokyo and Avenue Montaigne in Paris. At South Coast Plaza, which is within walking distance to several Costa Mesa hotels, you get to shop indoors with easy access to valet and free parking. This shopping destination also offers foreign language assistance in more than 40 languages, currency exchange, complimentary Wi-Fi, personal shopping services and concierge assistance to make your experience extra special. South Coast Plaza also offers a range of moderately priced stores like Forever 21 and Guess.

After shopping, take a stop for lunch at South Coast Plaza’s AnQi, serving a unique twist on California Asian cuisine with an emphasis on Vietnamese herbs and spices. The An Family of Crustacean in Beverly Hills brings their fashion-forward dining concept to Orange County, presenting food in a stunning architecturally designed contemporary space that’s Vietnamese in tone. Much of the dishes are designed by master chef Helene An, whose modern take on Asian cuisine has won her fame.

Afternoon: Explore famous art around the City of the Arts™. Take a stroll in Segerstrom Center for the Arts’ campus, renowned for its collection of artwork from such luminaries like Richard Serra, whose 360-ton sculpture “Connector” consists of five twisted winding steel plates; Joan Miro, who made an alluring cast bronze “Oiseau” in an unorthodox order; and Henry Moore, whose “Reclining Figure” sits at the end of Town Center Drive on the orchestra-level terrace of Segerstrom Hall. The public display of art ranks among the finest collections of outdoor art and sculpture in the United States.

You may also take a free docent-led tour of Segerstrom Center for the Arts. You can get behind-the-scenes descriptions of how the center was built and is a staging ground for some of the most famous productions in the world. For availability, reservations or more information, see Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

Finally, after browsing through Segerstrom Center for the Arts, take a walk across the street to visit the 1.6-acre Noguchi Garden, hidden between tall buildings and generally recognized as among the country’s preeminent sculpture gardens. The garden was designed by world-famous Japanese-American sculptor and designer Isamu Noguchi. It is elegantly simple or minimalist — what you would say Zen-like — in design intended to represent the various geographical areas of California, using indigenous plants and materials.

Evening: Before you catch a show at Segerstrom Center for the Arts, among the best art centers in the United States, enjoy dinner at one of the remarkable restaurants within walking distance. Experience Vaca, a true Spanish eatery whose chef Amar Santana has competed on Bravo TV’s award-winning “Top Chef” series. Vaca blends the cuisines of Barcelona, Madrid, Andalusía, Seville and the Basque country. From the best grass-fed Argentinian beef to genuine Kobe beef flown in daily, Vaca offers superior tasting meats, as well as tapas whose ingredients are mostly sourced directly from Spain. There are plenty of Broadway-caliber shows to see at Segerstrom Center for the Arts, including many of those that have won Tony Awards®. Some of them include “If/Then,” “42nd Street” and “Phantom of the Opera.” Once you’ve completed seeing the show, gaze at the illuminating Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall at night. The light-encased hall, bathed in a turquoise illumination, was designed by Cesar Pelli, who’s one of the top-10 most influential living architects in the United States, according to American Institute of Architects. The hall is a splendid facility featuring an acre-long glass façade in the shape of a serpentine wave, encapsulating a silver-leafed lobby ceiling. The glow of the hall, powered in part by Swarovski crystal LED lighting and 300 individually suspended pendants of polished stainless steel tipped with Baccarat crystal globes, is situated against the darkness of sky, a truly spectacular scene.

Singles Day 3:

Morning: Wake up and peruse through 17th Street, whose homegrown eateries and boutiques make the experience worthwhile. You can try everything from the just-made baked goodies of Sidecar Doughnuts & Coffee, which serves specialty handmade doughnuts like “Salty Caramel,” made with Jacobsen sea salt and topped with house-made caramel glaze; “Choc A Lot,” which is a signature raised chocolate ring topped with Callebaut chocolate glaze and cocoa nibs; and “Madagascar Vanilla Twist,” which is a classic raised twist with vanilla bean glaze. All doughnuts come from real ingredients like infused glazes, hand-crushed compotes, flavored custards and creams and even homemade piecrust.

Afternoon: Enjoy lunch at Mi Casa Mexican Restaurant & Bar, which has been serving customers for more than 30 years the finest Mexican food. Try the shredded beef taco whose lettuce and cheese filling overflows from the crackling and crisp shell. There are also the grilled Mahi tacos bathed in tropical salsa. The atmosphere is laid-back and infused with rustic redbrick accents, weathered chairs and dark wood.

After lunch, visit The OC Fair & Event Center, which is at the heart of Costa Mesa’s vibrant year-round activities calendar, attracting more than 2 million visitors annually. Listings of events vary by season, so check out the events at The OC Fair & Event Center. Events range from the Food Truck Fare, which brings a variety of gourmet food, to the Orange County Market Place, which is the most unique swap meet in the United States celebrating food, fun and the entrepreneurial spirit.

The annual summer OC Fair, which typically runs from July to August, is one of the nation’s 10 largest, attracting more than one million visitors. The Fair has mouthwatering food, topsy-turvy rides and over-the-top exhibits. Ride local favorites like Goliath Slide or the Aerial Tram, giving you a bird’s eye view of the fairgrounds. The Le Grande Wheel is the largest Ferris wheel this side of the Mississippi. For authentic fair cuisine, there are deep-fried Twinkies, bacon-wrapped pickles, hot dogs wrapped inside waffles and even beer-battered nacho cheese Doritos.

The Pacific Amphitheatre is an outdoor concert venue that presents some of the top lineups in California. It has hosted nationally famous performers like Adam Lambert and Gabriel Iglesias, as well as superstars Juanes and Selena Gomez. The Pacific Amphitheatre Summer Concert Series draws people from all over SoCal.

 

Couples Itinerary

 

Couples Day 1:

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Afternoon: You and your partner have arrived at Orange County’s cultural epicenter: Costa Mesa. Get ready to have some fun here, and experience the best in fashion, dining and art, which are unparalleled in the rest of Orange County.

Visit South Coast Collection (SOCO), where The OC Mix is located. SOCO is home to designers, locally owned boutiques and award-winning culinary spots, a perfect spot for one-of-a-kind retail experience found nowhere else in Orange County. Browse through one of the many unique retailers like PIRCH, whose showroom of kitchen, bath and outdoor appliances set the gold standard using impeccable craftsmanship. Roche Bobois, a French company, is another world leader in furniture design. You can see works from renowned designers like Ora Ito, Stephen Burks and Cedric Ragot. Roche Bobois works closely with Haute Couture fashion houses such as Jean Paul Gaultier, Sonia Rykiel Maison and Missoni Home. All the designs — from items varying from dining chairs and beds to sofas and sideboards — are custom manufactured in small European workshops. While at SOCO, try the award-winning desserts at ST Patisserie Chocolat, such as eclairs, bonbons and macarons. This pastry shop brings out the highest fashion in Parisian desserts, using only the finest ingredients. It was founded by Stephane Treand, one of four people in the United States with the prestigious title of Un des Meilleurs Ouvriers de France, which is given to artists and chefs by the French labor ministry in Paris.

Are you hungry after a long afternoon of shopping and walking? Try Taco Maria at SOCO, which serves a critically acclaimed take on contemporary California-Mexican cuisine and offers a menu full of delicious options from a James Beard Award-nominated chef, Carlos Salgado. The chef has worked for some of the most innovative and acclaimed restaurants in Northern California and was named Food & Wine Magazine’s Best New Chef. The Los Angeles Times has ranked Taco Maria one of the best restaurants overall in Southern California thanks to an innovative approach to high-quality cooking. End your night at LCA Wines, which is known for the finest wine tastings and retail selection of wines from all over the world.

Couples Day 2:

Morning: Wake up to delicious housemade breakfast at Old Vine Café, located in The CAMP. The restaurant uses fresh seasonal ingredients for breakfast, a hallmark of Italian-trained chef Mark McDonald. Breakfast offerings include fresh crepes, homemade granola and such innovative treats like caramel apple French toast and chili verde quiche. Don’t forget to browse around The CAMP, the first-known environmentally sensitive retail campus in the United States. The CAMP offers customers a nontraditional retail community in a casual and lively atmosphere. All of the stores here are health conscious or fitness related, with a strong emphasis on an active lifestyle. “Green” is everywhere, from the native vegetation to the progressive retailers offering their organic wares.

Next up is South Coast Plaza, a world-renowned retail attraction that’s considered to also be the second-largest shopping destination in the United States. On top of that, it has some of the best luxury stores in the world — everything from the high French fashions of Louis Vuitton and Chanel to the Italian boutiques of Giorgio Armani and Brunello Cucinelli — all packed in one easy-to-access location. South Coast Plaza rivals the top fashion districts in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, so you don’t have to be a jet-setting traveler to get the best shopping done. It’s all right here. Do you want to buy that lovely jewelry for your loved one that you can’t find anywhere else? South Coast Plaza is the best indoor place in the nation to answer that question. There are prestigious boutiques found few places elsewhere in the world such as BVLGARI, Chopard, Harry Winston and Mikimoto, as well as Piaget and Van Cleef & Arpels. If beauty and health are what you seek, then indulge at the Nordstrom Spa, where you can experience full-service couples massages, body wraps and treatments. If creating culinary delicacies are what you want, then participate in cooking classes at Williams-Sonoma, where you can discover fresh new flavors, recipes and kitchen technique. There’s an exciting lineup of classes taught by talented chefs and culinary specialists. South Coast Plaza also offers foreign language assistance in more than 40 languages, currency exchange, complimentary Wi-Fi, personal shopping services and concierge assistance to make your experience extra meaningful. South Coast Plaza also offers a range of moderately priced stores like Zara and Banana Republic, so even if you’re on a budget, you can experience the best shopping in the United States.

While you’re at South Coast Plaza, take a stop for lunch at Quattro Caffé, a stylish Italian bistro set just outside Designers' Row on level 1. An Italian pizza and pasta restaurant specializing in authentic brick oven cooking, Quattro Caffé offers Northern Italian specialties like frutti di mare salad, beef carpaccio and freshly made burrata. Quattro also offers a happy hour from 4-6 with specials on appetizers, wine and martinis.

Afternoon: Immerse yourself in some world-renowned public art in the City of the Arts™. Peruse through Segerstrom Center for the Arts campus, famous for its collection of artwork from such luminaries like Richard Serra, whose 360-ton sculpture “Connector” consists of five twisted winding steel plates; Charles O. Perry, who made a bright yellow-painted steel sculpture “The Ram;” Jean Dubuffet, who sculpted a color-blocked creation “Tour Aux Jambes” likened to a three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle; and Richard Lippold, whose “Fire Bird” soars through the façade at Segerstrom Hall. The public display of art ranks among the finest collections of outdoor art and sculpture in the United States.

You may also take a free docent-led tour of Segerstrom Center for the Arts based on availability. You can get behind-the-scenes descriptions of how the center was built and is a staging ground for some of the most famous productions in the world. For availability, reservations or more information, see Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

Evening: Dine at one of the restaurants within walking distance of Segerstrom Center of the Arts. Consistently hailed by diners and critics alike as “masterful” by the Los Angeles Daily News and “high end” by the Los Angeles Times, Mastro’s Steakhouse, for example, is glitzy, serving the finest mouthwatering hand-cut prime steaks and fresh seafood with live music. Some of the noted dishes besides its signature 400-degree steaks are carefully crafted lobster mashed potatoes, a two-foot-tall seafood tower and a melt-in-your-mouth butter cake. Afterward, there are many spectacular shows playing at Segerstrom Center for the Arts, including those that have been staged on Broadway. “Wicked,” “Phantom of the Opera” and “The Nutcracker” are just a sampling of the world-class shows. Once you’ve completed seeing the show, the illuminating Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall lies in front of you. Take note of the turquoise-colored light-encased hall, designed by celebrity architect Cesar Pelli. This splendid facility features an acre-long glass façade in the shape of a serpentine wave, encapsulating a silver-leafed lobby ceiling. The glow of the hall, powered in part by Swarovski-crystal LED lighting and 300 individually suspended pendants of polished stainless steel tipped with Baccarat crystal globes, is in contrast to the blackness of the night.

Couples Day 3:

Morning: Try breakfast at Bistro Papillote by La Cuisine at SOCO, including Chef Laurent’s interpretation of quiches and crepes. Mouthwatering quiches include those with ham, bacon and onion. Noted crepes include those stuffed with forest ham and eggs, fresh raspberries and lemon. Afterward, head to Laguna Beach, 20 minutes south of Costa Mesa, to enjoy a Mediterranean-like beach scene for a couple hours. The seaside town, home to many galleries and boutiques, has an azure coastline against rocky coves, which help attract about 3-million visitors annually to this picture-perfect town. The scene is like that of the warm coastlines of France, Italy and Greece.

Afternoon: Head back to Costa Mesa, and indulge on lunch at The LAB at Habana, which is reminiscent of 1950s Cuba — in a shabby chic candlelit space. The Nuevo Latino restaurant offers dishes from succulent mango pulled pork to plantain-crusted chicken sandwiches. You can sip on a fruity sangria or a minty mojito in a garden patio, surrounded by California plants.

After your meal, visit The OC Fair & Event Center, which is at the heart of Costa Mesa’s vibrant year-round activities calendar, hosting more than 150 events. Listings of events vary by season, so check out the events at The OC Fair & Event Center. Events range from the Food Truck Fare, which brings a variety of gourmet food, to Farmers Market, where genuine county-inspected farmers sell fruits, nuts and vegetables.

The annual summer OC Fair, which typically runs from July to August, is one of the nation’s largest, attracting more than one million visitors. The Fair is complete with delicious food, turbulent rides, fun shopping and dazzling exhibits.

The Pacific Amphitheatre is an outdoor concert venue that presents some of the top lineups in California. It has hosted world-famous acts including Bob Dylan and The Offspring, along with pop-culture stars like One Direction and LeAnn Rimes. The Pacific Amphitheatre Summer Concert Series draws crowds from all over the Southland.

 

Families Itinerary

 

Family Day 1:

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Afternoon: You and your family have arrived. Check into your hotel and get ready to have a blast during the next few days in Costa Mesa.

Experience the center of Costa Mesa’s shopping: South Coast Plaza, a world-famous retail destination, offering more than 250 stores and restaurants. The kids won’t be bored. There’s plenty of stuff to excite them like the Disney Store, Sanrio and LEGO, offering toys. Then there are retailers like Zara and Abercrombie & Fitch with the latest teenage fashion. South Coast Plaza offers family restrooms with private nursing suites, couches for the whole family and diaper changing facilities. Strollers are also available at any concierge location. Ride the gorgeously designed carnival-like carousel in Carousel Court.

Evening: While you’re here, take a stop for dinner at Claim Jumper, where kids can enjoy an extensive menu of burgers and other American fare, and adults can enjoy grown-up comfort foods along with a full bar. The location is situated in rustic wood decor, with lofty ceilings reminiscent of the old West. Or enjoy the Michelin-rated Din Tai Fung in South Coast Plaza, a perfect introduction to authentic Chinese cuisine right here in Costa Mesa. Steamed Shanghai-style mouthwatering dumplings — known as xiao long bao — are Din Tai Fung's signature dish. It's grown to a world-famous restaurant empire since its inception decades ago in Taiwan as a cooking oil retail shop. Today, its restaurants have won accolades all over the world. In fact, The New York Times has named Din Tai Fung one of the planet's best restaurants. Authentic Chinese cuisine at shopping destinations of this caliber is rare in the United States.

After dinner, head to one of the great evening venues in The Triangle, a gleaming retail center just one mile from the Pacific Ocean. One great place is Tavern + Bowl, featuring state-of-the-art bowling lanes with a technologically advanced scoring system and flat-screen TVs, making an evening filled fun competition for the entire family.

Family Day 2:

Morning: Wake up to an award-winning Pacific Northwest-inspired breakfast at Plums Café and Catering on 17th Street. Plums Café is an upscale bistro featuring favorites like buttermilk pancake, Dungeness crab omelet, coconut French toast, Santa Fe eggs benedict and smoked salmon hash.

Enjoy with the whole family a lovely beach just a few miles from Costa Mesa: Corona Del Mar in Newport Beach. The coves have small white waves, which are perfect for children. Kids will especially love the sea creatures — everything from starfish and crabs to sea urchins and sea anemones — in the tide pools of Little Corona Del Mar Beach. Or head to Huntington Beach, just seven miles north of Costa Mesa, offering a family-fun atmosphere along Main Street near the pier.

Afternoon: Drive to South Coast Collection (SOCO), where The OC Mix is located, to wander through stores and restaurants. SOCO is home to locally owned boutiques and award-winning culinary spots that will fit any budget for many families. Try SusieCakes, an all-American bakery offering home-style desserts made entirely from scratch. Favorites include signature cupcakes like luscious lemon, red velvet and chocolate mint. Cookies like the 7-layer bars, the sweetheart sandwich and the frosted sugar are also delicious items. Browse through one of the many unique stores like Granola Babies, an eco-children’s boutique and community, offering all eco-friendly toys, wooden toys, children’s clothing, comfortable baby carriers, natural bath and body products, gifts for mom and babies, as well as children’s books and birthday toys. Other exceptional boutiques include Chuck Jones Center for Creativity, whose art classes, exhibitions, lectures and film festivals inspire visitors to upcharge their creativity, following the vision of the Center’s founder: four-time Academy Award animator Chuck Jones himself. Check out the SOCO calendar for a listing of more activities offered for everyone.

Evening: Take a short walk in Segerstrom Center for the Arts’ campus, renowned for its collection of artwork from artists like Aiko Miyawaki, who designed a series of 12 ten-foot columns called “Utsurohi 91” set in an elliptical configuration with chromium-plated steel threads intertwining in graceful patterns from the top; and Richard Serra, whose 360-ton sculpture “Connector” consists of five twisted winding steel plates. Then there’s Jim Huntington’s work, “Night Shift,” which is an irregular-shaped stone and metal sculpture, made of a huge piece of Sierra white granite, chiseled to 9 feet long by 10 feet wide. The work breaks the contours of the gently rolling surrounding grass. The public display of art ranks among the finest collections of outdoor art and sculpture in the United States.

Before you catch a Broadway-caliber show at Segerstrom Center for the Arts, enjoy dinner at one of the restaurants within walking distance. Kids will love Pizzeria Ortica, featuring regional Italian dishes like traditional Neapolitan pizza from a wood-burning oven and house-made pastas. Many family friendly shows play all year round at Segerstrom Center for the Arts, exposing them to the performing arts. “Big Bad Wolf,” “The Box Brothers” and “The Firebird,” among many others, have played here, as well as “Sound of Music” and “The Lion King.” Some performances have pre-show activities, where you can engage with the artists. Check listings for shows at the calendar of Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

Family Day 3:

All Day: Make magical memories during the entire day at the world’s most famous theme park, the Disneyland® Resort in Anaheim. Take convenient round-trip shuttle service from select Costa Mesa hotels provided by Anaheim Resort Transportation (ART) to the Disneyland® Resort. Service is based on advanced reservations. After a long day at the park, we’ll see you back at your hotel for a good night’s rest!

 
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