In the heart of Orange County, Costa Mesa is one of the county’s most diverse and pulsing cities. Named the best small town for restaurants west of the Mississippi by USA Today, Costa Mesa is also known for its environmentally friendly shopping, pristine public parks, and breezy SoCal climate. The local business scene is booming, so be sure to explore the city’s unique, Costa Mesa-exclusive shops and destinations while you’re in town. Whether it’s a shopping trip or a weekend excursion, here’s the low-down on what to do in Costa Mesa!
FOOD AND DRINK
Home to some of the area’s best eateries, Costa Mesa has endless options for dining. Whether it’s a sophisticated dinner or a casual lunch, there’s plenty of delicious options to suit all tastes. If you count oysters and grilled cheese as two of your favorites foods, then you’ve got to stop at Shuck. This classic oyster bar’s decadent grilled cheese is out of this world thanks to three cheeses piled together between toasty sourdough bread. Plus, their oysters are only $3 a pop – major score. Vegans will be thrilled to dine at Sea Birds, a charming eatery that specializes in vegan fare and craft beer. There may be a wait for a table at Anjin, but seriously, it’s worth it. This Japanese BBQ has hot grills in the middle of each table and serves up fresh, versatile meats (such as pork cheek and marbled shortrib) and ramen. If a craft cocktail is what you desire, The Mixing Glass is a must-see thanks to their vintage vibe, small-batch liquors, and mixology-inspired cocktails. If you’re in town for the day, try one of their cocktail classes!
Surely, every pooch will enjoy a visit to Costa Mesa’s Bark Park, where your dog can roam free in a 2-acre fenced in area. There’s two areas separated for large dogs and small dogs, as well as fresh water, benches, plenty of trees, and of course cleaner-upper bags. Local restaurants love your pup, too! Feel free to take your dog to dinner at The Beach Pit BBQ and Old Vine Café!
COMMUNITY EVENTS & ATTRACTIONS
Thanks to its booming local scene, the city is active in recreation and offers events every week for the community. Every Saturday morning, the SOCO Farmers Market sells farm fresh produce, local meats, canned goods, fresh bread, and more. Small Business Saturday is another weekly event in Costa Mesa, where the community gathers for shopping and live music, with a focus on local, sustainable brands and companies that emphasize social good. There’s always free-gift wrapping, which is perfect for the holidays! Before the holidays, you’ll definitely want to shop at The Christmas Company at the OC Fair & Event Center, home of the Orange County Fair and year-round venue. With over 80 unique vendors from across the country, you’re sure to find the perfect something for everyone on your Christmas list. Be sure to check their website for daily special events!
FITNESS & HEALTH
You’ll find local, privately owned gyms as well as national chain gyms here in Costa Mesa. For personal training, nutritional advice, and classic fitness, The 12 is a great option, as well as American Gym for martial arts and CrossFit Costa Mesa for crossfit. 24 Hour Fitness and Planet Fitness are close-by, as well.
As the largest mall on the West Coast with over 250 stores, South Coast Plaza is one of the most renowned and sought-after shopping destinations. This upscale mall’s latest additions include Louis Vuitton Men, Cole Haan, & Weekend Max Mara, so definitely shop here for your luxury fashion needs. At the Plaza, you’ll also find Segerstrom Center for the Arts as well as various restaurants. For a less traditional shopping experience, travel to The CAMP in Costa Mesa’s SoBeCa district. Every store in this ‘green’ shopping community emphasizes a health-conscious, fitness-driven lifestyle, and it’s known to be one of the first environmentally friendly retail centers in the country.