The Best Things To Do In Costa Mesa

Costa Mesa is a small Southern California city, with a whole lot to offer! Costa Mesa is located just about an hour outside of Los Angeles. Although it’s within close proximity to the California beaches and Disneyland, some of the best things to do in Costa Mesa include enjoying the incredible food scene and immense shopping!

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Costa Mesa is the perfect getaway from Los Angeles, and the surrounding areas. In addition to the incredible things to do in Costa Mesa, the cost of staying in Costa Mesa is less expensive than the nearby beach towns or Anaheim (where Disney is located). Despite the more affordable rates, Costa Mesa remains a high-end destination, and it’s only minutes from nearby attractions and beaches.

The Best Places To Eat In Costa Mesa

One of the best ways to spend your time in Costa Mesa is to eat. Costa Mesa has become a food lovers paradise. With fresh SoCal ingredients, the restaurants in Costa Mesa will be sure to please your tastebuds!

 The best things to do in costa mesa. Eating. Taco Maria. Sangria

Old Vine Cafe

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I say breakfast is one of the best things you can do in Costa Mesa, especially if you are heading to the Old Vine Cafe at The Camp.

The “Open Face” is a fan favorite. It’s a twist on the classic biscuits and gravy, dousing a fluffy biscuit in chipotle gravy, chicken sausage, and eggs!

Trusted Travel Tip: Get there early! If you plan to visit on a weekend, this is a popular place. Call ahead for a reservation, or get there a little early to avoid a wait.

Taco Maria

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If you are looking for one of the best things to do in Costa Mesa, you must indulge in at least one meal a Taco Maria. Taco Maria is a fine dining establishment that has won over my heart (and, stomach), as well as many others in the area. Most notably, by Jonathan Gold, the beloved LA Times food critic (who helped to elevate and change the Los Angeles dining scene). Before Gold passed away in 2018, he named Taco Maria LA Times’ 2018 Best Restaurant of the Year. Chef Carlos Salgado also has received a nomination for the James Beard award. Chef and his wife closely monitor the quality of their small establishment, and one of them is always at the restaurant overseeing each plate that comes out of the kitchen.

The most notable dishes for lunch are the pork belly taco, the chicken taco made with chef’s mother’s own mole recipe, and my favorite, the scallop ceviche.

Trusted Travel Tip: Taco Maria closes from 2:30pm-5pm daily to prepare the changeover from the lunch to dinner menu.

Other Notable Costa Mesa Eateries:

  • Habana

  • Terrace by Mix Mix

  • Silver Trumpet

  • Black Market Bakery

  • Tackle Box

  • Byrdie Bowl

The Best Places to Shop In Costa Mesa

Costa Mesa has some of the best shopping in the country, and has something for every personality! With less traditional shopping spots known as anti-malls, one of the best things to do in Costa Mesa is explore the unique retail spaces in the city.

The CAMP

 The Camp is one of the best things to do in Costa Mesa

If you like delicious food or an eco-friendly atmosphere, one of the best things for you to do in Costa Mesa is visit The CAMP. The CAMP is beautifully manicured retail campus dedicated to supporting the local community and artisans, and remaining environmentally conscious.

With restaurants like Off The Vine Cafe (mentioned above) and outdoorsy stores like Patagonia, The Camp has a little something for everyone. You can even shop for succulents out of an old Airstream!

The LAB

Visiting The Lab is one of the best things to do in Costa Mesa if you are the type of traveler that looks for quirky, off-the-beaten-path spots. The Lab, which used to be a night vision goggle factory, is known as the “anti-mall”. The LAB stands for “Little American Business”, it has plenty of restaurants, shops and second hand stores, as well as large spaces to lounge with friends. The LAB also boasts some of the most instagram-worthy locations in Costa Mesa.

South Coast Plaza

High-end fashion shoppers love the South Coast Plaza! The South Coast Plaza has the highest concentration of designers under one roof, so chances are they will have the store you are looking for.

 the best things to do in costa mesa. spend time at the south coast plaza shopping. valet and access lounge

When traveling, there is nothing I love more than relaxing at an airport lounge to break up a long day of flights, which is why I love the Access Lounge at the South Coast Plaza. Just like an airport lounge, the Access Lounge is a VIP area with complementary drinks and snacks for busy shoppers. It’s the perfect quiet place to relax from all the hustle and bustle– especially during holiday shopping!

 the lab is one of the best things to do in costa mesa

The Best Arts and Culture In Costa Mesa

If you are an art lover, one of the best things to do in Costa Mesa is to visit the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. The Segerstrom Center for the Arts is a world class arts venue, located in Costa Mesa. Be sure to check out their schedule before booking your trip, so you won’t miss one of their incredible concerts or productions!

The Best Place To Stay In Costa Mesa

One of the best things to do in Costa Mesa is to relax at one of their fabulous hotels, and soak up the California sun at the pool of your hotel

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My Costa Mesa hotel pick is the Avenue of the Arts, A Tribute Portfolio Hotel an SPG/Marriott property. It’s located just across from the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, which is fitting as the design of the property is artistically unique and beautiful. 

This property is perfect if you don’t like a run-of-the-mill, cookie cutter property!

The Best Things To Do Near Costa Mesa


Costa Mesa is a perfect jumping off point for the best attractions and destinations in Southern California has to offer.

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Disneyland - Disneyland is located just 20 minutes from Costa Mesa

The Beach - Some of Southern California’s best beaches are just minutes away. Famed, Laguna Beach is a 20 minute drive from Costa Mesa

Los Angeles - Less than an hour away from Los Angeles, Costa Mesa is the perfect place to stay and explore LA or the perfect getaway from the city.

San Diego - San Diego is just an hour and 20 minute drive from Costa Mesa. San Diego has one of the most world renowned zoo’s as well as an exciting night life.

For More Information on Costa Mesa and up-to-date information, visit Travel Costa Mesa

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