My favorite place in the world for arts and theater is Costa Mesa, California. You can enjoy everything from Broadway productions to concerts at Segerstrom Center for the Arts and the city is actually trademarked City of the Arts. Couple their theater culture with designer shopping at South Coast Plaza, award-winning local hotspots, delicious dining destinations, and a hint of adventure and you have one of the best cities nestled within Southern California. Just minutes from top-rated beaches and a short drive to major Southern California attractions, Costa Mesa is the perfect bucket list destination. Here’s our top picks for your Costa Mesa Bucket List.
Costa Mesa Bucket List
Number One: South Coast Plaza
South Coast Plaza defines the luxury shopping experience with boutiques, personal service, and upscale amenities. It’s one of the most prestigious shopping destinations in the world, making it a top pick for your Costa Mesa bucket list. With more than 250 boutiques and restaurants, this luxury shopping destination has one of the largest concentration of high-fashion retailers in the world. It makes children feel special with a playful Carousel Court, a Disney Store with magical openings, and crisp, bold colors at stores like Kate Spade. It makes everyone feel extra special with the welcoming amenities and personalized services at South Coast Plaza’s Concierge. This year, South Coast Plaza celebrates its 50th Anniversary! Celebrate South Coast Plaza’s 50th anniversary all year long with special events, fashion shows, and community celebrations.
From November 11 through January 7, stay two nights in one of Costa Mesa’s partnering hotels and receive a $100 gift certificate to South Coast Plaza.
Number Two: Segerstrom Center for the Arts
With four performance halls and an outdoor arts plaza spread out over 14 acres, this outstanding complex is a one-stop shop for everything musical and artistic. Hear symphonies in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall and see plays at the South Coast Repertory. Throughout the year, there are free concerts, movies, and dance performances in the outdoor plaza.
Our annual favorite at Segerstrom Center for the Arts is Pacific Chorale’s Tis the Season. This tradition for Southern California audiences celebrates the spirit of the season with song and cheer, as Pacific Chorale’s Associate Conductor Robert Istad takes the podium to conduct the festivities. Resounding brass and organ, angelic children’s voices, and the splendid singers of the Chorale bring seasonal classics and popular favorites to life.
Number Three: The CAMP
The CAMP is an eco-friendly shopping center with a focus on outdoor stores and green living. At The CAMP, you’ll find a variety of culinary delights including Native Foods, offering gourmet vegetarian cuisine, Old Vine Café, offering fresh, locally sourced organic cuisine, and Milk+Honey, offering a nice warm cup of coffee or tea.
Number Four: Maggiano’s Little Italy
A semi-upscale chain for classic Italian fare served family-style in a relaxed, polished space, Maggiano’s Little Italy is at the heart of Costa Mesa. Try any one of the made-from-scratch dishes like the Lobster Fettuccine or the Baked Ziti and Sausage. You’ll taste all the passion that goes into the food and truly understand what the restaurant means when its staff says, “Food is love.”
Number Five: Ayres Hotel & Suites
This charming French Provincial-inspired inn features a cobblestone courtyard with outdoor dining service, two outdoor, heated pools and jacuzzis, plus beautifully landscaped gardens and a central cascading water fountain. Indoors, you will find marble fireplaces, antiques, oil paintings, and tapestries. This centrally located property offers 284 deluxe guestrooms and suites, award-winning dining, and 12,200 sq. ft. of meeting and event space.
Ayres Hotel & Suites is part of the Indulge in Style campaign running now in Costa Mesa.
***If you don’t have a vehicle during your stay in Costa Mesa, Avenue Of The Arts, A Tribute Portfolio Hotel is located in the hub of Orange County’s Theater and Arts District. It’s just steps away from the acclaimed Segerstrom Center for the Arts.
Number Six: The OC Fair & Event Center
The OC Fair & Event Center is a 150-acre event venue that hosts more than 150 events annually. It’s home to Centennial Farm, Heroes Hall, Pacific Amphitheatre, and one of the largest fairs in the United States, the OC Fair, a 23-day festival.
Our favorite event at The OC Fair Grounds is Winter Fest. Featuring ice tubing down an 8 lane, 150 foot mountain, massive snow play area, ice skating on a 6,000 square foot ice rink, nightly Christmas tree lighting ceremony with fireworks, plus Santa and his reindeer flying over the fairgrounds through Christmas Eve, Festival of Lights with more than 2 million lights, and over 20 carnival rides and attractions. And don’t forget the visits with the jolly man himself, Santa Claus.
Number Seven: TrapZone Rooms
TrapZone rooms are designed by escape room lovers, for escape room lovers! Their game is designed to completely immerse players into the story. The game is developed for your enjoyment and fun, not to scare you (no one’s going to grab you)! At TrapZone, they strive to provide an experience that has everyone collaborating to think outside the box while your adrenaline is pumping as it’s a race against time! Are you ready for a challenge to your Costa Mesa bucket list?
Number Eight: The Lab
The LAB is a relaxed, indoor-outdoor gathering space with shops and restaurants. It’s home to an array of non-conformist stores and artisanal restaurants that would not typically be found in regular shopping malls, such as Honey & Butter, The Gypsy Den, Crew, and Crème Tangerine.
The LAB also hosts a number of events throughout the year, including the Full Moon Night Market, ‘BLOOM’, LAB Earth Day Night Market, and Happy Lunar New Year.
Number Nine: Victor Paul Salon
Known as the “Hair and Makeup Stylist to the Real Housewives,” Victor is the stylist for Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Orange County” stars Gretchen Rossi and others. The salon features 17 styling stations, a color processing room, facial facilities, and a spacious retail area, which includes accessories, hair and skin care as well as make up and handbags by Gretchen Rossi.
Number Ten: Have Fun Tours
This couple grew up in Southern California and they have all the connections. Regardless if you want to stay in Costa Mesa, where they use to own an art gallery or if you want to travel up to LA to meet celebrities like Mario Lopez, Lou and Jill of Have Fun Tours have the hook-up. They know just how to make all of your Costa Mesa bucket list dreams a reality.
You can have it all on your Costa Mesa bucket list. From arts and culture to fine dining and a splash of adventure, Costa Mesa is a top choice for bucket list seekers.