Costa Mesa is the place to shop in California,
and for some, it is also the place to sleep when going to the beach.
Overlooking the beaches of Newport Beach and Huntington,
Costa Mesa beaches simply
are a figment of imagination for locals overlooking that beautiful Pacific
from their hillside locations.
Though called "The City of the Arts," it was shopping and the
County Fair which first brought a tax base to city and made the creation
of arts venues an achievable dream. So popular is shopping, in fact,
that some tourists book flights into Southern California just to visit
the premiere shopping center located there, South
Largely responsible for building an empire in Costa Mesa
is the Segerstrom family. Their creative vision transformed farm land into
a shopping and entertainment Mecca not seen elsewhere on the West Coast.
Stretching over four city blocks, a shopping districtt includes everything
from upscale Gucci and Godiva to discount outlets such as Nordstrom Rack
and Cost Plus. It is possible to fly into Orange County Airport, just 2.5
miles away and never see anything but stores and a hotel room on a two
or three day stay.
Where to stay: When visiting
Costa Mesa, the shopping destination, you may want to take a shuttle from
the Orange County Airport to a hotel connected to the South Coast Plaza
shopping mall, arts & entertainment.
The Westin South Coast Plaza is the closest, nicest hotel to the
Wyndham is also a great choice for vacations. It sits overlooking
reflecting ponds and is just yards away from the Performing Arts Center.
Costa Mesa became known first for its annual county fair
held in July. Since it began in 1950, the event has grown from one week
to 17 days, with name entertainment, contests, exhibits, the latest thrill
rides and food booths. The Fairgrounds also contain a popular 3-acre working
Centennial Farm, a weekly Farmers Market on Thursdays, and Marketplacee
on Saturdays and Sundays, with booths selling sunglasses, fragrances, clothes
and more. The Fairgrounds are available for rent and play
host to a variety
of events and shows which include the popular Scottish Highland Games.
Check the schedule on their web site: ocfair.com
Residents and international guests can enjoy the fine
arts, for which the City of Costa Mesa, coined itself The
City of the Arts. A regional symphony orchestra, the SouthCoast
Repertory Theater and the Orange County Performing Arts Center provide
a cultural base for a rapidly growing region. Regularly scheduled tours
of the Orange County Performing Arts Center and several lunch time concerts
are offered free to the public.
Since its opening in 1986, the $73.8 million Orange County
Arts Center has hosted in its 3,000 seat Segerstrom Hall names such
as Beverly Sills, YoYo Ma and the New York City Opera. Especially popular
are sell out shows such as STOMP. The Center provides
a mix of entertainment and is updating its marketing to offer an improved
online booking system for a demographic of younger, online ticket buyers. Web Site: ocpac.org
Though the Segerstroms consider their donation of land
and money to The Orange County Performing Arts Center as the greatest legacy
in Costa Mesa's past 100 years, some would argue that point. The
Costa Mesa Historical Society acts as guardian to another piece of property
given to the City by the family, Diego
Sepulveda Adobe Estancia at 1900 Adams. Once a way-station for vaqueros
tending herds of Mission San Juan Capistrano, the museum is filled with
artifacts from four distinct periods or Costa Mesa's history.
Not far from the lush, green lawns surrounding the Adobe,
there's a private golf course, Mesa Verde Country Club. It isn't the only
game in town, however. Open to the public are two other William F. Bell
course designs, Costa Mesa Golf Course & Country
Club Los Lagos and Mesa Linda Courses. TEL: 714-540-7500.
Did we mention the beach? Though Costa Mesa
sits on a hill ("costa mesa" is the Spanish word for "coastal table"),
with views of the Pacific Ocean visible from some locations, the city doesn't
have a beach front. On busy summer days when parking is at a premium on
the Newport Beach peninsula, people in Costa Mesa often walk
a few blocks to the beach or take the public bus which costs around
$1.50, one way. Busy Newport Boulevard is one
of the streets passing through the city and stretching to the beach. If
you find yourself driving that way, stop at Nike Town, on the corner of
Newport and Harbor Boulevards. It's a very popular tourist stop and place
to shop. That's what Costa Mesa's about!