Located in Orange County, Costa Mesa is a suburban community surrounded by a concentration of business, shopping, and entertainment. Known as an “edge city,” Costa Mesa is up-and-coming with world-class retail in the area. The name itself means “coast table (land)” in reference to the area being a geographical plateau by coast. In terms of location, Costa Mesa is a perfect mix between beach and city life (and it’s geographically between the two as well).
Costa Mesa is a great place for those seeking a taste of everything Southern California has to offer. Residents live close enough to the ocean to have a relaxing beach day, driving along the coast and admiring the Pacific sunsets. But it’s also not too far from the hustle and bustle of city life. For commuters who work in the city, living in Costa Mesa is like residing in a private oasis--you’re away from the city and the beach, but getting to either is quick and simple.
Don’t get us wrong, although Costa Mesa is a mostly suburban community, there are tons of activities to do around the area. Costa Mesa is surrounded by an array of entertainment plazas and restaurants to try out. The South Coast Plaza is the place to go around here. Retail stores with a wide range of price points means this shopping center is truly for anyone and everyone. If you’re one to hit up the name-brand stores, try out Fendi or J. Crew. But don’t miss out on the local pop-up shops that come around seasonally.
Also located in the South Coast Plaza is the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Come out and watch some shows or check out the art galleries. It’s an entertainment destination for cultural experiences in music, dance, musical theatre, and art.
For those looking for unique and creative goods, South Coast Collection (SOCO) & The OC Mix is the place to be. On the cross-streets of Hyland and Sunflower, it’s where trendsetters go to set the trends. There are four different areas of the up-and-coming shopping complex: (1) Home + Decor; (2) Food + Culinary; (3) Fashion + Design; and (4) Entertainment + Events.
The home decor section includes beautifully designed showrooms to give you inspiration. The Food + Culinary shops in SOCO are everything Food Network wishes they could cover on television--but in Costa Mesa, you can try all of the cuisine for yourself. Plus, there’s a farmers market every Friday with locally grown produce available for purchase. Fashion + Design highlights trending styles that bring a contemporary spin on what it means to be chic. In addition to shopping, there are events that you can partake in to liven your experience at SOCO; for example, attend a workshop to better know how to style your home. Keep up with the SOCO website to see what other events may occur.
The shopping doesn’t end there! The 17th Street Promenade includes a diverse group of businesses and is known as being the “Main Street” for Costa Mesa locals. There’s an assortment of places to shop and eat, so it’s a great place to take the kids shopping, grab a snack from the little shops along the street, and have a good time.
Looking for dining options around Costa Mesa? For affordable, healthy, and gourmet meals, check out Greenleaf Chopshop. Feeling a good slab of meat? Head over to Mastro’s Steakhouse, a great place to host a celebration. If you’re not the type to eat meat, Gratitude Kitchen and Bar is home to some great vegan options. And you can’t miss out on seafood so close to the coast. Santa Monica Seafood or the Water Grill at South Coast Plaza are solid options.
Every summer, Costa Mesa is home to The OC Fair, a citywide event that hosts great fun and entertainment. Diversity comes alive here with a wide array of events and booths for families to enjoy. Check out the OC Fair’s website to see what events cater to you and your family.
Costa Mesa is zoned to the Newport-Mesa Unified School District.