This article is sponsored by Travel Costa Mesa.
While Orange County is a prime vacation destination for travelers worldwide, many often flock to the county’s more well-known destinations like Anaheim or Newport Beach. What visitors don’t know is that the fantastic city of Costa Mesa is just minutes away from Orange County beaches, and other famous attractions like Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm.
Experience the Best of Costa Mesa on an Eatcation
Costa Mesa has its own variety of wonderful things to do, places to stay and restaurants to try. With a wide variety of cuisines at various price points, it’s the perfect destination for foodies of all kinds. We’ve partnered with Travel Costa Mesa to create three mini itineraries for travelers looking for an excellent culinary experience – or as they like to call it, an Eatcation®!
The Budget Eatcation
If you’re hoping to save some money but still have a wonderful weekend, you’re in luck. Costa Mesa has numerous affordable accommodation options like the OC Hotel Costa Mesa, where you’ll find inexpensive rates for modern, stylish rooms with plenty of amenities. The hotel offers complimentary hot breakfast for hotel guests and happy hour specials too.
Inexpensive activities are relatively abundant in Costa Mesa and the surrounding areas, especially if you’re looking to enjoy the fantastic weather outdoors. The Crystal Cove Tide Pools are a perfect spot to visit for some educational fun before hitting the adjacent beaches. Fairview Park offers a selection of trails for walking, biking and horseback riding. The east side of the park also hosts the Goathill Junction Railroad—with free model train rides on the third weekend of each month. If you’re in the mood for art and culture, Segerstrom Center for the Arts offers free docent-led tours of the center on Saturdays, and you can always take the free audio tour of the Costa Mesa Art Walk to experience all of the best local art installations by world-famous artists.
Get a little taste of Mexican-American fusion at Rooster Café, a locals’ favorite spot with giant burritos, huevos rancheros or their own version of a Monte Cristo for around $10. If you’ve never tried Korean fried chicken, you’re definitely missing out. Get a taste of the good stuff at Bonchon. Try out the delectable brioche doughnuts at Good Town Doughnuts and delight in the fun flavors like Blood Orange and Raspberry Pistachio (a perfect handheld treat for your drive home too). If you have some extra time to enjoy one last meal, the inexpensive (but always delicious) Marugame Udon serves up fresh bowls of noodles made to order. Enjoy the selection of sides and tempura alongside your udon to customize your meal.
The Eatcation Splurge
If you’re in the mood for some rest and relaxation and you’re feeling like a splurge, we’ve got options for you. Stay at The Westin South Coast Plaza—the accommodations are approachable yet elegant, and you’re mere steps from some of the best shopping and dining options in the state. Enjoy the luxury shopping and fantastic restaurants and activities during the day before tucking into your Westin Heavenly® Bed at night.
If you’re looking for some relaxation before you start your day, book a treatment at Spa Nordstrom. Here, you can enjoy services like lash and brow services, waxing and piercing, and a wide selection of facial options. After your spa time, make sure to enjoy the fantastic shopping at South Coast Plaza. The West Coast’s largest retail destination boasts an impressive selection of designer boutiques, include luxury amenities like personal shopping and a VIP relaxation suite. Finish out your day with a show at Segerstrom Center for the Arts. The Center hosts a number of stunning performances throughout each month, like “Emanuel Ax Plays Mozart” and “Beethoven’s Eroica.” If you’re looking to enjoy some time outdoors, book a tee time at Costa Mesa Country Club.
There are so many unique, luxury dining options in Costa Mesa, so it’s hard to know where to start. If you’re arriving on a weekday, check out Vaca for lunch. The restaurant has an à la carte menu and a popular express lunch set menu if you’re short on time. Dinner at Mastro’s Steakhouse is an experience in itself. The plus steakhouse is a favorite among A-listers, and one meal here will show you why. Go for a weekend brunch at Plums Café & Catering and enjoy a modern spin on classic brunch staples. Are you swinging by on a weekday? Plums Café serves up the same brunch items for weekday breakfast. Plan for a later departure because lunch at Water Grill Orange County is always a delightful experience. Serving both lunch and dinner, Water Grill is a seafood lover’s dream come true.
The Adventurous Eatcation
If you’re a particularly adventurous eater, Costa Mesa is the best place for you. Book a stay at the Avenue of the Arts, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel. The plush accommodations, great location and various amenities make it a perfect base for your adventures. As impressive as the aesthetic of the hotel are the accolades it’s received. The hotel has been recognized as a Hotel of the Year by Marriott Hotels and categorized as a Four Diamond Property by AAA.
Since you’re here for adventure and experience, we’ve got so many suggestions! Dana Wharf Sportfishing and Whale Watching in nearby Dana Point offers various options for fishing trips, including half-day, twilight and limited load options. If your preferred activities include staying on land, Wine Lab at The CAMP is an excellent start to any evening with its extensive selection of wines and tasting flight options. If you’re looking to return from your visit with some extra skills, book a class at chefschool OC. The school offers courses for different dietary requirements, exotic cuisines and even just the basics of certain meats. Regardless of your skill level, you’re sure to learn something new!
Mitsuwa Marketplace is a great place to stock up on some unique trip snacks for your hotel room and the drive home at the end of your visit. The market hosts an immense variety of Asian dishes, pantry staples and beverages. The prepared food section is also perfect for quick meals on the go! Enjoy a culinary trip to Taiwan without leaving Orange County with dinner at Din Tai Fung. The restaurant originated in Taipei, so you know you’re getting an authentic taste. If you’re unfamiliar with anything on the menu, make sure to order the signature xiao long bao (soup dumpling). For breakfast, check out Verde Kitchen for twisted takes on traditional breakfast fare like Nitro Griddlecakes” and the “Verde Benedict.” Grab one last meal at Terrace by Mix Mix, where you’ll experience a fusion of French, Italian and Filipino cuisines. The restaurant also offers a three-course lunch menu for diners in a hurry.