Shopping and Arts Itinerary
Centrally located between Los Angeles and San Diego and just minutes from beaches and the Disneyland® Resort, the picturesque Costa Mesa sets the stage as the City of the Arts™ - brimming with the Art of Fashion at South Coast Plaza, one of the world's premiere shopping destinations. Costa Mesa boasts the Art of the Stage at internationally acclaimed performing art venues and a resident symphony and opera company at Segerstrom Center for the Arts. And the City of the Arts™ lives up to its reputation for the Art of Dining with a stunning array of critically acclaimed restaurants. We've assembled a two-day itinerary that will surely make you say, "encore!"
For your stay, Costa Mesa offers a wide variety of exceptional hotels fitting every budget, everything from a four-diamond experience to boutique offerings to well-branded names. Visit travelcostamesa.com for a listing of recommended hotels, or check out the Costa Mesa Marriott, 2.5 miles from John Wayne Airport.
City of the Arts™
Day One Itinerary
Your flight lands at John Wayne Airport, Orange County (SNA), just minutes south of Costa Mesa, with many hotels offering free round-trip shuttle service to the airport. John Wayne Airport makes traveling to Orange County (OC) a breeze, with a reach to more than 20 nonstop destinations throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico.
The airport showcases rotating art exhibits throughout the Thomas F. Riley Terminal, including a grand exhibit, "ORANGE COUNTY: Destination Art & Culture." In Terminal C baggage claim, a sculpture by Beth Nybeck, Flight of Ideas, hovers overhead.
For the ultimate retail experience, head to South Coast Plaza and explore one of the world's premier luxury shopping destinations rivaling Fifth Avenue in New York and Bond Street in London, as well as Ginza in Tokyo and Avenue Montaigne in Paris. With more than 250 boutiques, restaurants and department stores, South Coast Plaza boasts an internationally acclaimed roster of elite retailers including Tiffany, Jimmy Choo, Bottega Veneta, Ermenegildo Zegna, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Versace, Valentino, Fendi, Lanvin, Gucci, Cartier, Yves Saint Laurent, to name a few. You'll also find plenty of favorites like Quicksilver, Nike Running, UNIQLO and Zara. There's a lot to explore at this 2.8-million-square-foot retail center, which attracts more visitors annually than the Disneyland® Park, so wear comfortable shoes.
Treat yourself to lunch at one of South Coast Plaza's award-winning restaurants. Marché Moderne, rated by the Los Angeles Times as one of the top-50 restaurants in Southern California, is a cosmopolitan French bistro that serves up everything from oysters du jour to steak frites l'echalote. Din Tai Fung, a Michelin-rated dumpling restaurant, brings a touch of Shanghainese-style dining to South Coast Plaza with its famous mouthwatering xiaolongbao. And Capital Grill restaurant unveils mouthwatering entrées including seared tenderloin with butter poached lobster tails and all-natural herb roasted chicken.
Take a break from your day of shopping and stop by one of South Coast Plaza's four concierge centers where you can check your packages for the afternoon, free of charge. Foreign-language assistance is offered in more than 40 languages, everything from Mandarin to Spanish.
Now that you've lightened your load, it's an easy walk across Unity Bridge to the "arts campus" of Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Take a self-guided walking tour of public art on display that ranks among the finest collections of outdoor art and sculpture in the United States. See works by such masters as Joan Miro, Henry Moore and Richard Serra. Or take a visit to the 1.6-acre California Scenario designed by world-renowned sculptor and designer Isamu Noguchi.
You probably already have your tickets to a concert, symphony, ballet or Broadway show at one of Costa Mesa's many world-class theater venues. But first, enjoy an early dinner at a first-rate dining destination located within walking distance to Segerstrom Center for the Arts, including: The Silver Trumpet, Mastro's Steakhouse, Pizzeria Ortica or Scott's Restaurant & Bar.
Catch a show at Segerstrom Center for the Arts, the performing arts leader in OC. Showcasing national and international productions of music, dance and theatre, this cultural campus has deep community roots and is home to Pacific Symphony, the Pacific Chorale and the Tony® Award-winning South Coast Repertory. Its capacity for national and world productions is unmatched anywhere in OC with the magnificent Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, designed by César Pelli, who's rated by the American Institute of Architects as one of the 10 most influential living architects in the U.S. An architectural masterpiece, the splendid 2,000-seat concert hall features an acre-long glass façade in the shape of a serpentine wave, plus a stunning, multi-tiered foyer and silver-leafed lobby ceiling.
Day Two Itinerary
Enjoy an early morning breakfast at The CAMP retail center in Costa Mesa, featuring such acclaimed eateries such as the Old Vine Café, which offers fresh, locally sourced organic cuisine in the style of southern Italy. In the first-known environmentally sensitive retail campus in the United States, The CAMP offers customers a nontraditional retail community in a casual and lively atmosphere. All of the stores here are health conscious or fitness related, with a strong emphasis on an active lifestyle. "Green" is everywhere, from the native vegetation to the progressive retailers offering their organic wares.
Check out The LAB across the street that has distinguished itself from other shopping centers by staying true to its "anti-mall" atmosphere. If you take a moment to admire the structure of The LAB, you will notice that it is made up of remnants of what was once a goggle-making factory. The site has been creatively transformed and now includes a relaxed indoor-outdoor courtyard that invites customers to lounge and relax.
Try a sumptuous lunch just minutes away at South Coast Collection (SOCO), where The OC MIX is located. SOCO is home to designers, locally owned boutiques and award-winning culinary spots. Taco Maria is a perfect place to dine. Taco Maria's chef, winner of Michelin stars, prepares a distinctly modern take on Californian-Mexican cuisine such as the pepian mole, which is macadamia-crusted cod bathed in a green pumpkinseed sauce splashed with coconut milk, sprinkled with Serrano chili and graced with green apple. Afterward, have dessert at St. Patisserie Chocolat, a high-end Parasian confectionery retailer whose pastry chef is Stephane Treand, named one of the 10 best pastry chefs in the U.S. by Pastry Art and Design Magazine.
Stay at SOCO for the ultimate design experience of Southern California. SOCO is home to more than 70 showrooms, curated restaurants and stores. For any decorator, designer, chef or creative mind in Orange County, SOCO is a shopping destination that is sure to inspire.
From heralded retailers like Surfas Culinary District, Pirch and Design Within Reach to creative outlets like the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity, there is always something to discover at SOCO.
There's an impressive collection of unique retailers to see at The OC MIX. The Mixing Glass, Orange County's first specialty cocktail store, has everything you need to create exceptional drinks at home. You can also peruse through hundreds of vinyl records at Analog.
End your day by dining at Social Costa Mesa on 19th Street. Save room for dessert, as they have released a new dessert menu with the help of award winning Pastry Chef Ashley Guzman. Traveling with your family or children? Don’t forget to check out the OC Fair and Event Center for a list of shows, special events, and daily schedules.
Visit Costa Mesa and discover Art of Fashion, Art of the Stage and the Art of Dining.