Experience Costa Mesa, California
Collected by Jaime Komer, AFAR Local Expert
Sunny skies. Innovative eateries. Local artisans. Healthy finds. Top it all off with fitness options galore. Close enough to the coast to take advantage of all the scenic adventures, yet far enough away that you’ll find a bit more room to play. Welcome to Costa Mesa!
436 E 17th St, Costa Mesa, CA 92627, USA
It’s your local friendly pub that’s been upgraded with a rustic-meets-retro décor and a great menu. It may not look like much from the outside, but this newly renovated neighborhood bar is a well-known favorite. And you’ll see why. Take a seat at...
2915 Red Hill Ave suite a104, Costa Mesa, CA 92626, USA
If you’re looking to bring home the sun-drenched coastal vibe of Orange County, then Gatehouse is where you’ll find it—creative beach wood and seashell concoctions, vibrant fabric patterns, and hosting gifts abound. Ah, home sweet home.
3001 Ocean Blvd, Corona Del Mar, CA 92625, USA
Corona Del Mar is the ideal beach for an early morning swim. (Yes, it will be invigorating!) There are buoys a couple of hundred yards out from the shore line to guide you, as well as the long rock jetty that keeps the water fairly calm. Want...
2937 Bristol St # C101, Costa Mesa, CA 92626, USA
“We are handcrafters. We are members of the planet. We are creators of green products. We are committed to sustainability. We support local artisans. We leave no footprint. We are fueled by love. We encourage diversity. We are a community. We are...
E 17th St, Costa Mesa, CA 92627, USA
What used to be a derelict street stacked with your typical fast food joints has now become a mecca for boutique-style fitness, health, and artisan shops. Welcome to 17th Street. You'll find everything here from juice shops and breakfast spots in...
Balboa Island, Newport Beach, CA 92662, USA
Walk, shop, row, eat, relax—you can do whatever floats your boat on Balboa Island. There is a walking path that follows the one-and-three-quarter mile circumference, perfect for an afternoon stroll. Local tip: Don’t forget about Little Balboa...
7972 E Pacific Coast Hwy, Newport Beach, CA 92657, USA
Get your hands on the best poke burrito in the area, bar none, at Bear Flag Fish Company. This locally owned hotspot is a "fish market for the new generation." There are now two locations to visit: one located in Newport Coast, and the other on...
3222 East Coast Hwy, Corona Del Mar, CA 92625, USA
It’s thoroughly impressive how much this cafe has to offer. You walk in to find farmhouse decor amongst indoor and outdoor seating, a small bakery section, a boutique, meals to go, freshly prepared pastas, and an additional menu to order from....
2043 Westcliff Dr #100, Newport Beach, CA 92660, USA
This is serious coffee for the serious coffee lover. Roasted on the spot, your cafe of choice is worth the wait here, even if the line is out the door. Stay a while and enjoy your latte with its intricately designed foam decoration in a large...
2937 Bristol St B103-B100, Costa Mesa, CA 92626, USA
The 'Gelato Flight' of five small 'shots' is a clever and fun way to taste test the homemade gelato, including playful flavors like Honey Lavender. The combined indoor/outdoor space is ideal for sitting back with your freshly-made Piadina...
8471 N Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651, USA
With beach access being a hot commodity, Crystal Cove State Park is a peaceful haven of open sand, water, mountainside, and trails. Since Pacific Coast Highway runs through the park, there is designated parking (approximately $15) on the inland...
Back Bay Loop, Costa Mesa, CA 92627, USA
The Back Bay Loop is a paved pathway that takes you all the way around the Newport Bay, an inlet from the ocean that has created a haven for birds and wildlife. Almost the entire path has designated biking and walking areas, making it a safe...
234 E 17th St, Costa Mesa, CA 92627, USA
A healthy happy hour? Sign me up! Affordable pizza and side dishes, as well as discounted beer and wine are on offer at Greenleaf Chopshop every day. Try the Tuscan kale salad, or the yams, walnuts, and goat cheese. If you miss the happy hour, go...
2937 Bristol St, Costa Mesa, CA 92626, USA
Who ever said juice boxes aren't for adults, too? Walk on up to the shopfront, order your freshly made juice, and you're on your way in no time. Spicy Greens is a unique collection of flavors while the Cinnamon Coconut Mylk is ideal for...
204 Washington St, Newport Beach, CA 92661, USA
Bike cruisers are the local, eco-friendly mode of transportation along the lengthy and packed Balboa Peninsula. Park your car, rent or bring a bike, and cruise along the sunny beachside. Or take the Balboa Ferry across to Balboa Island for a...
3313 Hyland Ave, Costa Mesa, CA 92626, USA
Located in an unsuspecting area just off the 405 freeway, the OC Mart Mix hosts over 30 upbeat, original, and delicious retailers, all under one roof (including Whiskey Tango 1977, shown in the photo). Unwind at the Shuck Oyster Bar, peruse the...
2749, 3005 Old Ranch Pkwy, Seal Beach, CA 90740, USA
Creative. Local. Fresh. Diverse. Spaghettini is your California-meets-Italy experience topped off with a hearty helping of family, vino, and a splash of jazz. There are two ways to roll at Spaghettini, Seal Beach. Either way, you end up feeling...
1125 Victoria Street R, Costa Mesa, CA 92627, USA
Foodies be forewarned. The Fermentation Farm plays on your senses, bringing us back home to our natural state of organic and raw goodness. Hidden on the edge of Costa Mesa, you pull into an inconspicuous shopping center, dry cleaner, nail salon,...
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