Costa Mesa, just a few miles from the Pacific Ocean, is a stylish and fashionable city of 113,000 that has so many draws that it’s hard to pare them down. So don’t. Rather, find out why traveling to this coveted Orange County sanctuary is a go-to option for everyone, both domestic and international, wanting to revel in all the city’s choices for just about everything. From radical and rarified activities, to all kinds of artistic enticements, to dynamic dining and lodging choices, Costa Mesa has it all!

Luxury Lodging
With many hotel options to choose from, you’ll be able to pick from a variety of hotels to suit your means, tastes and needs. Costa Mesa offers an exceptional selection of hotels ranging from well-known luxury properties to unique boutique hotels, each within close proximity to the excellent shopping at South Coast Plaza and Costa Mesa’s award- winning entertainment in the arts district. Select Costa Mesa hotels also offer convenient round-trip shuttle service to the Disneyland® Resort with advanced reservations.

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Annual Events
In addition to a very active art and fashion scene, Costa Mesa, known as the City of the Arts™ and the pride of Orange County (OC), is also the host for many terrific events throughout the year. The annual OC Fair in the summer plays host to more than one million visitors, who flock to the area for thrilling rides, great attractions and unique food. Every spring, Costa Mesa also plays host to the OC Marathon, which draws runners of all kinds to take on the challenge. The event takes runners through many of the beautiful areas of Costa Mesa and adjacent cities. South Coast Repertory’s Annual Pacific Playwrights Festival is another terrific yearly event, which provides the perfect gathering place for staged readings, plays and full productions. The three-day theatrical event, which began in 1998, has grown in popularity throughout the years and now showcases as many as 10 new American plays each year.

A Thriving Art Scene
Throughout the year, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, the focus of the city’s performing arts district, is the scene of many Broadway plays, concerts and other theatrical shows. The campus of Segerstrom Center for the Arts, which includes The Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, as well as Segerstrom Hall, the Judy Morr Theater and other venues, delights audiences all year with plays such as “The Nutcracker,” “The Book of Mormon” and many others. Another addition to Costa Mesa’s flourishing art scene is the quarterly Night Market at The LAB, showcasing arts, music, local crafts and art activities. Costa Mesa also offers many top-notch art galleries. DAX Gallery, located in Costa Mesa’s SOBECA district, is just one of many galleries which helps contribute to the vibrant art scene in the area. Featuring contemporary art from well-known and up-and-coming artists, the 4,500-square-foot gallery features a stunning and minimalist setting in which you can view art. The Chuck Jones Center for Creativity in South Coast Collection (SOCO) also is another artistic gem, founded by an Academy Award-winning animator. The center offers art classes, exhibitions, lectures, film festivals and more to inspire creativity in many disciplines. You can also see the Gray Matter Museum of Art to view the work of more local artists, everything from music and virtual arts to photography and drawings to pottery and sculpture.

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Destination Dining
Dining at Costa Mesa offers a slew of options. From exotic food to organic fare, the city is on the cutting edge of culinary greatness. With its moderate climate, the city emulates what world travelers enjoy about the Mediterranean. Temperate weather means dining outdoors is an option year-round, even during the milder days of winter. This great Southern California community offers that and so much more.

Architectural Aesthetics
Costa Mesa was once a relatively small town in population. Not long ago (about 40 years to be more precise), this OC hotspot was as flat as a farmland. In fact, it was farmland that grew lima beans and strawberries. Today, only a few green patches of farmland remain.

Meanwhile, Costa Mesa’s performing arts district is now comprised of many stunning architectural masterpieces, which are as aesthetically impressive as they are commercially important.

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It’s hard not to be impressed by its monolithic glass towers bordered by well-tended gardens and outstanding public art displays. But go ahead and acknowledge what you see. After all, Costa Mesa is the crown jewel of Orange County, a 15.7-square-mile area of unparalleled beauty. Enjoy!

Article by Los Angeles freelance travel writer Jane Lasky.