Thursday, May 7, 2020

Where to Stay and Play in Costa Mesa CA : A Girl's Trip Guide

CostaMesa, Motherdaughtertrip, mediatrip, segerstromcenterforthearts, Travelcostamesa

          * Our Travel & This Post -  Sponsored by Travel Costa Mesa. All my opinions are my own

Costa Mesa is a fascinating city in California, and perfect for a girl's trip . We visited on a Mother/Daughter Trip. This Orange County gem is centrally located between Los Angeles and San Diego.  The last

Costa Mesa: Art, Fashion & Culture


Avenue of the Arts Hotel

 Avenue of the Arts Hotel is a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, by Marriott. It's conveniently located at the  cultural hub of Orange County. The artsy boutique style welcomes you into a restful haven. We loved every minute of our stay here and can't wait to check in again!

This hotel is known as one of the most picturesque spots in the area  The bright vibrant colors and luxurious accents are the perfect backdrop for your photos. I call it the "Purple Palace." It's  a royal experience from the minute you walk in the door.  Relaxation and pampering are on order all day long.

Recent accomplishments and awards for the hotel include: 
  • Marriott International Franchise Hotel of the Year
  • Trip Advisor Hall of Fame Award
  • Wine Spectacular Award
  • Open Diner's Choice Award
  • The Knot:" Best of Weddings Hall of Fame."
  • Rated #1 Hotel In Market Traveler
  • AAA Four Diamond Award

At the Avenue of the Arts, modern elegance meets classic, chic style. Here you will find an urban gathering place for all types of vacations.  Artistic elements, and unmatched personal service are what makes this hotel stand out. The attendants opening the door each time you leave- one of many, special touches.

The lobby is open, spacious and welcoming. There are two different  areas to relax and unwind from a long day of exploring.  Enjoy a glass of refreshing fruit water and bask in the tranquil atmosphere.

Our room was amazing: Paris anyone? The chic decor and artsy vibe are so beautiful.  A feature we absolutely loved: the two huge life sized mirrors. Can you imagine being on a girls trip and only one mirror?

The rooms are very inviting with plush queen beds, hardwood flooring and gorgeous views of  the courtyard gardens.

The pool, hot tub and comfy patio chairs offer a restful escape from a busy itinerary.  The sun took a leave of absence during our visit. No worries - the sun returns quickly in SoCal!  We didn't let the weather stop us from enjoying the pool. The courtyard in the back, offers lovely views of the lake and is ideal for taking a walk.  A local trail map is available should you decide to venture farther from the hotel.

The serene atmosphere and convenient location, make this hotel a top choice for travelers coming to Costa Mesa. Check out the amenities offered:
  • AAA  Discount
  • Valet Service & Parking
  • Disneyland Resort Transportation Service
  • Complimentary Airport Shuttle to and from John Wayne Airport
  • Pet Friendly
  • In-Room Safe
  • Dry Cleaning
  • Business Center
  • Vibrant Cocktail Lounge
  • Award Winning Restaurant On Site
  • Complimentary  Fitness Center & Sauna
  • 24 Hour Room Service
  • Outdoor Heated Pool & Hot Tub
  • 12,000 Sq Ft Meeting and Event Space
  • 238 Stylish Rooms and Suites


Segerstrom Center for the Arts

As mentioned previously, Costa Mesa is  the center for art culture in Orange County. This sprawling complex includes two large buildings, with six performance venues.  It was formerly  known as the Orange County Performing Arts Center. Segerstrom Center is home to the American Ballet Theater William J Gillespie School.

It's easy to spend half a day touring this campus. We went back several times to walk around and admire the beautiful structures . This complex is a few steps across the street from Avenue of the Arts Hotel.

I couldn't get enough of  the flamingo pink umbrellas! I snapped several pics of the courtyard with the sea of pink, its so stunning to see in person. The architecture of both halls is very unique and intriguing.

The fine and performing arts are well represented in Costa Mesa. Broadway performances and inspiring productions from aspiring playwrights perform year-round.

Musical Theater

"Everything he bakes is satisfying and delicious, talk about your childhood wishes..." It was amazing to relive the classic by Roald Dahl.  I grew up in the 70's with Willy Wonka and the gang. They are still popular today. 

The live musical performance was an excellent rendition of Charlie and his journey to the chocolate factory. The play stayed true to the story with a few modern elements added.  The performers and theater staff did a fabulous job making the chapters of the story come to life.

All the scenes were very realistic. The best was saved for last, and that's all I'll say! If you are in the area do go see it. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory will be back for June 2020, get your tickets now if you plan to go.

After spending time at the Segerstrom Center,  I suggest seeing the art walk. Unfortunately we didn't have time to check it out. We have something to look forward to next time.

Relax & Read 

On the last day we found this quiet spot, also located on the grounds of the Segerstrom Arts Center.  Enjoy a book and take a rest from the busyness of your trip.

Newport Beach

Costa Mesa is located inland, but the beaches are not far away. Newport Beach is  a 15 minute drive. Huntington Beach, surf capital of the world-is not far either. We've visited several beaches in California, but I've never been to Newport Beach.

We had the opportunity to tour Lido Marina Village, a beautiful seaside escape.  Another mall was on the agenda too: Fashion Island. This outdoor mall is gigantic, and has stunning views of the beach in the distance.


Since it was a mother daughter trip, we couldn't miss a visit to the happiest place on earth!  Staying in Costa Mesa is ideal if you want to include Disney in your itinerary. We've stayed in hotels near the park before, it's always crazy busy with traffic etc.  

Beat the crowds and frustration, stay 15 minutes away in the City of the Arts.  The hotel shuttle from Avenue of the Arts is only 10.00 round trip per person, can't beat that price! The bus picks you up in front of the hotel and drops off right inside the park area.

If you haven't heard the news already, Star Wars " Galaxy's Edge" is now open at Disney. It isn't open to the public yet. Only those who made an online reservation were able to see it. Later in June, the new attraction will be open for everyone to enjoy. " May the force be with you!"


Costa Mesa was officially named a "Dream Eats" destination by Visit California's Dream Eater- Chase Ramsey. I can certainly attest to that: the cuisine is some of the best I've experienced while traveling.  We ate our way around the world without  leaving the city!  Bring lots of loose clothing, you will need it after eating your way around  Costa Mesa!


Vitaly Cafe is an Italian restaurant located at the Camp. Their goal is to make you feel at home by serving authentic tastes of Italy. The menu offers a wide selection: coffees, pastries, home-made sandwiches, pasta, salads, soup and yummy breakfast choices.

We ate breakfast outside in the courtyard. It was the perfect setting to get the morning started.
Recommended dishes : Alpina omelette with prosciutto,  Avocado and toast and Cortina egg skillet.

Our selections tasted heavenly, and the cuppa Jo was delicious too!

The Silver Trumpet

A bold explosion of culinary delights await you at the Silver Trumpet. Enjoy your meal with a charming lakeside view in the background.  The ambiance at this restaurant was my favorite of all.

Summertime is perfect for eating outside at the newly updated patio. When the evening starts to cool off, custom fire pit seating is available. We ate outside, and it was a lovely experience.  Join the fun for happy hour or weekend brunch.

The Silver Trumpet is located on site at Avenue of the Arts Hotel. If you are a business traveler on a tight schedule: this eatery offers great choices for all meals of the day.

Our first meal in Costa Mesa was at the Silver Trumpet. We were very impressed with the flavors and especially loved the pretty drinks. The waiters were very attentive and the service was excellent.

Recommended Dishes: Grass Fed Beef Short Rib , USDA Prime Flat Iron Steak

Vaca Spanish Restaurant

We were pleasantly surprised to find out this eatery serves a very different menu than we are accustomed to.  The vibe in the restaurant is vibrant and welcoming.  The location is in an upscale office building across from the Segerstrom Center and the Westin . It took us under 5 minutes to walk from our hotel.

Vaca is operated by a celebrity chef: Amar Santana. He was the runner up on Bravo's Top Chef Season 13. The restaurant serves authentic Spanish cuisine, not Mexican food.  Chacuterie, a  popular menu item is a specialty appetizer of meats and cheeses imported from Spain.

Vaca brings the flavors of Madrid, Barcelona, Seville and the Basque regions to Orange County. The beef is grass fed from Argentina. Enjoy other delicacies such as paella, octopus and grilled calamari.
Recommended dishes: Prime Hangar Steak, Black Cod, Espinacas Catalana, Patatas Bravas and the Bikini Sandwich.

Looking for a great cocktail- try the Vaca tonic: the  Frozen Gimlet is fabulous. ( It's powerful- just one will do! )

Terrace- by Mix Mix

This restaurant is inspired by French, Italian, and modern Filipino cuisine.  It is run by award winning chef Ross Pangilinan. He also owns Mix Mix Kitchen Bar located in downtown Santa Ana.

An eclectic and refined menu caters to South Coast Plaza's global clientele. Terrace takes a fresh approach to fine dining with a focus on small plates. Rotating craft beers and a fine selection of wines are also available.

Ashlin loved her order of Eggs Benedict. I sampled a taste, it was quite delish! I would've never imagined salmon with it, but it was a brilliant pairing.

Recommended dishes: Eggs Benedict with Salmon, and Endive Salad.

George's Cafe

In addition to fine dining, there are many options for casual dining. We loved the food and atmosphere at George's Cafe. It is also located at the Segerstrom Center. If on a time crunch, this is the spot to grab a bite.

Enjoy the lovely weather, and live entertainment while you eat.  Jazz concerts, solo musicians and school choirs are some of the line up featured in the outside courtyard.

The Art Center and grounds were one of our favorite places to hang out during our visit. It's  a lovely space to relax and unwind.


Shop til you drop in Costa Mesa! Whatever your heart desires, you will find it here. We only wish we had more time to explore more of the retail scene.

The city is a mecca for discovering the latest trends, the classics and unique pieces. From luxury chains to artisan boutiques, the choices are endless.

South Coast Plaza

South Coast Plaza is easy to get to from the Avenue of the Arts Hotel.  Enjoy a beautiful walk through the Segerstrom Art Center, and cross over the highway via the Unity Bridge.

This is the perfect place to spend time for a girl's trip. We were totally in our element! I've never seen this much fashion under one roof.  Visiting South Coast Plaza was the highlight of our Costa Mesa experience.

This renowned international destination is celebrating 50+ years of creating quality shopping and dining experiences. The mall is the largest on the west coast and is the highest-grossing in the  United States.

What we loved the most: South Coast Plaza caters to every type of shopper and budget.  For gals and guys seeking affordable fashion- several chain retailers are available: H& M, Forever 21, Banana Republic, Zara and four anchor department stores.

At South Coast Plaza, you will find many of the world's top luxury brands: Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Tory Burch to name a few. Travelers from around the world stop here to seek upscale apparel.

Also available at South Coast Plaza: The VIP Lounge- ACCESS.  It is available to guests who stay at Costa Mesa hotels, or who carry Platinum AMEX . Shoppers can relax in the luxury lounge while enjoying snacks, cocktails or non alcoholic drinks.

If one has too many bags to carry, they may be dropped off here until time to leave. Additional services are offered to create the ultimate experience of comfort for shoppers:
  • Access Lounge
  • Valet Parking
  • Three Concierge Desks
  • Foreign Language Assistance
  • Shuttle Services
  • Money Exchange
  • A Family Lounge
  • A Luxurious VIP Suite & Spa
  • Incredible Events Year Round
  • VIP Passport Book-Exclusive Offers for Travelers

The Lab (Anti-Mall)

This outdoor shopping area is known as the SoBeCa district, an acronym for " South on Bristol Entertainment, Culture and Arts." Costa Mesa is a very creative community bringing together a diverse mix of cultures: who share common interests in art, fashion, music and the outdoors.

The LAB is considered by locals to be an "anti-mall." The atmosphere has a hipster/hippie vibe and inspires customers to explore their own identity by trying looks from a unique mix of shops. Shopping here is a great way to support the local entrepreneurs and economy.  The LAB was re- purposed from the left overs of a goggle making factory.  

If you want to relax and enjoy the ambiance , there is an indoor-outdoor courtyard to rest or eat. There are several cafes and restaurants open late until 10 p.m.  This outdoor oasis also hosts special events featuring local performers and musicians. 

The Camp

 " Breathe Wander  Nourish Discover Be" is the theme of this outdoor mixed used space: The Camp is the center for all things "Green." It was neat to explore here. Local businesses are focused on promoting a healthy lifestyle. The environmentally sensitive campus is the first of this type to pop up in the United States.

It was fun exploring here and trying local cuisine.  My favorite shop was an upscale resale botique called 2nd Street USA. My daughter and I both loved the large selection of designer goods.

Even the dog is all smiles after leaving the Camp!  The Lab and Camp both are great spots to bring your fur baby along to enjoy the outdoors. I couldn't resist capturing his expression, while being chauffeured down the road.


The Triangle is a hub for entertainment in Costa Mesa. Indoor and outdoor venues are available, along with dining and shopping.  We had a short stay and only one night  to visit a club. There are several options  for nightlife.

Keys On Main

If you are fan of dueling pianos, you will love the music here. Incredible entertainment and delicious specialty drinks are offered. I'm a pianist, so I was right in my element at Keys on Main. The musicians were excellent and very entertaining. We enjoyed the night here, and would love to go back.

That completes our tour of the City of the Arts. If you're planning a girls getaway: Costa Mesa is the city to put on your radar.  Stay tuned, more content on Orange County coming soon.

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  1. I've never been to Costa Mesa before. It looks so beautiful.

    1. You would LOVE it...I am so in love with it after visiting..I can;t wait to go back. I hope you can go!

  2. Wow what a beautiful place to stay. I would love to have a girls weekend at that same place. So many wonderful ammenities.

    1. It is epic for a girl's check it out if you can...ITS SO MUCH FuN!

  3. My mom lives in San Diego and I’m totally saving this for my next trip out to California so we can have a fun weekend! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Pefect! Yes only about an hour or so from SD...You will sooo love it!

  4. I haven't been to Costa Mesa yet, but I'd love to check out the LAB! Looks super cool!

    1. Yes the LAB is cool and such a great idea for supporting local businesses!

  5. My high school friends and I go somewhere together once a year and this looks like a great idea for the future. I'll share it with them.