Costa Mesa might not be your first destination choice when it comes to Orange County, but don’t be fooled just because they don’t have a beach. There are plenty of things to do in Costa Mesa. And if you want to know what, scroll down and read our hour by hour 12 HRS guide to Costa Mesa!
10 AM :: The Lab + Breakfast at Seabirds Kitchen
You are on vacation, so no need to get up early today. Sleep in a bit and start your day with a healthy breakfast at Seabirds Kitchen. Seabirds Kitchen is located in an artisan mall, the Lab, that you would want to visit anyhow. The menu at this local spot is vegan, but trust us, you will be more than pleased with their food. What started with a food truck is now a full-service restaurant, dishing up refined plant-based meals. Eggs?! Who needs eggs for breakfast! If you are here on the weekend try their Chipotle Florentine ( polenta cakes topped with egg tofu rounds and smokey chipotle hollandaise ) or Flax Jax ( fluffy flax seed pancakes). During the week we love their Holy Smokes Bowl or warm cauliflower salad.
Now that you are fueled have a stroll around the Lab, the Antimall, as they call themselves. The Lab stands for “Little America Business” and features some independent stores and restaurants. It’s a cozy indoor and outdoor space to hang out, drink coffee and just spend some time chilling.
11.30 :: The Camp
Just across the street from the Lab is the Camp — an eco-friendly shopping center with the focus on outdoor stores and green living. Filled with local restaurants, spa salons, and shops, the Camp is also a nice change to your regular mall. They have monthly movie nights and art walks. Make sure to peek inside the Seed, People’s Market. It’s one of the biggest bohemian-inspired stores with a great selection of clothes, home goods, jewelry and everything in between.
12.30 :: Pit Stop at South Coast Plaza
Ok, there are few shopping malls in Costa Mesa. South Coast Plaza is your big mall featuring casuals like Gap and Anthropologie and super high-end fashion. And while that might not be anything spectacular, the number of ( usually) hard to find stores is pretty high at South Coast Plaza. Check out the cool sister of H&M, the other stories, or The Webster, first West Coast outpost of the famous upscale boutique from Miami.
2 PM :: The OC Mix + Tacos at Taco Maria
It’s time for lunch, and we highly recommend you stop by at Taco Maria at the OC Mix. Taco Maria was recently named one of the best restaurants in Orange County, and we confirm, their tacos are exceptional. Chef Carlos Salgado, gained experience working in restaurants like Commis and Coi, before moving back to Orange County and opening, first a food truck, then the restaurant. In the evening they serve only a pre-fixed menu, which is worth coming back for.The OC Mix is another outdoor shopping experience called by the LA Times a mini-Portland. It’s a blend of shops, restaurants, design studios and coffee shops. There is a kombucha on tap, the artisan cheese shop, locally made fashion and much more. For the design enthusiast, there is a whole “strip” with interior shops lined up. From perfect tiles to perfect outdoor seating set. After lunch we like to grab something sweet, a drink ( like the kombucha) and sit in the styled garden for awhile, maybe reading something or just doing some people watching.
5pm :: Segerstrom Center + Dinner
Looking for some entertainment, a good concert or a musical, then look no further than the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. The concert hall has seen many world-class performers and is the hub for any big names artists. Why not treat yourself to a night out, all dressed up, indulging in a fine dinner followed by an elegant night at the Segerstrom Center. Check out their events schedule so you can book your tickets in advance.
For dinner, you have many options in Costa Mesa, but to keep it close by, we recommend the Leatherby’s Cafe Rouge or Vaca. Leatherby’s Cafe Rouge is a fine dining with a California-French menu offering artfully plated dishes and a glass front overlooking the Plaza in front of the center.
Vaca serves elevated Spanish cuisine from different regions, combining them into original dishes created by award-winning chef, Amar Santana. Their paella is super delicious.
So next time you find yourself thinking what to do in Costa Mesa, remember this guide! And tag us on Instagram if you find anything new and cool in Costa Mesa. We are @californiaweekend + #californiaweekend. For more things you can do in Costa Mesa visit their official site.
What else happened during the OC week on California Weekend: