Costa Mesa is one of the 34 cities that make up Orange County, and with 46 million annual visitors, the bustling metropolitan area is showing no signs of slowing tourism growth. During August’s Destination: Third Thursday presentation at Visit California, the team from Travel Cost Mesa showed how the “City of the Arts” is one of the region's most dynamic destinations.
Costa Mesa has long drawn travelers seeking iconic Southern California experiences due to its neighboring access to the Pacific Ocean and Disneyland. However, Costa Mesa now ignites more interest in and of itself rather than its surrounding areas with its emphasis on culture, the arts and creativity. Nightlife venues with live music, art studios and galleries popping up throughout the city further amplify its growing reputation.
Known for its centralized location in the heart of numerous attractions, Costa Mesa has been deemed the “Most Walkable City in Orange County.” Travel Costa Mesa’s Public Relations Manager Jenny Wedge hopes for travelers to think of Costa Mesa as their next destination to see a Broadway show, enjoy an “eatcation,” or have an incredible shopping experience — all on foot.
The ideal itinerary when visiting Costa Mesa is characterized by simplicity and ease. Travelers can fly directly into John Wayne Airport, arrive at their hotel, and relinquish their car for the remainder of their stay. “No-wheels weekends” are made possible with numerous accommodations’ close proximities to South Coast Plaza and the iconic Segerstrom Center for the Arts.
New developments are in the making in trendy Costa Mesa, including an upscale public plaza coming to Segerstrom Center for the Arts with open seating, a new sound system, and free performances. The venue attracts world-class entertainment, there will be an opportunity to see the sellout Broadway musical Hamilton in 2018.
South Coast Plaza resides in the same arts district as Segerstrom Center for the Arts, attracting 24 million guests per year looking to develop their style and purvey designer retailers. As the highest grossing shopping destination in the country, South Coast Plaza is “where runway meets reality.” This year commemorates 50 years since its grand opening, with the plaza having sustained 250 boutiques in a seemingly five-star resort environment.
South Coast Plaza also harbors 30 of the most-reserved restaurants in Costa Mesa, offering countless dining options to savor from cuisine that covers the world. Costa Mesa was named runner-up for best mid-size city for food in the United States by Trip.com and is frequently included in the Los Angeles Times' list of 101 best restaurants. With bragging rights like these, it’s no wonder the OC Register has deemed Costa Mesa “The Capital of Cool.”
Accompanying the Travel Costa Mesa team to the Visit California offices was Top Chef finalist Amar Santana, owner of Vaca restaurant in Costa Mesa. Between Santana’s tapas demonstration and the presentations from Segerstrom Center for the Arts and South Coast Plaza representatives, the Costa Mesa delegation unveiled how much more there is to their city in the heart of Orange County.
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