25 Best Things To Do In Costa Mesa

25 Best Things To Do In Costa Mesa

Are you ready to explore some of the most exciting places and experiences Costa Mesa has to offer? Located just south of Santa Ana in Orange County, California, Costa Mesa is a vibrant destination for art lovers, outdoor enthusiasts, and foodies alike.

In this article, we’ll be uncovering the top 25 fun things to do in this dynamic city – from relaxing strolls through Tewinkle Park or California Scenario to exploring Heroes Hall’s military history and sampling delicious cuisine at 17th Street.

Whether you’re looking for a cultural excursion, a shopping spree, or an unforgettable night out on the town – look no further! Read our guide below to find out how best to experience all that Costa Mesa has to offer during your SoCal getaway.

If you are also looking for suggestions of fun places to eat in Costa Mesa, you can read our foodie guide.

Key Takeaways

  • Costa Mesa features a wide range of attractions from art galleries, boutiques, and restaurants to outdoor parks and cultural events – all offering unique experiences for locals as well as visitors.
  • Heroes Hall is one such attraction in Costa Mesa that honors Orange County’s military veterans with interactive exhibits.
  • The Lab Anti-Mall offers an opportunity to explore the artistically crafted spaces featuring sculptures, and murals depicting local life, and culture as well as rotating exhibitions from local artists.
  • Noguchi Garden boasts several geographical features such as peaceful waterfalls and symbolic boulders representing boundaries between countries or provinces alongside modern art installations.

Top 25 Fun Things to Do in Costa Mesa

From visiting South Coast Plaza and exploring the Segerstrom Center for the Arts to indulging in 17th Street’s diverse dining options, Costa Mesa offers several unique activities that are perfect for locals and tourists alike.

Visit South Coast Plaza

best things to do in costa mesa -  south coast plaza
South Coast Plaza – 3333 Bristol St, Costa Mesa, CA 92626, USA

South Coast Plaza is a global shopping destination located in Costa Mesa, and it has attracted visitors from all over the world.

This luxurious mall boasts more than 250 boutiques and restaurants featuring popular international brands such as Gucci, Versace, Hermès, Prada, Chanel, and Burberry.

It is also the largest mall on the US West Coast with an array of dining options catering to different taste preferences. Whether you’re looking for designer clothes or quality cuisine, South Coast Plaza has something for everyone.

Not only that but there are lots of cultural attractions nearby which make this area an ideal stop off on any tourist’s itinerary.

The Segerstrom Center for the Arts is just across Sunflower Avenue while California Scenario and The Lab Anti-Mall are around a 10-minute walk away from South Coast Plaza.

Explore the Segerstrom Center for the Arts

best things to do in costa mesa - segerstrom center for the arts
Segerstrom Center for the Arts – 600 Town Center Dr, Costa Mesa, CA 92626, USA

The Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa is the epicenter of culture in Orange County and a must-visit destination for tourists.

This world-class performing arts venue brings together artists and audiences from diverse backgrounds to experience art forms like music, dance, theater, and opera.

The center has earned a reputation for its innovative programming featuring national touring Broadway shows as well as new works created by some of America’s most renowned writers, composers, actors, and other performers.

With multiple theaters ranging from intimate black boxes to majestic proscenium stages with seating up to 2200 guests, visitors are sure to find performances suitable for all ages and interests at Segerstrom.

Relax at Tewinkle Park

best things to do in costa mesa - tewinkle park
Tewinkle Park – 970 Arlington Dr, Costa Mesa, CA 92626, USA

Twinkle Park is a beautiful outdoor escape for visitors to Costa Mesa, CA. With over 49 acres of sprawling lawn and shade-rich trees, this park offers plenty of relaxing areas to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Parents will love being able to keep an eye on their kids as they explore all that Tewinkle Park has to offer, including three restrooms, five barbecues, and multiple picnic tables.

Kids will enjoy discovering hidden paths in shaded woodlands or running around the meadows sprinkled with tall grasses.

The entire family can relax together under one of its many shady spots while grilling up some lunch or dinner for a memorable day out in nature.

Experience the unique atmosphere at The Lab Anti-Mall

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The Lab Anti-Mall – 2930 Bristol St, Costa Mesa, CA 92626, USA

The LAB Anti-Mall in Costa Mesa is a unique attraction for visitors looking for something different than traditional shopping malls.

It offers a creative retail and dining experience with small business shops, eateries, art installations, and family-friendly activities throughout its space.

The moment you step inside the mall you will notice an atmosphere that encourages exploration and discovery – something many other shopping malls simply cannot provide. Art installations include interactive sculptures, intricate murals depicting local life and culture, as well as rotating exhibitions from local artists.

The mall also has a variety of stores offering clothing items or handmade objects from talented artisans supplying them to this vibrant shopping hub in Costa Mesa. Not only does The Lab Anti-Mall offer great opportunities to explore the artistically crafted spaces but it permits families to have fun together by providing kid-friendly events such as mini golf activities or a games room filled with classic arcade consoles all under one roof! With diverse offerings ranging from delicious cuisines to trendy fashion finds, The Lab Anti-Mall certainly proves itself worthy of exploring during your next trip to Costa Mesa city.

Take a stroll through California Scenario

best things to do in costa mesa - california scenario
California Scenario – 611 Anton Blvd, Costa Mesa, CA 92626, USA

The California Scenario, including the Noguchi Garden, is a cultural and artistic landmark of Costa Mesa that offers visitors a unique outdoor experience. Located within the 1.6-acre park, the Noguchi Garden is known for its peaceful and tranquil atmosphere staged by a picturesque landscape made up of plants and sculptures crafted by renowned Japanese-American artist Isamu Noguchi.

Art lovers can appreciate this landscape masterpiece while enjoying the fresh air in an intriguing alternative to traditional cityscape destinations. The combination of art and nature makes it attractive not only to locals but also to tourists looking for cool urban destinations with something special to explore – making California Scenario one such destination rightfully worth taking time out to stroll through!

Enjoy a show at South Coast Repertory Theater

best things to do in costa mesa - south coast repertory theater
South Coast Repertory Theater – 655 Town Center Dr, Costa Mesa, CA 92626, USA

Located in the heart of Costa Mesa, South Coast Repertory is an award-winning professional theater that has been entertaining audiences since its conception in 1964. Featuring new plays and traditional works such as Shakespeare and musicals, this remarkable venue provides tremendous cultural experiences for all who visit.

Beyond live performances, the theater also holds acting classes for those interested in developing their skills or just looking to get involved with theatrical endeavors. Post-show discussions are frequently held after some performances too – a great opportunity to interact directly with actors and producers from productions you’ve seen! The sheer variety available at South Coast Repertory makes it a must-see stop on your tour of Costa Mesa attractions A visit here can easily lead to many more memorable moments during your stay.

Marvel at the Noguchi Garden

best things to do in costa mesa - noguchi garden
Noguchi Garden – 611 Anton Blvd, Costa Mesa, CA 92626, USA

Nestled in Costa Mesa California, the Noguchi Garden is a public art installation by renowned sculptor Isamu Noguchi. The garden celebrates various geographical features of the state and incorporates elements of Japanese culture to create an oasis-like atmosphere.

Its tranquil beauty and unique design make it one of the most important sculpture gardens in world history. Visitors will be astounded by its rich flora, gentle waterfalls, and symbolic boulders that represent boundaries between countries or provinces.

From its winding pathways to playful sculptures along the perimeter walls, visitors are sure to enjoy this special experience as they immerse themselves in nature surrounded by gorgeous landscapes and modern art installations from Japan’s preeminent artist Isamu Noguchi.

Attend a performance by Pacific Symphony

best things to do in costa mesa - pacific symphony
Pacific Symphony – 17620 Fitch Ave #100, Irvine, CA 92614, USA

The Pacific Symphony Orchestra is world-renowned for its outstanding ensemble and impact on the national and international music scene. Visitors to Costa Mesa have the unique opportunity to attend a performance by this prestigious symphony orchestra, which showcases a range of concerts and events for attendees to enjoy.

Whether attending with friends or a loved one, their performances are sure to delight!

The symphony holds equally impressive philanthropic efforts in the form of special gala benefits that bring together Orange County’s best citizens. They also host several special events throughout the year such as workshops designed to educate members about playing techniques and other valuable topics in classical musical arts.

Explore Crevier Classic Cars

best things to do in costa mesa - crevier classic cars
Crevier Classic Cars – 365 Clinton St, Costa Mesa, CA 92626, USA

Costa Mesa offers a unique, must-see experience for locals and tourists alike—Crevier Classic Cars. You can explore rare classic cars from around the world in this indoor storage facility and consignment company that serves as something of an automotive museum.

Here you’ll find vintage classics ranging anywhere from the 1930s to today, described as so cool they make non-car people fall in love with them. The venue is great for holding events such as Roaring 20s birthday parties or vintage and elegant-themed weddings.

Crevier Classic Cars provides visitors with a special opportunity to interact not only with these amazing classic cars but also get a chance to enjoy more fun things in the area such as TeWinkle Park, Centennial Farm, and OC Fair & Event Center all located near exciting attractions like Disneyland park, Aquarium of Pacific Sea Life and Newport Beach.

Learn about Orange County’s military history at Heroes Hall

best things to do in costa mesa - heroes hall
Heroes Hall – 88 Fair Dr, Costa Mesa, CA 92626, USA

Located in Costa Mesa, Heroes Hall is a modern and captivating tribute to Orange County’s military veterans and their contributions. The museum features state-of-the-art interactive exhibits that provide insight into the region’s veteran history dating back to before World War I.

It strives to bring education, recognition, and honor to each visitor by displaying hundreds of artifacts including uniforms, weapons systems, and equipment parts for aircraft that have been used in the war over all those years.

There are several highlights at Heroes Hall such as simulated flight missions where visitors can experience piloting an AH-64 Apache Longbow Helicopter or F/A 18 Hornet Jet Fighter Aircraft in a realistic virtual world; an interactive table with multi-touchscreens; immersive audio video playback rooms featuring accounts from local veterans; 3D dioramas showcasing Orange County’s diverse geography; interpretive stations featuring Vietnam combat stories, hands-on displays demonstrating sea warfare tactics & technologies conducted through the decades; plus additional exploration options.

Shop and dine at Metro Pointe on the South Coast

Located in Costa Mesa, Metro Pointe at South Coast offers visitors a unique mix of shopping and dining experiences. It’s the perfect spot to spend an afternoon or evening – with seven retail stores, over twenty restaurants, and one cinema all located on-site.

Its distinctive collection of boutiques includes clothing stores for men, women, and children; as well as home goods, accessories, books/music/, sporting goods –you name it! There are plenty of options for those looking to indulge their tastebuds too: lively gastropubs and sushi bars offer gourmet dishes from around the world while sandwich shops serve up classic American cuisine.

If that wasn’t enough already – Metro Pointe also hosts a variety of events such as themed movie screenings or exhibitions by local artists throughout the year – providing another reason to visit this popular location in Costa Mesa.

Attend a festival or event at the OC Fairgrounds

The OC Fairgrounds is the ultimate destination for a fun and exciting experience in Costa Mesa, California. The grounds host over 150 year-round events annually ranging from festivals to concerts to family activities like farmers’ markets, taking advantage of the state-of-the-art facilities that offer large outdoor spaces with rental space options.

With such an extraordinary variety of events happening throughout the year, visitors can get their hands on anything from music extravaganzas and carnivals to art exhibitions or vintage markets.

No matter what day it is there’s always something special going on at the OC Fairgrounds – make sure you visit this summer! From its world theme parks to cultural offerings like food festivals and rodeos, one thing remains certain: attending any event or festival at the OC Fairgrounds is a unique experience no visitor should miss out on while visiting Costa Mesa.

Discover local artists at Location 1980

Costa Mesa has no shortage of amazing artisans, and festival goers can take it in at the annual Holiday Art Sale hosted by Location 1980. Here, visitors have the chance to explore studio tours and discover hundreds of pieces from local artists—all while supporting the thriving art community of Costa Mesa.

Whether you’re looking for a unique piece or handmade gift for yourself or someone else, this is one event that won’t disappoint! Thanks to its family-friendly atmosphere—complete with activities such as pottery wheel demos and live painting workshops group visits are always welcomed here too.

So if you find yourself exploring Costa Mesa around the holiday season come join us at Location 1980 where we celebrate culture through original artwork every year.

Indulge in 17th Street’s diverse dining options

The 17th Street in Costa Mesa offers a wide range of dining options that make it one of the best stops for hungry foodies. With diverse and award-winning restaurants to choose from, visitors are spoilt for choice.

Asian cuisine lovers must not miss out on Riptide Pizza Company, featuring inventive fusion pizzas, burgers, sandwiches, and more along with Little Sparrow Cafe with its one-of-a-kind Italian-inspired creations such as fingerling potato arancini balls or grilled Rabbit Hill Farms peaches with ricotta cream and hazelnuts.

If local Mexican favorites like enchiladas or brown rice rolls are what your palate craves then head over to Playground Restaurant & Bar which is located close by. From modern-day necessities including morning coffees to sophisticated evening cocktails – 17th street has something for everyone’s taste!

Visit the SOCO Collection & OC Mix for shopping and dining

The SOCO Collection & OC Mix in Costa Mesa offers a curated selection of shopping and dining options. With over 70 restaurants, showrooms, and stores to choose from you’re sure to find something that suits your needs.

From interior design furniture stores, and boutique apparel shops to upscale dining establishments offering diverse cuisines – it’s the perfect place for those seeking something new or looking for unique experiences.

The architecture is designed with California vibes in mind creating an atmosphere that adds to the overall experience. Whether it’s finding great deals on designer labels or trying out cuisine from around the world – SOCO has it all! So if you’re ever looking for a fun way to spend your day visit 9th Street in Costa Mesa and see why everyone loves this hidden gem of Orange County!

See a show at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts

The Segerstrom Center for the Arts is a world-class performing arts venue in beautiful Costa Mesa with something to offer every visitor. From ballet, opera, and musical theater performances from internationally acclaimed artists, to art exhibitions featuring local talent, this stunning center has been a cornerstone of Orange County’s cultural scene since its inception.

For those looking for an exhilarating experience under the bright lights of a full-sized stage or gallery space, the Segerstrom Center will not disappoint. Enjoy breathtaking productions by the Pacific Symphony Orchestra or take part in their free monthly outdoor concerts at Serenata Park neighboring South Coast Plaza.

The Segerstrom also hosts inspiring programs throughout the year tailored toward providing educational opportunities about performance and visual arts for all ages. A visit here provides plenty of entertainment options along with much more culturally and artistically diverse experiences that Southern California has to offer!

Take a walk through the Costa Mesa Art Walk

Located at the far end of downtown Costa Mesa, the Costa Mesa Art Walk is a unique artistic destination inviting both residents and travelers to explore its vibrant galleries, art installations, and performance spaces.

The Art Walk provides visitors with an opportunity to connect with some of OC’s emerging artists through monthly artist receptions, interactive exhibits in diverse mediums from painting to printmaking, and sculpture gardens displaying 3-D work by established Orange County authors and poets.

Featuring contributions from hundreds of accomplished local creators—who use this space for everything from window displays to live music performances—there has never been a better way to experience Costa Mesa’s dynamic creative culture.

Visit the artistic hub of Orange County, Costa Mesa

Costa Mesa is an amazing destination offering a unique mix of culture, art, and design. Here visitors can explore the vibrant local arts scene while indulging in some high-end retail experiences at South Coast Plaza.

There are a plethora of galleries to visit including Location 1980, The Coast Art Gallery, and OCMA Contemporary Lab. With its rich history, diverse dining options, stunning outdoor venues including Noguchi Garden’s 3+ acre area, and the renowned Segerstrom Center for the Arts hosting spectacular plays and performances by Pacific Symphony Orchestra – there’s always something new waiting to be explored in Costa Mesa!

Explore the unique shops and restaurants at The Camp

The Camp in Costa Mesa offers a truly unique experience for visitors. This vibrant shopping and dining destination features an eclectic mix of boutique stores, cafes, eateries, salons, galleries, and more – all with an edgy industrial atmosphere.

Culture lovers will be inspired by independent fashion retailers such as Sevenly Print Shop celebrating creativity. Food fans should sample the delicious fare at Old Vine Kitchen & Bar – from local craft beers to wood-fired pizzas this spot is known as one of the best restaurants in town.

Plus there are plenty of sweet treats to try at Coffee Dose Cafe too! Other highlights include Tokyo Stop for vintage Japanese toys or secondhand shop In Living Color which slides fun art installations into its colorful racks.

Relax in the peaceful Noguchi Garden

Experience the peaceful and relaxing atmosphere of the Noguchi Garden in Costa Mesa, California. Designed by renowned artist Isamu Noguchi and installed as an urban oasis, this public garden art display offers visitors a unique blend of nature-inspired sculptures symbolizing inner harmony with surrounding elements.

Visitors to Noguchi Garden can explore the lush gardens, dramatic water features, and winding pathways of the outdoor space for an enchanting journey. The site also plays host to several events throughout the year which are perfect opportunities for visitors to appreciate its artistic offerings while connecting with others from Costa Mesa or other parts of Orange County.

From sightseeing tours that meander through its many garden displays–and even stopping at some of Noguchi’s works located nearby – there’s plenty to discover in this tranquil yet stimulating landscape made by one of Orange Country’s premier artists.

Experience the vibrant art scene at the Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA)

and explore the wonders of modern and contemporary art. Located on the campus of the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, OCMA houses over 4500 works of art from renowned artists with ties to the region.

There is something special here that visitors won’t find anywhere else – an array of first-ever solo museum shows, dynamic visual arts programs featuring major thematic exhibitions, new commissions as well and surveys showcasing leading contemporary artists.

Discover what makes Orange County Museum Of Art so unique; it offers a one-of-a-kind opportunity to learn about and appreciate innovative artwork presented within a vibrant environment surrounded by performing arts venues and public art displays.

Enjoy thrilling rides and delicious food at the OC Fair

The OC Fair is a must-visit destination for tourists and offers an array of thrilling rides, delicious food options, and unique shopping experiences. With its Ferris wheel, X-Treme Freestyle Moto-X, and all sorts of midway games, adrenaline seekers are sure to have the time of their lives.

Foodies won’t be disappointed either since the fair’s Crafters Village hosts dozens of artisanal treats such as homemade ice cream and locally made jams that can’t be found anywhere else! From classics like BBQ pork sandwiches to more exotic fare like Korean tacos or Japanese mochi ice cream, there is something here for everyone in your group to enjoy.

With over 8200 seating capacity at Pacific Amphitheatre too – featuring shows from some major names in music~ the OC Fair has become one of Orange County’s most popular events ever since 1890!

Sample delicious cuisine at Costa Mesa’s diverse restaurant offerings

Visitors to Costa Mesa can look forward to indulging in a variety of delicious and diverse cuisine. From all corners of California, the US, and beyond – you’ll find it here! Whether it’s Asian-inspired dishes gathered from Chinatowns throughout the state, Mediterranean offerings hailing from Greece or Lebanon; Mexican flavors directly from Mexico City; coastal seafood delicacies like ceviche & grilled fish caught fresh off of Southern California’s beaches; BBQ staples emerged from Texas pitmasters smoked overnight at locals establishments – whatever your palate is seeking you will find in this bustling city! The local restaurant scene plays an integral role in Costa Mesa’s vibrant arts and culture space as chefs shift cultures through their culinary creations on plates.

At dining establishments across town, no two servings are ever alike with unique personality found within each dish tastefully served up. Diners looking for creative culinary experiences won’t be disappointed when visiting the fantastic restaurants within Costa Mesa’s lively food scene!

Visit the 626 Night Market, featuring food and entertainment

The 626 Night Market is an exciting annual summer event featuring over 250 food, merchandise, crafts, games, live concerts, and entertainment activities. Taking place at the OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa every Friday-Sunday from 4 PM-11 PM throughout June to August, it has quickly become one of the most talked about events in California.

The market offers something for visitors of all ages – tantalizing cuisine ranging from traditional dishes like Chinese dim sum to fusion foods such as Mexican tacos with Korean-style BBQ -all cooked up by some of the best chefs in the region.

Shopping enthusiasts can find unique items from local artists and artisans or browse through craft stalls showcasing locally handmade jewelry and clothing. Entertainment doesn’t get better than this; carnival rides light up the night sky adding a special sparkle to each evening’s performance with DJs spinning music and spectacular firework displays on weekends.

Play a round of mini golf at Playground Mini Golf

Visiting Playground Mini Golf is one of the best ways to experience a little bit of Costa Mesa in California. This family-run mini golf course boasts 18 holes, each with a unique theme and challenging obstacles.

It’s also great for large groups since each pair can set their own pace – nobody has to keep up with anyone else! Plus, visitors get complimentary tokens to the nearby game room after completing all eighteen holes.

For an extra special treat, try visiting during special event days like Movie Nights or Super Hero Saturdays when guests are encouraged to wear costumes and take part in fun activities themed around the movie or character being celebrated on that day! Visitors interested in taking home some souvenirs from their trip should head over to the pro shop which offers officially licensed Playground Mini Golf merchandise too – it’s sure to be a hit at any birthday party!


Costa Mesa is one of Southern California’s most vibrant cities, offering an array of attractions for any kind of traveler. From the renowned South Coast Plaza and Segerstrom Center for the Arts to more unique experiences such as The Lab Anti-Mall, Costa Mesa embodies a truly eclectic mix of activities.

For admirers of art and design, there’s ample opportunity to explore galleries, outdoor sculptures, and installations while for those looking for a quiet escape, they can find it at Noguchi Garden or Fairview Park.

Whether you’re after shopping spots or delicious dining options with diverse culinary offerings in OC Mix or 17th Street, Costa Mesa has something that will appeal to any taste – providing exciting entertainment options year-round through its festivals and events organized at the OC Fair & Event Center including the popular annual Orange County Fair experience all this without having hopped on a plane!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 25 best things to do in Costa Mesa?

The 25 best things to do in Costa Mesa include popular activities such as sightseeing, outdoor activities, entertainment options, local experiences, and cultural highlights.

Are there any must-see places in Costa Mesa?

Yes! There are several famous attractions to visit while exploring Costa Mesa that offer unique perspectives and thrilling experiences.

Which outdoor activities can I enjoy in Costa Mesa?

You can indulge yourself in exciting outdoor adventures like hiking trails, kayaking or paddleboarding along the coastline, surfing at Newport Beach, or beach bonfire sessions on Huntington Beach Pier.

What kinds of entertainment options are available in Costa Mesa?

Costa Mesa offers a range of fun venues including holiday markets, skate parks, and performing arts theatres so you can find something suitable for your leisure needs no matter what mood you’re feeling!

What are some of the best places to eat and drink in Costa Mesa?

Costa Mesa offers a diverse culinary scene with options such as the Wine Lab, Din Tai Fung, and various options for Cuban food, making it a great destination for foodies.

Where is Costa Mesa located?

Costa Mesa is located in the heart of Orange County, California, making it a convenient hub for exploring the surrounding areas such as Laguna Beach and Orange.

What are some cool things to do in Costa Mesa?

Visitors can explore the City of the Arts, shop at the South Coast Plaza shopping center, or enjoy a performance at the Segerstrom Concert Hall among other activities.

What are some recommended places to stay in Costa Mesa?

The Avenue of the Arts Hotel and other accommodations in Costa Mesa provide comfortable and convenient options for visitors looking to stay in the city.

How can I make the most of my travel to Costa Mesa?

Making the most of your trip to Costa Mesa involves exploring the city’s attractions and utilizing its central location to visit nearby destinations such as the Orange County Fairgrounds and the urban outfitters in the area.

What are some of the unique characteristics of Costa Mesa?

Costa Mesa is often referred to as the “City of the Arts” and is also known for its history in agriculture, including being a major producer of Lima beans in the past.

What are the transportation options available to get to Costa Mesa?

Visitors can conveniently access Costa Mesa through the nearby John Wayne Airport and various highways, making it easily accessible for travelers.

Are there any specific attractions in Costa Mesa related to the city’s history and culture?

Costa Mesa’s history and culture can be explored through attractions such as Henry Segerstrom and the elaborate Forest Walk, which showcases the natural beauty of the area.

What are some popular activities in Costa Mesa that are suitable for families?

Families can enjoy visiting the Orange County Fairgrounds, which hosts various events and activities throughout the year, offering entertainment for all ages.

How does the land use and natural surroundings in Costa Mesa contribute to its appeal?

Costa Mesa’s mix of urban and natural environments provides a unique charm, with the city’s proximity to both desert land and the ocean making it a diverse destination for travelers.