Welcome to Costa Mesa
Unique shopping abounds in this convenient town atop a plateau
Tucked between Huntington Beach and Newport Beach, Costa Mesa is an eclectic city with extraordinary retail-centered commercial offerings. Though the city lies slightly inland rather than directly on the coast itself, Costa Mesa is still only a few minutes away from some of California’s premier beach areas. Because of its position inland, Costa Mesa also has the unparalleled convenience of being located around several major highways—including State Route 55 and State Route 75—and its center is right next to John Wayne Airport
Costa Mesa wasn’t incorporated until 1953, but within just a few decades, its population had nearly tripled. Once a primarily rural and agricultural suburban community, Costa Mesa has blossomed into a vibrant hub of cultural arts, retail, dining, manufacturing and is also known as the capital of the action sports industry.
Homes in Costa Mesa span across the century in age, though many residences were constructed between 1950 and the 1980s, created to accommodate the growing housing need from the population expansion. Neighborhoods are packed with charming Craftsman bungalows and beach houses, though there are still plenty of multimillion-dollar new-builds with contemporary flair, affordable condos and apartments, and Spanish Colonial Revivals adding character with their red-tiled roofs.
What to Love
- Large enough to have city conveniences, but not overwhelming in size
- Affordable single-family homes in peaceful neighborhoods
- Minutes from the beach, premier shopping, and dining
People & Lifestyle
Costa Mesa is a nearly even mix of families and non-family units, renters, and home-owners, giving the city a more dynamic urban-meets-suburban feel. It’s a popular location for young professionals starting their career, but the plentiful parks and highly-rated school also makes it a great location for families with kids.
Dining, Entertainment & Shopping
Costa Mesa is a shopper’s paradise thanks to the establishment of South Coast Plaza
. Housing more than 250 stores and boutiques, South Coast Plaza is known as a global shopping destination and brings in the highest sales of any mall in the entire country. Some of the biggest names in fashion and design have stores here, including Alexander McQueen
, Dolce & Gabbana
, and Giorgio Armani
Along with its huge scope of retail, Costa Mesa comes replete with a bevy of restaurants varied enough to suit even the pickiest of palates. Set in a restored 1950s location and emanating regal grandiosity, The Country Club
’s menu focuses on California fare made fresh, local seasonal ingredients, and to-die-for cocktails. A more casual bite to eat can be found at Playa Mesa
, where the ice-cold beers pair perfectly with their Mexican comfort cuisine.
Creativity is the main course at Social Kitchen + Craft Bar
, a hip and trendy spot where the gourmet food is inspired by many different nations. Everything from burgers to Spanish octopus can be found on the menu here, and the restaurant is renowned for its bold flavors and combinations.
Things to Do
With its abundance of retailers, Costa Mesa’s activities often include enjoying the many commercial centers as a place for shopping and social gathering. South Coast Plaza, for instance, houses more than just luxury designer brands. Here, you’ll also encounter facets of Costa Mesa’s vibrant arts community, and the on-location Segerstrom Center for the Arts
produces world-class live performances in its magnificent venue.
Though highly unlikely, if you tire of South Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa also has The LAB Anti-Mall
for your exploration. This sophisticated open-air destination houses more boutiques and niche brands than nationally-known shops and is a popular place to find one-of-a-kind items. Those looking for a retreat into nature will discover all that they need in the urban Tewinkle Park
. Its 49 acres house a lake, sports fields, picnic areas, an amphitheater, and tennis courts to visitors who want to enjoy the fresh California warmth.
Costa Mesa is home to several excellent schools. Top educational opportunities include:
- Newport Harbor High School, 9-12, highly-rated public high school
- The Waldorf School of Orange County, K-12, highly-rated private school
- Orange Coast College, 2-year secondary education, #4 community college in the entire state