Costa Mesa, CA


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Costa Mesa is a city in Orange County, CA, that is home to one of the largest shopping centers in the U.S., performing arts venues, world-class restaurants and the annual Orange County Fair.

Costa Mesa is roughly 16 square miles and has numerous parks, public schools, libraries and local colleges. The temperate climate makes it an ideal place to visit all year round.

Must see in Costa Mesa
South Coast Plaza is known for its expansive selection of shops and diverse dining, making it a must see for visitors. Those looking to catch a show should visit the Segerstrom Center for the Arts or South Coast Repertory, both of which offer live performances throughout the year. The Orange County Fair is an annual event in July and August, and is one of the largest fairs in the state, making it a top attraction for locals and visitors alike.

Where to stay in Costa Mesa
Costa Mesa has a wide variety of lodging options for visitors. Those interested in checking out South Coast Plaza or the Segerstrom Center for the Arts should plan to stay in that area.

Travelers with children should plan on staying near the Orange County fairgrounds, which offers lots of family-friendly activities throughout the year.

Those looking for more of a nightlife scene should plan on staying near 17th street, which borders Newport Beach and is home to popular hotspots Wild Goose TavernHi-Time Wine Cellars and La Cave.

Some of the best and most affordable hotel options are located in central Costa Mesa, close to the 405 freeway and Harbor Boulevard, which is just a few miles away from other main Costa Mesa attractions.

Best and worst time go to Costa Mesa
The best time to visit Costa Mesa is in July or August when the Orange County Fair is in full swing. November and December are also lovely times to visit the city as there is an abundance of holiday decorations. January and February are historically the rainy season for Southern California, so visiting then is not recommended.

Where to get lost in Costa Mesa
17th Street is home to boutique shops, restaurants and bars and is a little over a mile long in Costa Mesa. Visitors can wander up and down the street and pop into Sidecar Doughnuts for a breakfast treat and coffee, have lunch at Bruxie, get a workout at Grit Cycle, shop at Doll Boutique and end their day with a nice meal at Santa Monica Seafood.

The best deal in Costa Mesa
Taco Tuesday is a staple in Southern California and Costa Mesa is no exception. Visitors can get delicious Mexican food for quite cheap at Costa Mesa staples such as Taco MesaTaco Asylum and El Matador.

Transportation in Costa Mesa
While the OCTA Bus runs through Costa Mesa, it is recommended that visitors rent a car to get around to avoid detours and numerous stops on the bus.

Getting In from John Wayne Airport
John Wayne Airport is located on the border of Costa Mesa and is the closest airport. Visitors can rent a car at the airport or take a short taxi ride to get into the city.

Local tip for visitors to Costa Mesa
In-N-Out Burger is a staple in Southern California and Costa Mesa has two locations. Be sure to order a burger "animal style" and with extra crispy fries.

Author's bio: Allie Fisher is an Orange County native who loves writing about food + travel. Follow her food adventures on Twitter and Instagram @socaliallie and on her blog,