No Gatekeeping Here! Discover Costa Mesa’s Newest Attractions, Restaurants and Speakeasies
Costa Mesa is the trendsetting city in Orange County that’s keeping us on our toes. Maybe it’s the younger crowd or the city’s small-business entrepreneurial spirit, but there’s always something new to explore in this up-and-coming neighborhood. Locals love it for the hip restaurant scene and plethora of coffee shops in town, while visitors come for the world-class shopping and art. There’s no gatekeeping here—we’re handing you the inside scoop to discover everything new and hot in Costa Mesa.
Browse Around The OC Mix for Inspiration
The OC Mix
The OC Mix, Costa Mesa’s vibrant shopping and dining destination, has recently welcomed a variety of new tenants that we are major fans of. Start with brunch at Paragon, a hip gathering place serving elevated dishes like chicken and waffles and duck fat tots. After you can’t eat another bite, head over to explore the new eclectic mix of businesses offering something for everyone. From the charming floral studio Hadley & Ren, boutique clothing and gift shops, the sophisticated beauty salon THE SALON by Ana Paz Hair, and skincare studios G. Bar Lash & Brow and OmniaPiel Facial Aesthetics, you can easily spend hours here exploring. With a focus on quality and creativity, each business at The OC Mix is committed to delivering exceptional customer service and a memorable experience—you’re guaranteed to leave full of inspiration!
Jack of All Trades
Located right across from Work in Progress (a cool new-ish coffee shop—check it out) in the brewery district off of secretly cool sleeper street Randolph Ave is a sleek new self-care destination called Jack Henry. With a mission to simplify the daily skin and scalp routines of men and women alike, this black-and-white-loving barber shop is reinventing the way we do wellness. Using only the cleanest and most sustainable ingredients and products, Jack Henry is taking a “less is more” approach to looking good. This place really is the Jack of all trades (or fades, depending on what haircut you’re getting). Stay awhile and relax in the infrared sauna for a moment to yourself before moving on with your day. You’ll want to get your man a gift certificate here ASAP.
Vacay or Staycay
Avenue of the Arts Costa Mesa, A Tribute Portfolio Hotel
Just blocks from the shopping mecca South Coast Plaza and minutes from The Camp and The LAB Anti-Mall, Avenue of the Arts Costa Mesa, A Tribute Portfolio Hotel is a city-center oasis designed for Orange County exploration. Rest and recharge in romantic lakeside suites before seeing what all the buzz is about around town! Guests are encouraged to experience Costa Mesa first-hand with complimentary access to the Orange County Museum of Art, daily breakfast at the award-winning Silver Trumpet Restaurant and Bar, and one night of boutique accommodations thanks to the hotel’s new Discover Costa Mesa package.
Explore the Exhibits
Orange County Museum of Art
Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA) may be coming up on its 60th anniversary, but trust us, there’s always something new to see—especially with its $94.5 million renovation! Known for collections of innovative art, OCMA found a permanent home at Segerstrom Center of the Arts. The most recent exhibit, “13 Women: Variation II,” honors the women who dreamt up Orange County’s premier art hall back in 1962. This rotating exhibit includes artwork from female artists featured in the museum’s early years and the current crop of women who make OCMA what it is today.
Go to the Theater
Segerstrom Center for the Arts
It’s showtime! Segerstrom Center for the Arts is one of the nation’s most respected performing arts centers, and it sits right here in Costa Mesa. The array of world-class acts ensures there is always something new and exciting to see. Grab your girls, dress up in pink and see the iconic “Mean Girls” musical coming to the Segerstrom, March 7-19. Musical theater legend Kristin Chenoweth is also on the lineup March 10-11, followed by “Hairspray” from April 18-30 and “Chicago” from May 16-21.
Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy
Cowboys and Poodles
Not so secret anymore, find Costa Mesa’s newest speakeasy, Cowboys and Poodles, outside The CAMP with a line out the door almost every weekend. Once you’re in, you’ll find out why. The rustic yet playful charm is unlike any other OC bar. Pull aside the Western bookcase to enter, saddle up on horsetail barstools, spill your secrets in the confessions booth and dance the night away under the disco ball. If you’re ready to get howdy and rowdy, order the Whole Mood cocktail!
Find the Latest Fashion
South Coast Plaza
South Coast Plaza is famous around the globe for its collection of luxury fashion brands, trendy boutiques and critically acclaimed restaurants. Keeping a pulse on the current fashion movements, South Coast Plaza will soon welcome Reformation, a sustainably sourced women’s clothing brand best known for its vintage floral dresses. Also new to the plaza is Ganni, home to minimalist everyday wear with a Nordic flair, and JD Sports, best known for top sneaker brands. For those celebrating the big day, shop designer bridal from Monquie Lhuillier and select a suit jacket for the groom at Thom Browne.
New Morning Routines
Boil and Bake
Costa Mesa’s hip character is attributed to the city’s culture of craftsmanship. Boil and Bake is one of those businesses that makes Costa Mesa special. Opened by Carlos Perez and Chef Luke Bramm in Summer 2022, Boil and Bake is revolutionizing the locals’ breakfast routine. Scratch-made cultured butter, house-cured fish and thick-cut bacon are a few toppings you can expect sandwiched between hand-rolled bagels. Order The M.F.—no bagel will ever be the same!
For a Casual Bite
A+ pizza shops thankfully line every corner of Costa Mesa, but finding a golden crisp calzone that’s ready to ooze pools of melty mozzarella is no easy feat. The calzone is an Italian lost art, but the makers of Mezzo Calzones are bringing these glorified pizza pockets back to life. Brushed with butter and sprinkled with parm, Mezzo Calzones are stuffed with a blend of ricotta and mozzarella, hearty meats and fresh veggies. Pro tip: for all our ranch lovers, order their ranch dipping sauce for the ultimate experience.
But First, Coffee
From Canada to Newport and now Costa Mesa, Huskins is making Orange County a better place—one cup of coffee at a time. Their Newport flagship has become a Balboa favorite for its minimalist coffeehouse design and addictive Hometown Latte that’s sweetened with maple syrup. Now, you can get caffeinated in Costa Mesa off 18th St and Newport Blvd! All coffee is small batch and sourced from organic farms for consistently fresh roasts, and their friendly baristas epitomize Canadian hospitality.
Cure Your Seafood Cravings
Costa Mesa can be all about the hustle, which often calls for a quick bite. Simply Fish is the best of both worlds: the menu of a fine-dining establishment in a casual setting. Derek Taguchi, restaurateur behind Simply Fish, has been in the seafood industry for years and recognized the need for healthy options at an affordable price. It’s that simple! Lobster tail and cioppino branzino are a couple of menu items you can expect to order at the 17th St eatery.