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About Costa Mesa, CA

Costa Mesa is best known for its proximity to beaches and its convenient location between Los Angeles and San Diego, but this California town that was once a farming community is now home to bigger companies like the headquarters of El Pollo Loco restaurant chain, the financial institution Experian and the Los Angeles Chargers franchise office. The city is also making a name for itself as a center for arts and theater in Southern California.

The Community of Costa Mesa

Five different areas make up the city of Costa Mesa: Mesa Verde to the northwest, South Coast Metro to the northeast, Westside in the southwest, Central in the downtown area and Eastside to the southeast. Both the Westside and Eastside neighborhoods border Newport Beach and contain the higher-end homes in Costa Mesa. South Coast Metro is the newest area of town with primarily planned development that centers around the South Coast Plaza mall, one of the largest on the West Coast.

What to Do in Costa Mesa

A top-notch performance facility, the Segerstrom Center for the Arts hosts a variety of concerts, musicals, musicians, dancers and comedians in four different venues. The largest, Segerstrom Hall, holds more than 3,000 audience members. You can find something to entertain and interest you most nights of the week.

Built to house cowboys in the 1820s, the Diego Sepulveda Adobe is situated on a bluff inside Estancia Park. The second-oldest structure in Orange County, the Adobe is now a museum that commemorates the colorful history of Costa Mesa's early settlers. It's only open to the public on two Saturdays each month, so check for hours before you go.

If you enjoy classic cars, stop at Crevier Classic Cars, a museum/showroom that displays several vintage autos. Technically considered a storage facility, the facility houses an ever-changing display of classics, some of which are for sale. The team at Crevier is happy to show you around and share their knowledge of these vintage vehicles. Open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; there's no cost to go inside.

One Place You Shouldn't Miss in Costa Mesa

Looking for something a little less commercial that perfectly embodies the vibe of Southern California? Don't skip a trip to the LAB Anti-Mall, an eclectic collection of small shops and cafes that also hosts live music and art installations. LAB stands for "Little American Business" and for more than 25 years, that's what this fun and unconventional shopping area has focused on. Hang out for a while and check out this decidedly different retail establishment.

Dining in Costa Mesa

Taco Maria offers some of the best Mexican food in the area with a dash of Southern California style. Prix fixe menus are the standard but a la carte options, salads and an array of tacos served on handmade blue corn tortillas are also available. Consider coming by for brunch, served Sundays from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The Italian-themed Old Vine Kitchen & Bar is high-end cafe that serves freshly made pastas, steaks and seafood. Vegetarians will find plenty to like, too, such as the delicious Vegan Curry Quinoa. Tasting menus with wine pairings are available for vegans, vegetarians and carnivores alike. Stop by at Happy Hour for special deals on special cocktails and bar-style munchies.

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