Costa Mesa is a city in Orange County, California,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.
The population was 109,960 at the 2010 United States Census. Since its incorporation in 1953, the city has grown from a semi-rural farming community of 16,840 to a primarily suburban and edge city with an economy based on retail, commerce, and light manufacturing.
Costa Mesa is roughly 16 square miles and has numerous parks, public schools, libraries and local colleges. The Orange County Fair takes place at the fairgrounds in Costa Mesa each July. The Fair receives more than one million visitors each year.
The Annual Scarecrow & Pumpkin Festival was first held in 1938, went on hiatus for seven decades, and then was restarted in 2013.The Segerstrom Center for the Arts and South Coast Repertory Theater are based in the city.
Our mini guide below will help you discover some of our favorite things to do in Costa Mesa, California.
Explore the Great Outdoors
Costa Mesa offers a range of amenities for families to enjoy, including twenty-nine parks and a good selection of outdoor activities. Whether you prefer to stay indoors or would rather spend the day outside, there are some great attractions to enjoy with the family. You can opt for an educational adventure or a day in the sun. We’ve listed some of our favorite things to do with the family below to help you plan your time in Costa Mesa.
This threeacre working farm was created to educate children about agriculture. With livestock and gardens, Centennial Gardens offers tours and open hours for the public to browse on their own. The gardens are full of lush vegetation and the grounds are home to pigs, goats, cattle, and chicken. If you’re lucky you’ll get to see some cute baby animals when you visit. (Visit in the Spring!).
Visit the Farm at: 88 Fair Drive
Call them at: 714-708-1619
Goat Hill Junction Railroad
Located in Fairview Park, Goat Hill Junction Railroad is one of the largest mini trains on the West Coast, With five miles of track, the engineers at Goat Hill Railroad offer free rides to the community every third weekend of the month.There are more than 40 gas and steam powered model trains here which are operated by Orange County Model Engineers. Members can ride every Saturday and Sunday from 10am-3:30pm. While rides are always free they do accept donations.
Take a ride on a train at: 2500 Placentia Avenue
You can reach them by phone at: 949- 548-7246
Talbert Nature Preserve
With nearly 2000 acres of scenic landscape, Talbert Nature Preserve is open year round for the enjoyment of Costa Mesa locals and visitors to the area. Acting as a recreational facility, a botanical garden and a wildlife refuge, this is a wonderful spot for jogging, biking and even walking the dog. The Preserve offers nine different trails which stretch over threemiles and is one of the few remaining open space areas in Central Orange County. The trails are perfect for beginners or families since the elevation is a modest 100 feet. Avid hikers will find an extended journey by continuing through the Nature Center to the Santa Ana River Bike Trail which leads them to the Pacific Ocean with Newport Beach as the final destination
Talbert Nature Preserve is located at: 1298 Victoria Street
You can reach them by phone at: 949-923-2290 or 949-923-2295
Costa Mesa Tennis Center
Located next to TeWinkle Park, the Costa Mesa Tennis Center is part of the Costa Mesa Parks and Recreation Department and is open 7 days a week. Offering hourly court rentals, lessons for the beginner to the advanced player and competitive leagues the CTMT is also the training facility for the top ranked youth players in Southern California. The full service pro shop provides everything from accessories to gear and racket stringing.
Get your game on at: 880 Junipero Drive
You can reach the tennis center by phone at: 714-557.0211
For over twenty years Rockreation has been a resource for the local climbing community. This is Southern California’s first indoor climbing gym with over 1200 square feet of climbing terrain. They have a range of climbs available for any age and any level of experience, along with lessons and classes. With skilled and friendly instructors, Rockreation is a great way to spend some healthy and quality time with the family.
Climb high at Rocreation: 1300 Logan Avenue
Give them a call: 714-556-7625
Costa Mesa Bike Trails
One of the best locations in Orange County for cycling, Costa Mesa offers miles of scenic parks and dedicated bike lanes. With daily rentals available through Two Wheels One Planet, you can spend the day cruising the best bike route in Costa Mesa: the Santa Ana River Trail. Running parallel to the Santa Ana River, the trail is only accessible to pedestrians and cyclists. Cyclists can enjoy over 26 miles of vehicle-free biking traveling past the northern border of Orange County. For cyclists looking for a shorter route, the beach is an easily accessible two minute ride heading south along the trail. The trail is best accessed from Talbert Regional Park and Fairview Park.
Peddle the day away at: Talbert Regional Park (access point one) 298 Victoria Street
You can reach them at: 949-923-2250
Fairview Park (access point two) 2501 Placentia Avenue
You can reach them at: 714-754-5300
Bike Rentals: Two Wheels One Planet
Just a seven minute ride from Talbert Regional Park and a 10 minute ride to Fairview Park, Two Wheels One Planet is the perfect location for a daily bike rental. They offer a fleet of cruisers and comfort bikes and price their rentals on a half day or full day basis. If a group ride is what you are craving they offer a Saturday Social Ride and two rides on Sundays: a Mountain Group Ride and the Sunday Suffer Road Ride, a 35-40 average distance with a pace average of 20 mph (you may need your Wheaties for this one!).
Find your ride at: 420 East 17th Street
You can reach them at: 949-646-7706