Since its incorporation in 1953, the city of Costa Mesa has evolved from a rural farming area into a suburban city with an edge. Although originally inhabited by the Gabrieleno Indians and Spanish, the land was annexed to the United States after the Mexican American War in 1846. Settlers arrived on the Santa Ana and Newport Railroads and named the community Harper, after a local rancher. In 1920, Harper changed its name to Costa Mesa, which means “coast table” in Spanish. Since the city’s geography is a plateau by the coast, the named seemed appropriate. Population surged in Costa Mesa after World War II. Thousands of soldiers who had trained at Santa Ana Army Air Base decided to make Costa Mesa their home and within three decades the population quintupled.
In addition to close proximity to some of California’s most beautiful beaches, Disneyland Park, Santa Ana Zoo, Knott’s Berry Farm, Costa Mesa has many fine parks, music venues, museums and plenty of outdoor recreation to spark the spirit. The Orange County Museum of Art at South Coast Plaza features world-acclaimed works from famed artists, such as Picasso and Van Gogh. The Orange County Performing Arts Center creates remarkable entertainment by singer, musicians and actors in the acoustically excellent 3,000 seat Segerstrom Hall the 250 seat Founders Hall. The award-winning South Coast Repertory features world-class plays, such as the “Wit and Rabbit Hole.” The repertory also offers an annual production of family classics, such as “A Christmas Carol.”
Fairview Park and Costa Mesa Bark Park are popular destinations for the locals. Throughout Fairview Park there are winding and picturesque trails for biking, hiking, horseback riding, walking and running. There’s also a model railroad station with free train rides around the park. The park also sponsors model glider airplane events throughout the year. The Costa Mesa Bark Park has an off-leash park area for pets and trails for hiking.
Residents enjoy a modern living lifestyle at the South Coast Plaza and Metro Pointe. The South Coast Plaza offer ultimate resort shopping. The plaza offers an unparalleled collection of anchor and boutique stores, including Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdale’s. Known for its luxurious selection, this plaza attracts shoppers from all over the world. The Metro Pointe offers state-of-the-art movie theaters, gourmet restaurants and a network of unique stores.
Close to Laguna Beach, Huntington Beach and Newport Beach, locals take in the miles of sandy beaches decorated with seaside cliffs. Sailing, snorkeling, scuba diving, surfing and swimming are just a few of the watersports enjoyed. With year round Mediterranean temperatures, the beaches are the hotspot. Snorkelers and scuba divers take in views of the beautiful marine life along the colorful reefs and many coves. Naturalists enjoy the many tide pools to view the marine life from rock formations.
Dotted along the coastline are quaint outdoor cafes providing panoramic water views and starry nights sparkling with city lights. There’s a wide array of boardwalk restaurants to satisfy the palate of any foodie, including decadent smoothies and lobster treats. From bikini surf shops to specialty chocolate shops, there’s something for everyone.
In addition to A+ elementary and high schools, Costa Mesa residents have privy to some of the finest upper educational colleges and universities in Orange County. California State University and the University of California are two high-ranking state schools that offer a wide array of majors, including medicine and business. Costa Mesa also has its own community college, which is highly ranked in the nation.
The lifestyle in Costa Mesa is both upbeat and laid back. Offering the best of both worlds, it is a wonderful place to be.