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Introducing Costa Mesa

Costa Mesa at first glance looks like just another landlocked suburb transected by the I-405, but two top venues attract some 24 million visitors each year. South Coast Plaza is SoCal's largest mall – properly termed a ‘shopping resort’, and Orange County’s cultural heart is steps away in the performing arts venues Segerstrom Center for the Arts and South Coast Repertory.

If that all sounds rather hoity-toity, a pair of 'anti-malls' called the Lab and the Camp brings hipster cool to the shopping scene, while strip malls reveal surprisingly tasty cafes, ethnic food holes-in-the-wall, bars and clubs. Costa Mesa’s chain hotels and motels can be bargains compared with Newport Beach's.