Costa Mesa Holds Its Own as Calif. Destination

COSTA MESA, Calif. -- One of the major reasons to consider Costa Mesa as the base for a Southern California vacation, according to Allan Roeder, president of the Costa Mesa Tourism and Promotion Council, is the city's location in the heart of Orange County.

"Costa Mesa offers easy access to everything that this area has to offer," he said. "Disneyland, the Orange County beaches, even Los Angeles and San Diego, are easily reachable from here."

Of course, Roeder, who is also the Costa Mesa city manager, does not advocate using it only as a dormitory while visiting other parts of the state. He said the area has plenty to offer in its own right.

"Costa Mesa has some truly fine shopping," he said. "The South Coast Plaza, for example, has become one of Southern California's great attractions. It averages 25,000 visitors a day, year-round. Shoppers arrive by the coachload, many of them during breaks in convention activities at Anaheim, for example." The facility has earned a reputation for the quality of its 300 retail stores, studded with names such as Gucci, Saks Fifth Avenue, Chanel and Tiffany.

But that is not the end of it for shoppers. Across town is Triangle Square, which is, in Roeder's view, the "perfect complement" to the sophistication of the South Coast Plaza. An outdoor, low-rise complex, Triangle Square offers lower-key, less-pricey shopping and outdoor dining as well as free concerts ranging, according to Roeder, "from chamber music to folk."

"Costa Mesa has a lot to offer besides shopping," he said. "It's an easy and a very safe place to get around; you can walk to most of the important sites downtown, and the crime rate is lower than in most towns its size. [John Wayne Orange County] airport is right on the boundary, and all of the major hotels operate shuttles to and from it."

Costa Mesa also is the home of one of Southern California's grandest theaters, the Orange County Performing Arts Center, as well as the South Coast Repertory Theater, one of the state's most critically acclaimed groups.

The Costa Mesa Tourism and Promotion Council was formed a little more than two years ago. It is, according to Roeder, still "finding its way." "We're trying to find our markets," he said. "It's not all that easy, but, when consumers and their travel agents really begin to appreciate all that we have to offer, we'll be well on our way."

Costa Mesa Tourism and Promotion Council

Address: Box 5071, Costa Mesa 92628-5071, Phone: (800) 399-5499, Web

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