Costa Mesa calls itself the City of the Arts. And with good reason. It is home to the Pacific Symphony, the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, the South Coast Repertory Theater, the Pacific Amphitheater and the Costa Mesa Playhouse. And while this city is definitely proud of its cultural offerings, it is also not afraid to show off its working-class roots. For example, Costa Mesa is home to the 150-acre Orange County Fair & Event Center, which hosts regular speedway bike contests and one of the largest county fairs in the United States.
Costa Mesa, which was incorporated in 1953, is located in Orange County, about 35 miles southeast of Los Angeles, and about 90 miles north of San Diego. Though this city is technically landlocked, it is actually just a mere mile from the Pacific Ocean. Surrounding Costa Mesa are the cities of Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Santa Ana, Fountain Valley and Irvine. Three freeways cut through Costa Mesa, including the 405, the 73 and the 55.
In Spanish, Costa Mesa means coastal tableland, which refers to the fact that this city lies on a plateau near the coast. It is believed that this area was once part of a Native American village named Lukup. Through the years, this area changed names and ownership several times, before it finally became officially known as Costa Mesa in 1920. At that time, most of the land was used for farming such crops as apples and strawberries.
Of course, today, most of that farmland is gone. And instead of crops, the main thing sprouting from Costa Mesa’s soil are houses and businesses, including the South Coast Plaza. A popular and well-known mall, South Coast Plaza can boast that it has one of the largest concentrations of high-end, luxury stores in the world. Some of the illustrious names that can be found here include Tiffany & Company, Hermes, Harry Winston and Cartier. Costa Mesa has also attracted numerous employers, especially when it comes to action sports-related industries, such as Volcom, Rip Curl and Vans.
The median home value in Costa Mesa is approximately $800,000. In comparison, the median home value for neighboring Huntington Beach and Fountain Valley was slightly lower. Home options in Costa Mesa range from relatively affordable condos to brand-new homes in the upper $2 million range. Recreation-wise, Costa Mesa has a lot to offer its residents, including 28 parks and 2 municipal golf courses.