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Top Rated Attractions in Costa Mesa

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Segerstrom Center for the Arts

Segerstrom Center for the Arts, funded largely by a mega-million dollar endowment from Renée and Henry Segerstrom, was originally inaugurated in 1986, with the first venue Segerstrom Hall as part of what was then the Orange County Performing Arts Center. The latest addition, a community plaza uniting the newer and older venues was built in 2006, and the center was renamed the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. The complex has drawn huge audiences for symphony, ballet, and Broadway events. The Segerstrom Center for the Arts, featuring the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, Samueli Theater, and Segerstrom Hall as well as a variety of educational exhibits and recreation services, continues this tradition of artistic expansion. Guided tours offer a glimpse into the backstage area, as well as notes about the architecture and design, and are also highly recommended.

Orange County Museum of Art

If you are driving south along the coast for the day from L.A., this gallery is ideally situated near the popular Fashion Island shopping center, not even a mile from the Pacific Coast Highway. The subject of much controversy among Orange County's art crowd over the past few years, the museum expanded to almost double its original size when the Newport Harbor Art Museum (same location) and the Laguna Art Museum consolidated to form this larger complex, scandalizing the art-loving Laguna Beach community. The permanent collection focuses on late 20th-century and California art, but the museum enjoys exhibitions that have included works from artists such as Rico Lebrun and Pablo Picasso. The Plein Air Café serves lunch, and a meal will earn you free admission to the museum.

The Wedge

A paradise for surfers, the Wedge is the name given to a particular location off the Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach. The spot is called so owing to the huge wedge-like waves that occur here due to the outstretched Newport Beach Jetty that lies in the path of the incoming tides from the North Pacific Ocean. With waves reaching as high as 30 feet (nine meters) at times, the Wedge occupies a very special place on the bucket list of most surfers and adventure seekers.

Balboa Village

The heart of the Balboa Peninsula, the Balboa Village is one of the most visited attractions of Newport Beach. A perfect place for a day out with family and friends, the village has a plethora of activities on offer. It’s lined with some of the best restaurants in the city, to get you fueled up for the day. There are attractions like the Fun Zone for children, while adults can indulge in one of the many boat tours that are organized here. The village also hosts several events every year.

Corona del Mar State Beach

For those who can make only one stop in Corona del Mar, make it the Corona del Mar State Beach. This area alone can make everyone fall in love with CdM, a laid-back multi-million-dollar neighborhood accented by the Pacific, with streets lined by palm trees and flower beds. On the bluff, three signs mark beach access: Lookout Point, Main Beach, and Inspiration Point. Each point has a different view, but all share Catalina Island in the background, with Newport Bay and Balboa Island in the foreground. A few steps towards the south end of Ocean Boulevard is a secluded cove near the Robert E. Badham Marine Life Refuge, and some of the most extravagant mansions follow.

Newport Pier

If the air inside one of the area's many malls seems too stuffy for you, head to Newport Pier for a day of shopping and dining right on the water. Whether you are in search of a quick buy for a day out on the beach or looking for souvenirs to bring back home, you can find it among the many shops and restaurants in this bustling oceanfront area. Here, you can pick up an OC sweatshirt to emulate those moody walks by the waves or get the kids some toy shovels to build expert sand castles. Then, stop by one of the many kiosks for a fruit smoothie for the ride home, but before you go, make sure to walk out to the end of the pier for some great views of Catalina Island and the surrounding beaches.

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