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A Week in the City

Top Rated Attractions in Newport Beach

Search Radius (Miles)
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.

Balboa Fun Zone

This place recalls the days when a Saturday night date meant a trip to the local amusement park, complete with a ride on the Ferris wheel and a few games of skill where a boy could win a teddy bear for his sweetheart. It opened in 1936 and has remained a Newport Beach institution to this day. It's not that big, so don't count on a full day of activity, but it is a nice place to spend a couple of hours. Nights are especially festive here, so bring the family, a group of friends, or a special someone. There is no entrance fee, but each ride requires tickets.

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.

Pretend City Children's Museum

With a self-explanatory name, Pretend City Children's Museum is as it implies, a small "pretend" version of a city! Set up like a regular city over an expansive 28,000 square feet (2,600 square meters), this museum showcases displays like the Library, the City Hall, and The Farm. While traversing across this fascinating museum, children can interact with the displays and learn through play. Watch as your two-year-old has fun in the Orange Plaza while your eight-year-old pretends to be a firefighter at the Fire Station. Your children won't want to leave!

Ocean Institute

The Ocean Institute is located in beautiful Dana Point Harbor and offers ocean science and maritime history programs perfect for kids and adults alike. See hundreds of marine animals in aquariums, watch animal feedings, experience ocean-themed exhibits, and have fun with hands-on activities. For an extra charge, take a tall ship or a whale watching cruise. The Dana Point Marine Protected Area is steps away from the Institute.

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