European Vacation Costa Mesa
Credit: Café Sevilla

Your Guide to a European-Inspired Vacation in Costa Mesa

Bring Your European Daydreams to Life Through Cobblestone Courtyards, Fine Wine, and World-Class Tapas

Don’t have the bandwidth to book a trip across the pond for the summer? Craving an Amalfi Coast adventure without the hefty price tag? Want to do as the Parisians do…without (pardon our Frenching) your finances? Do we have the solution for you!

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Did you know you can experience all the charm and ease of a European vacation without leaving the city of Costa Mesa? Stay with us here. We have the local favorites you need to fill your feed with picturesque moments of European dupesall without needing a passport. Say “oui” to our itinerary and enjoy a European-dupe vacation with this Costa Mesa guide!

 

Live out Your Euro Dreams at the Charming Ayres Hotel

European Vacation Costa Mesa
Credit: Ayres Hotels

A charming retreat with a design right out of the Riviera, the Ayres Hotel is known for its upscale amenities and Old World feel. This Costa Mesa hotel caters to both business and leisure travelers seeking a refined experience. It provides easy access to popular attractions, shopping destinations, dining options and the beautiful beaches of Newport. Guests can expect plush bedding, classically romantic furnishings and amenities like flat-screen TVs, complimentary Wi-Fi and spacious work desks in its 284 boutique-style rooms and suites. 

There’s all sorts of amenities to enjoy, including two outdoor pools and Jacuzzis, a cobblestone courtyard with outdoor dining service and landscaped gardens perfect for an afternoon stroll. The best part? The property’s outdoor courtyard restaurant, Le Chateau Garden Bistro, which whisks diners away on a French vacation. Striped umbrellas, a fountain centerpiece and twinkle lights make for a magical experience. If you want to venture off-property, feel free to pop over to Ayres Plaza for a nibble at Etcetera Sushi or Hanuman Thai eatery. Be sure to swing by in the morning for a delicious latte from local hotspot Coffee Nature. 

 

Grab a Charcuterie Board From The Cheese Shop + Have a Picnic at TeWinkle Park

Credit: The Cheese Shop

Say cheese! This artisanal dairy destination at SOCO & The OC Mix is the perfect one-stop shop for all forms of fromage. You’ll feel like a proper Parisian picking out goudas, gorgonzola and gruyeres. Their specially trained Cheesemongers are ready to help you custom-create a cheese or charcuterie board based on your preferences and can help you pair it with something delicious—think local honey, jam, chocolate, dried fruits or handcrafted salumi. If you are feeling extra flirty, get a Fancy Schmancy Grilled Cheese to split. 

Peruse their curated selection of specialty goods at their in-store marketplace to really up your Euro picnic game. Once you’ve procured the goods, head west to TeWinkle Park in Costa Mesa, a 49-acre property with a lake that offers play areas, ball fields, tennis courts and picnic shelters. You can let your stress go and lose yourself in the peaceful escape. For families, there are playgrounds, tennis and basketball courts, and baseball and softball fields to enjoy!

 

Pop on by Paseo 17 Plaza 

Paseo 17 Plaza has had the ultimate glow up and now features some of our favorite local businesses like Milligram Coffee and Kitchen, Mama Bijoux and Slow Goods. The central fountain feels like a European city center with plenty of places to post up. If you need an afternoon pick-me-up, grab a housemade vanilla latte from Milligram Coffee or opt for something a bit boozier like one of their signature spritzes.

Once the bubbles hit, sashay up the stairway to the Mama Bijoux atelier for something shiny. Katie Miller, owner of Mama Bijoux, specializes in feminine, timeless pieces that are best purchased after a few spritzes. She even frequently hosts piercing parties at her shop, so be sure to follow her on Instagram to see if she has any events while you’re on your staycation. Your final stop is Slow Goods, an Aussie-run and -infused apparel and accessories store that sells incredible high-quality, bespoke products.

 

Snag a Croissant and Coffee From Eller Bakery

Another European-inspired spot is the newly opened Eller Bakery. This gorgeous industrial space has been transformed into a pastry paradise that sources only the highest quality ingredients to create unforgettable eats. Using European techniques and culinary traditions, this Costa Mesa carb heaven is milling its own flours, grinding and roasting their own coffees, and serving up delicious farm-to-table food in their meticulously designed flagship location. It’s all magnificent marble and millwork and magic in there. They even have a little hidden back patio that makes for a perfect place to sit and savor. We highly recommend the sourdough cinnamon roll, which pairs perfectly with a salted maple latte. Do as the Europeans do and be sure to grab a loaf of whatever type of bread you fancy to snack on later. 

 

Share a Slice at Trenta

Credit: Trenta Pizza & Cucina

It’s time to take a trip to Italy by visiting one of our favorite local restaurants, Trenta. Serving up some of the best ‘za in town, this place is a perfect pit stop for a slice and a spritz. The patio is where it’s at and is a fun spot to post up and people-watch. Be sure to get the Caesar salad and the burrata appetizer to share. If you have enough people in your party, spring for the 30-inch Trenta Trio, which includes three of their pizzas and is the ultimate centerpiece. The Torina, Caserta and spicy Amalfi are all amazing choices, but you really can’t go wrong with anything on their menu. However, you might be in a bit of a carb coma after, so before you leave, you’ll want an affogato to perk you up and satisfy that sweet tooth at the same time. 

 

Enjoy Spanish Tapas + a Show at Cafe Sevilla

European Vacation Costa Mesa
Credit: Café Sevilla

Let’s send it on over to Spain for a saucy experience that includes dinner and a show. Cafe Sevilla is loaded with personality both in their food and in their live music offerings. The decor is reminiscent of a Spanish taverna with warm colors, rustic accents and cozy seating areas. The menu is tapas-style with favorites like tortilla españolas, paellas and brochetas that are meant to be shared. ​​They have flamenco shows every Saturday night and happy hour Tuesday through Sunday from 4:30 to 7 p.m. (and on Tuesday it runs all night!). You can expect lively music to go with the delicious food so that you can put those two left feet to the test.

 

Sip Natural Wines at Semi Tropic Wines

The final foray into European-inspired spots in town is Semi Tropic Wines off 19th Street. This hotspot is pouring up delicious, natural wines so you can drink twice as much with half the hangover (or so they say). This place feels like a little wine bar you’d pop into in London. Snag a table and nosh on snacks like the smoked fish dip as you slow-sip sauvs and spill secrets. They have live jazz music every Thursday and food trucks on occasion. Ask their knowledgeable staff what’s on tap and come adventurous and ready to try some funky flavors. If the wine turns you wild, hit up Westend next door to end your night.

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Jane Adler is a marketing and branding consultant by trade, but a writer by preference. She shares a name with Meryl Streep's iconic character from It's Complicated and is presently trying to manifest that life (particularly that Santa Barbara house) for herself. Jane is an avid consumer of content and carbs and often used the latter to write on the former.

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