Credit: Visit Newport Beach

How to Spend a Summer Day in the Charming Town of Corona Del Mar

Life Is but a Dream in This Little Town by the Sea

Goodbye, May gray. Get lost, June gloom. Summer is here, y’all! And our sunshine tax is being put to good use with 50 shades of rays all day. SoCal summer is arguably the best season in the world (we’re not biased, we swear), and we are here to walk you through your warm-weather itinerary. 

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Did you know that Newport Beach has a cute cousin named Corona del Mar? CDM is equal parts sandy, salty and sexy. It has all the elements: restaurants, watering holes, walkability, retail therapy and waterfront real estate. Spending a summer day in this charming town will make you feel like a character from a Nancy Meyers novel. And guess what? You can have your Diane Keaton day and eat during it too. So, let’s get on our merry way and cover all the best things to do in Corona del Mar.


Coffee at Zinc Café and Market

Kickstart your day with coffee at CDM staple Zinc Cafe and Market, where you can enjoy good coffee, great food and excellent people-watching. You’ll need to properly caffeinate before your big Hallmark-worthy day, and Zinc’s salted rosemary latte has your name written all over it. Pair it with a pastry, such as a cinnamon sugar popover or cranberry pecan scone, and you’ll be good to go. Be sure to peruse their in-restaurant marketplace for amazing local finds and farm-to-table goods. 


Browse at the Corona del Mar Farmers Market

Credit: Iñigo De la Maza

Speaking of farm-to-table, get your wellness influencer on at the Corona del Mar Farmers Market every Saturday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. This outdoor grocery go-to has been around for over two decades and lives in the parking lot behind Bandera. The market features beloved vendors like Sage Mountain Livestock meats, OC Cookie Lab and Dry Dock seafood, and it comes with plenty of sips and dips. Just a two-minute walk from Zinc, this is a fun pit stop where you can support your local purveyors and stock up on all your favorite OC finds. 


Brunch at Summer House

Once you’ve worked up a bit of an appetite, take a 10-minute stroll through downtown Corona del Mar to Summer House, an all-American restaurant serving up quaint vibes and delicious food. This approachable little eatery feels like it’s straight out of the Hamptons with nautical nods and booth seating. They’ve got all your classic favorites like soups, salads, sandwiches and everything in between (buns). They’ve got great cocktails and specialty drinks if you want to make it a liquid lunch too. We recommend the Summer 75!


Stroll Through Sherman Library & Gardens

Once you’ve gotten your foodie fix, mosey on over to Sherman Library & Gardens. This serene oasis spans 2.2 acres that showcases a diverse array of plants, including exotic species and native flora. The gardens feature themed areas like the Japanese Garden, Rose Garden and Cactus Garden, all of which offer visitors a tranquil retreat and opportunities for leisurely strolls. The expansive central pond adds to the zen of it all, while the conservatory houses rare orchids and tropical plants. Educational programs, events and seasonal displays enhance the overall experience, making Sherman Library & Gardens a beloved destination for nature enthusiasts, photographers and those seeking a peaceful respite. They also have an on-site restaurant!


Sandwiches at Gallo’s Italian Deli + Picnic at Inspiration Point

Since 1973, Gallo’s Italian Deli in Corona del Mar has been serving up authentic Italian flavors in a quintessential sandwich shop setting. The space recently received a little facelift to add some modern-day touches but it still retains its old-school deli charm. Since its opening, Gallo’s has earned high praises for its mouthwatering sandwiches, with two standouts being the Epic and Italian Star. The Epic boasts layers of savory turkey, jack cheese and condiments, while the Italian Star shines with its combination of Italian cold cuts, provolone, feta, a spicy spread and pepperoncini. Beyond sandwiches, Gallo’s serves up an array of delectable Italian specialties, from hearty pastas to flavorful salads. For those looking to savor these sensational sandwiches while saving a few bucks, Gallo’s offers a sweet deal: leave a Yelp review and present it on your next visit to enjoy a generous 10% discount!

With its commitment to quality ingredients and friendly service, Gallo’s has earned a loyal following among locals and visitors alike. Once you’ve secured the goods, you’ll want an epic setting to chow down. Look no further than Inspiration Point for some of the best views in town. Located at the end of Ocean Boulevard, this popular pit stop offers breathtaking panoramic views of the Pacific and sometimes even an epic whale spotting or two. 


Explore Little Corona Beach

Credit: Ariel Blanco

Little Corona Beach is a lovely little oceanfront alcove known for its stunning views, rocky coastline and tide pools. This stretch of sand offers breathtaking views of the Pacific, with its rocky shoreline adding to its natural charm. It’s a great place to relax, soak up the sun and enjoy the beauty of the Southern California coastline. During low tide, you’ll see that the tide pools are teeming with marine life, including sea anemones, crabs, small fish and colorful algae. It’s a fantastic opportunity for nature lovers and families to learn about coastal ecosystems, and it’s easily accessible via a short walk down a paved path from the street. There’s limited parking available nearby, so get there early, especially on weekends and during peak seasons.


Happy Hour at SideDoor

Summer Day Corona Del Mar
Credit: Timothy Kwon

SideDoor is a hidden gem located through a secret side entrance off of Poppy Street attached to old-school English restaurant, Five Crowns. This cozy cocktail lounge serves up killer Old-Fashioneds and unreal French onion soup. They have happy hour Monday-Thursday from 4:30 to 6 p.m. and offer light bites at great prices, including good deals on prime rib chili and Snake River Farms Wagyu sliders. $10 craft cocktails are also on the menu, which means you can have two espresso-tinis for the price of one—it’s girl math. 


Nightcap at Under CDM

End your dreamy day with drinks at CDM restaurant’s underground speakeasy, aptly named Under CDM. Get yourself a cool summertime cocktail like the Vibe Check—a cucumber mint vodka concoction that’s giving major spa vibes. Sink into the lush velvet couches and reminisce over your major crush on Corona del Mar. Try to time your visit with fun theme nights like Tiki Tuesday or half-off wine Wednesday, and be sure to get a souvenir from their photo booth.

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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