Time for a staycation! This year I have embarked on some pretty diverse travels abroad. When I come back home, I see my hometown of Southern California from a whole new perspective. It makes me realize all the things I have right in my own backyard that sometimes only tourists fully appreciate!
In the latest vlog, I venture to visit the City of the Arts, Costa Mesa, which is the center point of all the action in Orange County. I am talking about foodie spots like Michelin Star ranked tacos and authentic Cuban food, beaches, shopping, theater, and concerts - all within a stone's throw from the airport.
City of the Arts!
They don't call it City of the Arts for nothing! Costa Mesa has everything from world-class theater, shows, and concerts at the Segerstrom. We grab tickets to Miss Saigon, a legendary musical theater production and love story between a geisha and American GI set in Vietnam. The show was dramatic and entertaining- what a fantastic way to kick off a Friday evening!
Shopping Til You Drop!
Costa Mesa is the epicenter of the best shopping on the West Coast! The city offers two very different shopping experiences. First, we visit the South Coast Plaza, which is world renowned for designer shopping. Next we visit The Lab Anti Mall, a funky shopping district located a few blocks from South Coast Plaza, with eclectic handmade goods, artisanal shops, and art installations.
Time for a Mid-Day Espresso!
We visit Portola Coffee Lab and Vitaly (below) for the best lattes and coffee in town. This time we try the matcha and turmeric lattes.
Taco Tuesday - err, Taco EVERYDAY!
For Michelin Star ranked tacos, we try Taco Maria which is known for creative tacos with handmade blue corn tortillas. Below are the savory mole pollo tacos!
If you want to check out the best of Costa Mesa's food scene (including Habana - below) in an exclusive tasting event, check out Taste coming up October 18th and 19th! We visited last year, and it was a blast and featured live chef cooking demonstrations and creative tasters from the top restaurants. Be sure to arrive hungry and thirsty!
Cheers to the Weekend!
Brunch is one of the best times to visit Costa Mesa. We try Toast, which is known for their fun drink menu, including the OC Juice Cleanse (below) which is sparkling wine with a watermelon paleta!
Hiking and Biking Trails:
To walk off all the delicious food, it's time to do something active! We rent bikes at The Cyclist and ride along Costa Mesa's neighborhoods and parks. The ocean and Newport Back Bay are only a ten minute bike ride away!
Where to Stay:
Whether you are visiting OC for work or play, Costa Mesa truly has everything that makes Orange County a great place to visit (or live in our case). It is a a few minutes from John Wayne Airport and close to nearby beaches and theme parks.
We recommend staying at the Avenue of the Arts Hotel, which is a four diamond awarded hotel with the comfiest beds and pleasant hospitality. It is located across from the Segerstrom and within walking distance to South Costa Plaza.
Places featured in this vlog:
â¡ï¸Taco Maria: http://www.tacomaria.com/
â¡ï¸Portola Coffee: https://portolacoffee.com/costamesa
â¡ï¸Segerstrom Center for the Arts https://www.scfta.org
The Tiburon Peninsula offers a peaceful and scenic escape from the urban life of San Francisco. Tiburon began as a railroad town shipping freight to San Francisco and is now one of the most sought after locations in the Bay Area. This âcharming bayside town is located only 20 minutes from San Francisco by ferry or about thirty minutes by car, and is tucked away from freeway and bustling city life.
In this vlog, we spend the weekend in Tiburon to show you the best views, foodie spots, and hidden gems in Tiburon!
Views Upon Views
Tiburon is known for its spectacular views of Angel Island, San Francisco, Golden Gate Bridge and Mt. Tamalpais. Almost everywhere you look, you will see views upon views.
Angel Island State Park
Known as one of the hidden gems in the Bay Area, Angel Island State Park is in the city of Tiburon and reachable by a 12 minute ferry ride. The island offers a natural setting filled with sweeping 360 degree San Francisco views, bike trails, camping, and history. The island previously served as the Immigration Station (Ellis Island of the West) where over 1 million people passed through to America.
Beaches, Beaches, and more Beaches
Angel Island is an island after all, so that means beaches! The beaches are untouched, and while the water is chilly, it is clear, turquoise and perfect for sailing. And yes, this is located only a few miles from Downtown San Francisco.
Main Street - A Foodie Mecca
A trip to the Bay Area is not complete without a satisfying and savory bowl of cioppino, a seafood stew in tomato broth. Sam's Cafe is the perfect spot to enjoy this Bay Area delight with views of San Francisco in the background.
Running and Hiking
Tiburon hosts the Tiburon 10K and Half Marathon in late September, a race that offers a stunning coastal course that goes along the Bay, with fresh ocean air, and a family friendly atmosphere.
Beer and Hiking
To top off our trip to Tiburon, we grab a local beer at Waypoint Pizza and hit the St. Hilary Trail atop the hills of Tiburon for aerial views of the Bay. We even spot the Golden Gate Bridge from the top!
Whether you are in Tiburon for a day trip or for the weekend, you will feel truly rejuvenated after spending time in this serene setting. We hope you get a chance to visit the quaint waterfront escape of Tiburon. It truly is a great city escape!
One of my favorite ways to explore a city is with the Free Walking Tour groups. Before visiting Rio de Janeiro, I had seen images of Corcovado, Sugarloaf, and the world-famous beaches, but hardly ever the city center. I was curious to know what Rio is like outside of the touristic areas, so I booked a walking tour. I was surprised to find European style architecture, colorful street art, many city improvements since the Olympics, and much more.
Here are the top places to visit in the Rio De Janeiro downtown:
Lapa is a neighborhood in the downtown with a bohemian vibe, buzzing with nightclubs, street art, and music
One of the most touristic and recognizable sights in Rio is the "Seleron Stairs", a sweeping staircase made up of tiles from the colors of the Brazil flag. It was created by Chilean born artist Jorge Selaron in 1990 who started renovating the dilapidated staircase in his neighborhood.
Today, there are over 2000 tiles collected from over 60 countries,. The line to take a photo on the steps is buzzing with tourists and locals, and can last for over 20 minutes long. This work of art is proclaimed to be a tribute to the Brazilian people and is admired by people from around the world.
This two story coffee shop was ranked as one of the most beautiful in the world, found right here in Rio Centro.
Centro features European architecture inspired by France and Portugal, with a unique Brazilian flair. It is mostly a commercial district and much of the area is closed on Sundays, so be sure to visit during the week to catch the downtown during its liveliest moments.
This stunning Art Nouveau opera house is a highlight of Rio De Janeiro's classic architecture. The theater was created during the early twentieth century with a luxurious facade. The interior is just as grandiose, and features nightly dance and musical performances.
Selina Hostel and Coworking Space
One of the best ways to enjoy the city center is from a rooftop. Check out the top floor of Selina for an epic view of Centro, where you can spot Rio's most unique architecture highlights all in one place, including the Petrobas Building, Carioca Aqueduct, Rio Cathedral. You can even grab a caipirinha at the bar and catch a musical performance.
Our Brazil Tour: https://www.latinescapes.com/country.asp?country=3
What are your favorite places in the Rio downtown? Comment below! Stay tuned and subscribe on YouTube for more Rio travel videos.
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We are two adventurous young professionals who turned our passion for travel into a blog to help others travel more.