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!). 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.
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 charming 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!
It's time for a trip to the wild wild west with a trip to Sacramento. I have lived in California a long time and I cannot believe it's taken me this long to explore diverse and dynamic city. This historic gold rush city has so much to offer from farm to fork restaurants, a restored old town, museums, and the State Capitol Building of course!
1. California State Capitol - This iconic building is modeled after the US Capitol Building in Washington DC and houses the California state legislator and the governor. You can tour the building daily or visit at night when it is all lit up.
2. Brunch - Head over to the farm to fork restaurant Beast and Bounty, which is found in the trendy urban retail area called the Ice Blocks in Midtown Sacramento.
3. Cuisine from Around the World - Sacramento is one of the most diverse cities in America where you can find authentic cuisine from literally every corner of the world, including Chinese, Ethiopian, and Haitian. In fact, at each of these restaurants, we were able to meet the owners who grew up in their home country and brought the recipes straight to Sacramento.
4. Old Town Sacramento - The restored old town takes you back into time to the 1800s gold rush era of Sacramento. There are 50 restored buildings, including restaurants, saloons, antiques, and museums.
5. California Railroad Museum - Sacramento is known for the groundbreaking site of the Transcontinental Railroad built between 1863 and 1869. It was one of the largest engineering feats in American history as the rail crossed though the treacherous Sierra Nevada Mountains. Go all aboard the historic steam engines in the family-friendly California Railroad Museum.
6. Historic Neighborhoods - Walk through the downtown to see the funky Victorian-era homes. Another fun fact, is Sacramento is known as the "City of Trees" for having the most trees per capita in America.
7. Golden 1 Center - Catch a Kings Game or a concert at the Golden 1 Center, a fun vibrant sports arena. The area is surrounded by fun bars and pubs.
What are your favorite places to visit in Sacramento? Comment below!
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We are two adventurous young professionals who turned our passion for travel into a blog to help others travel more.