In March, 1967, South Coast Plaza opened up in Costa Mesa, CA. The mostly rural city at the time now housed what would soon become the biggest mall in all of California. With the opening of this mall, Costa Mesa suddenly became a thriving tourist city. Much like how tourists flock to the Mall of America in Minnesota, people were also visiting the farming city to see this new mall. With the spike in tourism, hotels in Costa Mesa were also sprouting up around the city. Slowly, Costa Mesa became a destination for vacation goers.
Unlike most sea-side cities in California that rely on public beaches for revenue and economy activity, Costa Mesa’s is mainly retail-reliant. Retail institutions are the main supplier of jobs in the city which explains the popularity of South Coast plaza. A lot of Costa Mesa hotels even advertise their proximity to the mall or other boutique shops around the area. Tourists go to Hawaii to shop and NYC to absorb culture but when they go to Costa Mesa, it is to shop.
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During the holidays, right after Halloween, South Coast Plaza also lends itself beautifully to elaborate holiday decorations. Around Halloween, Paper pumpkins are strewn all across the ceilings. At Thanksgiving time, a big horn of plenty dangles with a noticeable plethora of fall vegetables. During Christmas shopping time, there is even a Santa Claus that sets up in the middle of the mall. This is especially a big draw to the mall for people that don’t even usually shop at the mall. Many parents bring their kids in order to have a chance to speak to Santa Claus. With many malls cutting back on their decoration budget this highlight definitely draws crowds over to Costa Mesa to indulge in a holiday tradition that is slowly weaning out of the lifestyles of residents of big cities.
Some hotels in Costa Mesa even promote their accommodations with direct discounts to specific shops and restaurants surrounding the hotel. This way, the tourist economy can thrive as well as the hotel benefits from increased visitors. Instead of asking a concierge when you get there you can plan out your next vacation before even setting foot in the city. Just merely mapping out which places you visit depending on the discounts available is a good way to save money in addition to engaging in as much pre-planning as possible.