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Costa Mesa, CA (Population: 109,809)

Costa Mesa, which is Spanish for "coastal table" or "coastal tableland," is a city in Orange County with a population of 109,809 (2006). Once a semi-rural farming community, Costa Mesa has grown into a suburban city with an economy based on commerce, retail and light manufacturing. The city's largest center of commercial activity is the South Coast Plaza, which is noted for its shopping opportunities, size and architecture. Costa Mesa is also known for its abundance of car dealerships and pet supply stores.

The city is home to 26 parks, a municipal golf course and Orange County Fairgrounds, which hosts one of the largest fairs in California, bringing in an approximate two million visitors every year. Adjacent to the fairgrounds is the Pacific Amphitheater, which has hosted such acts as Madonna and Bill Cosby. For arts enthusiasts, the Orange County Performing Arts Center and South Coast Repertory Theater are based in the city. Lovers of visual arts will find Costa Mesa at center stage of the O.C.'s prominent art community, along with Newport Beach and Laguna Beach.

Dining and nightlife in the city is certainly a worthwhile experience for locals and visitors alike. Costa Mesa restaurants boast culinary delights in a variety of cuisines, while lovers of jazz, hip-hop, rock, the club scene and everything in between are certain to discover a myriad of nightlife destinations. With many options for entertainment and sunny beaches right around the corner, visiting Costa Mesa is sure to afford you a true Southern California experience.