Beach Cities (Orange County) : Newport Beach
Newport Beach  is a city famous for its lavish lifestyle and beautiful surroundings. Television enthusiasts will recognize the resemblance to the show The O.C., and not just by virtue of its location in Orange County, California. The American city has its share of "beautiful people" often with wealth to spare. Yet it's very possible to enjoy life in Newport Beach amongst the millionaires on a low, low budget. The area code for all of Newport Beach is 949.
- John Wayne Airport (SNA) is conveniently located on the border of Newport Beach, Irvine, and Santa Ana.
- If you are arriving at Los Angeles International (LAX) or Long Beach (LGB), take the I-405 freeway south to the 73 freeway south.
Metrolink and Amtrak serve Santa Ana, Tustin (Metrolink only), and Irvine. A taxi would probably be the most convenient option. Local OCTA bus routes service Amtrak/Metrolink stations at certain times. Consult the OCTA website  for more information.
Take CA Highway 1 or the I-405 freeway to the 55 or 73 freeway south. The former will take you to West Newport and the latter to the east side of the Newport Bay.
- The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) (see above for link to website) serves the Newport Beach area. The OCTA Newport Transportation Center is conveniently located just east of Fashion Island in Newport Beach; here OCTA Routes 1, 55, 57, 75, 76 and 79 converge for a transfer point. Routes 1, 47 and 71 serve the beaches (over a mile away from here) and the Balboa Peninsula; Route 76 serve the John Wayne Airport SNA (about 6 miles from here).
True to its name, any visit to Newport Beach is incomplete without a trip to the beach. The city is nestled on the Pacific Ocean and is a favorite amongst surfers. The Wedge, at the end of the Balboa Peninsula, is famed for its challenging surf, but Newport's miles of wide beaches offer plenty of room for everyone, except on the busiest summer weekends. There is a concrete boardwalk running along the beach from the east of the Balboa pier to west of the Newport pier.
- Orange County Museum of Art, 850 San Clemente Drive, 949-759-1122 email:[email protected] fax: 949-759-5623, . Tu-Su 11AM-5PM, Th 11AM-8PM. Specializes in contemporary art and houses rotating special exhibitions. Adults $10, Students (w/ valid ID) & Seniors (65+) $8, Children under 12- free.
- Muth Wetlands Interpretive Center- Located on Irvine Avenue, and facing out onto coastal wetlands, this is an excellent introduction to the flora and fauna of Pacific Coast wetlands. There is an excellent film presentation, and many exhibits of interest to young and old.
- Newport Harbor Nautical Museum, 600 E. Bay Avenue (in the Balboa Fun Zone), ☎ +1 949 673-3377 ([email protected]). W-M: 10AM-6PM. This museum gives an introduction to the extensive maritime history of this area. Adults: $5. Children under 12: Free.
- Balboa Island is a quaint throwback to simpler times, with a strip of stores and restaurants (Marine Avenue) and a pedestrian walkway which incicles the island. It's accessible from the Balboa peninsula via a short car/passenger ferry, or you can drive there over a bridge from near the Pacific Coast Highway.
- Newport Beach Film Festival, . The 10 day festival features over 300 short and feature length films. 253-2880; e-mail:[email protected]; Starting at $10; April
- Balboa Island Art Walk, along South Bayfront Drive on Balboa Island, . Over 100 artists showing and selling their work, ranging from paintings to sculptures to jewelry. Free. May
- Newport Beach Summer Jazz Series, . Summer long Jazz music festival on two stages. Held at the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach. Recorded Information: 729-6400; e-mail:[email protected]; $40-$175. May-October.
- Newport Dunes 4th of July Celebration, 1131 Back Bay Drive at Newport Dunes Resort, . A day long celebration with carnival games, crafts, face painting, music by a DJ, hula-hoop and limbo contests, volleyball and horseshoe tournaments and drawings by a caricaturist. A fireworks show occurs over the lagoon after dark. $25. Fireworks show can be seen for free from outside the Resort. July 4; 11AM-9PM with fireworks show at 9PM.
- Lido Yacht Expo, . Exhibit of the latest and greatest in yachts. The event takes place at the Lido Marina Village. 757-5959, e-mail:[email protected] Adults $10; 12 and under free. September.
- Taste of Newport, Newport Center Drive at Fashion Island. 729-4400, (e-mail: [email protected]), . Annual food, wine and music festival featuring selections from Newport Beach restaurants. Presale - $17; at the gate - $20; Under 8 - Free. September.
- Catalina Island, For most of the year, there is daily boat service to Catalina on the Catalina Flyer, located on the Balboa Peninsula. Trip takes about an hour, and can frequently be rough. Remember to bring the Dramamine!!!
- Sandcastle Contest,729-4400. Sand sculptures from novice to expert. The contest is held at Corona del Mar State Beach. Free admission for spectators. Fee for entrants. October.
- Christmas Boat Parade, 729-4400, . Annual water parade of boats decorated with Christmas lights. The boats take a nightly tour of Newport Harbour on five consecutive evenings. Free viewing from most locations. Some restaurants and organizations have premium seating for a fee. See the website for more information and map of parade route. December.
- Balboa Fun Zone, 600 E. Bay Avenue, ([email protected]), . Su-Th 11AM-6PM; F Sa 11AM-10PM. Located near the Balboa Pavillion, the Fun Zone has a Ferris wheel, merry-go-round, rock wall, arcade, and bungee jump. $1.50 per ticket or 20 tickets for $25 (number of tickets required vary with attraction.
- Fashion Island, The premiere shopping center in Newport Beach, this is a beautiful outdoor mall with great landscaping, and fountains of every decription. Stores include Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales's, Anthropologie, Barnes and Noble, Nike for Women. Restaurants include Cafe R & D (crowded, but good), the Neiman Marcus Restaurant (with a beautiful view towards the ocean), and ThaiFoon.
- Westcliff Plaza, This is the real Newport, as few tourists make it over here. Located near the corner of Westcliff and Irvine Avenue, this is a small, luxury mall, with ultra upscale clothes, furnishings, and services. Restaurants include Haute Cakes (Breakfast and Lunch only), Pizza Bakery, and Capri Blu.
- Crystal Cove, This is on Pacific Coast highway in the southern reaches of Newport, called Newport Coast. Stop here on your way to Laguna Beach and find both chain and private retailers. This mall is breathtaking as it is located overlooking the ocean. Stop for a bite to eat.
- The Crab Cooker
- Gelato Paradiso, Two locations -- 952 Avocado Ave. or Fashion Island Atrium court, . Many flavors of very good quality Italian-style gelato and sorbetto. Try the bacio (chocolate and hazelnut).
- Gina's Pizza, 4533 Campus Dr., ☎ (949) 725-1144, . Located in UC Irvine, just north of Newport Beach. Its delicious pizza, pasta, and salad is considered some of the best in Orange County. Popular with local UCI and UHS students. price: moderate.
- Ho Sum Bistro, 3112 Newport Blvd, ☎ (949) 675-0896, . The Combo Salad will fill you up and is very well priced for how much you get ($4-6). A nice option if you are stuck on the peninsula. (33.615714,-117.930210)
- Joe's Crab Shack
- Memphis Cafe, 2920 Bristol St., Costa Mesa (Take Macarthur Blvd North to 73 fwy North; exit Birch; continue North on Bristol (don't get back on the fwy); about 1-2 miles; restaurant is on the right), ☎ (714) 432-soul (7685), . Tasty and fairly authentic gourmet southern fare in a casual roadhouse-style diner with fantastic ambience. Service is excellent, but informal. For lunch, try the 1/2 pulled pork sandwich and bowl of gumbo. Parking is sometimes a problem between 12pm and 1pm on weekdays. $10-$20.
- Mi Casa. Terrific Mexican food, in nearby Costa Mesa
- Taco Mesa, in nearby Costa Mesa. Award winning Mexican food. Located on 19th street across from the DMV.
- Sugar 'N Spice, 310 Marine Avenue, ☎ +1-949-673-8907. For an inexpensive and tasty treat, order a frozen, chocolate covered banana.
- Wild Fish, Macarthur and Bison, . Perfectly prepared fish and shellfish. A bit noisy. Upscale casual dress. $25-$35.
- Sharkeez Baja Cantina -- Fun, has music, but closes at 1am
- Cabo Cantina -- Good Happy Hour (10pm to 12am) nightly with 2 for 1 drinks
- Balboa Saloon -- Younger crowd, but never really seems busy
- Holiday Inn Express, 2300 West Coast Hwy,+1 800 308-5401, Fax +1 949 631-5659, Newly-renovated.
- Newport Beach Vacation Rentals,-Burr White Realty- 2901 Newport Blvd., Reservations: 949.675.4630, Toll Free: 800.944.0952, Email: [email protected] . Located on the Newport Beach Peninsula. Offering oceanfront, bayfront, & oceanside fully furnished & fully stocked vacation homes on the beach & the bay.
- Little Inn By The Bay on the Balboa Peninsula, 2627 Newport Blvd.; Reservations: 800-438-4466; local phone:949-673-8800, fax: 949-673-4943 Web Site : www.littleinnbythebay.com. Located on Balboa Peninsula by Newport Beach Pier offers Free Wi-Fi and Parking is Big Plus coming to Newport Beach. Walking distance to the Beach, Board Walk, Lido Village and Famous resturants like Carb Cooker & Woodys Warf and Famous BAR like Mutts and Malarky’s irish Pub. Rates Starting : $79-$299.
- Newport Channel Inn, 6030 W. Coast Highway; Reservations: 800 255-8614, local phone: 642-3030, fax: 650-2666, e-mail: [email protected] Located on Pacific Coast Highway in the north-east part of Newport Beach near the border with Huntington Beach. $59-$199.
- Radisson Hotel, 4545 MacArthur Blvd.; 833-0570, fax: 833-3927, e-mail: [email protected] 1/2 mile from the John Wayne Airport, near the business districts of Irvine, Santa Ana, Costa Mesa and Huntington Beach. $99-$189, Suites $350.
- Balboa Inn, 105 Main Street, 675-3412, Toll-free: 877-BAL-BOA9, Fax: 673-4587, e-mail: [email protected] On the Peninsula. $139-$269; Suites: $299-$599.
- Best Western Newport Beach Inn, 6208 W Coast Highway, 642-8252, Fax: 642-2538. Across Coast Highway from the beach. $119-$259.
- Bay Shores Inn, 1800 W Balboa Boulevard, 675-3463, Toll-free: (800) 222-6675, Fax: 675-4977. Near the Newport Pier on the Pennisula. $199-$269. Suites: $219-$499
- Newport Beach Marriott, 900 Newport Center Drive, 640-4000, Fax: 640-5055.
- Newport Beach Marriott Bayview, 500 Bayview Circle; 949-854-4500, Fax: 949-854-3937.. Bedroom suites each with a step out balcony, living room, and marble bathroom. French doors separate the bedroom from the living room with fold out sofa and second television.
- The Balboa Bay Club & Resort, 1221 Coast Highway; 645-5000,, Toll-free:888-445-7153 e-mail: [email protected] Located on Mariners Mile. Special features: Barber/Beauty Shop on site, Bar/Lounge on site, Restaurant on site, Shops on site, Hot Tub on site, Sauna on site, Fitness Center on site, Bayfront Property, Full Service Spa. $245-$475. Suites: $800-$3000.
- The Island Hotel Newport Beach, 690 Newport Center Drive; 759-0808, Fax: 759-0568. Across from the Fashion Island shopping center and within walking distance of the Orange County Museum of Art. $259-$495. Suites: $475-$495.
Casa de Balboa Newport Beach Vacation Rentals, 229 19th St., Balboa Newport Beach, Reservations: 949-673-3770, Email: [email protected] Offering luxury beachfront vacation homes in a quiet family area. Walk to restaurants and shops. Mi Casa es su Casa!
- While in Orange County, be sure to visit Disneyland in Anaheim or Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park.
- Don't have a car? Don't have a cow. You can reach Los Angeles or San Diego by train from Irvine or Santa Ana.