Central Costa Mesa Neighborhood Guide

Researching Central Costa Mesa neighborhood in Costa Mesa California? Here is a complete guide with the most up to date information about Central Costa Mesa neighborhood!

Your Real Estate Expert
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Kristina Morales


ABOUT Central Costa Mesa

Central Costa Mesa is a small neighborhood located in the center of Costa Mesa in Orange County. The area is known for its clean streets, vibrant nightlife, excellent schools, and close proximity to a number of beaches and shopping destinations. Central Costa Mesa is a sought-after neighborhood by individuals and families in all demographic groups. The neighborhood offers excellent public and private schooling options for pre-K, K-12, and post-secondary schools.

Most notably, Central Costa Mesa is mere minutes from UC Irvine, one of the nation’s top-ranked public universities. Centrally located in Costa Mesa and bordered by freeways, the neighborhood is close to a myriad of shopping centers and other entertainment destinations. Notable nearby shopping destinations include South Coast Plaza, Fashion Island, the LAB Anti-Mall. Other nearby attractions include world-renowned beaches — including Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, and more — as well as Disneyland and several other Southern California theme parks.

With a population of under 30,000, Central Costa Mesa showcases a diverse culture with people from many different demographic groups. Predominantly middle-class and affluent, the neighborhood has an average household income of just under $80,000, nearly 1.5 times that of that national average. The bulk of Central Costa Mesa’s workforce holds white collar jobs, with nearly 40% of the adults in the neighborhood holding at least a bachelor’s degree.

Over 60% have some college experience. Spending habits of Central Costa Mesa residents tend to exceed national averages by under 10% in every category. The area’s residents spend more on education, opting to send their children to private K-12 institutions and tuition-collecting colleges.

TOP Central Costa Mesa HIGHLIGHTS

Close proximity to Southern California hotspots
Scenic beaches
Family-friendly public parks and great golf courses
Excellent schools
Diverse shopping options
Affordable and elegant real estate options
Excellent nightlife scene
Culturally rich population

Natural Disasters

Despite Central Costa Mesa’s more urban location, this neighborhood isn’t entirely safe from the state’s seasonal risk of wildfires. Intense temperatures, drought, and high winds can all be contributing factors to fires spreading closer to this neighborhood.

Additionally, Central Costa Mesa has one of the highest earthquake indexes in both California and the U.S. as a whole. Residents experience over twice as much seismic activity than is average in California. Almost 160 earthquakes reaching 3.5 magnitudes or greater affected the area between 1950 and 2010.

Annually, tens of thousands of dollars in property damages are caused by weather events like supercell thunderstorms, intense hail storms, and windstorms.


In Central Costa Mesa, commuting is easy (and common). The neighborhood is located mere minutes from some of Southern California’s most-frequented highways. These include the scenic Pacific Coast Highway to the south, Interstate 405 to the north, and CA-55 to the east.

Crime Rate

Central Costa Mesa’s crime rates are roughly 40% higher than the country’s average. Meanwhile, violent crimes in the neighborhood are more than 20% lower than the national average.

There is an estimated 1 in 28 chance of being a victim of a crime in this California neighborhood. For additional reference, the estimated crime rate per 1,000 residents is 36.47. Also, around 4,200 crimes are reported annually in this area of the state.

However, recent trends show a year-over-year decrease in crime of 12%. Considering both historic data and current projections, this neighborhood can be considered safer than about 25% of residential areas across the country.

neighborhood Limits


SCHOOLS IN Central Costa Mesa

Central Costa Mesa is conveniently located near a number of schools for pre-K, K-12, and college students. Most notable among these schools is UC Irvine, a nationally-ranked university just minutes northeast of the neighborhood.

The bulk of Central Costa Mesa’s schools are among the best in the state, receiving either A or B ratings from Niche. Top schools serving Central Costa Mesa include Orange County School of the Arts, Newport Harbor High School, and Maude B. Davis Elementary School.


Maude B. Davis Elementary School: Maude B. Davis Elementary School, commonly called Davis Magnet School, is one of the top elementary in all of Southern California with an aggregate A rating from Niche. With excellent educators and an emphasis on STEM learning, this school is distinguished by great student amenities, including a tablet-to-student ratio of 1 to 1 and Chromebooks for grades 2 to 6. Heinz Kaiser Elementary School: Zeinz Kaiser Elementary School is a prestigious public school located several blocks from Central Costa Mesa across CA-55. Serving only grades 3-6, it has 707 students with a student-teacher ratio of 28 to 1. State test scores show that 67% of the school’s students are at least proficient in reading and 60% are proficient in math. Sonora Elementary School: Sonora Elementary School is a to-rated K-6 public school located in Central Costa Mesa. With an A rating on Niche, it has 501 students in and a solid student-teacher ratio of 24 to 1. State test records report that 58% of students are at least proficient in reading and 45% are proficient in math.
Horace Ensign Intermediate: Horace Ensign Intermediate is perhaps the top middle school serving Costa Mesa. This public school earned an A for its teachers and its diversity, and a B+ for its academics in 2019 from Niche. At least 51% of Horace Ensign Intermediate students are proficient in math, and 57% are proficient in reading. Douglas Macarthur Fundamental Intermediate: Douglas Macarthur Fundamental Intermediate is a highly-rated public school located just north of Central Costa Mesa in Santa Ana, CA. With 1,230 students and student-teacher ratio of 27 to 1, this school serves students in grades 6-8. State test scores report that 49% of students are proficient in reading and 37% in math. El Sol Santa Ana Science and Arts Academy: Located in nearby Santa Ana, El Sol Santa Ana Science and Arts Academy is a charter school used by many Costa Mesa residents. Earning an A grade for its teachers and B grade overall from Niche, this charter school is one of the best in the area. It is a dual-language immersion school, which means half of each of its school days are taught in Spanish, no matter the subject.
Estancia High School: Renowned for its excellence in art education, Orange County School of the Arts is a highly-rated public, charter, magnet school located in Santa Ana, CA serving Costa Mesa and surrounding areas. It has 2,096 students in grades 7-12 with a student-teacher ratio of 30 to 1. State test scores report that 77% of students are proficient in math and 87% are proficient in reading. Newport Harbor High School: Newport Harbor High School is a public high school serving Central Costa Mesa and surrounding areas. In 2019, it received an A rating from Niche in both college prep and academics. Known for its sports teams, the school also received an A- in athletics. Last year’s test scores show that 72% of students are proficient in reading and 47% in math. Early College High School: Serving Central Costa Mesa and surrounding areas, Early College High School is known in the region for its excellent teachers, which received an A+ rating from Niche in 2019. The school also received a B+ for academics and college prep. State test scores report that 75% of the school’s students are proficient in reading and 45% are proficient in math.
St. John the Baptist Catholic School: Perhaps the top Christian school located in Central Costa Mesa, St. John the Baptist Catholic School is a private Catholic school with 521 students in grades K-8 and a strong student-teacher ratio of 20 to 1. The school is a short walk away from all parts of the Central Costa Mesa neighborhood. Saniku East West Language School: Saniku East West Language School is a private Christian school located in Central Costa Mesa near CA-55. Known for smaller class sizes and a focus on multi-language teaching, the school has 179 students in grades K-9 with a student-teacher ratio of 19 to 1. Christian Montessori School: Christian Montessori School is a reputable private Christian school located in the center of Central Costa Mesa just north of Orange Coast College. With an excellent student-teacher ratio of 11 to 1, Christian Montessori School is relatively small at only 125 students in grades PK and K-5.

Real Estate

Central Costa Mesa Housing 2020

As a centrally-located, highly sought-after area with only so much space, Central Costa Mesa is home to a hot real estate market. Current housing prices range from $79,900 to $1,100,000 with an average price per square foot of $442 and the median home value sitting at $378,520. Median rent is $1,757. Housing prices and renting rates are on the rise in Central Costa Mesa.

Given its size, the neighborhood features a large selection of new construction and luxury property options. The starting price for luxury homes in Central Costa Mesa sits at roughly $1,000,000. The feel of the Central Costa Mesa neighborhood is distinctly urban with a relatively quiet atmosphere. Real estate in Central Costa Mesa is considered highly-desirable thanks to the region’s proximity to top schools, scenic parks and beachside destinations, and other Southern California landmarks and cities.

Central Costa Mesa Homes for Sale

Central Costa Mesa offers a diverse selection of housing types to suit the needs of individuals, couples, and families in virtually every economic bracket. The neighborhood dates back only to 1956, so even its oldest properties are relatively new.

Homes in Central Costa Mesa come in a wide range of prices, styles, and sizes. Current housing prices range from $79,900 to $1,100,000 with an average price per square foot of $442. Lot sizes for homes and townhouses range from 0 to 5 acres, many with garages and yards. The neighborhood is also home to a number of apartment complexes.


Single Family Homes
Central Costa Mesa has a host of beautiful single family homes, including several historic homes built starting in 1939 through the first years of the neighborhood's inception in 1956. The neighborhood also features many newly-renovated options.
New Construction
New construction characterizes Central Costa Mesa’s real estate at every price point. Newly-renovated homes, apartments, and condos feature open floor plans, spacious bedrooms, modern kitchens, and water-conscious landscaping.
Central Costa Mesa is home to a several apartment complexes, including the Atwater Cove Apartments, Mediterranean Village Apartments, and Azulon at Mesa Verde Apartments. Each of these complexes offers studios, one-bedrooms, and larger options.
Townhomes are relatively common type of housing in Central Costa Mesa. Most townhomes in the neighborhood are fairly new, featuring open floor plans with modern amenities, as well as pricing options to fit different budgets.

Things to do

When it comes to quality entertainment of all kinds, there is no debate that Central Costa Mesa is a great place to live. While the neighborhood itself is relaxing and relatively quiet, it is both urban and situated mere minutes from entertainment of all kinds. Most notable is Central Costa Mesa’s proximity to several beaches and state parks, as well as Southern California’s iconic nightlife and world-renowned shopping locations like Fashion Island, South Coast Plaza, and the LAB Anti-Mall. In the neighborhood of Central Costa Mesa itself, residents will find no shortage of great shopping and outdoor parks, including the large Fairview Park and the kid-friendly Tewinkle Park. The neighborhood is also home to the popular Costa Mesa Golf Course. Whatever you’re looking for, Central Costa Mesa has something for you.
Segerstrom Center for the Arts
Want to experience award-winning theater, dance, and music? You’ll find just that at Segerstrom Theater for the Arts, a world-renowned venue located 5-10 minutes north of Central Costa Mesa. This beautiful, multi-venue campus hosts several musicians from varying genres and a handful of Tony Award-winning performances each year.
South Coast Plaza
Searching for world-class shopping? You’ll find one of the globe’s top shopping malls, South Coast Plaza, is only a few miles from Central Costa Mesa. This massive and modern shopping mall grossed over $1.5 billion from Southern California residents and visitors in 2018. No matter what you’re shopping for, South Coast Plaza has something in store for you.
Huntington City Beach
Central Costa Mesa may be close to a handful of beaches, but if you’re searching for excellent surfing, none are better than Huntington City Beach. Also known as “Surf City” this beach is home to great swells year-round and draws nearly 10 million surfers to its shores annually.
Newport Beach Golf Course and Costa Mesa Golf Course
If golfing is your activity of choice, you’ll find great golfing options at the Costa Mesa Golf Course (just a short walk from any spot in the neighborhood) and the world-renowned Newport Beach Golf Course (justa short drive from Central Costa Mesa).
Fashion Island
For upscale shopping, there is no better choice than Fashion Island. Located a few miles south of Central Costa Mesa, Fashion Island features a myriad of Southern California high-fashion stores, including Neiman Marcus, Brooks Brothers, and Tommy Bahama.
Fairview Park
Bordering Central Costa Mesa to the west, Fairview Park is a spacious park perfect for walking, biking, flying kites, and even horseback riding. Looking for something smaller with kid-friendly jungle gym equipment? Visit Tewinkle Park nearby.
Metro Pointe
If outlet mall shopping is more your tempo, try Metro Pointe, the perfect place to ditch the crowds and prices at South Coast Plaza and Fashion Island to find excellent deals. Enjoy beautiful scenery while you shop in one of Southern California’s premier outlet malls just north of Interstate 405.
Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve
Located to the southeast of Central Costa Mesa, Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve offers wide range of wildlife, hiking and biking trails, and scenic vistas — perfect for outdoor lovers and those looking to experience nature.
Newport Beach International Film Festival
Take in the culture of show business that defines Southern California with the Newport Beach International Film Festival, located in Newport mere minutes from Central Costa Mesa. Drawing over 50,000 film fans per year, this annual festival showcases early screenings of films that often find their way into Academy Awards talks. See them firsthand for a true cinematic experience.
The Lab Anti-Mall
Want to try something a little different with your Southern California shopping? If you live in Costa Mesa, you’re in luck. The LAB Anti-Mall (LAB is short for Little American Business) is a collection of small, local businesses including unique shops, hip eateries fashionable clothing boutiques and more. It’s the perfect way to support small business and take home treasures you won’t find anywhere else.


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