Let's face it: my hometown is pretty freakin' rad. I am so very lucky to have moved back here post-grad, found a bitchin' job, a live close to my family. But there is so much about Newport Beach this is just so fun. Awesome beaches, killer food scene, lots of great bars, and so much more. Let's explore Newport!
WHEN TO GO
--Busiest time of the year: Late May - Mid August
--Quietest time of the year: November - February
--Best weather: Quite literally all the freakin' time. But if you're looking for the best time for the beach scene, that'll beach mid August to late September. Quiet, warm water, and hot hot hot.
--Worst weather: Literally never. But I guess it can be what some may consider chilly January - early April (think: mid 60s. On rare and I do mean RARE occasions, it may drop to the low 40s).
WHERE TO EAT
--Haute Cakes Cafe: You are not going to want to miss this brunch. Think: Avo toast with poached eggs + potato hash, dreamy breakfast sandwich on a grilled brioche bun with sweet greens, jalapeno bacon jam, + a fried egg, and of course- the most legendary pancakes in existence. This sweet local spot is tucked away in a cute garden surrounded by local shops. Also, the chai latte is out of this world.
--Bear Flag Fish Co.: Two words: Poke. Burrito. Bear Flag, a fish market and restaurant, is famous for their poke (pronounce po-KAY or po-KEE), and besides being a gift from the gods, poke is fish (usually ahi tuna or salmon) cut in cubes, tossed in sesame oil, sesame seads, green onion, and a little soy sauce. It is commonly eaten as a dip with corn chips or stuffed in a burrito or taco (my preferred method). Don't pass up Bear Flag's ceviche, guacamole, or any of their sushi.
--The Side Door: Anglophiles, Game of Thrones fans, and pub-lovers; rejoice! The Side Door is an old school Brit-inspired pub right in the heart of Corona del Mar (one of Newport's more hip and expensive neighborhoods), just minutes from the beach. When you step through the (quite literally) side door into the restaurant, you feel as if you are in another world. I tell Hayes I feel like I am back in Edinburgh, Scotland or Dublin, Ireland again whenever I go because of the pub music, enthusiastic sports fans, and duh- the food and drink. Don't skimp on any of your beer choices. They are all superb. If you are there for dinner, don't miss what they are famous for: mac n' cheese, chicken pot pie, and a french dip sandwich. Can't go wrong with the whole dang lot. If you're feeling up for desert (your stomach will tell you no but your taste buds will scream yes), you must and I do mean MUST get the donuts. They are covered in cinnamon sugar and come with a cream espresso dipping sauce. Need I say more?
--The Counter Burger: All your wildest burger dreams have come true. At The Counter, you are able to completely customize your burger. From which type of bun, to meat, toppings.... anything. I like piling mine high with red onion, avocado, bacon, and fried pickles #weddingdiet. They also do some boozy (and virgin, if you're into that kinda thing) milkshakes and have some pretty killer salads, so I've been told (seriously...who goes to a custom burger place and gets a salad?), and have to-die-for fries on the side like truffle parmesan and sweet chili sriracha. SIGN ME UP.
Bear Flag poke. Photo courtesy of dinedelish.com
The Counter Burger. Isn't she beautiful?
More of The Counter.
Haute Cakes Cafe Avo toast
WHERE TO STAY
I am a tried a true Airbnb and fan. If you can find somewhere on Balboa Island, the Peninsula, or near Fashion Island, you're guaranteed to be in an awesome spot. Newport Beach, unlike it's big sister Los Angeles about an hour away, does not get terrible traffic. Sure, 5 o'clock on a work day anywhere is going to be stuffy on the roads, but don't expect it to take you longer than fifteen to twenty minutes to get somewhere. Moral of the story: you can't go wrong with anywhere you like.
Sweet beach front homes near 8th street on the Peninsula.
WHAT TO DO
--Rent a paddle board: Almost all year around, it is possible to slip on your 'kini, apply sun sunscreen, and get out in the water. One of my favorite past times (and one that is great if you're looking to get your blood pumping) is paddle boarding. There are plenty of rentals that will launch you from all over the bay and beach front such as Island Paddle Board on Balboa Island. Paddle around the harbor and sight see from a whole new view!
--Visit the tide pools: This is a great family friendly and educational activity for all age ranges. Down near Little Corona Beach, there are wonderful tide pools filled with crabs, guppies, anemones, and so much more. Be careful of the sharp rocks and the changing tides so please plan accordingly.
-- Shop, shop, shop!: Haven't you heard? Newport is the new Malibu. We have some of the best boutiques in SoCal. Get your glam on at my personal favorites such as VICI, Modern Romance, Love Lola, Holly Sharp, and Stella Laguna. Feeling a little more shi-shi? Not to wrry, we still have Neimans, Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, and the whole spread of international brand name stores from Cartier to Dior.
--Rent a Duffy boat: This one is a personal favorite of mine. Gather up some friends and split the relatively low cost of renting a bay boat for the evening. Putt around the harbor and listen to music, have some cocktails, and bring some snacks! You aren't going to want to miss a view like this......
Want to see more? Follow me on Instagram (@calially_) to see my life here in Newport!