Top 10 Things to Do in Newport Beach
Planning on visiting Newport Beach this summer? From harbor cruises to beach picnics, this seaside getaway offers plenty of fun for every member of the family. Here are some suggestions for making your stay in town especially memorable.
1) Pack a Picnic
What could be better than a beach picnic on a hot summer day? Stop off at one of the area’s numerous restaurants — like the popular Ruby’s Shake Shack, on the bluff above the Crystal Cove Historic District — or visit one of the local grocery stores — from Whole Foods in Fashion Island to Trader Joe’s in Newport Coast — and pick up some barbecue, hot dogs, hamburgers or any other tasty tidbit your heart desires. Then hit one of Newport Beach’s many beautiful beaches, spread out a blanket and enjoy your feast. Still hungry? Wait for the sun to go down and toast up some s’mores over one of the cozy fire pits.
2) Dine Around
Have a hankering for those breathtaking ocean views without the sand? Enjoy summertime foods from seafood to Mexican (and maybe a cocktail or two) at one of the area’s al fresco cafes or restaurants. Some popular waterfront spots include The Beachcomber Cafe; The Cannery Seafood of the Pacific; Back Bay Tavern; Woody’s Wharf; The Dock; Harborside Restaurant; Bluewater Grill; Newport Landing Restaurant and Oyster Bar; SOL Cocina; Billy’s at the Beach; and Ruby’s Diner at the end of the Balboa Pier.
3) Work off the Calories
Did you happen to over-indulge? You can work it off by taking part in one of the many activities available in Newport Beach. Rent a surfboard, stand-up paddleboard, Segway, bike or kayak. Or take a hike around the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve and Ecological Reserve or Crystal Cove State Park, which offers more than 3 miles of bluff-lined beaches in the Crystal Cove Historic District and 2,000-plus acres of undeveloped woodland via El Moro Canyon.
4) Sail Away
Anyone can enjoy one of Newport Beach’s favorite pastimes of boating. Board a luxurious yacht; captain your own Duffy electric boat; partake in a beginner’s sailboat course; or enjoy some of the best whale-watching and sport-fishing excursions in Southern California. For a touch of romance, treat someone special to a private ride on a gondola imported from Italy.
5) Seek out the Sunset
Two of the area’s favorite viewpoints can be found in Corona del Mar. Lookout Point (overlooking the Newport Harbor entrance at Heliotrope) not only offers stunning sunset scenes, but also views of the ocean, cliffs, harbor and Catalina Island as well. Nearby, Inspiration Point (at Ocean Boulevard and Narcissus Avenue) features inspiring panoramas of the Newport Beach channel, ocean and rocky cliffs below.
6) Have Fun
Head over to the family fun zone at Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort for a day of pedal boating, kayaking, swimming and other entertaining activities such as Movies on the Beach, showing popular films from Wizard of Oz to The Lego Movie every Friday and Saturday at dusk throughout Labor Day. Stop at Balboa Village – Home of the Fun Zone across from the Balboa Pier off Balboa Boulevard and relish in this coastal amusement area’s Ferris wheel and arcade.
7) Take a Stroll
Board the historic auto ferry for a ride across the harbor from the Balboa Fun Zone to Balboa Island, where you can amble along the shady, tree-lined main drag of Marine Avenue filled with numerous shops, restaurants and art galleries. Those with a sweet tooth won’t want to miss out on the community’s two famous desserts — the Balboa Bar and Frozen Banana — both dipped in chocolate and covered with coatings from nuts to cookie crumbs.
8) Go Shopping
Check out Fashion Island, an open-air destination accented by gardens, fountains and ocean views and filled with top-rated restaurants such as Fig & Olive; and a lineup of more than 125 of the world’s most popular shops for men, women, children (and even pets) from Vince Camuto to Blushington to Halston Heritage and more. Other pleasurable shopping opportunities are to be had at Mariner’s Mile/Westcliff; Corona del Mar Plaza; Corona del Mar Village; Cannery Village;; Balboa Village and Crystal Cove Shopping Center.
9) Visit a Ritzy Resort
The AAA Four-Diamond Balboa Bay Resort has been undergoing a revamp of late, recently unveiling the new Waterline Newport Beach restaurant featuring a tantalizing menu highlighting fresh, local seafood with a SoCal twist created by Executive Chef Vincent Lesage.
The AAA Five-Diamond Island Hotel Newport Beach also has been updating its grounds, with the debut of a new outdoor pool space complete with cabanas for relaxing, modern lounge seating for gathering and a stylish new al fresco bar. And, as always, The Resort at Pelican Hill is the perfect spot to take in a day of tranquility at The Spa, a round of golf on one of the Fazio-designed championship courses, or authentic Italian cuisine at the Andrea Ristorante.
10) Appreciate the Arts
Newport Beach is definitely not lacking when it comes to visual and performing arts activities. Among these are the Orange County Museum of Art, home to modern and contemporary works; Balboa Island Museum and Historical Society, preserving the island’s historic photographs and artifacts; ExplorOcean, providing an up-close look at maritime history. Outdoor performances also abound, from Sunset Jazz at Newport Summer, Shakespeare by the Sea to the Summer Concert Series at the Hyatt Regency’s Back Bay Amphitheater.