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Introduction

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 relatively low budget. The area code for all of Newport Beach is 949.

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Sights and Activities

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 among 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 Dr, ☎ +1 949-759-1122, fax: +1 949-759-5623, e-mail: info@ocma.net. 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 Ave (in the Balboa Fun Zone), ☎ +1 949 673-3377, e-mail: nhnm@nhnm.org. 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.

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Events and Festivals

Holidays

  • New Year’s Eve - The US celebrates the outgoing of the old year and incoming of the New Year quite dramatically. Every state boasts its own parties to ring in the New Year, but none is more extravagant than New York’s Time Square, which sees people overflowing into the neighboring restaurants, bars, parks, beaches, and neighborhoods.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day (officially Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. and sometimes referred to as MLK Day) is an American federal holiday marking the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around King's birthday, January 15. The holiday is similar to holidays set under the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. The earliest Monday for this holiday is January 15 and the latest is January 21. King was the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law.
  • St Patrick’s Day - March 17 celebrates the US’s large Irish population. Many cities around the country boast boisterous parades and Irish-themed parties, especially New York and Chicago, where the river is dyed green. Be wary of the drunkenness that dominates as this is definitely a party-day.
  • Memorial Day - Memorial Day is an important holiday throughout the United States, but not for crazy festivities. Parades commemorating wartime heroes are often held and the day is also the ‘unofficial’ start of summer. Most visitors follow the crowds to parks and beaches, which are capped off with informal BBQs.
  • Independence Day - Also known as the Fourth of July, Independence Day celebrates the US’s break from the British during the 18th century. Barbecues, street parties, beach trips, and weekend getaways are commonplace to appreciate freedom.
  • Labor Day is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws, and well-being of the country. It is the Monday of the long weekend known as Labor Day Weekend. It is recognized as a federal holiday. Beginning in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labor movements grew, trade unionists proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor.
  • Halloween - Halloween is a fun holiday on October 31 for all generations to dress up in costumes and relive their youth. Children walk around the neighborhood trick-or-treating for candy, while adults attend parties. Other seasonal events include haunted houses, pumpkin farms and carving, and corn mazes.
  • Thanksgiving - On the fourth Thursday in November, Thanksgiving is held in almost every home in the US. Tourists will have a hard time finding anything to do as the country essentially shuts down in observation. A typical Thanksgiving meal consists of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie commemorating the original Pilgrim’s feast at Plymouth Rock.
  • Christmas - On December 25, Christians celebrate Christmas as the pinnacle of their calendar by attending church and opening gifts from Santa Claus. Almost everything shuts down to promote family togetherness. The northern regions hope to experience a “white Christmas,” with trees and festive lights blanketed by snow.

Sport

  • Super Bowl Sunday - the world’s most watched sporting event and one of the highest grossing TV days of the year, Superbowl Sunday is a spectacular extravaganza. Held the first Sunday in February, the Superbowl is the final playoff game between the NFL’s top two teams. The venue rotates every year around America, yet the local parties seem to remain. Pubs, bars and restaurants are great places to enjoy the Superbowl or locals throw their own parties with different variations of betting.
  • The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball (MLB) in North America, contested since 1903 between the American League (AL) champion team and the National League (NL) champion team. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff, and the winning team is awarded the Commissioner's Trophy. As the series is played during the fall season in North America, it is sometimes referred to as the Fall Classic.

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Getting There

By Plane

John Wayne Airport (SNA IATA) is located on the border of Newport Beach, Irvine, and Santa Ana. If you are arriving at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX IATA) or Long Beach (LGB IATA), take the I-405 freeway south to the 73 freeway south.

By Train

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.

By Car

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.

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Getting Around

The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) 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).

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Eat

  • Gelato Paradiso, Two locations: 952 Avocado Ave. or Fashion Island Atrium Ct. Many flavors of very good quality Italian-style gelato and sorbetto. Try the bacio (chocolate and hazelnut).
  • Gina's Pizza, 4533 Campus Dr, ☎ +1 949 725-1144. 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, ☎ +1 949 675-0896. 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.
  • 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), ☎ +1 714 432-7685. 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. lunch $10, dinner $20.
  • Sugar 'N Spice, 310 Marine Ave, ☎ +1 949-673-8907. For an inexpensive and tasty treat, order a frozen, chocolate covered banana.
  • Sage, Two locations: 2531 Eastbluff (Eastbluff Shopping Center) or 7862 E Coast Hwy (Crystal Cove Promenade). lunch,dinner. Creative gourmet fare. Excellent service. Quiet surroundings. lunch $15-$25, dinner $30-$40.
  • Wild Fish, Macarthur and Bison. Perfectly prepared fish and shellfish. A bit noisy. Open for dinner only. $30-$40.
  • Wilma's Patio, 203 Marine Ave (Balboa Island). Family restaurant popular among locals for breakfast on Balboa Island (not the peninsula!), although they also serve lunch and dinner. The wait can be as long as an hour on summer weekend mornings. breakfast $10.
  • Sol Grill, 110 McFadden Pl (21st Street towards Pier), ☎ +1 949 723-4105. Tues-Sun 5PM-10PM, closed Mondays. Good Pasta and Seafood restaurant with live music. As the restaurant is small, reservations are essentiell for weekends.
  • Rusty Pelican, 2735 West Coast Highway, ☎ +1 949 642-3431. Very good Seafood restaurant with view of marina

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Drink

  • 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.
  • A Restaurant, 3334 West Coast Hwy, ☎ +1 949 650-6505. Best happy hour in Newport. Rat pack vibe. Just go.
  • Mutt Lynch's, 2300 W Oceanfront, ☎ +1 949 675-1556. A true locals haunt. "A little slice of a California beach community."
  • Classic Q, 4251 Macarthur Blvd (near John Wayne Airport). Sports bar with pool tables. Reasonable food.

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Sleep

  • The Balboa Bay Club & Resort, 1221 Coast Highway, ☎ +1 949 645-5000, toll-free: +1-888-445-7153, e-mail: reservations@balboabayclub.com. 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.
  • Balboa Inn, 105 Main St, ☎ +1 949 675-3412, toll-free: +1-877-BAL-BOA9 (225-2629), fax: +1 949 673-4587, e-mail: info@balboainn.com. On the Peninsula. $139-$269; Suites: $299-$599.
  • Bay Shores Inn, 1800 W Balboa Blvd, ☎ +1 949 675-3463, toll-free: +1-800-222-6675, fax: +1 949 675-4977. Near the Newport Pier on the Peninsula. $199-$269. Suites: $219-$499.
  • Best Western Newport Beach Inn, 6208 W Coast Highway, ☎ +1 949 642-8252, fax: +1 949 642-2538. Across Coast Highway from the beach. $119-$259.
  • Holiday Inn Express, 2300 West Coast Hwy, toll-free: +1-800-308-5401, fax: +1 949 631-5659. Reasonable sized rooms, small refrigerator and microwave, but interior a little musty.and in need of renovation. Basic breakfast.Free parking a plus for the area.
  • The Island Hotel Newport Beach, 690 Newport Center Dr, ☎ +1 949 759-0808, fax: +1 949 759-0568. Across from the Fashion Island shopping center and within walking distance of the Orange County Museum of Art. $259-$495. Suites: $475-$495.
  • Little Inn By The Bay on the Balboa Peninsula, 2627 Newport Blvd, ☎ +1 949-673-8800, toll-free: +1-800-438-4466, fax: +1 949-673-4943. 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 restaurants like Carb Cooker & Woody's Wharf and Famous BAR like Mutts and Malarky’s Irish Pub. Rates Starting : $79-$299..
  • Newport Beach Marriott Bayview, 500 Bayview Circle, ☎ +1 949-854-4500, fax: +1 949-854-3937. 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.
  • Newport Channel Inn, 6030 W. Coast Highway (Located on Pacific Coast Highway in the north-east part of Newport Beach near the border with Huntington Beach.), ☎ +1 949 642-3030, toll-free: +1-800-255-8614, fax: +1 949650-2666, e-mail: innkeeper@newportchannelinn.com. $59-$199.
  • Radisson Hotel, 4545 MacArthur Blvd, ☎ +1 949 833-0570, fax: +1 949 833-3927, e-mail: genr@radissonnewportbeach.com. 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.

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Keep Connected

Internet

There is a very small internet bar/cafe culture in the USA. Even then most of the internet bars/cafes tend be located in major urban centers. Accessible WiFi networks, however, are common. The most generally useful WiFi spots are in coffee shops, fast-food chains, and bookshops, but also restaurants and hotels more and more have a network to connect on. Some of them might require you to buy something and you might need a password too, especially in hotels.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The general emergency phone number is 911. The USA has a great landline phone system that is easy to use. The country code for the U.S. is +1. The rest of the telephone number consists of 10 digits: a 3-digit area code, and a 7-digit number. Any small grocery store or pharmacy has pre paid domestic or international phone cards. These phone cards are very cheap and offer good rates. The once ubiquitous pay phone is now much harder to find. Likely locations include in or near stores and restaurants, and near bus stops. The cellphone network in the states is slowly getting better but is still not as good when compared to other western countries. Cell phones tend to operate using different frequencies (850 MHz and 1900 MHz) from those used elsewhere in the world (2100 MHz). This used to prevent most foreign phones from working in America. Phones must be tri- or quad-band to work in the U.S. Fortunately, technology has meant that most phones should now be able to pick up one of the U.S. networks. Prepaid phones and top-up cards can be purchased at mobile phone boutiques and at many discount, electronics, office supply and convenience stores. A very basic handset with some credit can be had for under $40.

Post

The US Postal Service is a very good and well priced mail system. There are post offices in every small and large town for sending packages internationally or domestically. Although some might keep longer hours, most are open at least between 9:00am and 5:00pm. If wanting to send a letter or postcard it is best just to leave it in a blue mail box with the proper postage. First-class international airmail postcards and letters (up 28.5 grams) cost $1.10. There are also private postal services like FedEx, UPS, TNT and DHL, which might be better value sometimes and are generally very quick and reliable too.

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This is version 5. Last edited at 11:12 on Jun 14, 19 by Utrecht. 2 articles link to this page.

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