How to Spend a Day at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts for Less than $75 – Orange County Register

This weekend’s unveiling of the Orange County Museum of Art completes the long-standing vision of the Segerstrom Center for the Arts as a hub for visitors to access a variety of creative inspiration.

Since opening in 1986, the Costa Mesa arts center has grown into a cultural epicenter for the county. With visual and performing arts, talks by celebrity chefs, and a complimentary art walk, guests visiting the center can encounter a variety of artworks.

Visitors can expect to pay a lot to explore the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. But there are several ways to experience the center while staying on a budget.

Did you know you can take a free guided tour of the Segerstrom Center on Saturday mornings? Or now, arrive an hour or two early before a concert or play and enter the new OMCA for free. It opened with five special exhibitions and has also drawn from its permanent collection of more than 4,500 pieces to fill its nearly 25,000-square-foot gallery space with modern and contemporary art.

Here’s a suggested guide to exploring the Segerstrom Center for $75 or less.

SEE: Enjoy the place for free

1) Take a tour:

These complimentary tours of the Segerstrom Center are available at 10:00 AM on select Saturday mornings. Learn about the history of the center while being guided by a volunteer docent. The experience is also open to children aged 7 and over.

For free

For more information:

13 Women is one of the inaugural exhibitions at the Orange County Museum of Art. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register/SCNG)

2) Audio tour:

This self-guided art walking tour takes visitors through the center and nearby estates. Guests can see 20 works of art, from a 20-meter-tall, 360-ton steel sculpture called “Connector” by Richard Serra, the artist’s largest work to date, to the stained-glass dome at South Coast Plaza.

For free

For more information:

The thirty-foot-tall sandstone triangle “Water Spring” at the California Scenario Public Garden, or as it is more commonly known, the Noguchi Garden, in Costa Mesa on Thursday, August 18, 2022. Isamu Noguchi was commissioned to create the four-acre public Garden completed in 1982. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

3) Garden stop:

California Scenario (aka Noguchi Garden) is listed as a stop on the art walk. But this garden is so special that it should be listed as an experience in its own right.

Japanese-American artist Isamu Noguchi was commissioned by the Segerstrom family to construct California Scenario in 1979.

The public sculpture gardens symbolize California’s geography and incorporate native plants and materials. The centerpiece of the 4-acre garden is “The Spirit of the Lima Bean,” a sculpture of 15 rust-colored granite boulders created in recognition of Henry Segerstrom’s friendship with Isamu Noguchi. The project was completed in 1982 and is considered one of the outstanding sculpture gardens in the country.

Where: Pacific Arts Plaza, 611 Anton Blvd., Costa Mesa

Price: FREE (public from 8:00 a.m. to midnight)

For more information, visit

3) Rocky Horror Slideshow:

A movie night dedicated to the cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show is coming up at the arts center’s Argyros Plaza. The evening begins with a 50-minute spelltacular drag performance of Hallo-Queen by Orange County’s Halloween Queen Miss Clair Voyance and her sinister sisters.

Audiences are encouraged to sing along, dress up, and shout out their favorite movie lines. Attendees will also receive complimentary prop bags so they can participate with the crowd.

When: October 14 at 7 p.m.; The film starts at 8 p.m

Where: Julianne and George Argyros Plaza

Price: Free but tickets are required, available at

LISTEN: Listen to a performance

1) Orange County Philharmonic Society:

The Philharmonic Society is the third oldest arts organization and the county’s premier music organization. Founded in 1954 by a group of music lovers, it aims to spread the love of classical music. The group also presents music education programs and concerts.

Every season, the Philharmonic Society presents symphony orchestras, chamber ensembles, soloists and international artists. Since 2006 it has hosted the Vienna Philharmonic, the Berlin Philharmonic, cellist Yo-Yo Ma and soprano Renée Fleming in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall and the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

Next is the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra with Sheku Kanneh-Mason. Lithuanian conductor Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla leads the orchestra together with cello sensation Sheku Kanneh-Mason.

When: 8 p.m. Tuesday, October 11

Where: Samueli Theater, 615 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa

Price: Tickets start at $48

For more information, visit

Or Randall Goosby, from Southern California, is 24 years old but shows the musical skills of a seasoned artist. He has performed with orchestras across the United States and at the 43rd Kennedy Center Honors ceremony.

When: 8pm December 2nd

Where: Samueli Theater, 615 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa

Price: Tickets start at $48

For more information, visit

Music Director Carl St. Clair is one of the longest serving conductors of a major US orchestra. (Courtesy of Pacific Symphony)
Music Director Carl St. Clair is one of the longest serving conductors of a major US orchestra. (Courtesy of Pacific Symphony)

2) Pacific Symphony:

The Pacific Symphony, conducted by Music Director Carl St.Clair for 32 years, is the resident orchestra of the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. It was founded in 1978 as an artistic collaboration between Cal State Fullerton and community leaders from North Orange County. This year is also expected to be St. Clair’s last concert with the Pacific Symphony. It has performed at Carnegie Hall and made its PBS debut on Great Performances with Peter Boyer’s “Ellis Island: The Dream of America,” conducted by St.Clair.

The symphony presents more than 100 concerts and events annually and offers a range of educational and community engagement programs that reach school children and seniors.

Next is The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Conducted by Jacob Sustita, this kid-friendly performance includes image magnification technology that projects close-ups of the musicians, conductor and actors onto a large screen to engage the audience.

The orchestra will perform excerpts from “Hedwig’s Theme” by John Williams, “A Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra”, “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” and “Harry Potter”. Guests are encouraged to wear Halloween costumes.

When: 10am and 11:30am on October 22nd

Where: Renèe and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall

Price: Tickets start at $15 (Grand Tier Level)

Or the Pacific Symphony has added a special “popUP” concert with guest conductor Enrico Lopez-Yañez. This part concert, part party event includes a live musical performance by the Pacific Symphony. Additional highlights: Broadway tunes and the cinematic new music by Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter/composer Cody Fry. The performance will include Fry’s viral TikTok hits “I Hear a Symphony” and “Eleanor Rigby.”

When: October 25th 8pm (Preshow starts at 7pm)

Price: Tickets start at $36

Or, “Alton Brown LIVE Beyond The Eats – The Holiday Variant” will feature Food Network veteran, James Beard Award winner and host of Iron Chef America. Brown will present his take on science, music and food during this two-hour interactive show. “Plus, you’re going to see things on TV that I never got to do,” adds Brown.

When: 7:30 p.m. on December 20th

Price: Tickets start at $39

More information on all of these performances:

FOOD: A menu of options

The restaurant options around the Segerstrom Center have also evolved. But eating well doesn’t have to cost a lot.

Verdant, the new restaurant at OCMA, will offer plant-based dishes. Above: Roasted carrots with Thai curry, shimeji mushrooms and coconut. (Photo by Ron de Angelis)
Verdant, the new restaurant at OCMA, will offer plant-based dishes. Above: Roasted carrots with Thai curry, shimeji mushrooms and coconut. (Photo by Ron de Angelis)

1) Green:

Visitors to OCMA can spend less than $20 and enjoy a meal at Verdant, the museum’s new 75-seat café from chefs Ross Pangilinan and Nick Weber, who also recently collaborated to create the new Populaire on the nearby South Coast to open the plaza.

The new restaurant at OCMA will offer plant-based dishes and ceremonial-grade matcha tea. Menus range from avocado toast with eggs to a rustic vegetable tagine ($16). Offerings change with the seasons and a full cocktail bar is available.

About: Upper floor of the Orange County Museum of Art, 3333 Avenue of the Arts

2) Vacation:

Amar Santa’s award-winning Vaca offers a tapas-style menu where diners can sample dishes ranging from panini with Ibérica, manchego cheese and truffles to creamy chicken fritters for $15.

Appetizers and tapas start at $11, but Vaca’s best weekday deal is the fixed-price three-course express lunch with lamb oso bucco and Spanish toffee pudding for $41. The signature Vaca Tonic ($15) is made with Brooklyn Gin, Frozen Gimlet, Fever Tree Mediterranean Tonic and garnished with basil blossom.

Information: 695 Town Center Drive,

3) George’s Cafe in Segerstrom:

Patina Group’s Segerstrom Center Cafe offers a selection of salads and sandwiches. The flatbreads are satisfying for lunch. The Mushroom Flatbread ($12) is topped with roasted mushrooms, tomatoes, provolone cheese, and garlic aioli.

About: 600 Town Center Drive; Open weekdays from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m How to Spend a Day at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts for Less than $75 – Orange County Register

Dais Johnston

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