A Rising Star

Newport Beach makes a name for itself

By: Janeen Christoff

Newport Beach, Calif., might soon be in the running for its own Hollywood star. The city plays home to the successful television drama “The O.C.,” and most recently, last year’s Newport Beach Film Festival debuted the Oscar-winning film “Crash.” With its new notoriety, this quiet enclave of Orange County is no longer a blip on the radar but a shining star in the making. And your clients will want to check out the scenery.

Starting on the peninsula, the Newport and Balboa piers offer fishing, eateries, surfing and shopping. Across from the Balboa Pier and next to Newport Harbor, the Fun Zone is brimming with arcades, rides and eateries. Clients young and old can ride the Ferris wheel, take a turn on the merry-go-round, play a round of skee ball and stop for a Balboa Bar a chocolate-dipped ice cream on a stick or a frozen banana.

A ride on the Balboa Island Ferry, which carries passengers and cars across Newport Harbor to Balboa Island, is a must for clients. Once on the man-made island, visitors can explore Marine Avenue’s shopping, cafes and restaurants. Quiet beaches are ideal for a picnic lunch, and children can play in the sand, swim or kayak in the bay. The quiet waters of the harbor make the island ideal for clients with smaller children who are overwhelmed by the pounding surf of the peninsula.

Bolstering the city’s star power are events like the Newport Beach Jazz Festival and next month’s Newport Beach Film Festival. From April 20-30, the city will roll out the red carpet to visitors. The festival will feature hundreds of movies, short films, documentaries and animation, while at the same time hosting several special events, galas and panel discussions.

Many hotels have also rolled out their own red carpets, offering visitors special deals and film-festival packages. For a truly star-studded experience, book clients at The Island Hotel, the official hotel of the festival. Packages and other hotel options are available through the Newport Beach Conference and Visitors Bureau.

Just as the stars leave the city, the Lexus Jazz Festival at the Grand Hyatt Newport Beach welcomes jazz-music greats for a three-day festival, May 19-21. The festival features more than 25 individual jazz artists and following it is the Summer Concert Series sponsored by the WAVE radio station. The series starts June 10 with 18 concerts every Friday throughout the summer.

On Memorial Day weekend the recently rebuilt Balboa Bay Club and Resort will host its annual Food & Wine Festival May 26-28. Chefs from around the world will allow clients to sample their wares. Grand Festival packages are available and include VIP passes to all seminars and events, deluxe bay-view room, deep-tissue massage or champagne facial and more. A bed-and-breakfast package is also available.


Balboa Bay Club & Resort

Grand Hyatt Newport Beach

The Island Hotel

Newport Beach Conference and Visitors Bureau

Newport Beach Film Festival