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ORANGE COUNTY CALENDAR: ARTS, ENTERTAINMENT, LEISURE
| DISCOVER ORANGE COUNTY

Costa Mesa: An Antidote to Urban Sprawl at 'Anti Mall'

* Looking for a new neighborhood to explore? Here are some suggestions, culled from recent stories. Complete stories can be accessed at http://www.calendarlive.com/go/discover.

February 04, 2001|JOSE PAUL CORONA

The Lab in Costa Mesa oozes urban chic. Even from the parking lot, newcomers will sense something different at this cluster of shops and restaurants that bills itself as the "Anti Mall." Nature surrounds the three-acre complex at 2930 Bristol St. Flowers, vegetables and an herb garden have taken over some areas. Just don't step on the snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata) that grows from a crack in the concrete.

There's also a strong sense of urban decay. Walls look as if they're tumbling down, and forget linoleum floors that make your leopard-print sneakers squeak. Here, there's only cracked concrete with an artistic tweak under your feet.

For inspiration, hang out in the sun and gaze at the poetry wall or the fountain made of oil drums. Feel free to dance in the Thinking Place and Living Room, an open lounge area filled with vintage furniture that might have been extracted from your parents' or grandparents' home. The eclectic mixture of boutiques and shops cater to the carefree and hip.

Getting there: Take the San Diego Freeway and exit at Bristol. The Lab is half a mile south of the freeway.

* A new Discover Orange County will run next Sunday in the Orange County Calendar.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Costa Mesa

The Lab

Three-acre complex

2930 Bristol, Costa Mesa

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