LONG BEACH : (562)494-6800
COSTA MESA : (714)708-2120

Old School Tattoo Shop


Port City Tattoo is known for their diversity in style and techniques of tattooing. We are also widely revered for our exceptional Costa Mesa Traditional Tattoos and have perfected the art of this style of tattooing. From discrete and simplistic tattoo designs, to awe-inspiring exotic tattoos that cover a huge portion of the body, our Costa Mesa Tattoo Artists can work with you on any concept or idea.

We don’t just offer traditional style tattoos at Port City Tattoo Shop…Whether you have a hankering to get an old school tattoo at our Costa Mesa Tattoo Shop or an Asian inspired tattoo, a portrait, or prefer to go for a geometric tattoo, our skilled Port City Tattoo artists can deliver it all. Our highly talented staff both at our Costa Mesa and Long Beach tattoo shops can reference a picture or drawing, or we can free-hand a custom sketch based on the description of tattoo you’re trying to go for. We also welcome all guests that visit our Costa Mesa Tattoo Shop and peruse our huge catalog of Artist Portfolios to see if something catches your eye.


Call us today to set up an appointment : (714) 708-2120

Costa Mesa Traditional Tattoos


Bold, classic and sure to turn heads, Port City’s Costa Mesa Traditional Tattoos, often referred to as the Old School style of tattooing have been around for a while and are thick with symbolism and meaning. As with any art form that has stood the test of time and culture, tattooing continues to evolve, but the basics remain the same. Traditional tattoo artists were in high demand in port cities by American and European sailors. They quickly became popular during the American Civil War among soldiers and sailors of both Union and Confederate militaries.

Top 10 Port City Traditional Tattoos


Here are some popular Costa Mesa traditional tattoos that are solid designs for all ages.

Costa Mesa Traditional Tattoos 1. Compass Tattoos

Compass tattoos, which as you can imagine, derive their name from the widely used navigation device, are one of the most well known traditional tattoo designs. It symbolizes staying the course and is an encouraging reminder to continue heading in the right direction in life. This tattoo was made popular by sailors and explorers making it a true testament to traditional tattooing throughout history.

2. Heart Tattoos

Heart Tattoos are forever related to love, friendship and compassion, while also used to display heartbreak or loss. There are many renditions of this old school tattoo. Winged heart tattoos, the iconic ‘mom’ inside the heart tattoo, scared hearts, winged hearts and the ever present broken heart, amongst many other variations throughout the years. 

3. Swallow Tattoos

Swallow Tattoos are a very popular Costa Mesa traditional tattoo at Port City. Swallows symbolize freedom, prosperity and strength. They were introduced by sailors as a sign of a safe homecoming to port and later were used as a symbol of liberty by those freed from prison, which some believe the term ‘jail bird’ came from. Swallows have made their mark on modern day society and have been linked to celebrities and other figures in pop culture.

4. Anchor Tattoos

Another frequently placed traditional tattoo are Anchor Tattoos. Nautical in feeling they represent solidarity, determination, strength and hope. These old school tattoo designs are another favorite amongst sailors, but can be found adorning the body parts of all age groups and background. It is not uncommon to see an anchor tattoo coupled with other Costa Mesa traditional tattoos like birds, daggers, hearts, skulls and roses. 

5. Eagle Tattoos

Nothing says ‘American’ more than an Eagle Tattoo. Iconic in nature and popular amongst military and other patriotic tattoo lovers, the Eagle is a symbol of freedom and persistence. Most traditional Eagle Tattoos are bold and rather large, with wrapped wording or other design elements.

Traditional Tattoos in Costa Mesa, CA

Traditional Tattoos Costa MesaOur tattoo family is just as important to us as our beloved clients. That’s why Port City Tattoo goes above and beyond to only hire the very best tattooists from all over the world. Our Costa Mesa tattoo artists each have over ten years of experience in a wide variety of tattooing techniques, including Costa Mesa traditional tattoos. Some of the styles of tattoos that we offer at Port City Tattoo include black and gray, portraits, Old School, Realistic Ink, Japanese designs and lettering, Koi Fish, Sacred Geometry tattoos, amongst a catalog of others. We have a total of eight artists on staff at any given time. Come in and we’ll set you up with the artist that best compliments your style.

Call us today to set up an appointment : (714) 708-2120

Additionally, if you are feeling a little adventurous and have a concept, but no visual aid to reference, our Port City Tattoo Artists can help you describe your idea accurately and then sketch it out for you. Upon your thumbs-up we then begin the process of making it a permanent masterpiece on your skin. Get the artistry your body deserves, come to Port City Tattoo Costa Mesa for all of your Traditional Tattooing needs.


6. Mermaid Tattoos

Favored by females as a symbol of sensuality and mystique, the traditional mermaid tattoo design was brought about by tales from the sea. Sailors who had spent the majority of their lives on the open ocean would tell stories of beautiful women that would charm them from the depths. 

7. Dagger Tattoos

Old School Tattoos Costa MesaDaggers and Knives have been a very common element used in traditional tattooing. They are used in conjunction with other old school tattoos like hearts, flowers and skulls. Knife and Dagger Tattoos certainly add an added sense of darkness and danger to an otherwise lifeless tattoo. 

8. Rose Tattoos

Rose tattoos are undeniably beautiful on the skin. It has become an extremely popular traditional tattoo for all age groups as an expression of passion and love. There are many variations of the rose tattoo including black rose tattoos, tribal rose tattoos, roses with names or quotes wrapped around them and so on. Rose Tattoos are a fixture in traditional tattooing and will stay that way.

9. Pin Up Tattoos

Ah the classic and iconic Pin Up Girl Tattoo is a favorite of traditional tattoo enthusiasts. Glamorous, sultry and sexy, Pin Up Tattoos have taken off in recent years, steadily growing in popularity. Pin Up Tattoos are more difficult to ink than other old school tattoos, generally taking more time to complete, but it hasn’t slowed the demand for these eye-catching and individually original traditional tattoos.

10. Navy/Armed Forces Tattoos

Last but certainly not least are Armed Forces Tattoos. Army and Navy Tattoos are a highly respected form of traditional tattooing. They stand for courage, strength and bravery. These bold tattoos are used by navy or army personnel to show rank, to tell a story and to share their pride in their pursuit for freedom. Some examples of Armed Forces Tattoo are guns, weapons, tanks, medals and nautical stars.

All of Port City’s Costa Mesa traditional tattoos, which come from old school tattoo art, deliver a unique look. Port City’s Costa Mesa traditional tattoos all hold significant meaning, which has made them the original elements of tattoo art in the United States. Visit our Costa Mesa Tattoo Shop today and get inked by the best in the Southwest. 

Call us today to set up an appointment : (714) 708-2120