Answers from Our Experts (3)
There are plenty of diverse options in the O.C. for those who want to do some serious shopping, whether it’s high-end designers or discount malls. Arguably one of the most luxurious retail complexes in Orange County is Fashion Island, housing almost 200 specialty retail shops that range from Bloomingdales to Nordstrom to Rebecca Taylor to Juicy Couture. Then there’s the Market Place in Tustin and the Tuscan-themed Brea Mall in Brea, which are both substantially large malls that O.C. housewives frequent. When Cher and Dion of Clueless talk about their “sanctuary,” they’re talking about South Coast Plaza. Characters in The O.C. as well as Real Housewives of Orange County also mention this famous shopping district, and for good reason. South Coast is the largest mall in all of California and is brimming with upscale designer stores such as Prada, Gucci and Hermes. If it sounds too overwhelming or perhaps too pricy, check out The Outlets at Orange, where you can find discounts on the some of the same designer threads. The Irvine Spectrum Center in Irvine offers a different kind of relief. Amid Macy’s and Nordstrom, you’ll find a 108-foot tall Ferris wheel and custom-made carousel convenient for shopping breaks. Laguna Beach offers a stretch of shops, galleries and eateries that are quaint and exude an old-timey feel. Here, you’ll discover more specialty stores and not as many chains. Even more bohemian is The Lab in Costa Mesa, a trendy shopping area with more thrifty favorites like Urban Outfitters and Buffalo Exchange, in addition to unique spots such as the Hive and Gypsy Den. In fact, The Lab is even called the “anti-mall” among young Southern California hipsters.
Located in the heart of Newport Beach, Fashion Island is Orange County’s top coastal shopping destination, with its sophisticated, yet relaxed, setting that is distinctively Southern California. With so much sunshine all year long, it’s no wonder visitors and locals enjoy this outdoor retail center, with its ocean views, palm-lined paseos and open courtyards. Its nearly 200 stores include Orange County's only Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale's, Nordstrom, numerous exclusive boutiques, and a wide range of casual and fine dining restaurants. Valet parking and complimentary personal shoppers are just some of the extra perks we all enjoy at Fashion Island.
Orange County has become a shopping capital in its own right, with an eclectic and exciting mix of stores — from designer boutiques to one-of-a-kind independent stores. Choose from world-famous shopping destinations like South Coast Plaza and Fashion Island, or browse through chic boutiques in Laguna Beach and Corona del Mar.