March 24, 2016

7 Essential Orange County Shopping Experiences

7 Essential Shopping Experiences in Orange County California shopping for your best Southern California vacation
If you’re planning a trip to Southern California you probably already know that Orange County has some incredible beaches and world-famous theme parks. But have you taken a look at the shopping venues you could visit during your trip? Take a look, and find something new to add to your vacation itinerary!

1. Fashion Island:
You’ll find a lot of outdoor malls and high end shopping throughout Southern California, but only one Fashion Island . Fashion Island in Newport Beach combines the best of upscale shopping and dining to one classic Orange County outdoor shopping experience.

Atmosphere: Fashion Island is a pristine outdoor mall with beautiful shaded walkways, fountains, and a koi pond. It’s worth visiting just to walk and people watch… or puppy watch, since many shoppers bring their dogs along when they visit Fashion Island.

What’s there: At Fashion Island you will find high end designer stores like Bloomingdales, Neiman Markus, Vince Camuto, and Kate Spade, along with mall staples such as Forever 21. You’ll also find amazing restaurants in Newport Center, like Flemings, Roy’s Sushi Roku, and True Food Kitchen. Take a look at the full list here .

2. Downtown Disney:
Downtown Disney isn’t just one big huge Disney store. It’s more like… well, a downtown, but Disney-style with all the fun and magic that that implies. It’s a must-visit for Disney lovers!

Atmosphere: Downtown Disney is an outdoor shopping center with spacious courtyards, beautiful landscaping, and a fun, family-friendly polish worthy of Disney. Outdoor entertainment is a regular occurrence at Downtown Disney, so don’t be surprised if you hear music around the corner.

What’s There: Downtown Disney is a shopping paradise for Disney fans, with Disney art for sale at the Wonderground Gallery, and Disney merchandise at Anna & Elsa’s Boutique, Disney Vault 28, D-Street, and more. Disney also houses a LEGO Store and Build-A-Bear for fun interactive shopping experiences. At Downtown Disney you will also find distinctive eateries like the Earl of Sandwich, Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen, and Tortilla Jo’s. See a full list of shops here , and dining options here .

Parking is free for 4 hours with validation, so make plans to stay for lunch or dinner!

3. South Coast Plaza:
South Coast Plaza is Fashion Island’s indoor haute couture counterpart. If the sun is too hot, or if you happen to be visiting on one of Southern California’s rare rainy days you can still walk, people watch, and browse high end shops at South Coast Plaza.

Atmosphere: South Coast Plaza is essentially two malls, connected by the Bridge of Gardens that crosses Bear Street. Together the two buildings, each with three levels, hold over 250 shops and restaurants. The different courts in South Coast Plaza are always decorated for the season, with immense Christmas trees, or magical landscapes for Chinese New Year.

What’s There: With award winning restaurants and an unparalleled retail collection, South Coast Plaza is hard to beat. You’ll find everything here from Prada to Abercrombie to Papyrus to Sephora. South Coast Plaza also features a wealth of dining options from Italian-style espresso and pastries at Antonello’s to gourmet Asian fusion fare at AnQi. Take a look at the full list of stores and restaurants here .

4. The Anaheim Packing House
Take a break from shopping and try some artisan eats! The Packing House is not so much a shopping center as a food hall full of small eateries that you won’t find anywhere else.

Atmosphere: The Packing house is definitely one of the most Instagram-worthy locations in Orange County, with gourmet juices, gorgeous pastries, and impeccably presented waffles and popsicles all in a recently redesigned indoor space. Make your selection and then dine inside in the central dining area or head outdoors for a picnic.

What’s there: At the Packing House you’ll find pressed juice and fresh produce at Lemon Drop Juice Bar, handcrafted gelato, sorbetto, and yogurt popsicles at Popbar, to die for poutines at The Kroft, and of course organic, fair trade artisan coffee at Cafecito. See the full list of merchants here .

5. Laguna Beach’s Sawdust Arts and Crafts Festival
Laguna Beach is known for its art scene, and during the summer or winter you can take a piece of Laguna Beach’s Artistry home with you! The Sawdust Art Festival gives local artists a chance to display and sell their works, and you a chance to find one-of-a-kind handmade items.

Atmosphere: Outdoors, surrounded by the hills and trees of Laguna Beach, the Sawdust Art & Craft Festival is a magical artist’s village. Meander along the paved walkways, browse booths displaying paintings of local landscapes, and see artists at work!

What’s There: Blown glass, oil paintings, pottery, hand made jewelry, and more are all on display and on sale at the Sawdust Art Festival. An abundance of live entertainment takes place at the Winter Fantasy especially, with carolers and Santa Claus making regular appearances, and you’ll find food and refreshments at the festivals as well!

6. The Outlets at San Clemente
The Outlets at San Clemente is Orange County’s first coastal outlet shopping experience. Brand new, this outlet mall is continuing to add new shops and restaurants. Take a look at the latest updated list here .

Atmosphere: The Outlets at San Clemente describe themselves as a “village of Spanish Colonial-style storefronts.” This shopping village is complimented by a 280,000 square foot beautifully landscaped space overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and it’s all brand new!

What’s There: The Outlets at San Clemente includes outlets of such popular brands as Sketchers, Columbia Sportswear, Tommy Hilfiger, Zales, and more. More shops and ocean view restaurants are coming soon .

7. The Irvine Spectrum Center:
The Irvine Spectrum Center combines some of the best elements of the above shopping centers into one delightful Southern California shopping, dining, and entertainment experience.

Atmosphere: String lights, a carousel, ferris wheel, light displays and fountains make every visit to the Spectrum feel like a holiday. Since the Spectrum is in Irvine, it’s also beautiful and immaculately maintained. In short, the Spectrum offers a fun, festive, feel-good shopping experience for visitors of all ages.

What’s there: Dim Sum, cupcakes, macarons, falafel, gourmet grilled cheese, and much more are all available at the Spectrum, and that’s just the food. The selection of shops is just as varied, from Brighton Collectibles to Buckle to Skinfood, and more. The Spectrum also features an Edwards IMAX theater, Dave and Busters, and an Improv Comedy Club. Check out the full directory here .

Ready to shop?
Start by shopping for your perfect vacation home. Our California vacation rentals are ideally located near the Outlets at San Clemente, Fashion Island, and other California shopping destinations.

So give us a call at 800-408-1822 and get started planning today!

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