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Top Places to Shop in Southern California

Updated on August 21, 2011

Fashion Island at Newport Beach

Fashion Island is an incredibly fun and classy place to shop and many have been going there for decades now, enjoying the fountains and water features, and many wonderful stores and restaurants. You can find just about anything you are looking for at Fashion Island. It is in an area not far from the coast line, in fact as you are coming over the hill to the area where you pull into Fashion Island you will see the beautiful Pacific Ocean. There are many wonderful gardens nearby, and places to eat. There are beautiful fountains, theaters and just about every treat you can imagine.

When I was a little girl, my grandmother used to take my sister and I there and my favorite part was this little area where they had huge rock stepping stones in and around a pond. In the pond were big goldfish or koi. Of course I enjoyed the shopping too, but the whole area has such a sense of class and elegance to it as well as an element of fun that you don't want to miss out.

Fashion Island, with Pacific Ocean in background

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A markerNewport Beach CA -
Newport Beach, CA, USA
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B markerFashion Island CA -
Fashion Island, 601 Newport Center Dr, Newport Beach, CA 92660-6939, USA
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South Coast Plaza

A markerSouth Coast Plaza, CA -
S Coast Dr, Costa Mesa, CA, USA
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South Coast Plaza Mall

This Mall has been around for decades as well, and was one of the first really large malls around. It was the epitome of what a great mall could be, but long before malls were popular.  My family has been going there for years, and the area around South Coast Plaza has changed a lot over the years, but it is still very wonderful.  There are plenty of department stores, and all kinds of stores with many different people in mind.   

When I was young, my mother would take my sister and I here and we would maybe be lucky enough to ride on the amazing carousel that they still have there.  I would often get a treat of chocolate covered raisins as well.  One of my first jobs at Christmas time was in a chocolate store in this mall.  The holidays were always crazy but fun there.  People would stand in line during the Christmas season to get their children a picture with Santa Claus.  My mother would do this as well, and I often wasn't too excited to get to the front of the line, as seen in my face in the pictures.  Oh well, I tried and they were often great photos.  When Easter rolled around, we would do the same thing with the Easter Bunny. 

Growing up we would go here with friends, even walk there during the summer when we were bored.  I have many memories at South Coast Plaza, and the shopping selection and restaurants are simply wonderful. I would highly recommend it.  If you are trying to find other things to do in the area, there is no shortage of great ideas in that regard.  Orange County California has a lot to offer.

Irvine Spectrum at Night

Irvine Spectrum

Irvine Spectrum is the newest of the shopping malls, and it seems to do it a disservice to call this just a mall.  They have rides, and outdoor concerts, and all kinds of food you can imagine.  Parking structures help to keep you close to the mall, while helping to accommodate all the people. 

There is a large ferris wheel, and a great movie theater as well, which includes an Imax theater.  This is more of an outdoorsy fun atmosphere for a mall.  You can find major department stores, as well as small shops but all are new and fun and classy.

This summer we went there, and my husband and I got our favorite fish food there!  You can't go wrong with fish tacos.  We ate them outdoors, near those cool heaters, while listening to a live concert.  Just the atmosphere is fun, and makes for a great date night if that is what you are looking for. You will get exercise, and see all kinds of people, fountains, and things to do.  Go check it out if you never have before, you won't regret it.

Irvine Spectrum

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A markerIrvine ca -
Irvine, CA, USA
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B markerIrvine Spectrum CA -
Irvine Spectrum, Irvine, CA, USA
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Irvine Spectrum Ferris Wheel


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    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

      Wow, these sound like quite the places to shop! Nice video accompaniment XD

    • PierrePierre profile image

      PierrePierre 6 years ago

      Wonderful ideas! Irvine Spectrum sounds fantastic!

    • oceansnsunsets profile image

      Paula 6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Hello Simone, thank you for your kind words and for stopping by.

    • oceansnsunsets profile image

      Paula 6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Hello Pierre, Irvine Spectrum is fantastic, try to go if you ever get the chance.

    • PhoenixV profile image

      PhoenixV 6 years ago from USA

      great ideas!

    • oceansnsunsets profile image

      Paula 6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Thank you!

    • profile image 5 years ago

      FYI - Fashion Island removed the splash fountain

    • oceansnsunsets profile image

      Paula 5 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Thank you for letting me and all of us know. It was a lot of fun, but I am sure they had their reasons for doing so. I will make a note of that change.

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