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A Guide to Shopping in Orange County
Lifestyle

A Guide to Shopping in Orange County

Here’s your guide to Orange County shopping, because treating yourself never goes out of style.

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5 min read

October 07, 2021

Whoever said the OC’s just about surfing was probably only passing through. Sure, the sport is practically woven into the region’s fabric, but the amount of retail therapy hidden makes shopping in Orange County truly a way of life. Without further ado, here’s your guide to Orange County shopping, because treating yourself never goes out of style.

The Best Malls in Orange County 

The LAB Anti-Mall is a modern, open-air destination featuring trendy retail shops and a range of restaurants. Photo courtesy of The LAB Anti-Mall.

The LAB Anti-Mall

Location: 2930 Bristol Street, Costa Mesa

Starting this list going full anti-mall might be a bit out of the box, but we’re taking pointers from the wonderfully unconventional LAB. The name is actually an acronym, which stands for ‘Little American Business’—and that’s exactly what this shopping center in Orange County is striving to support. Established in response to the retail monotony plaguing the OC’s suburbia, the LAB went from a night-vision goggle factory into an indoor-outdoor hangout space dotted with art, music, fashion, and hip cuisine.

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Brea Mall

Location: 1065 Brea Mall, Brea

With over 180 stores from your favorite brands, the Brea Mall is the go-to retail center in North Orange County. Brands like Nordstrom, Apple, Banana Republic, Lululemon, Michael Kors, and more can all be found here, alongside a few ethical brands you’ll love looking into. Plus, since the back-to-work season is right around the corner, why not assemble a brand new outfit to rock around the office? And, in addition to a little shopping therapy, you can treat yourself to a full-service day spa and enjoy a delicious meal at one of the many restaurants in the area—there’s no going wrong with this OC mall.

Bella Terra offers something for everyone and in a laid-back, coastal-casual style that’s the OC at its best. Photo courtesy of Bella Terra.

Bella Terra 

Location: 7777 Edinger Avenue, Huntington Beach

An open-air treat, Bella Terra is a well-known outdoor mall in Orange County where your wallet will thank you instead of hating you. Big names here include Barnes and Noble, Kohl’s, Old Navy, Burlington Coat Factory, and more. You can spend the whole day trying on clothes, hopping from shop to shop, and indulging all those impulse buying needs you’ve been repressing. But shopping at Bella Terra is only the tip of the iceberg. There are renowned restaurants, salons, and theaters all over—coming here is fun for the whole family, not just its resident shopaholics.

Fashion Island 

Location: 401 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach

Ask any local and they’ll tell you that the best shopping in Orange County is at Fashion Island. A stone’s throw from the beach, this mall is home to over 200 stores and restaurants, most of which offer services like personal shopping and home delivery. And if that wasn’t enough, Fashion Island is also a bit of an architectural marvel—the mall features the world’s largest wind chimes near Macy’s. The Butterfly Court is also found here; it’s where numerous models have strutted down the runway, showcasing all that’s new and trendy.

The Outlets at Orange, the OC's only outlet shopping mall, is home to more than 120 outlet and value stores. Photo courtesy of The Outlets at Orange.

The Outlets at Orange

Location: 20 City Boulevard West, Orange

Less than 10 minutes from the OC’s Disneyland, there’s another destination that’s just as magical—that is if you’re into bargain hunting. But then again, who isn’t? The Outlets at Orange features top stores and is host to other activities that’ll get the whole family pumped up for a trip to the mall. Catch a movie at the AMC Orange 30, rejuvenate with a treatment at the Burke Williams Day Spa, while your kids shred on the indoor street course at Vans SkatePark. But don’t forget; you’re here for the shopping. Scout for marked-down merchandise at Neiman Marcus Last Call and find seriously awesome deals at Nordstrom Rack and DKNY. Get surf-ready at Hurley or find something slinky and lacy at Frederick’s of Hollywood; this Orange County outlet is a dream come true for your credit card.

Boutiques in Orange County

Marian Paquette 

Location: 1504 South Coast Highway, Laguna Beach

Standing out, in Southern California especially, means ditching the at-times monotonous sea of sartorial instincts and opting for something truly unique. And among all the stores open in Orange County, Marian Paquette’s delivers just that. Find bold colors, rich fabrics, and one-of-a-kind chains and clasps in Paquette’s handmade bags. Choose a style—whether it be a clutch, a classic top-handle bag, or a foldable crossbody look—and construct it with fabric sourced from France, Morocco, and Italy.

Alchemy Works is a coastal California retail, gallery, and event space concept with several locations. Photo courtesy of Alchemy Works.

Alchemy Works 

Location: 3408 Via Oporto, Newport Beach

Brainchild to the Los Angeles-based husband and wife duo Lindsay and Raan Parton, Alchemy Works is for those who prefer the finer things in life. The industrial-style shop doubles as a gallery and events space, so there’s a lot of room to walk around. Their collection consists of hand-picked apothecary pieces, letterpress prints, and indie-designer accessories. Popular items include Heidi Merrick velvet bodysuits, Janessa Leone hats, Grace Lee jewelry, and more. Also sharing the space is a Blacktop Coffee counter in case you need a little mid-day pick-me-up.

Roger’s Gardens 

Location: 2301 San Joaquin Hills Road, Corona Del Mar

What was once a humble Costa Mesa gardening center in the 1960s has grown to be one of the country’s most well-known landscaping, gardening, and florist companies. Roger’s Gardens is where visitors come to purchase incredible plants and flowers, authentic pottery, gifts, and furniture. The staff is super knowledgeable and friendly, and the Farmhouse—a local farm-to-table restaurant—is perched right in the middle of the garden’s gorgeously lush grounds. If you’ve been meaning to create the DIY succulent garden of your dreams, this is your sign. 

Thalia Surf curates a unique surf shop experience specializing in surfboards, clothing, and vinyl records. Photo courtesy of Thalia Surf Shop.

Thalia Surf Shop

Location: 915 South Coast Highway, Laguna Beach

Located on the Pacific Coast Highway, this unique gem is a wink and a nod to Laguna’s rich surf history. Thalia Surf Shop offers a trusted mix of clothing and gear—most of the items come from indie brands—and it’s all a shrine to the sport. The lovely staff shares your passion for shredding waves, so any of your board-related inquiries will be answered with knowledge and expertise. P.S. If you’re also on a quest for the rarest vintage surfer tees, vinyl records, and art books, this Orange County outlet might be an answer to your prayers.

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