Here are some of the better malls in Southern California. We have shopped in all of them plus interviewed many people (mostly women) and got their opinions on the best places to shop.
We are so lucky to have all these great stores in so ca. Feel free to shop your troubles away! More to come as we check out others.
Another great mall is Irvine Spectrum. It’s an outdoor mall, so you have to be prepared for the weather whether it is hot or cold. It has a really nice movie theater, awesome restaurants (our favorites are Yard house (because of the food and beer), Cheesecake Factory (because of the choices, they have everything and its all delicious!), and last but not least, Javier’s (some of the best Mexican food I’ve ever had!). They have an ice rink during the winter (now that is really unique!). They have a lot of good stores to shop at too. And they also have a game works, which is great for kids and adults. It has every kind of game you can think of! It’s great for a date. And Irvine Spectrum wins our vote for best sports bar, Fox Sports Grill. It has hundreds of TV’s through out the place. Excellent food and drinks. It even has a bowling alley. You can reserve the upstairs area for special events, which is pretty cool. And at night, it turns into a club.
Moreno Valley Mall
This mall is one of the best if do don’t like huge crowds, it is tucked away in the rolling hills of Moreno Valley. Even on weekends the crowd is light, it’s a typical two story mall with all the right stores that makes shopping fun. The food court is good and lots of close parking.
South Coast Plaza
There are many reasons to like this mall. For one, there are so many designer shops it’s just fun to go window shopping (because I obviously can’t afford half of the stores in that mall). My wife likes to see all the designer purses and shoes. It also has just about every department store you can think of: Nordstrom’s, Macy’s, Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue , and Sears. This mall has a carousel which is always packed with kids no matter what time of day it is. And there is always a balloon person with the biggest bundle of balloons I have ever seen! The kids just love it. There are waterfall fixtures through out the mall which makes it a relaxing environment. There are many nice restaurants too. There’s Wolfgang Puck, The Carvery (which is a Lawry’s restaurant), Rain forest Café, Boudin (which is a restaurant that specializes in sourdough bread from San Francisco , YUMMY!), Maggiano’s (my favorite, the best Italian food ever!). This mall is huge! It’s 3 stories high and has hundreds of stores, something for everyone’s taste and budget. My favorite thing is to do is people watching. There are so many different kinds of people walking around. They even have a foreign exchange store.
Westfield Horton Plaza
Horton Plaza is 5 level, unique mall that any San Diego visitor should see. Nordstrom, Macy’s and many differ ant type of shops and eateries make this the lunch stop for downtown workers. You can validate your parking ticket (with any purchase) for 3 free hours (4 hours with movie or restaurant purchase). The parking lot is confusing and you could forget which level parked in. The levels and parking spaces are marked with fruit so make sure that if you park in a chili pepper level you remember that.
There are some upscale and mid-level stores such as Nordstrom, Mervyn’s, Macy’s, along with the usual boutiques and lots of island sales. It seems that every level you walk, you bump in to a great store or a fun one tucked away in a corner. Lots of places to eat, both sit down and take out. This is a fun place plus it’s smack dab in the middle of down town San Diego. You can’t get much better then that.
The Grove Los AngelesThe Grove Los AngelesA fairly new outdoor mall built next door to the Farmers Market in Los Angeles. This is a great place to shop and to see wonderful dancing fountains, green lawns and unique street venders. A double deck trolley runs from one end to the other giving the rider a view of all the stores, restaurants and outstanding décor that the Grove offers. Parking is a breeze in the tall level parking garage with elevators and escalators to take you to the stores. The fee is small and your parking ticket can be validated at most of the stores. When you get to the bottom level there are some of the finest restrooms in town with an attendant to help you with your visit if needed.The stores range from high end department stores to toys, beach wear, home furnishing, luggage, jewelry and much more, too many to list. Pacific theaters are also there with 14 screens. Check out their web site at http://www.TheGroveLA.com 323-900-8080 or 1-888-315-8883. Off of the 10 Freeway go north (toward Hollywood) on Fairfax Ave, turn right on third St. and go about half a block to Grove Drive, turn left.
Victoria Gardens Mall
This is the new outdoor mall in Rancho Cucamonga. Its decorated with historic signs, it makes you feel like you’re walking back in time. There are streets going through the center so you can drive you car by all the stores. The food court is huge, they have tons of nice restaurants like Yard House, P F Changs, and faster places like The Hat, Wendys and Juice it Up. They have large department stores like Macy’s and JC Penny’s. You can find almost every kind of store there, many shoe and clothing stores. They also have a center walk way where there is a patch of grass that they sometimes have musicians come and play on a mini stage next to a pretty waterfall. In the winter, they have a huge decorated christmas tree set up there, outside!
Outlet malls are generally with out a roof. Some look like your walking down a city street with trees and water falls with green grass and lots of flowers. Others are elaborate parking lots with benches and food carts, but all give you brand name articles at lowered prices. Below are some of the ones we have checked out and liked. We will add more as we investigate them.
Camarillo Premium Outlets
740 E. Ventura Boulevard, Camarillo, CA 93010 (805) 445-8520
Banana Republic, Barneys New York, Calvin Klein, Kenneth Cole, J Crew, Polo Ralph Lauren, Theory, Tommy Hilfiger, Lucky Brand Jeans, Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th and many more 120 in all.
Food? You bet- Auntie Anne’s Soft Pretzels, Cappuccino Club & Juice Bar, Charley’s Grilled Subs, Jody Maroni’s Sausage Kindom, Little Thai, Pyro’s Homestyle Rotisserie, Subway/ TCBY, Terri’s Chocolate Chippery Cookies, Villa Pizza. WOW.
Carlsbad Premium Outlets
There are 90 outlet stores in Carlsbad. Due to the location, the weather is perfect all year around. The walk though the mall is an eye opener as the stores and walk way is a fine as the best in Calif. Some of the store are, Banana Republic, Barneys New York, Brooks Brothers, Calvin Klein, coach,Crate and Barrel, Juicy Couture, Kenneth Cole, Lacoste, Polo Ralph Lauren, Theory, Tommy Hilfiger and many more.
The mall is north of San Diego 5620 Paseo del Norte, Suite 100, Carlsbad, CA 92008
Desert Hills Premium Outlets
This outlet mall is a beautiful place to buy the brand name products you need at an outlet price! Just minutes west from Palm Springs its a great place to shop knowing you should have perfect weather all the time. With 130 stores finding your favorite wearing apparel is easy. Also you can find Leather goods, luggage, Jewelry, housewares,home furnishing and even pottery. There is not just one of these stores but many to choose from. Check out their web site for hours, directions and a huge list of stores.
Lake Elsinore Outlet Mall
Lake Elsinore Outlets is situated in the heart of the Inland Empire, conveniently located off Interstate 15. Forty minutes east of Orange County, twenty minutes north of the beautiful wine country that is Temecula and less than an hour north of inland San Diego. The outlet mall is full of great and fascinating stores plus food. There are many differ ant types of eatery’s from a Dairy Queen to the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. Yum.
Mills Outlet Mall Ontario
Ontario Mills features over 200 of the best names in retail
including Nordstrom Rack, Nike Factory Store, Off Broadway
Shoes, Polo Ralph Lauren, and Tommy Hilfiger offering the latest fashions, gifts,
electronics, entertainment and dining options. Lots of your favorite places to shop. The food court is huge with many different types of great food to choose from.
There are many super restaurants around the area also, along with a multiplex movie theater.
Tanger Outlet Stores Barstow, CA
Barstow outlets have great prices and many stores to choose from. You can buy direct from brand name manufacturer and designer outlet stores. Just south from Barstow off the interstate 15, the mall is free from local traffic sitting by itself inviting you to drive in. The stores are listed on their web site. Try the food court, the “all about Dogs” is Great. I am a hot dog fan as you can see. http://www.tangeroutlet.com/center/BST/directory/
Swap meets and flea markets
Orange County Market Place
This is probably the biggest out door market place in California. It is mostly new stuff, everything from clothing to tools, DVD movies to cat clothes and mirrors. You can get a neat bicycle or a polish for your car or shoes for your feet. If you have a long shopping list you can fill it there. They even have vegetable stands and bread shops. There is one vendor that sells soft drinks that we have not seen since the 50’s. The market place has really good food, there are tacos, hot dogs, big sausages dogs, barbecue sandwiches to enjoy while you have a coke, beer or a chilled margarita. They have music to listen to and to buy. A good idea is to rent a shopping cart or a pull wagon to haul your stuff in. There are rental booths on both sides. You see a lot of people wondering why you have a large cart going in but on the way out, then when they are carrying a load of market goods they ask you where you got it. Christmas and other holidays are good times to look at a lot of different items for those friends that are hard to buy for. Maybe you could buy uncle Paul a BMW.
88 Fair Drive Costa Mesa 949-723-6616
San Diego Swap Meet
There is a huge swap meet at the sports arena, the next paragraph is from a person at random that loves to go there each week.
I love the swap meet. Pretty much everything I own comes from there. Today I found a replacement speaker for my car ($6), nice ukulele ($8), big pipe wrench ($4), diving light ($10), 2GB memory for the camera ($15), fruit for the week, fresh tortillas, batteries for my 3 (swap meet) watches…
Moonlight Plaza – Encinitas, CAPretty much anything you can think of you can get at most meets.
North of San Diego is the sleepy beach town of Encinitas, they have a small but fun Bazaar/swap meet every Saturday and Sunday. Its in the Moonlight Plaza on the corner of Encinitas and PCH. The weather will be great because of the location (Beach). There are around fifty vendors selling their goods. There are many great restaurants in the area such as, El Callejon (Mexican), El Qeros (Peruvia), Tastes (steak, sea food and lots of great wine) and I Trulli (Italian and more). All this is located in and around historic downtown Encinitas. A fun place to be anytime.
Rose Bowl flea market
Rose Bowl Fea MarketThe Rose Bowl Flea Market is the World’s most unusual shopping place. The shopping place of the “Stars”. Held every 2ND Sunday of each Month from 9am till 3pm. Over 2200 vendors mixing vintage and modern products that creates a lifestyle that reflects today’s trendsetters. The antique section serves the interior designers as well as the novice and expert collectors. We see movie/TV stars almost every time we go.
Van Buren Drive-in Flea Market
3035 Van Buren Blvd.
Riverside, CA 92503(951) 688-2360
The drive-in swap/flea market is just south on Van Buren from the 91 freeway. I don’t know why people call it a swap meet, I haven’t seen anybody swap anything, well swapping money for goods qualifies I guess.
Pomona Auto Swapmeet/flea market
This is the big daddy of auto parts flea markets. There is around three thousand auto part sellers, every kind of car from Corvettes, Porsche, street rods Chev’s, fords,Volkswagen’s (older ones) and many other kinds of vehicles. This is the biggest auto swap meet/auto show on the west coast. It opens real early so plan to get up and go.
San Fernando Swap Meet
The San Fernando Swap Meet has been in business for more than 35 years, in the beautiful City of San Fernando. They are the largest outdoor Swap Meet in the San Fernando Valley and we are open all year long, rain or shine. The San Fernando Swap Meet is known for its diversified merchandise and service to the community.
Located less than one mile West on Valley Blvd off the 60 freeway, the Rubidoux Drive-In Swap Meet is the fastest growing Swap Meet Southern California.