Best Shopping / Restaurant Destination – Orange County Register


1. Irvine Specter Center

670 Spectrum Center Drive, Irvine; 949-790-4871;

According to Butch Knerr, president of Irvine Retail Properties, The Irvine Company is gearing up for a big rebound year at its two leading outdoor shopping and entertainment properties, the Irvine Spectrum Center and Fashion Island.

“The number of visitors to our centers is approaching 2019 levels and increasing every month,” Knerr said. “Our guests are delighted to be back and our merchants are delighted to welcome them. “

With its giant 108-foot Ferris wheel, adorned with 52,000 lights and more than 220 retailers, restaurants and entertainment options attracting visitors, the Irvine Spectrum Center tops the list each year with our readers and 18 million visitors each. year.

“We have hosted a special collection of merchants, including 81 new stores that have opened in our centers in the past 12 months – with other major retailers expected to announce in the third and fourth quarters,” Knerr said in a communicated.

Retailers range from Nordstrom to Target to boutiques. Food choices span the globe, from fine dining to street delicacies.

For those who might not want to climb 108 feet tall, closer to the ground, there’s the Carousel and Spectrum Climber, a structure with 75 platforms for kids to walk through.

Some of the changes include an extension and upgrade to the outdoor patio at Javier’s Cantina Grill, a refurbishment of the Regal Cinema and The Escape Room, where groups work collectively to uncover clues, crack codes and solve puzzles to escape. to evil locked rooms.

– Greg Mellen

2. South Coast Square

3333 Bristol Street, Costa Mesa; 800-782-8888;

Advertising itself as “the premier international shopping and dining destination on the West Coast”, South Coast Plaza boasts more than 250 stores and boutiques and 30 restaurants.

And, unlike the outside sites on the list, you don’t have to dodge and cover up when the weather changes.

Opened in 1967 in one of the Lima bean fields owned by the Segerstrom family, the square has grown into the West Coast’s largest shopping center with sales of over $ 1.5 billion a year before the pandemic.

The mall is anchored by Nordstrom, Bloomingdale and Saks Fifth Avenue. But there is also an extensive collection of upscale and specialty shops. In 2019, Italian luxury designer Furla opened his first store in California, moving into a 1,151 square foot space where he sells bags, shoes and leather goods for women and men.

Located a few blocks from the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, South Coast Plaza is a popular destination for pre-show meals.

3. The fashion island

401 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach; 949-721-2000;

With offerings from Orange County’s only Neiman Marcus, among more than 150 retailers, and over 20 dining and five entertainment options, there’s plenty to keep crowds flocking to the popular outdoor mall of Newport Beach.

Add in free outdoor entertainment and the Big Koi Pond and there is something for all ages and tastes.

Recently, the mall unveiled a personal shopping style suite, where customers can book appointments with personal shoppers who select selected items from over 100 coveted boutiques and brands in one location.

According to Fashion Island literature, “Our savvy shoppers are always up to date with the hottest trends of the season and must-have items, making them a fabulous resource for your styling service and gift-buying needs.”

Dining selections range from items you can choose from at the mall’s Whole Foods Market, to a food court with choices from ice cream to burgers, to fine dining.

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