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Published on : Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Shopping is an art form in California. Whether you are in search of the perfect cocktail dress or an authentic Mexican piñata, you will find it here. Want to sample fresh fruits and vegetables? Try our farmers markets. Looking for a handmade ceramic bowl? Go to one of the many artist enclaves dotting the state. Simply looking for a great bargain on shoes? California has some of the largest outlet centres in the country. Or are you looking to indulge in the latest designer wear? Then head to our high-end shopping districts or shopping centres.
LOS ANGELES COUNTY SHOPPING
If you’re ready to whip out the platinum card, head to Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, home to Chanel, Giorgio Armani, and other mega-designer boutiques. Nearby Robertson Boulevard also has chic boutiques. Just east of Beverly Hills, upscale The Grove, across the street from the popular Original Farmers Market, has a village atmosphere, with a fountain-filled park and leafy outdoor cafes.
For celeb-spotting while you shop, aim for Montana Avenue in Santa Monica. Also in town is the popular, pedestrian friendly Third Street Promenade, with big-name chains and a lively feel.
At the south end of the promenade, open-air Santa Monica Place features trendy boutiques and a rooftop dining deck with ocean views. Just south is Venice Beach’s fun and funky Abbot Kinney Boulevard, home to hip clothiers, galleries, and oh-so-cool restaurants and cafes.
Beverly Hills Shopping
From world-renowned fashion houses to one-of-a-kind local boutiques, Beverly Hills offers a shoppers’ paradise located within a compact, easily walkable area known as the Golden Triangle. Experience world-famous Rodeo Drive where you’ll find Prada, Gucci, Valentino, Armani, Dior and Cartier. Discover the crown jewel in the heart of Beverly Hills, Two Rodeo Drive, with quaint cobblestone walkways leading you to the likes of Versace, Lanvin, Jimmy Choo and Tiffany. Blocks east of Rodeo, shop Beverly and Cañon Drives with local boutiques, unique luxury shops, fantastic Beverly Hills restaurants and open-air cafés. Anchoring the southern border of the Golden Triangle is Department Store Row, home to the titans of luxury retailing, including Neiman-Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Barneys New York
In-the-know visitors make sure to come to the Palm Springs area with room in their suitcases. Bargain hunter’s beeline for the town of Cabazon, home of Desert Hills Premium Outlets and an impressive list of designer brands including Prada, Burberry, and Gucci. Nearby Cabazon Outlets offers more great deals on clothes, shoes, and housewares.
In Palm Desert, the wide, artwork-and-flower trimmed street known as El Paseo has boutiques, galleries, and shops trendy enough to earn in the nickname “The Rodeo Drive of the Desert.” The Gardens on El Paseo retail complex is especially luxurious—a great destination for strolling on warm evenings before having dinner at one of its outdoor cafés—it really doesn’t get much better than this. Creativity also plays a big role in Palm Springs, where the Backstreet Art District features artist-owned galleries and working studios, giving you a chance to chat with artists as well as buy their one-of-a-kind pieces. Browse at shops in the appealing Uptown Design District, a hotbed of vintage and contemporary treasures in Mid-century Modern buildings as retro-chic as the items for sale inside.
Shopping in The O.C. is almost as legendary as surfing. Start at expansive South Coast Plaza, California’s largest luxury shopping complex, with iconic luxury brands such as Hermes, Chanel, and Prada. Newport Beach has more spoil-worthy shopping at Fashion Island, where Italian-stylepiazzas palm trees, and koi ponds (plus ocean views) feel more like a resort than a shopping mall. Another posh option: Fashion Island, just offshore from Newport Beach; check the website for special appearances by top designers.
For bargain hunters, The Outlets at Orange offers more than 120 value stores, including Nordstrom Rack and a Banana Republic outlet, as well as a host of not-just-shopping attractions, including an indoor Vans SkatePark, movie theaters, and bowling at the light- and music-filled Lucky Strike Lanes. If you like your shopping with a dose of entertainment and amusement-park fun, visit Irvine’s Spectrum Center, where a soaring Ferris wheel, plus a carousel and kiddie train for the little ones, give you a unique way to take a break between boutiques. Late nights are lively here too, with movie theaters, Irvine Improv Comedy Club, and quality restaurants.
INLAND EMPIRE OUTLETS
The only thing better than scoring the perfect outfit or designer shoes is to get them for a bargain price. That’s why shopping in the Inland Empire can be so sweet—it’s a hot bed of top-quality outlet centers filled with designer and brand name finds.
Biggest of the bunch is Ontario Mills is California’s largest outlet center. With more than 200 stores, it literally has brand names from A (Abercrombie & Fitch) to Z (Zumiez). Look for great deals in for clothes and shoes for men, women, and children, plus accessories, electronics, sporting goods, and home wares. There’s also a big selection at the Lake Elsinore Outlet Center, where you’ll find deals at stores for Nike, Gap, and Guess Armani.
In Santa Barbara, State Street is synonymous with shopping, and if you don’t want to be tempted, you’d better put on blinders before you walk. If you’re ready to dive in and enjoy, start at State Street’s upper end, with luxury retailers such as Tiffany & Co. at La Cumbre Plaza. Next up, La Arcada; it’s twisting walkways with fountains and flowerpots allow plenty of time to gaze into boutique windows and think, ‘Oh, I really need that…’
Grab an espresso at local favorite The French Press to keep you going then continue south to the babbling fountains and lush landscaping at Paseo Nuevo shopping center, home to more than 50 stores. Continue to Victoria Court, with an alluring mix of independent shops and top restaurants. Once you’re ready to call it quits, settle in at Blue Tavern (California cuisine with a Peruvian twist), Olio (perfect wood-fired pizza in a rustic chic setting), or Bouchon (classy to the max).