There's nothing like retail activity to showcase economic health, and in light of Orange County's plethora of shopping centers, it's clear that the funds are there and ready to find worthy targets. Many of the larger communities are distinguished by impressive, open-air complexes that are as much town centers as they are shopping destinations. One of the brightest stars in the constellation is Fashion Island, which features fountains, a koi pond, and a carousel among tenants like Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdale's. In Irvine, Irvine Spectrum Center takes the lead role, and its physical beauty is as highly regarded as the shops that populate its premises. South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa relies strongly on prominent anchors like Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue to attract customers, but it also promotes high-end retailers like Jimmy Choo and Ermenegildo Zegna as brands that fit the Orange County lifestyle and vision. For shopping with more of a small-town, Main Street feel, head to Downtown Fullerton or Old Towne Orange, where the quaint appeal of days gone by continues to prove timeless and relaxed.
Senior editor Kelly Sigmon is Southern born and Ivy educated. During his tenure with the company, Kelly has prized being a mystery traveler and overseeing the printed 10Best Travel Guides for San Francisco, Miami, and Atlanta.