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Mall guide: South Coast Plaza

November 24, 2011|From the Los Angeles Times
  • Full hands: Shoppers take a break from carrying bags at South Coast Plaza on Black Friday in 2009.
Full hands: Shoppers take a break from carrying bags at… (DON LEACH, Daily…)

Location: 3333 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, at the San Diego (405) Freeway and Bristol Street.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Sunday

Known for: The largest shopping center in California, South Coast Plaza is the Rodeo Drive of Orange County, with nearly every luxury brand in the universe under one roof. The mall has 250 boutiques and 30 restaurants.

What you'll find: Almost everything you could ever want or need. Anchor stores are Bloomingdale's (the best one in Southern California), Nordstrom, Macy's, Sears and a small Saks Fifth Avenue. Boutiques include Chanel, Hermes, Prada, Balenciaga, Marni, Miu Miu, Chopard, Harry Winston, Rolex, Ralph Lauren, Tory Burch and Cartier boutiques, mixed with mall regulars such as J. Crew, Gap, Ann Taylor and Banana Republic. The CH Carolina Herrera store, featuring the designer's lower-priced line, is notable, as is the only SoCal outpost for the French luggage and handbag brand Longchamp. The only West Coast John Lobb men's footwear boutique is here, as are the only SoCal DKNY and Donna Karan boutiques. And don't forget about the hard-to-find third level, where you will find foodie favorite French bistro Marché Moderne, as well as the Christian Louboutin and Oscar de la Renta stores.

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An outdoor bridge over Bear Street connects to South Coast Plaza West, formerly called Crystal Court, where there are even more stores — Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, Loft, Chico's, Talbots, Nike and more.

As a bonus, nearby Metro Pointe at South Coast, owned by a separate company, houses discounts aplenty at Nordstrom Rack, Loehmann's and Marshalls.

Vibe: Tourists, tanned and toned moms in tennis skirts, and ladies who lunch. (Overheard at lunchtime at the next table at Quattro, "I'd have another glass of wine, but I have carpool.")

Survival strategies: Pace yourself, drink lots of water and wear comfortable shoes. When it comes to shopping, this is the big leagues. Try parking in the small lot behind the south parking structure between Bloomingdale's and Saks. It's usually not so crowded. Also note there are four concierge desks throughout the main building. They all offer package check services, as well as stroller and wheelchair rentals.

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