Shop Till You Drop Near An Iconic Waterfront At This Chic California Mall

Southern California is home to iconic shopping streets like Rodeo Drive and Melrose Avenue. These spots are worth a visit if you're hoping to spot celebrities in Los Angeles or stock up on luxury goods, but they aren't the only destinations for fashion finds. If you want to see where the (non-famous) locals shop, consider spending a day at Newport Beach's Fashion Island.

Fashion Island isn't a literal island, but you might feel like you're on one, given its views of the Pacific Ocean and decorative palm trees. The spot is a shopping mall housing over 100 stores, along with restaurants and other attractions. However, don't expect to find your average American mall when visiting Fashion Island. The Newport Beach shopping center is largely outdoors, allowing you to soak up the California sun while window shopping or sipping a coffee on the terrace. A luxurious, resort-like charm carries throughout Fashion Island, from the stunning koi pond to the umbrella tables and cushioned outdoor seating. Shopping is what brings you to Fashion Island, but the relaxing atmosphere might be why you stay for hours.

Shop, eat, workout, or catch a movie at Fashion Island

One of the main attractions at Fashion Island — as its name suggests — is the fashionable clothes. If the designer bags and shoes at Rodeo Drive go beyond your travel budget, you'll be pleased with the brands lining Fashion Island's walkways (though a few luxury labels are also thrown into the mix, in case you don't mind a splurge). National names like Victoria's Secret, Nordstrom, Macy's, and Lululemon have shops at Fashion Island, as do California natives such as Marine Layer and PacSun. Besides clothing, you can also shop for other goods and souvenirs — there's a Barnes & Noble for books, Whole Foods for specialty groceries, and Ulta Beauty for cosmetics, to name a few.

Besides shopping, Fashion Island is the perfect place to squeeze in a few other experiences during your SoCal vacation. Treat yourself to a celeb-level pampering session at Drybar or ZO Skin Centre, or work up a sweat at Barry's or CorePower Yoga. You'll also find an on-site movie theater where you can watch the latest blockbusters, many of which were produced just a stone's throw away in Hollywood.

Tummy rumbling after all that? Fashion Island has plenty of food options to choose from. For casual California fare, try Wahoo's Fish Taco. For a proper sit-down meal, head to Sushi Roku or Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar instead.

Follow up your shopping spree with a trip to the beach

Fashion Island isn't the only reason to check out Newport Beach during your trip. For one, the coast itself is worth exploring, especially if you're into catching waves. Some of the best West Coast beaches for surfers can be found just around the corner from Fashion Island. Newport Beach is also great for kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and other water activities. When you need a break from the salt water, stroll along the boardwalk located on the Balboa Peninsula.

If you're traveling with children, consider spending an afternoon at the historic Balboa Fun Zone. The spot is a true Southern California icon, with its Balboa Ferris Wheel, arcade, and other exciting kid-friendly activities. Even adults will enjoy the views of the water and the sea lions lounging nearby.

With so much to do in and around Fashion Island, you may want to spend a night or two in the area to take it all in. VEA Newport Beach is a conveniently located resort situated just outside Fashion Island and within driving distance of other tourist hotspots. The comfy four-star hotel, equipped with a pool, spa, and other amenities, is the cherry on top after a fun, relaxing day spent in Newport Beach.