NEWPORT BEACH DAY 2: FASHION ISLAND, CORONA DEL MAR AND ROGER'S GARDENS
In Newport Beach, shopping seems to be just as much of a competitive sport as surfing. An eclectic blend of boutique stores populates virtually every community in the city, offering products that range from the charmingly rustic to the exquisitely opulent. The trendiest shopping experience to be had in Newport Beach is at its splendid, sprawling outdoor shopping mall, Fashion Island. While the complex contains upscale shopping destinations such as Macy's, Bloomingdale's and Neiman Marcus, the center does maintain a refreshing kid-friendly vibe through touches like a carousel, a kiddie train and a koi pond.
Begin your day of shopping by rounding up some breakfast at Fashion Island's Café Beau Soleil. The appealing Euro-style bistro contains a sizeable menu filled with American favorites, international delights and strong coffee to provide you with the fuel needed for a retail excursion.
Those who want to mix a little culture in with their shopping will want to pay a visit to the nearby Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA). It has cultivated a well-earned reputation for showcasing forward-thinking, modern works of art through their permanent and rotating exhibits.
Across the way from the Fashion Island complex is Corona del Mar, a lovely Newport Beach enclave whose charming communal vibe makes it feel like its own separate city. While there are scores of boutique shops that line its "downtown" area along Pacific Coast Highway, nature and gardening enthusiasts flock to CDM (as the locals call it) for the area's two green excursions. Roger's Gardens is possibly one of the most upscale plant nurseries in the country. Spread across five acres, the lush gardens comingle with for-sale outdoor furniture sets and landscaping accents, creating a celebration of nature and design. Various home décor boutiques and a small fine art gallery are also on hand to help inspire looks for your home's interior, as well. The smaller Sherman Library and Gardens, nestled along PCH, also contains a lovely and romantic botanical collection, ranging from succulent and rose gardens to koi ponds and a bamboo forest.
Corona del Mar has an eclectic dining scene, especially along the main drag. If you are not into seafood, enjoy a classic European steak at Five Crowns. Although recently remodeled, this prime rib and chophouse still retains the cozy ambience that naturally comes with being modeled after England's oldest country inn. Rumors of an upstairs ghost do not exactly hurt the venue's inherent charm either. The building is also home to the excellent gastropub SideDoor, where locals and visitors gather to enjoy seasonal tasting plates, prime rib sandwiches, and wine and beer flights.
Continue to Day 3