Saving money has always been in vogue, but it hasn’t always been easy to find ways to do it. Mostly… it involves a lot of waiting.
Waiting for sales to happen in the right stores, driving to a bunch of stores that can be far apart just so you can get everything on your list…
Honestly, who has time for that? Not us. And probably not you, either. Luckily, we’ve found a solution… your local outlet mall.
Address: 20 City Blvd W, Orange, CA 92868
Number of Stores: 120
Hours: M-Thu 10am – 8PM, Fri – Sat. 10am – 9pm, Sun 11am – 8pm (check website for special and holiday hours)
This open-air shopping experience is one of OCs only outlet shopping centers. It’s just off the I-5, centrally located near Disneyland and the other attractions in Anaheim. The Outlets at Orange are a shopping paradise with stores like H&M, Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH, Neiman Marcus Last Call, Nordstrom Rack, and more. It’s also got a whopping 25 restaurants and eateries, an indoor skatepark, a movie theater, bowling, and Dave & Busters.
Address: 101 W Avenida Vista Hermosa, San Clemente, CA 92672
Number of Stores: 65
Hours: generally, 10am – 9pm, check the website and individual stores for special and holiday hours.
The Outlets at San Clemente is an outlet mall with ocean views as stunning as their deals on goods at popular brands like Ann Taylor, Calvin Klein, Converse, and more. They also have a member’s club with VIP status that will get you access to private events and special offers like complimentary stroller rental, mothers’ lounges, savings books for AAA members and military personnel, and more (and it’s free to join!). Customer Service is a high priority, and the space is pet friendly (they even have pet stations! Visit Customer Service for a free treat for your furbaby).
Locations throughout Southern California including Anaheim, Brea, Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, Orange, San Clemente, and Tustin
Nordstrom Rack is the off-price division of Nordstrom, Inc., offering customers a wide selection of on-trend apparel, accessories and shoes at an everyday savings of up to 70 percent off regular prices shopping online or in-store. The Rack carries merchandise from Nordstrom stores and Nordstrom.com, as well as specially purchased items from many of the top brands sold at Nordstrom.
Address: 5620 Paseo Del Norte, Carlsbad, CA 92008
Number of Stores: 85
Hours: generally, 10am – 7pm (8PM on Fri & Sat), check the website for special and holiday hours.
Is it an outlet mall or a Tuscan village by the sea? Carlsbad Premium Outlets is an elegant outdoor outlet mall that’s easily accessible off the I-5. Stroll down its wide avenues and find Michael Kors, the Nike Factory Store, Kate Spade New York, Coach and more. There are plenty of fountains to keep your little ones entertained, and a friendly and responsive staff.
Address: 740 Ventura Blvd., Camarillo, CA 93010
Number of Stores: 160
Hours: M-Thu 10am – 9PM, Fri – Sat. 10am – 10pm, Sun 10am – 8pm (check website for special and holiday hours)
This gorgeous outdoor outlet mall is the perfect California shopping experience. Easily reachable off the 101 and 50 miles north of Los Angeles, Camarillo Premium Outlets lives up to its name with stores like Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH, Kate Spade New York, Adidas, The North Face, Brooks Brothers Factory Store, and Ted Baker London.
Address: 1 Mills Circle, Ontario, CA 91764
Number of Stores: 200
Hours: M-Thu 10am – 8PM, Fri – Sat. 10am – 10pm, Sun 10am – 8pm (check website for special and holiday hours)
Unlike most of the outlet malls on this list, Ontario Mills is an indoor shopping experience, so you know your bargain hunting will be climate-controlled and comfortable. It’s easily accessible off the 10 and 15 freeways, and boasts favorite brands like Abercrombie & Fitch Outlet, Lego, Nike Factory Store, Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger Company Store, Steve Madden, and so many more. Ontario Mills is also an entertainment and food destination, with the Rainforest Café, Dave & Busters, and Somi Somi. Need a laugh? Get your funny on at the Improv Comedy Club & Dinner Theater or enjoy a movie at AMC.
Address: 100 Citadel Dr., Commerce, CA 90040
Number of Stores: 130
Hours: 10am – 9pm
One-part shopping extravaganza, one-part entertainment juggernaut, the Citadel Outlet Mall is retail therapy with archaeological flair (its historical architecture recalls ancient Assyrian palaces). In 2008, the center had a $52 million dollar facelift, adding 126,000 square feet of retail space and 35 new brand name stores. It expanded again in 2010, adding even more stores, to bring the current total to about 130 high-powered shops. Conveniently located off the 5 North, you’ll find great deals on Armani, Coach, GUESS, Lacoste, kate spade, Michael Kors, H&M, and many, many more.
Address: 17600 Collier Ave., Lake Elsinore, CA 92530
Number of Stores: 45
Hours: M-Th 10am-7pm, Fri & Sat 10am-8pm, Sun 10am-6pm; check the website for special hours and holiday hours.
The Outlets at Lake Elsinore is a moderately-sized outdoor mall… this one nestled in the rolling hills around Lake Elsinore. They proudly offer moderate to deep discounts on a wonderfully eclectic range of retailers, from Bath & Body Works and GAP Factory to Carter’s Babies & Kids, the Children’s Place, and Famous Footwear. They do have a VIP Club (print out the application in advance to save extra off their already great prices. Going VIP is free, so there’s no reason not to stop by Customer Service and get yours. Unless you hate additional savings… Do you hate additional savings?)
Address: 48750 Seminole Dr. Suite 100, Cabazon, CA 92230
Number of Stores: 18
Hours: 10am – 8pm
This unique outlet mall nestled in the desert on the way to Palm Springs is small but mighty, with a careful selection of high-powered retailers, is known for its amenities and quality service. Cabazon Outlets are pet friendly, and offer services like complimentary wheelchairs, ATM, WiFi, and a VIP Savings Card (it’s free to join!). You’ll find adidas Outlet Store, Brighton, Under Armour, Le Creuset, and the O’Neill Outlet, among others.
Address: 4211 Camino De La Plaza, San Diego, CA 92173
Number of Stores: 125
Hours: 10am – 9pm, but check website for special and holiday hours
The most unusual mall we’re featuring, Las Americas Premium Outlets is right on the US/Mexico border, 20 minutes south of San Diego and 20 minutes north of Tijuana. This beautiful outdoor mall provides great shopping, service, food and more. Join the VIP club for free. Stores include True Religion, Michael Kors, J.Crew, Banana Republic, and many more… and all of them offer discounts from 25% to 65%. If you start to wear out from all that shopping, the dining options are as great as the retail. Make a day of it!
Address: 48400 Seminole Drive, Cabazon, CA 92230
Number of Stores: 180
Hours: 10am – 9pm but check the website for holiday and special hours.
With its palm trees and gracious planning, Desert Hills Premium Outlets looks more like an oasis than a shopping mall, but don’t be fooled. Desert Hills has a massive collection of high-end retailers like Tory Burch, Versace, Tom Ford, Prada and Fendi… all with less than high-end prices. Joining their VIP Club is free and gets you access to additional savings. That’s never a bad thing, especially with labels like these! If you’re ready to shop at the largest collection of luxury outlets in California, Desert Hills Premium Outlets is where you want to go. (But with 180 stores to look at… wear good shoes.)
Address: 95 S Pine Ave., Long Beach, CA 90802
Number of Stores: 30
Hours: M-Sun, 11am – 9 pm, check the website for special and holiday hours
The Pike Outlets is more than just shopping… it’s a retail entertainment destination. Spend the day overlooking the harbor and enjoying that Southern California sunshine while you shop, lunch, or watch the kids ride the Ferris Wheel or carousel (yes, we did say Ferris Wheel!). Pike Outlets is an outdoor mall with intriguing architecture, a lively social scene including a Farmer’s Market (once a month), a Vegan marketplace (once a month), and a great selection of stores to bargain-hunt at. Look for the Nike Factory Store, Levi’s Outlet, Gap Factory, G by GUESS, and H&M.
Why Shop At Outlet Malls?
Outlet Malls Give You Quality Bargains
If you’re the kind of shopper who loves to hunt for bargains, outlet malls are a fantastic hunting ground for you. Bargains are everywhere, and they’re all in one central location.
Pro-Tip: There are so many bargains at an outlet mall that it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Use this common-sense plan: Make a list of what you’re looking for, set yourself a budget, and stick to both (it’ll be hard, but your wallet will thank you later).
But wait… what about the local shopping mall in your town? Why drive all the way to an outlet mall when there’s a traditional mall so much closer?
Outlet Malls Give You More Choices
Well, for starters, the two aren’t the same. Discounts aren’t always available at stores in a traditional shopping mall (remember that waiting thing? That thing you’re trying to avoid?), so if you’re looking for money-saving shopping, the mall isn’t necessarily your best bet.
Outlet malls, on the other hand, offer low prices all the time. They carry brand name items at price points designed to attract price-conscious shoppers. Many top brands make merchandise specifically for outlet malls, so you’re getting genuine name brand items for less.
Not only are you getting good deals at an outlet mall, you’re getting more fun. More and more outlet malls have also started to add more things to make them true lifestyle centers rather than just retail spaces. Some outlet malls have skating rinks and bowling alleys, making them full-on day destinations that just happen to also offer fantastic deals on designer clothes, shoes, accessories, and more.
Pro-Tip: It’s easy to think of a trip to an outlet mall as just another shopping trip, but it’s not. Outlet malls are usually large… think of it as a retail-based hiking trip rather than a shopping trip. Wear good shoes and bring your trusty Hydroflask so you don’t get dehydrated.
Outlet Malls Give You Good Value for Time
Shopping at an outlet mall isn’t just the best way to stretch your shopping dollar… it’s also a great way to maximize your shopping time. You’re already busy; isn’t more time exactly what you need?
Pro-Tip: Manage your time. Going to an outlet mall isn’t going to be a quick trip… not if you want to make the most of your visit. You’ll need some time. Go early to get the best access to bargains and to beat the crowds and try not to go on weekends or in the evenings.
Outlet Malls Let You Shop Local and Save Local
You know what else is good about going to an outlet mall? When you shop at one, you’re helping the local economy.
We’re serious. Chances are good that you haven’t thought about this, but not every city has an outlet mall, and they’re pretty significant draws for shoppers.
Pro-Tip: Compare prices. Maximize your shopping dollar with this simple trick. Smartphones make it easy to take a minute and search for online price comparisons on the item you’re planning on buying. Outlet malls always have bargains, but they aren’t always the very best bargain… and isn’t the name of the game saving money?
The bargains and range of choice they offer to savvy shoppers is significant enough to make people drive more than they might ordinarily want to in order to shop there. That makes cities lucky enough to have an outlet mall near them real draws for short term day tourism. Gas stations and local restaurants also benefit from the extra people coming into town.
Pro-Tip: Even young kids can enjoy an afternoon at an outlet mall, but they’ll probably get fidgety. Scope out any kid-friendly spaces, like plazas and water features, where you can take a break and let your junior shoppers get their fidgets out for free.
So when you’re shopping at an outlet mall, you get a fun shopping trip full of bargains and the local economy gets a boost. Social and financial responsibility in one easy package: we’d call that a win-win for everybody… wouldn’t you?
Ready, Set, Save!
No matter what you’re looking for, there’s an outlet mall that has it somewhere. So put some gas in the car, grab your wallet, and get ready to head out with our list of the best outlet malls in and around Orange County.
Pro-Tip: Don’t forget to C&T (Check and Try) before you buy. Don’t get so excited by the price tag that you forget to double-check the merchandise for quality. Bargains are only good if the goods are, too.
OK, We Admit It… Outlet Malls are the Best!
The bad rap that outlet malls had back in the 80’s and 90’s is long gone. Outlet malls are now elegant destination shopping experiences that offer great deals, convenience, and entertainment all wrapped up in one spot. There’s no better way to stretch your spending dollars – and your entertainment minutes – than a trip to your favorite outlet mall.
So… where are you shopping first?
|South Coast Plaza
|Asian Garden Mall (Phước Lộc Thọ)
|Irvine Spectrum Center
Kelly Smith is a freelance writer living in Southern California with one dog, two cats, two guinea pigs… and the rest of her family. She writes about Orange County, faith, family, special needs and tea, and world-builds science fiction universes on the side. Find her at www.bluerosecopywriting.com.