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Anaheim Information
More than 40 million people visit this Southern California metropolis every year—which means it can be tough to find a bargain.  More...
If you stick with snack bars and coffee shops while touring Anaheim , you're doing your tummy a grave injustice.  More...
When it comes to family-friendly attractions, Anaheim is almost without equal.  More...
When most people first visit Anaheim , they're only looking to make one major purchase: personalized Mickey Mouse ears.   More...
Orange County nightlife used to be an oxymoron. However, in the past few years, quite a few establishments have sprung up,  More...

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Guide To Anaheim
When most people first visit Anaheim , they're only looking to make one major purchase: personalized Mickey Mouse ears. But as the years go on, tastes diversify and mature. Luckily, Orange County itself has diversified and matured, turning from a souvenir pond into a world-class shopping destination with a half-dozen major centers and countless smaller ones. From glitzy tourist traps like Downtown Disney to enormous modern malls like South Coast Plaza and the Irvine Spectrum to pedestrian-friendly town centers in Historic Downtown Anaheim, Orange and Fullerton, the shops invite and delight, welcoming you in and encouraging you to return again.

Inside and outside of the parks, the Disneyland Resort offers a plethora of specialty and souvenir shops. Disneyland 's Main Street USA is lined with funky little emporiums selling everything from candy to crystal to pocket watches. New Orleans Square has an antique shop and an estate jewelry store for visitors with a serious souvenir budget. Over in Disney's California Adventure, there's Rizzo's, a Muppet-themed shop, and Engine Ears Toys, specializing in model trains.

The Disney hotels – Paradise Pier, the Grand Californian and the Disneyland Hotel—have gift and sundry stores, but no real shopping. However, Downtown Disney is chock-ful of it. Buy scented bath products at Basin, reading or writing materials at Compass Books & Café, or gifts and home accents at Petals. Customize your souvenirs at Build-A-Bear, or indulge in Mickey-mania at the World of Disney.

Historic Downtown Anaheim, with its beautiful old buildings, locally owned shops and small restaurants, is the antithesis of the Mouse Town frenzy. Yet it's just as much a part of Anaheim —in fact, the Sheraton and the Holiday Inn are both members of the Downtown Association. Explore this lovely neighborhood at your leisure. Check out the art installations sprinkled around the Center Street Promenade. Wander to Pearson Park , where concerts are held in the summer. If you possibly can, try to visit on Thursday mornings, when the Downtown Association holds the popular Farmers Market on Center Street at the intersection of Lemon. More than 50 vendors and approximately 2-3000 people attend the market every Thursday, and entertainers perform on the main stage during the spring and summer.

Orange County is perhaps the shopping mall capital of the Western Hemisphere . Its malls are myriad, and boast better stores and restaurants than just about any other city in the world. Where major malls in other cities might have one or two upscale restaurants, the typical Orange County mall will have 10. Many of these shopping Meccas won't even accept the ‘mall' classification, instead labeling themselves ‘shopping, dining and entertainment', or, more succinctly, ‘shop-tainment' destinations. The grand dame of them all is South Coast Plaza . Easily the largest shopping destination on the West Coast, South Coast Plaza boasts approximately 200 stores, many of which can't be found anywhere else. As you walk through the perfectly climate-controlled passageways, designer names jump out at you: DKNY, Cartier, Tiffany, Rob erto Cavalli, and the list goes on and on. The Orange County Museum of Art, the Orange County Performing Arts Center and the Hilton Costa Mesa are all within walking distance.

Three of South Coast Plaza 's competitors-- Irvine Spectrum, Fashion Island and The Marketplace--are managed by the same company. Fashion Island in Newport Beach has 200 stores, while both the Irvine Spectrum and the Marketplace (located on the border of Irvine and Tustin ) have more than 100. Most of the retailers at Fashion Island and the Irvine Spectrum are national, but the Tustin Marketplace welcomes many local merchants including Anaheim Patio, Hot Skates and the Craft Show.

If you preferred Downtown Anaheim to Downtown Disney, then the picturesque, open-air promenades in Orange , Brea and Fullerton will suit you better than any of the big malls. The Block at Orange is a glossy, updated version of the quintessential small-town main drag, complete with movie theaters and a bowling alley. Ditto for the Birch Street Promenade, which marks the center of Downtown Brea. Historic Downtown Fullerton is the only one of the three that hasn't been completely updated in the last five years. It still retains a portion of quaint, old-fashioned charm—something of a rarity in Orange County . Century-old storefronts and brick buildings house locally owned shops, restaurants and businesses.

Venturing further south, you'll find countless little towns, each with its own downtown shopping hub. Balboa Village and San Clemente are stylish beach villages; San Juan Capistrano is a historic mission town; and Dana Point has clusters of shops surrounding the harbor. The jewel of them all, however, is Laguna Beach . Originally an artist community, this picturesque town continues to draw huge crowds for its various annual art festivals. In the summer, join the throngs at Sawdust Art Festival, the Art-A-Fair, and Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters. One note, though: There is no such thing as a quick jaunt to the Laguna Beach art events. It can take a good 30-45 minutes to park your car, and special events like the Pageant of the Masters often sell out months ahead of time. If you're not interested in the festivals, stay out of Laguna Beach till low season. As you now know, Orange County contains plenty of other sights to see, shops to visit, and things to buy.

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