2301 San Joaquin Hills Rd., Big Canyon
What originally began as a humble Costa Mesa gardening center back in 1965, Roger's Gardens has grown over the past five decades to be one of the country's most well-known landscaping, gardening, and florist companies. Having been located in its current Newport location since 1975, it's become a destination for visitors seeking incredible plants and flowers, authentic pottery, gifts, and furniture. Best yet: The staff is knowledgeable and friendly, and Farmhouse, a local farm-to-table restaurant, is situated in the middle of the gardens' gorgeous grounds.
Thalia Surf Shop
915 S. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach
This unique shop, located on Pacific Coast Highway, is a nod to Laguna's rich surf history by offering a trusted mix of clothing and gear (most of which is from independent brands) that exist solely for the sport. The team is knowledgeable and friendly, so if you're in the market for a board, or simply want to learn more about surfing, this is a good resource. It's also an unexpected goldmine for retro surfer tees, vinyl records, and art books.
Laguna Art Museum
307 Cliff Dr., Laguna Beach
This museum originally came to fruition in 1918 as the Laguna Beach Art Association, where local artists met in a rustic cottage. A decade later, after a successful fundraising run, the arts collective moved the works into a custom-built gallery—a building that still exists today within the newest structure. All the art on display comes straight from California talent.
Pageant of the Masters
650 Laguna Canyon Rd., Laguna Beach
Thanks to an incredibly driven and talented artistic community, Pageant of the Masters has long been an OC tradition that's gained global recognition. Actors pose as art subjects to literally bring well-known works of classic and contemporary art to life on the stage. It's both mesmerizing and magical to see the unparalleled effort—and attracts art enthusiasts in droves.
Ruby’s Crystal Cove Shake Shack
7703 E. Coast Hwy., Crystal Cove
An OC classic, Ruby's has been serving up the best burgers, to-die-for milkshakes, and killer clam chowder since the early 1980's when Doug Cavanaugh and Ralph Kosmides opened their first location on Balboa Pier. Several southern California locations followed, including this Crystal Cove shake shack location, which is a local favorite for grabbing a burger and fries after a day at the beach.
Broadway by Amar Santana
328 Glenneyre St., Laguna Beach
Chef Amar Santana has rapidly gained a following in the OC culinary world since the 2011 opening of his namesake restaurant. A Dominican Republic native and longtime New Yorker, he infuses a mix of the two worlds in both his menu and space: the food is worldly and inventive, from potato pierogi to grilled quail, and the space is a nod to industrial New York with dark wood and rustic concrete. And the team is pretty serious about their wine. It's fun to score a seat at the chef's table to get a look into what's happening in the kitchen.
448 S. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach
A quintessentially southern Californian restaurant with its open windows and ocean views, Watermarc serves up a menu of New American dishes–appetizers like charred octopus, fried goat cheese, and mains like diver scallops and Chilean sea bass are among the standouts. For date night, request a table upstairs on the patio.
210 Beach St. Space, Laguna Beach
In a small, light-filled boutique owners Laura Hart and Dana Marron apply a strong sense of what OC women want to wear to their edit at Laguna Supply. Look for breezy Isabel Marant prints, Ulla Johnson dresses, and Nili Lotan trousers, plus made-in-LA Janessa Leoné hats and Rachel Comey shoes. Equal parts beachy and upscale, you can just as easily find something here for the beach as you can for a night out.
3431 Via Oporto, Balboa Peninsula
Known for its modern and beautiful letterpress stationery, Sugar Paper also does great holiday cards, wedding invitations, and monogramming. The tiny shop (with a sister location in the Brentwood Country Mart) also offers cards and paper goods from Rifle Paper Co., Kate Spade, and more—and they can wrap any gift (just bring a box) while you wander around Lido Village.
Duffy Boat Rentals
2001 W. Coast Hwy., Costa Mesa
Renting one of these electric boats is easily one of the best ways to enjoy the coast, particularly right around sunset. They can fit up to twelve people, which makes this a perfect activity for families and visiting friends. It's beautiful to see the houses lining the Newport Bay—a point-of-view otherwise unattainable by foot or car. One goop staffer and her family love to rent one during the annual Christmas boat parade.
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