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.
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.
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., Newport Beach
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.
3408 Via Oporto, Balboa Peninsula
Alchemy Works is the brainchild of LA-based husband-and-wife duo Lindsay and Raan Parton. The industrial-style shop doubles as a gallery and events space, so there’s lots of room to peruse the hand-picked apothecary pieces, letterpress prints, and indie-designer accessories, including Heidi Merrick velvet bodysuits, Janessa Leoné hats, Clare V clutches, and Grace Lee jewelry. Also sharing the space is a Warby Parker shop-in-shop and a Blacktop coffee counter. The original location is in DTLA.
3450 Via Oporto, Balboa Peninsula
Staying true to the brand's minimal, warm aesthetic, the Jenni Kayne Newport location is decidedly the most beachy of the designer's six outposts: floor-to-ceiling white offsets the bleached wooden platforms resulting in a clean, light-filled, inviting boutique. Look for the collection's greatest hits (velvet mules, cozy cashmere, silk blouses) along with finds from The Great, Acne, and Santa Maria Novella.
2241 W. Coast Hwy., Costa Mesa
A’marees originally opened in the 1970’s in a modest retail space and has since moved to a stunning waterfront location, complete with floor-to-ceiling windows and a private dock. Around town, everyone seems to know the family behind the boutique—Nancy Brown and her daughters Dawn Klohs, Denise Schaefer, and Apryl Schaefer—for their impressive edit of Alaïa and Céline, plus jewelry by Marc Alary. The ladies also stock some pretty incredible art.
7976 E. Coast Hwy., Crystal Cove
Wife-and-husband team Michele and Santos Graham have an eye for an industrial aesthetic, stocking items that lend a lived-in, sort of wabi sabi vibe mixed in with beautiful textiles and home accent pieces. There's also an assortment of classic beach clothing, including St. James striped shirts and CP Shades linen tunics.
The Resort at Pelican Hill
22701 Pelican Hill Rd., Crystal Cove
This 504-acre property features ocean views from practically every room and restaurant. There are several ways to stay here: For a romantic getaway, check into one of the resort-style rooms or private bungalows (stand-alone suites with ocean-view balconies); for a longer stay, families will appreciate the private three- and four-bedroom villas where everyone shares a living room and kitchen. Villa guests have access to a private pool, restaurant, and fitness center. To add to the thoroughly considered accommodations, the concierge will set up a picnic, beach chairs, towels, and everything needed (ride included) for a day spent at Crystal Cove.
3450 Via Oporto, Balboa Peninsula
There are now thirty-two outposts of Nobu—and they draw a devoted tourist-y crowd—but the Newport Beach location, tucked into the charming Lido Marina Village, is worth braving the crowds. The two-story waterfront design is stunning—and to cap off the incredible service Nobu is know for, there's a boat valet, which makes the experience a bit more indulgent.
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