Shopping & Services

  • Best Trend

    Going Green

    So you've got your Prius and your Trader Joe's canvas tote bags, and you had solar panels installed on your roof. You reuse, reduce, recycle. You eat less, eat organic, wear organic and support local farmers. You use SIGG bottles, you bike to work, never let the thermostat go too cool or too warm. You've replaced all the light bulbs… More >>
  • Best Mall

    Irvine Spectrum

    If you're in need of a new MacBook, laundry detergent, a stapler, a funnel cake, a puppy, a cinematic experience, crepes, a top-tier comedy show, a case for your BlackBerry, lingerie, a copy of Fallout 3 and a ride on a Ferris wheel—and you want to hammer out your ridiculous list of errands all at once—the best (and only) way… More >>
  • Best Mecca for Middle-School Boys

    Kaleidoscope Courtyards

    Commercially, this garish shopping center has been a bust, and its historical vacancy problems got worse this year with a few high-profile departures. But the essentials remain, including the life-sucking Xbox farm that is Howie's Game Shack, a movie theater, a laser-tag joint, a pizza place and a skate shop with cement floors that you can actually skate on. And… More >>
  • Best Flea Market

    Long Beach Outdoor Antique and Collectible Market

    Way better than the Rose Bowl's monthly monstrosity, where all the good stuff is cleaned out by 8 a.m., the Long Beach Outdoor Antique and Collectible Market is the best flea market in not only Southern California, but the whole state, too. Our best finds—including an old library-card catalog and gorgeous bar stools with the curlicued iron backs—are all from… More >>
  • Best Vintage Store

    American Vintage

    For fashions of the past, there are too many places to search in too little time. But hitting up American Vintage in downtown Fullerton is sure to provide you with exactly the treasure you've been seeking. Coats (fur and otherwise), hats, jeans, shoes, belts, bags and accessories fill the floor of this large shopping haven. Because this gem features both… More >>
  • Best Sex Shop

    Ipso Facto

    Goth girls need lovin', too. And that's why Ipso Facto reigns supreme as the prime sex-shopping location for our underworldly comrades. Need some crotchless fishnets to pair with your leather bustier? Ipso Facto has you covered, so you can soon be covered in nothing but the chalk-white skin of your sepulchral significant other.… More >>
  • Best Surf Shop

    Thalia Surf Shop

    While not as sprawling as surf chains such as Jack's Surfboards, this store, located in the heart of what used to be ground zero for the city's counterculture, has a great selection of surfboards, gear and clothing. What makes it truly deserving of this mention is that it celebrates the rebellious past of Orange County's surf scene by selling sticks… More >>
  • Best Place to Get Pierced

    Sick Dogs Tattoo

    This tat and piercing shop has been around for a long time—and mentored a good share of some of the best artists and talent in the county. Years of delivering some of the nicest, cleanest, finest tattoos around and no-fuss, precise piercings make the dogs at Sick Dogs some of the most sought-out artists and piercers in town. If you're… More >>
  • Best Tattoo Parlor

    Lowrider Tattoo

    On any given week, when you walk into Lowrider Tattoo, you're likely to find a wide-eyed aspiring tattoo artist in town from Australia, Spain or Japan who is hovering greedily over Jose Lopez, the shop's owner/lead artist. The wheelchair-bound Lopez has won dozens of prestigious awards for his work after spending years in virtual seclusion developing his craft. Today, the… More >>
  • Best Manicure/Pedicure

    The Nail Boutique

    It's pretty. It's spotlessly clean. The prices are more than reasonable ($12 for a manicure, $18 for a pedicure, or $27 for a mani/pedi combo). The Nail Boutique even has those awesome massage chairs that come with remote controls. But what makes this salon truly stand out is nail technician Thuy. She's been there for six years and couldn't be… More >>
  • Best Bike Shop

    Two Wheels One Planet

    You can find small bike shops that deliver great customer service, but the inventory tends to be small, the prices high and the wait time for repairs staggering. Meanwhile, there are also the behemoth superstores where you know more about the bikes there than the certified, matching-blue-shirted sales staff, and your only communication with the repair department involves the happy… More >>
  • Best Place to Get a Cheap Chinese Version of an Expensive European Scooter

    The Scooter Solution

    Shiny new cars are hawked on lots along both sides of Harbor Boulevard in Costa Mesa, although their numbers have been dwindling because of the crappy economy. That makes the Scooter Solution stand out—not just because the sight of shiny, new motorized scooters is so jarring amid the miles of cars, but also because many commuters are looking for affordable… More >>
  • Best Spa

    Skin Deep

    What should you look for in a spa? Why, everything, of course: loads of different services so that you may completely customize your visit—after all, no one knows how you want to be pampered better than you. Skin Deep knows this, and its menu of treatments covers the full range of things to relax and rejuvenate, everything from cocoa butter… More >>
  • Best Place to Pay Real-Estate Prices for a Car

    Ferrari of Newport Beach

    While many are forced to scrape by, limit gas consumption, forgo vacation plans and cut unnecessary spending, Ferrari of Newport Beach gives the recession the middle finger by continuing to sell cars that start used at about $65,000 and go as high as $375,000. Meanwhile, it's possible to find a three-bed, three-bath house in Orange County for that price tag.… More >>
  • Best Hair Salon

    Ability Hair Design

    Though it can take forever to secure an appointment with your stylist of choice—we highly recommend Minako—Ability Hair Design brings the best and latest hair technology out of Japan right to Costa Mesa. These stylists do exactly what you want, make it better, and won't charge you a squillion bucks like those South County salons. Be sure to bring a… More >>
  • Best Newsstand

    Standard Issue

    Who knew you could munch on some good ol' sunflower seeds and wash them down with ice-cold green tea, all while reading the latest issue of Italian Vogue. The folks at Standard Issue have made this a delightful possibility. As you walk into the Lab, past the encased red Buddha and the busy Crew Salon stylists, you're likely going to… More >>
  • Best Tiny Chapel in the Middle of a Parking Lot

    Little Tree Church

    Orange Countians have long lamented the disappearance of orange groves, old homes and alligator farms amid the march of progress. But the give-and-take between preservation and modernization has produced refreshing cultural oddities such as the tiny, white, wedding chapel in the middle of a Tustin shopping center's parking lot. Fitting about six people, Little Tree Church is a replica of… More >>
  • Best Place to Call While Stoned

    Midnight Muncheez

    This place only delivers to cities close to Newport (Costa Mesa, Irvine, Huntington Beach) and Santa Barbara at the moment, but if you happen to be, uh, incapacitated or just lazy in the wee hours of the morning, they'll deliver to your doorstep just about anything you could possibly want or need. Midnight Muncheez has a variety of chips, ice… More >>
  • Best Place to Get Weed Delivered to Your Doorstep

    When you type in the address of this aforementioned website, it immediately detects your computer's IP address, and therefore your approximate geographic location, and directs you to a Google Earth-type aerial map that includes little clickable icons for each of your friendly, neighborhood, medical-marijuana dispensaries. All you need is a doctor's note and a state ID card saying you're allowed… More >>
  • Best Smoke Shop

    The Smoke Shack

    Located on the left side of the entrance of Hi-Times Wine Cellars, the existence of which is perhaps the best thing about living in Costa Mesa, lounges this well-stocked smoke shop and walk-in humidor, with its handsome selection of every cigar under the sun that isn't Cuban. Inside, you'll find Churchills, coronas, toros, presidentes, panatelas, robustos and even torpedos, which… More >>
  • Best Liquor Store

    Rod's Liquors

    One of the biggest problems for any home bartender is the inevitable bottle of [insert random alcohol here] that ends up gathering dust after the one time you made [insert weird shot here]. Not to mention the cost—as we all know, booze ain't cheap! Rod's Liquors in the Orange Circle, an otherwise-unassuming liquor store, looks like your typical stop-and-shop until… More >>
  • Best Used-Book Store

    A Castle of Books

    What this store lacks in space, it makes up for in, oddly enough, books. The books outside are tawdy romances being sold for a dollar. Inside are narrow shelves crammed with books on every rung, with books in front of books at some spots, so you might have to move some books to see what other books are in the… More >>
  • Best Flower Shop (Kind Of)

    Leah Banks' Back Yard

    Banks, 58, has been selling fresh-cut dahlias out of her back yard for some 12 years now. It's home to more than 100 blooming dahlia bushes in vibrant purples, pinks, yellows, whites—any color you can think of—and the blooms are cut to your choice right then and there by Banks herself. She displays her colorful flowers in Newport Beach's Kéan… More >>
  • Best Health-Food Store

    Mother's Market

    Any health nut who lives in Orange County is familiar with either the original Costa Mesa location or the tiny, quaint Mother's Market in Huntington Beach. But the modest vitamin shop was ready to expand—in a big way. Last year, the Mother's company moved into a giant, looming warehouse of wholesomeness in Santa Ana. It's like a vegan-friendly Costco. The… More >>
  • Best Shoe Repair

    Family Shoe Service

    It's depressing that we're losing small specialty businesses to big-box monstrosities and chain stores. Family Shoe Service offers affordable, quality shoe and leather repair—we've had some shoes stretched here, purse straps repaired, soles replaced—for cheap. Plus, the dude who runs the place is just so damn nice—try finding that at Wal-Mart. (Bonus: After dropping off your shoes, stop by Big… More >>
  • Best Pet Store

    Puppies 'n Guppies - CLOSED

    Located in a plaza that looks like something out of a German fairy tale, Puppies 'n Guppies specializes in, per the name, all things canine and aquatic. While the variety of the selection might not match the big chains, if you want an exotic fish or two for your personal aquarium that's actually healthy, look no further. They have your… More >>
  • Best Car Wash

    Town & Country Car Wash

    Odds are, if you're thinking of taking your vehicle to a non-gas-station-adjacent car wash, you probably kind of love your car. So to give it the royal treatment without emptying your wallet, pull into this English-cottage-looking structure, where a basic hand wash with interior vacuuming and cleaning is only $12.99. Or if you want them to be a bit more… More >>
  • Best Hardware Store

    Orange Coast Hardware & Lumber

    Much has changed since Orange Coast Lumber opened here in the 1960s, but the store's reputation as the place to go for household lumber and associated tool needs has remained the same. Customer service is first-rate, with no one pushing you to buy a more-expensive piece of wood. The staff will just lay out the available options depending on the… More >>
  • Best Record/CD Store

    Sound Spectrum

    Seeing as how we now live in a world where every noise produced in human history can be obtained through a couple of mouse clicks, record stores have to be pretty original to survive. Befitting its steps-from-the-beach location, much of the décor and inventory here is of the reggae and jah variety, but there's plenty to find here even if… More >>
  • Best Video-Game Store

    Games for Less

    Choosing a "best" video-game store might seem like a futile endeavor. Every Target or Best Buy will have all of the big, new titles, and they'll all be the exact same price. But it's always nice to find a used shop that breaks free of the Gamestop chokehold, and Games 4 Less trumps the chains by selling games for nearly… More >>
  • Best Comic-Book Store

    Beach Ball Comics

    It's not just record stores that are dealing with the scourge of online retailers and digital piracy. You can illegally obtain scans of comics almost as easily as mp3s, and online-only distributors are selling books at much steeper discounts than physical stores can afford. No shop in Orange County is better equipped to deal with this than Beach Ball Comics,… More >>