These OC hotspots will deliver the style your kids need and a good dose of family fun!
Back to School Endless Summer Fest (August 11 – 13)
Locals and visitors alike are invited to end summer on a high note at Irvine Spectrum Center’s Back to School Endless Summer Fest. Over the course of three days guests will experience an array of activities including an exclusive performance by World of Dance Live, in-store parties with participating retailers, live entertainment, giveaways, and more.
Get your child amped for learning with a stop at this shop that lets their imaginations run rampant as they create their very own character, write a book or adventure series. (Now offering hardcover options!)
AVEDA belle isle
Students can hit this conveniently located salon and spa for a brand new style to head back to school looking their best. If teens think their look is a little, ahem, spotty – the Outer Peace Acne Facial can help clear things up.
End the day on a sweet note, or bribe your tween into trying on just one more outfit with the promise of these sugary yum-bombs. Littler shoppers can snack on the perfectly proportioned cake pops. (Tip: If the temps are up, they can even make your chosen cupcake into a shake!)
The Ride 7D
Tweens and teens waiting for their little sibs to finish their shopping can take on zombies, robot cowboys, transforming robots and more at this chill spot to cool off in the heat of battle. Costumes, movement, 3D video that is interactive and competition drive the fun here.
Outlets at San Clemente
This outdoor retail collection which offers great stores for both littles and teen/tween clothing (OshKosh, Carters, Tillys, Vans to name a few) also had a beautiful view of the ocean and is home to many OC family fave eateries like Slapfish and Ruby’s. No need to kill the whole day at the mall, bring your suits and explore San Clemente on the free trolley. The route includes stops at Outlets at San Clemente (in front of Starbucks), San Clemente Pier, Avenida Del Mar, San Clemente Metrolink Station and more.
In the mall plaza, visitors play oversized games and enjoy live music throughout the month. If your students happen to be animal lovers, be sure to catch the National Dog Day Celebration on Saturday, August 26 from 4-7pm.
Barks & Brews
Pamper your pooch from head to tail at Outlets at San Clemente with a free, family-friendly event. Sip on delicious cold beer while enjoying live entertainment, a doggy costume parade with prizes, photo booths, free treats and dog-friendly vendors. All proceeds from Barks & Brews benefit the Pet Project Foundation, which helps support the local San Clemente/Dana Point shelter.
Pacific City, Huntington Beach
This OC retail hotspot, situated across from the iconic Huntington Beach Pier, is home to some of the best stores for back to school shopping. Teens and tweens especially will love shopping at Brandy Melville, a two-story Urban Outfitters, H&M, West of Camden, Tankfarm & Co., and so much more.
Time your shopping trip with outdoor concerts or movies and never fear should those little bellies start to growl. Pacific City knows shopping works up an appetite so be sure to visit LOT 579 at Pacific City, a unique artisanal food hall offering everything from tacos to meat pies, shave ice to the perfect burger – a foolproof way to satisfy all the picky eaters in your back-to-school crew.
The New “Box Stores”
If all the live entertainment, food trucks, sugar rushes and games in the world won’t get your little student through the door of a store, let the clothes come to you.
Not just for luxe baby showers, this at-home-kid-stylist service has outgrown those newborn booties and become the go-to for tweens and teens to get style advice through their favorite device. Kids up to 14, regardless of size (we tried it out on our six foot 14yo incoming sophomore who more than one restaurant server has offered a beer to) can input their nitty gritty details along with intangible like favorite hobbies, sports, teams, dress habits and colors. Within a week or so, not just one outfit, but practically a whole wardrobe arrives. A wide range of brands from Hurley, Polo, Nike, Sperry to 7 for all Mankind and more could be inside – you keep what you like and return the others free of charge. Wee…likey.
If you did most of the shopping in the months leading up to the kickoff of school, but want to add some finishing touches, start the school year with a special First Day of School outfit or simply treat your child to a fun style experience to encourage them toward fashion-mindedness – this is your place. A quiz can be taken by kids up to a size 16 for boys, 14 for girls to nail down a personalized look of five to eight items. A subscription allows for a seasonal box five times a year. One bonus and good conversation starter, the program donates one new item of clothing for each box sent out (your child can pick the charity to receive the item). Their goal: To distribute new clothes to over one million children in need.