1. Irvine Spectrum Center
670 Spectrum Center Drive, Irvine
The Irvine Spectrum Center had its 20th anniversary two years ago. But the celebration goes on.
A $150 million reinvestment is in the works at the 1.2-million-square-foot shopping center, with the addition of 20 new stores, new outdoor areas and parking improvements.
The Spectrum Center sees about 17 million people every year and has more than 130 stores, restaurants and entertainment venues. It’s home to a 21-screen movie theater that seats 6,400 people and a 108-foot Ferris wheel with 52,000 LED bulbs for displaying custom light shows.
With a wide range of restaurants, a comedy club and events such as Toddler Tuesdays — including craft stations, rides and a photo booth — the Irvine Co. has made having experiences, in addition to shopping, a main draw of the open-air mall.
In June, Register restaurant critic Brad A. Johnson named Del Frisco’s Grille at the Spectrum as serving the best prime rib in the county, “hands-down.”
Among openings expected in the late summer and fall were Habana, a Cuban restaurant, plus Windsor, Journeys and Havaianas, stores catering to youthful fashions and trends and Southern California’s outdoor lifestyle.
2. South Coast Plaza
3333 Bristol St., Costa Mesa
South Coast Plaza turned 50 this year.
To mark that milestone, the mega-mall is planning anniversary events for October, including fashion shows and the launch of a coffee table book on South Coast Plaza by luxury book publisher Assouline.
South Coast Plaza and its more than 250 boutiques and 30 restaurants attract more than 22 million visitors annually, most from a radius of 100 miles, including Santa Barbara, San Diego and Palm Springs.
But with its signature line, “Where the World Comes to Shop,” the center continues to build on its appeal to international visitors, with the mall and many stores offering translation assistance in dozens of languages.
Additional shops in the past year have expanded the mall’s roster of exclusives. They include U.S. exclusives Les Parfums Louis Vuitton, White Lilac and Weekend MaxMara, while Italian shoe stores Gianvito Rossi and Aquazzura, also South Coast Plaza newcomers, are exclusive, respectively, to the West Coast and California.
3. Fashion Island
401 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach
Fashion Island also hit the big 5-0 this…