Well there is drinking, eating… did I mention drinking? Okay so I sound like a lush and you do have to admit that there is something so cool about those funky mixed drinks with great names when you are on holiday! Beyond the eating and drinking there is the shopping. Now you won’t find big malls or outlet chains here if you want that then you will need to rent a car and drive to Carlsbad or take a longer drive to Palm Springs and shop at the outlet mac daddy of outlets – Cabazon. In Laguna what you will find are galleries and studios and more galleries and more studios. Art lovers will have no problem whiling away the hours chatting with artists, admiring sculpture and canvas. Do beware as many studios are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays so be sure to note when the galleries are open so you don’t miss out.
Where there are galleries there are also great fashionable shops- they go hand in hand. I found shops full of off beat, eclectic and often locally sourced shoes, handbags and clothing. Laguna downtown has a lot of the chain stores like Chico and mainstream surf shops, you can also find a few shops like Mod which host an array of albeit pricey but stunning garments. My fave shop was of course the $15 dollar shop- now before you judge, there is one in Palm Springs and I bought a few things there that actually lasted a few washings and for casual beach wear really how can you scream about 15 bucks?
The downtown is also full of tourist shops with the expected amount of tack but once you head up to the more historic district then you really find some gems. A very cool shop is Reuse Jeans http://www.coastlinepilot.com/news/tn-cpt-0520-reusejeans-20110516,0,6734129.story, jean scraps are taken from jean manufacturers and new jeans are created! Lots of cuts to choose from and beautiful quality denim. Blue Eyed Girl was also a stunning little shop which was well out of my price range yet the interesting selection of clothing made it very appealing. http://www.shopblueeyedgirl.com/locations.jsp My fave place was The Passionate Collector the layout made it feel so inviting and not intimidating, which I think high end accessory stores can often feel. The handbags were stunning with a lot of vegan and local choices. The shop also hosted a great deal of local jewelry and the non local pieces were free trade sourced. It honestly felt like a little piece of heaven, surrounded by truly beautiful creations and there was a real feeling of joy in the place- I really loved my experience there and spent a great deal of time speaking to the manager, Jennifer, who was absolutely genuine and knowledgeable about the shop, its mission and vision and the individual pieces in store http://www.thepassionatecollector.com/contact. Another very cool little shop was Isla, very neat pieces that I had not seen anywhere else. http://www.yelp.ca/biz/isla-boutique-laguna-beach-laguna-beach. I also have to give a shout out to Recycled Rags, high end designer duds that have been previously loved at sweet prices http://www.recycledrags.com/ and Muse was another one of my favorites. There are also a couple of “lifestyle” shops with cute things for the home and garden boasting simply gorgeous pieces that make you feel like you are walking through a dream home Pinterest board!
Strolling the shops in the downtown and historic district make a good day of entertainment and a nice break from the beach- you never know what you might find!