I love shopping with Athena at South Coast Plaza. It’s huge and filled with a world of bright colors, bold prints, and beautiful sights. It would be easy to go there and spend thousands of dollars and walk out with a couple bags though. Many of my favorite clothes in South Coast Plaza come with high price tags. It is possible to visit South Coast Plaza without spending a fortune. Here’s how Athena and I spent six hours at South Coast Plaza and only spent $60 while enjoying rides, dining, shopping, and taking in the sights. We explored, discovered, and experienced the magic of South Coast Plaza.
We arrived at South Coast Plaza shortly before 10 am and noticed the magical lock outside the Disney Store. There were no other children around so we knew Athena was going to get to open the store. The Opening Ceremony happens at each Disney Store and it allows one child each morning to help turn the key and unlock the doors of Disney. Athena excitedly turned the key after the countdown and the doors opened. She was beaming with excitement and we had only just arrived. It’s such a special experience for a child yet it’s simple for the store to do. Good on you, Disney. Total cost – Free!
The plaza has a Carousel Court adjacent to the Disney Store. During the holidays, the carousel is converted to a holiday theme with reindeer. Carousels are undoubtedly Athena’s favorite ride so I let her choose two different reindeer before going to our first store of the day. Total cost – $2
Our favorite store for beautiful colors and unique style is Kate Spade. From the bold colored purses to the sparkly tutus, it’s impossible not to feel happy in Kate Spade. Athena tried on a pink sparkly tutu, a faux fur vest, and a sparkly headband. The headband was something that would go with Athena’s entire wardrobe and she could wear it for years so I bought it for her as a Christmas gift. Total spent – $15
The same bold colors that are found in Kate Spade are sprinkled throughout the shopping center. We walked around looking for our fun art and magical designs. From the ceiling to the floor, the mall is like a museum of design and architecture. Total spent – Free!
We love visiting Pottery Barn Kids, designed to delight and inspire the imagination. It’s always on our list of stores to visit when in South Coast Plaza. I expected to sit and watch as Athena laid in the beds, played with the toys, and cooked on the toy stove. I didn’t expect to find something that I wanted to buy for myself. While Athena pretended to make me eggs, I looked at the Christmas ornaments and found an airplane. I usually only fill the tree with ornaments from my travels but this matched our tree so well that I couldn’t leave the store without it. I let Athena choose one as well. She picked a pink mouse ballerina that I loved too. The ornaments prompted me to put up the Christmas tree when I got home. Total spent – $22
Also at Pottery Barn Kids there was a craft station with Thanksgiving cards and crayons to write on them. Athena took her time decorating the back of her card and then she colored in the front. It was a craft time that we would have happily paid for yet it was free. Total cost – Free!
Quattro Caffé is a quaint dining oasis serving pizza, pasta, and more. Athena and I ordered a chicken and rice lunch plate between the two of us. Most restaurants have such large portions that we could never eat it all ourselves and we both like similar foods so ordering together is the best option. With two chicken skewers and plenty of rice, it was easy to split and we were both satisfied. The food was delicious and the service was exceptional. It fit with the atmosphere at South Coast Plaza. Total cost – $18
Most of the stores had holiday displays in the windows. Athena and I found our favorite ones and took pictures with them. She posed in front of the Disney Store and Gap Kids. We found an adorable flamingo painting as well. She tried to imitate his stance while adjusting her head to the same position. It’s a creative way to continue using our imagination and it was easy to find inspiration. Total cost – Free!
We finished off the day by admiring the holiday display while relaxing on a bench. We’re excited for Santa to arrive and we’ll be certain to arrive early enough to possible open the Disney Store again. Total cost – Free!
South Coast Plaza is a magical place all year round. Regardless if you’re there for a shopping spree or discovering the hidden magic, there is something for everyone at South Coast Plaza. We plan to return again this week for a visit with Santa. So much is possible when you’re willing to be a little silly and let your imagination run wild.