One of the favourite pass-times in L.A. is shopping. Street malls, strip malls and huge shopping malls are located everywhere. But if you want to save money or love finding bargains, then outlet shopping malls are the way to go. So where is the best outlet shopping in Los Angeles?
I personally went to all the following malls, for research purposes only of course (wink wink!). Therefore, I would like to share my information and advice to other shopaholics.
OUTLETS AT ORANGE
In Orange County, south of L.A and near to Anaheim (Disneyland area).
ART (Anaheim Resort Transport) buses provide hourly shuttles from Anaheim hotels to Outlets at Orange. Just take the orange line #16. Pay on board US$3.00 each way.
From downtown L.A. you will need to take a taxi or Uber. However, if you’re on a budget, you could take the Metrolink from Union Station (downtown L.A.) to the Anaheim stop and then take a short 5 minute taxi ride to the Outlets.
Click on www.theoutletsatorange.com to view the 120 stores at this location. The largest stores are Nordstrom Rack, Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue, Off Broadway Shoes, H&M and Nike.
- Free WiFi.
- No left luggage service or lockers.
The smallest in size of all the outlets I went to.
However, if you enjoy rummaging in racks and racks of clothes, then you’ll have plenty of opportunity at Bloomingdales, Nordstrom Rack and Saks Fifth Avenue.
There is a HUGE shoe store called Off Broadway Shoes that's worth a look.
The southern half of the outlet mall contains most of the clothing shops. While the northern part is mainly sports orientated, in clothing and activities.
Located in the City of Commerce, about 10 minute drive south of downtown L.A. or 40 minutes by bus (including several pick up stops).
The City of Commerce provides a free shuttle bus from several stops in downtown L.A., including Union Station. It makes 19 trips a day with 4 less on the weekends.
Alternatively, take a taxi/Uber for a quicker ride.
Click on www.citadeloutlets.com to view the directory of approximately 120 stores.
- Free WiFi.
- Free luggage hold service until 8.30pm (including suitcases).
- Currency exchange desk.
- Vending machines.
- The most luxurious restrooms/toilets I’ve seen at any mall, just like a 5 star resort.
This outlet shopping in Los Angeles is an outdoor mall and is a lot larger in size than Outlets at Orange. This is because all the individual stores are much larger in size. Advantage - have a wider range of stock to choose from. Disadvantage - possibly spend more money!
It was missing the large department stores like Nordstrom Rack/Bloomingdales/Saks Fifth Avenue and their racks and racks of bargains. But still enough other bargains to be found in the smaller retail shops. They seem to like the ‘buy 1 item and get the second item 50% off’ deal.
Had more jewellry stores than Outlets at Orange and some homeware stores.
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CAMARILLO PREMIUM OUTLETS
In the town of Camarillo is 55 miles/88 kms north of Los Angeles.
Pay for a shuttle bus with Supreme Tours that leaves downtown L.A. at 10am and returns at 7pm. The fare is a bit pricey, starting from US$58 per person.
Alternatively, you can take an Amtrak train from Union Station to Camarillo for US$21 each way. Then there are 3 options from the train station to the outlets:
- Take a 5 minute taxi/Uber to the outlets.
- Pay US$2.00 for bus #96 (buses stop next to the train station).
- Take the free CAT (Camarillo Area Transit) trolley bus that runs every 30 minutes, taking 30 minutes to reach the outlets as it first follows a set route around the small town.
- Added option. Walk for 30 minutes on the back streets alongside a busy highway!
160 stores - view the directory at www.premiumoutlets.com. The stores are spread over three separate outdoor malls which are all accessible by crossing streets.
- No free WiFi, but some shops have free guest WiFi while you’re in the store.
- No luggage hold/lockers, currency exchange or store directory boards (lucky to find some paper maps randomly displayed on walls).
- Vending machines at Service Desk.
- They do offer discount booklets for US$5.00 which you have to ask for as they are not actively displayed or promoted. You will need to check if it contains discounts for the stores you like to shop in.
The 160 stores are spread over three separate outdoor malls, each one with the carpark sitting right in the middle. Therefore there is a lot of walking.
Facilities are not as tourist friendly as Citadel.
Most of the stores you’ll find at Citadel anyway. Therefore, I would only recommend to spend the money to come out here if there was a particular store you MUST go to and is not available at the other two outlets above.
Bonus Outlet - Desert Hills Premium Outlet
As I was driving out to Palm Desert for the weekend, I came across another outdoor Outlet shopping area called Desert Hills Premium Outlets and Cabazon Outlets. It is located 20 minutes before Palm Springs, off the main highway (about one hour drive from L.A depending upon traffic).
It houses about 180 stores. Very similar to the stores I saw at the other Outlets with only a few shops that I hadn't seen before.
Unfortunately, there are no shuttle buses from LA or Palm Springs to take you here and public buses are not regular. Therefore, you would only visit this Outlet if you have rented a car to explore the beautiful desert area of Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Joshua Tree National Park, Hot Springs etc).
That's it. Happy outlet shopping in Los Angeles!