Fashion Island

OC BLACK FRIDAY SHOPPING GUIDE

It's the most wonderful time of the year; the mall is swarming, parking lots are gridlocked and Christmas music decks every hall you step foot into. If you're anything like me, you have a love-hate relationship with the holidays, and more specifically, holiday shopping. In order to get the best deals and grab the hot ticket items before they're sold out, your best bet is to shop Black Friday.

No matter what you're looking for on Black Friday, Orange County is the perfect shopping destination for you. We've got outlets promising serious savings, festive malls that promise a perfect pic with Santa, upscale boutiques, and specialty stops for everyone on your list. Here's our handy guide to navigating shopping's most daunting day like a pro.

South Coast Plaza

Hours: 8 a.m.-10 p.m.

Insider tip: Invest in valet parking to save yourself a major parking headache. It's also a huge help if your arms are bound to be overflowing with shopping bags.

To get your holiday decor fix, head to Orange County's world class shopping destination, South Coast Plaza. With trees reaching stories high around every corner, plus a very festive North Pole setup for Santa encounters, SCP is the place to go if you're looking to get a massive dose of Christmas cheer.

It also boasts a bevy of high-end boutiques for the luxury lover on your list, as well as major national retailers like Nordstrom, Macy's, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdales, H&M (great doorbusters!), and many more. SCP won't guarantee you the most bang for your buck in terms of savings, but it's beautiful decorations will fill your heart for the entire season.

For a list of stores opening before regular shopping hours for Black Friday, click here.

Fashion Island

Black Friday Hours: 8 a.m.- 9 p.m.

Insider tip: Get here early and get your shopping done so you can enjoy a leisurely lunch at one of their amazing restaurants, like R+D Kitchen or True Food Kitchen.

A uniquely Orange County experience awaits at Fashion Island, where holiday hullabaloo and views of the Pacific Ocean combine to create the perfect Southern California Christmas. This outdoor shopping center is a great spot for the whole family, as there are plenty of places to frolic outside without ever stepping foot in a store. So, mom shops while everyone else has fun! Make sure to spend plenty of time checking out the towering tree, as well as their massive holiday pop-up shop which is chock full of gifts for everyone on your list.

Irvine Spectrum Center

Black Friday Hours: 11 p.m. Thursday, November 28 ' 10 p.m. Friday, November 29

Insider tip: Shop between the hours of 4 a.m. ' 8 a.m., as shoppers who spend $250 at one or a combination of Irvine Spectrum Center qualifying stores can enter to win the following prizes: $10,000 shopping spree; free valet at Irvine Spectrum or Fashion Island for one year; free car washes at Irvine Spectrum for one year (one per month).

Calling all night owls! If you can handle shopping all through the night, Irvine Spectrum Center is the place to be on Black Friday. Not only are stores like Nordstrom, Target, H&M and more offering huge savings, the center itself is having a party and celebrating the debut of the first-ever holiday music and light display, Disney Magical Holiday Lights!

Artist Rendering of" Disney Magical Holiday Lights

Disney Magical Holiday Lights at Irvine Spectrum

Photo courtesy of Irvine Spectrum

Enjoy free carousel and giant wheel rides, ice skating and valet from 11 p.m. ' 8 a.m. They'll be doing tons of giveaways, including a $500 gift card giveaway on the hour from 4 a.m. ' 8 a.m. It may be hard to shake off that tryptophan, but if you can, Irvine Spectrum Center has got plenty of greatness to make it worth a night of sleeplessness.

Outlets at Orange

Black Friday Hours: 12 a.m.-10 p.m.

Insider tip: Stop by the Concierge stands to grab a coupon book and to ask where all the best deals are. Better yet - call ahead so you can plan a map of your intended shopping spots.

So you're a night owl looking for some serious savings, you say? Look no further than the Outlets at Orange- your budget-friendly, one-stop-shop for all your holiday needs. Opening at midnight on Black Friday, you'll be able to hit up all the amazing outlet stores before the sun (and all the other shoppers) reach the outdoor center.

With stores like Levi's, Bose, Neiman Marcus Last Call, Nordstrom Rack, Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th and so many more, you'll be making plenty of recipients very happy. Just because your gifts look expensive doesn't mean they have to be, and thankfully, Outlets at Orange is here to help with that.