O.C. Neighborhoods: Indie Finds at Tustin’s Union Market

Built on the site of a former Borders bookstore (blessed be its name), Union Market is honeycombed with purveyors of comfort food (The Kroft), innocent enjoyments (Front Porch Pops), health (Drinkbar Juicery) and creative inspiration (Timree Art Studio).

O.C. Neighborhoods: Surprising Finds at Costa Mesa’s Midway Market

Robin Jones introduces readers to the refreshingly industrial Midway Market, a rough-edged bloom of businesses tucked in the middle of warehouses and auto body shops. Look for the Quonset hut and you’ll find Viridian, a treasure-trove of jewelry, art, and intriguing one-of-a-kind objects. The Boathouse Collective is an unpretentious urban cafe with a hip, ad-hoc aesthetic (pallet furniture!) and live music. At Waffleholic Café, the waffles can be sweet or savory, served with crab cakes, or turned into BLTs.

Neighborhood: Newport Coast

As writer Robin Jones points out, Crystal Cove Promenade lies across the street from the Pacific, so you can enjoy the sea air along with Neapolitan pizzas underneath olive trees at Settebello; browse jewelry, cool textiles, and letterpress cards at Juxtaposition Home; and fill up a take-home pastry box at Sweet and Saucy Shop (when did macarons get to be so hip?).

Neighborhood: Yorba Linda

“We should open a store called Forever 39. We’ll sell wine and yoga pants.” This viral Internet quip was part plea, and now the ingredients are all there at Yorba Ranch Village. But that doesn’t do the peaceful, unhurried shopping center justice: OC Wine Mart & Deli staffs a wine concierge, holds wine tastings, and will help you create overflowing gift baskets for anyone on your list. Fig Leaf stocks Pilates and yoga gear, and a little inspiration (ever heard of the “30-Day Plank Challenge”?) There’s more, of course: Herbed Chicken Breast Gorgonzola at The Wild Artichoke, and eclairs from Beverly’s Best Bakery.

Neighborhood: Dana Point

Perched above Pacific Coast Highway, Monarch Bay Plaza reflects the relaxed sophistication of its Dana Point neighborhood. In the Spanish-style mall with red tile roofs, ocean breezes blow through white stucco archways, and upscale-yet-casual boutiques and restaurants attract locals and tourists.

Neighborhood: Buena Park

On the edge of what’s quickly becoming Orange County’s own Koreatown, the new Village Circle on Beach offers a mash-up of Asian cultures. Anchored by Taiwanese bakery 85C, Korean supermarket H Mart, and Japan’s dollar store Daiso, it’s Buena Park’s answer to Irvine’s Diamond Jamboree.

Exclusive Video Tour of Anaheim’s Packing House

Click here for our Neighborhood guide to Anaheim's Packing House.

Neighborhood: Anaheim’s Packing House

An agricultural landmark and architectural gem, Anaheim’s packing house has been transformed into a European-style food hall. The venue, at 440 S. Anaheim Blvd., offers nearly 20 dining experiences ranging from customized gelato to sushi, as well as a handful of vendors making their first O.C. appearance.

Neighborhoods: Along the Boulevard

One of Newport Beach’s busiest thoroughfares may be just a block away, but the sprawling strip mall at Old Newport Boulevard and Hospital Road still seems like a local secret. It’s one worth knowing: Among the hairstylists and tanning salons, you’ll find an unexpectedly diverse collection of treasures.

Neighborhoods: Huntington Beach’s Bella Terra

Construction crews have been busy at Huntington Beach’s Bella Terra. In the past year, more than 10 stores and restaurants have opened at the shopping center just off the 405 Freeway’s Beach Boulevard exit, adding to the dinner-and-a-movie spot’s lively vibe