(credit: The Shops at Dos Lagos)

The turkey leftovers have been packed. The dishwasher is stocked and whirring away. The family members and guests have left the scene. All the signs point to only one thing: the kickoff to holiday shopping season has now officially begun! This year, rather than spending time frantically searching for parking and scouring store after store, check out the best places to shop for the holidays in the Inland Empire, where you’ll not only find great stores and deals, but also great holiday events, music, and décor. Take in all the magic of holidays in while you shop, before this season is gone again, all too quickly.

The Shoppes at Chino Hills

13920 City Center Drive, Suite 200
Chino Hills, CA 91709
(866) 909-0305

The Shoppes at Chino Hills is truly the hidden shopping gem of the Inland Empire. Nestled along the 71 freeway between Pomona and Corona in the heart of Chino Hills, this shopping center features a wide variety of stores such as H&M, Victoria’s Secret, Forever 21, Banana Republic, The Children’s Place, and many more. This holiday season The Shoppes at Chino Hills features “Musical Snow” shows, running through Dec. 22, Fridays and Saturdays at 7 and 8 pm., and Sundays at 6 and 7 pm. Information on various exciting holiday events throughout the season can be viewed on The Shoppes at Chino Hills events. Enjoy extended holiday shopping hours, as well the “Santa Paws Photos” event, taking place on Dec. 12 and 19 from 4 to 8 p.m., where proud pet owners can have their pups pose with Santa. A portion of the proceeds for this event go to The American Cancer Society and Bark For Life. Need help with all that gift wrapping? Get your shopping and wrapping checked off the list in one trip, as The Shoppes at Chino Hills also offers the “Let It Be Wrapped” service, the proceeds of which go to benefit the Let It Be Foundation, an organization which provides support to children who have life-threatening pediatric illnesses and their families. Holiday shopping for great causes; what could be better?

(credit: Victoria Gardens)

Victoria Gardens

12505 North Mainstreet, Suite 200
Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91739
(909) 463-2830

Victoria Gardens has long been regarded as one of the premier shopping destination for Inland Empire shoppers since it first opened, and with good reason. The expansive outdoor shopping center is impressive with its vast array of great retailers and restaurants, and they truly pull out all the stops for the holiday season. Shoppers can get into the holiday spirit with Victoria Gardens’ “Magic Snowfall” events in Town Square on weekend evenings, and Dickens’ Carolers bring holiday magic and a warm sense of nostalgia to the season, as they perform in Chaffey Town Square on select days and evenings. Of course, no season would be complete without a visit from the big red guy; Santa will be at Victoria Gardens’ Santa’s Depot every week through Dec. 24. Check the Victoria Gardens site for more details, and make sure not to miss out on the fun!

(credit: Premium Outlets)

Desert Hills Premium Outlets

48400 Seminole Drive
Cabazon, CA 92230
(951) 849-6641

Looking for high-end labels at low-end prices? Desert Hills Premium Outlets is the spot to check out for all those great brands we love: Coach, Nike, Saks Fifth Avenue Off Fifth, Prada, Polo Ralph Lauren, Carter’s, Gymboree Outlet, and many more. Enjoy specials like “50 Plus Shopper Perks” on Tuesdays for those 50 years and up, and exclusive specials for American Express Card members. The quality of the items you’ll find here is above what you’d find elsewhere, and the items come with a slashed price tag to boot. The sales kick off midnight after Thanksgiving for “Midnight Madness”, and that shopping madness is sure to continue through the season. Plan ahead, make a day of it as the outlets are located deep in Cabazon near Casino Morongo, and come early, as many other shoppers are sure to want to hit this mega-retailer of all things style and luxury.

(credit: The Shops at Dos Lagos)

The Shops at Dos Lagos

2780 Cabot Drive Suite 140
Corona, CA 92883
(951) 277-7601

Just down the 15 freeway in beautiful South Corona lies The Shops at Dos Lagos, an outdoor shopping experience featuring great stores, restaurants, events and more this holiday season. The Shops at Dos Lagos offers quite an array of holiday events, including Santa photos through Dec. 24, and “Breakfast with Santa” Saturdays from 9-11am. “50 Tons of Snow” on Dec. 14 invites children to play and delight in the snow.

(credit: Riverside Downtown Partnership)

Downtown Riverside

Riverside Downtown Partnership
3666 University Ave, Suite 100
Riverside, CA 92501
(951) 781-7335

Looking for one-of-a-kind, hard to find gifts? How would you like to also support local small businesses with your shopping this year? Downtown Riverside has been a beloved treasure for locals for many years, not just for the shopping, but also for the quiet, tree-lined streets, the chic “downtown” feel to the shops, and the stunning architecture and buildings that date back to years ago. Aside from being home to the historic and breathtaking The Mission Inn Hotel& Spa and other historic landmarks, downtown Riverside features various small boutiques, art galleries, vintage shops, and specialty stores where you’ll find gifts not found anywhere else.

(credit: Ontario Mills)

Ontario Mills

1 Mills Circle
Ontario, CA 91764-5207
(909) 484-8300

The Ontario Mills, or “The Mills”, as the locals call it, offers great deals, great retailers, and a one-stop shop for everyone on your list. Shoppers will find many outlet-type stores here, including Last Call by Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom Rack, Nike Outlet, LOFT Outlet, and many more. Sales kick off Thanksgiving night and run through the holiday season, and with discounts of up to 70 percent off at select retailers, shoppers and gift givers can rejoice in great finds and savings. Come early, explore the mall, and be sure to stop in at one of the Ontario Mills great neighboring restaurants as well.

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Julie Ordonez is a self-proclaimed shopaholic, deal-a-holic, and lover of all things holiday. She resides in the Inland Empire with her husband and child, and writes for OC Family and OC Metro Magazines.