In its earliest days as a resort destination, Palm Springs was synonymous with celebrities, golf courses and swimming pools. While all three can still be found in the desert today, the Coachella Valley has also developed a number of shopping centers and retail destinations throughout the decades.
Serious shoppers tend to make a day trip out of their shopping excursion, heading to the Desert Hills Premium Outlets in Cabazon, just an hour outside of Palm Springs. This outlet mall features more than 150 outlets for discount designer shopping. With an onsite food court and Morongo Casino next door, it’s easy to make a well-rounded day trip out of Desert Hills.
If you want to stay in the Palm Springs area, the Gardens on El Paseo and the Shops on El Paseo are two neighboring shopping districts with high-end names like Kate Spades, Escada and Saks Fifth Avenue. Nearby, Westfield Mall offers a traditional indoor shopping experience, enhanced by anchor stores like Macy’s and JCPenney. And for an open air retail experience that’s unique to the desert, be sure to drop by The River in Rancho Mirage.
Old Town La Quinta features dozens of boutiques and restaurants in the heart of downtown without a chain in sight. This is the perfect spot to find unique gifts for friends and family back home. Within these boutique shops, you’ll find items like handcrafted soaps and lotions, cold-pressed olive oils, home décor with a desert flair and hard-to-find wines. You’ll also find boutiques carrying designer resort wear by names like Diane Von Furstenburg and Calypso. On Sundays, the shopping district opens into a street fair, and many of the retail shops open their doors and fill the sidewalks with their wares.
WESTFIELD PALM DESERT
Want to enjoy shopping with your favorite retailers in an air-conditioned mall? Head to Westfield Palm Desert, one of the only traditional indoor shopping malls in the Coachella Valley. Anchored by retail giants like JCPenney, Sears, Barnes and Noble and Macy’s, Westfield Mall offers a range of retail shops and restaurants that offer everything you’re looking for. Fashion shows and family-friendly events are held on weekends throughout the year, adding an interactive level to the traditional mall experience. Westfield Mall is also home to Cinemas Palme D’or, a movie theater than screens indie and international films in addition to blockbuster releases.
THE GARDENS ON EL PASEO
The Gardens on El Paseo is an upscale retail shopping center in Palm Desert. Located in the heart of El Paseo, a street inspired by the famous Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, The Gardens are a separate shopping mall between San Pablo Avenue and Larkspur Lane. High-end tenants include the likes of Saks Fifth Avenue, The Loft, Anthologie and Sephora. A namesake garden also sits in the middle of the center, adding a relaxing vibe to this shopping destination. After your shopping spree, grab a happy hour cocktail or a light dinner at nearby restaurants like Sullivan’s or Pacifica Seafood.
COD STREET FAIR
Every Saturday and Sunday morning, the College of the Desert parking lot transforms into the desert’s largest street fair. Hundreds of vendors set up makeshift shops at this street fair, resulting in hours of shopping and bargain hunting. You’ll find everything from designer swimwear and purses to hand tools and fresh, local produce. Many local artists also take advantage of the street fair to showcase their paintings, photographs and sculptures. A food court sits in the center of the street fair, offering popular local favorites like date shakes, angus burgers and gyros. Spend a morning wandering the aisles of the COD Street Fair and you’ll be sure to fill up your suitcases with gifts for friends back home–and yourself.
DESERT HILLS PREMIUM OUTLETS
Love designer labels but not the designer prices? Head to the Desert Hills Premium Outlets in Cabazon, where you can score trendy merchandise from hundreds of designers at a fraction of the retail price. Less than an hour from Palm Springs, this outlet mall features more than 150 outlets across two wings, meaning you’ll be able to score discount designer goods from all of your favorite brands. The stores range from names like Kenneth Cole, J. Crew and Prada, to brands like Levi, Coldwater Creek and Sketchers. An onsite food court will also keep you satisfied while you hunt for the best deals.
THE SHOPS ON EL PASEO
While Beverly Hills has Rodeo, the Coachella Valley has El Paseo. The Shops on El Paseo shopping district is often compared to the iconic Los Angeles shopping district, and for good reason. With blocks of boutiques, high-end retailers and quaint restaurants, it’s easy to spend a day window-shopping along El Paseo. At The Shops on El Paseo, you’ll find designer wear for men, women and even dogs. El Paseo contains a mix of large designer names, like Escada and Ralph Lauren, as well as small boutiques and storefronts for local designers. El Paseo also includes a number of art galleries and jewelry stores.