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10 Best Shopping Destinations and Districts in Palm Springs



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.

Lovers of modern design won't want to miss downtown Palm Springs and the Uptown Design District to get their fix of funky decor, boutique wear and modern furnishings.


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Backstreet Art District
Photo courtesy of Kelly Truscott


The Backstreet Art District in Palm Springs is a haven for local artists to create sculptures, photography, jewelry, paintings and more. If you enjoy local art, don't miss a chance to drop into the dozens of studios in this art district. You'll be able to browse galleries of contemporary art, watch artists create new sculptures in their studios and meet some of the desert's most notable artists. Exhibits are updated and rotated regularly, which means you'll always be able to appreciate new works at the Backstreet Art District. Art walks also occur each month, offering tours of these intimate studios.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: The BackStreet Art District is the desert's best bet for shoppers looking to pick up locally produced artwork, jewelry, sculptures or photographs.

Marissa's expert tip: Visit on the first Wednesday every month to take part in the monthly art walk. You'll tour the local studios, enjoy the newest collections and see the artists at work.

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A stroll through downtown Palm Springs is a must for any trip to the desert. The downtown area is a shopping mecca for anyone who loves art, boutique clothing stores and all things modern. Spend a day looking for antique treasures at thrift stores or antique shops, or get the perfect resort outfit for your Palm Springs retreat at one of the designer boutiques on Palm Canyon Drive. You'll also find specialty items like cigars, music boxes, collectable coins and healing stones. Some of Palm Springs best restaurants can be found downtown, which is why it's a must-visit for anyone visiting Palm Springs.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: Downtown Palm Springs offers clothing boutiques, art galleries and gift shops, as well as specialty shops for collectors.

Marissa's expert tip: While you're shopping, be sure to look down at the stars embedded in downtown's sidewalks. Dozens of celebrities with Palm Springs ties have been immortalized with their own star.

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Charming, retro and uniquely Palm Springs are three ways to describe the Uptown Design District, and if you're a modernism fan in any sense, you won't want to miss the shops in this district. This stretch of Palm Canyon Drive celebrates the modern designs, art and fashion that have come to define Palm Springs. Here, shoppers can celebrate an artistic fusion of mid-century design and modern vision. Dig for antique treasures, try on the latest desert designer dresses or pick up a retro lamp for your office. You'll find contemporary art, high-end furnishings and a few of the desert's trendiest restaurants, too.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: The Uptown Design District is bursting with shops and galleries specializing in all things mid-century modern.

Marissa's expert tip: Don't miss the Trina Turk Palm Springs Boutique. This desert designer has created lines for the likes of Banana Republic, and her modern designs are synonymous with Palm Springs.

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Whether you want to window shop under the desert sun, buy a new piece of art for your living room or browse the latest desert fashions, The River in Rancho Mirage is the premier lifestyle shopping destination for you. Some of The River's retailers include Bath & Body Works, Diane's Beachwear, Forever 21 and M.A.C. cosmetics. While you check out the upscale shops of this shopping center, you'll be soothed by the sight and sound of the manmade waterfront that surrounds the shops. The River also has a number of restaurant chains like The Cheesecake Factory, P.F. Chang's and the Yard House.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: The River is home to a collection of clothing and cosmetics shops, as well as art galleries.

Marissa's expert tip: After shopping, don't miss happy hour at the Yard House. This restaurant offers hundreds--yes, hundreds--of beers in-house.

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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 d├ęcor 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.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: Old Town La Quinta offers a quaint shopping experience, thanks to its boutiques and weekly Sunday outdoor market.

Marissa's expert tip: Sundays are the best days to experience Old Town La Quinta. Local vendors and farmers bring their wares to the streets, adding a fun outdoor experience to Old Town.

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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.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: Westfield Palm Desert is the desert's premier indoor shopping mall, home to retail giants like Macy's and JCPenney.

Marissa's expert tip: Skip the food court and head to Richie's All-American Diner to enjoy thick malt shakes between shopping sprints.

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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.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: The Gardens on El Paseo is an upscale retail shopping center in the heart of Palm Desert.

Marissa's expert tip: A parking structure can be accessed off of San Pablo Avenue. Valet is available, and this two-story garage is often a much better bet than street parking on El Paseo.

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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.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: The COD Street Fair offers one of the desert's best collections of local vendors selling art, jewelry, knickknacks and fresh produce.

Marissa's expert tip: Don't miss the iconic kettle corn stand at the street fair entrance. Their popular kettle corn will keep you fueled during your shopping adventure.

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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.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: Desert Hills Premium Outlets is home to more than 150 outlet stores representing brands like Coach, Prada and Kenneth Cole.

Marissa's expert tip: Weekdays are the best days for crowd-free shopping, since weekends bring dozens of tourist-filled busses to Desert Hills.

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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.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: The Shops on El Paseo is a one-mile stretch of high-end shops like Tiffany's and Saks Fifth Avenue, as well as local boutiques.

Marissa's expert tip: Leisure and luxury define El Paseo, so whether you're looking to drop big money or do some window shopping, make sure you schedule plenty of time to wander El Paseo.

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Meet Marissa Willman

Marissa Willman moved to the Coachella Valley in 2001 and loves discovering the best that the desert has to offer. As a Palm Springs local, Marissa enjoys sharing her knowledge of this desert...  More About Marissa

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