Saturday, February 14, 2009


By Roy Heale

Today almost all resort towns offer a veritable smorgasbord of shopping experiences to both residents and tourists alike and Palm Springs including the valley townships are no exception. Throughout the Coachella Valley there are numerous shopping malls which offer not only multiple shopping options with major retail store chains and small boutiques but also air conditioned respite from the unrelenting desert heat.
However, there are also some very unique alternatives to the kind of shopping experience which you are familiar with in your own home town.
Just a short drive down the valley to Old Town La Quinta and you will feel as though you have stepped back in time to an old Spanish town with beautiful white 18th century style Spanish architecture. The shops, restaurants and services will provide a pleasant leisurely shopping experience or a self indulgent visit to one of the day spas. The town is very proud of its artistic residents and local jewellers plus arts and crafts galleries are a highlight of this community. There is no rushed or pressured shopping here just relaxed shopping enjoyment.
If you're looking for the Rodeo Drive luxury in the Valley then head to El Paseo Avenue in Palm Desert where you will find approximately 300 specialty boutiques, day spas, fine jewellers and the likes of Gucci, Theodore of Beverly Hills and Ralph Lauren. Plus when you need to rest your feet, enjoy a beverage or some great food you can enjoy indoor dining, patio dining and cocktail lounges at Tommy Bahama's Tropical Cafe and Pacifica Seafood. Both promise a gourmet delight and exotic d├ęcor for a pleasant respite from the hard task of shopping.
Also, The Gardens on El Paseo is a collection of small boutiques, cafes and services plus Sax Fifth Avenue and Tiffany & Co. situated in an open air lush tropical garden and parkland with unique sculptures by local artists. You will probably find this to be the most laid back shopping experience you have ever partaken. You might even forget to spend money and just enjoy the tropical gardens, flowers and scenery.
Perhaps the most unique shopping experience in Palm Springs is the VillageFest when every Thursday night from 6PM to 9PM the main street Palm Canyon Drive is closed to traffic for about ten blocks in the heart of downtown. A diverse array of artists, artisans, entertainers, and purveyors of fresh fruits and vegetables, flowers, jewellery, snacks and sweets all set up booths on the street to sell their wares. The regular retail stores stay open late and the restaurants, bars and cafes welcome the crowds. This is one of Southern California's most popular festivals and it is a weekly tradition with local residents and visitors to get out and enjoy the Festival. It provides a unique opportunity to purchase unusual and distinctive gifts to take back home to friends and family.
If you have just purchased your new vacation property somewhere in the valley then some home furnishings might be needed and there are plenty of stores ready to help you to furnish your new home. In Palm Springs the unique store Room Service can offer you modern furnishings, accessories and interior design assistance. Also, the Galleria of Palm Springs is a mid-forties California original arcade, with ten unique shops featuring 20th century art, design and fashion from Europe, Asia, Africa and the America's.
When you're ready for a break from the suns rays at the pool or need some time away from the greens then shopping can be a most enjoyable time out from the desert heat. This is a true nirvana for shoppers no matter what you are looking to buy.
Browse the web before you leave your hotel room to browse the stores:

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