This year, why not combine holiday gift shopping with a trip to somewhere warm and sunny with trendy restaurants, clever shops, and even luxe spas to pamper you after a day of browsing and buying? A visit to Palm Springs offers all that, plus museums, art galleries, evening entertainment, casinos, sparkling pools, boutique hotels, and more.
Start your shopping excursion among the palm trees and storefronts of the popular Uptown Design District with a visit to Trina Turk’s flagship store (891 North Palm Canyon Dr.). Her stylish colorful designs are offered in dresses, swimwear, active wear, home goods, jewelry, shoes, and handbags. Men’s clothing is sold under the label of Mr. Turk, designed by Ms. Turk’s husband, Jonathan Skow.
For one-of-a-kind gifts and home accents, visit Jill, with an artfully displayed collection of picture frames, serving pieces, handmade keepsake boxes, vases, and decorative items. Take a peek out the shop’s back door for a view of a popular park, and perhaps relax on a bench for a while, enjoying the atmosphere.
Next door is the always fun Just Fabulous (515 North Palm Canyon Dr.), offering clever gifts, books, cards, candles, home décor, handmade products from local artisans, and Palm Springs souvenirs.
Strolling along North Palm Canyon Drive, you’ll encounter Shag (725 North Palm Canyon Dr.), another must-see spot in The District. Shag is both an art gallery and a retail store featuring glassware, mugs, beach towels and totes, jewelry, lamps, pillows, and unique gifts. The store offers art exclusively from artist Josh Agle (aka Shag) including serigraphs, original paintings, and prints of colorful, playful scenes.
Your next stop should be Greetings (301 North Palm Canyon Dr.), featuring naughty and nice greeting cards, gifts, books, glassware, calendars, and music. In their 16th year in Palm Springs, Greetings boasts of being at the “leading edge of pop culture at an affordable price.” Giggle and blush through their extensive selection of cards, and you’re sure to find the right one for the occasion.
A French marketplace in the heart of Palm Springs, Best of San Tropez is a welcome addition to the shopping street (301 North Palm Canyon Dr.; 760-902-6137). With clothing, beachwear, tablecloths, Laguiole knives, gourmet French foods, and French bath products, this shop has the perfect gift for the Francophile on your list.
Michael Weems Collection features prints, handmade jewelry, porcelain trays, melamine plates, and sculpture (384 North Palm Canyon Dr.). His striking works must be seen, especially the brightly printed retro scenes produced on parts of vintage cars. Formerly a designer for Gucci and Tiffany, Michael’s background also includes crystal and glass carving. His work is whimsical, colorful, and creative, and he delights in sharing stories with visitors to his shop who are often attracted by his humorous window signs.
When you’re ready for a lunch break, many choices are steps away. For casual dining in a bistro atmosphere, try Jake’s for weekend brunch, sandwiches, and salads (664 North Palm Canyon Dr.). The Chicken Ranch menu is based on fresh, free-range rotisserie chicken in salads and sandwiches with side dishes and cocktails too (515 North Palm Canyon Dr.). Azul (369 North Palm Canyon Dr.), in the historic 1934 General Telephone building, has seating in its dining room or al fresco with glider booths and inviting tables. Watercress Vietnamese Bistro is open all day with seafood, vegetarian dishes, and Vietnamese favorites such as pho and banh mi (415 North Palm Canyon Dr.).
Cheeky’s is a popular spot with large indoor and outdoor areas, and often a bit of a wait for a table (622 North Palm Canyon Dr.). Open until 2 p.m. daily except Tuesdays, they serve breakfast all day in addition to cocktails and a variety of dishes. Trio Restaurant is a favorite of locals (707 North Palm Canyon Dr.). For creative “West Coast Modern American Cuisine” in a sleek setting, visit Eight4Nine Restaurant and Lounge (849 North Palm Canyon Dr.), open weekdays at 11 a.m. and 9 a.m. on weekends for brunch. For Sunday brunch or a special dinner, make a reservation at Workshop Kitchen + Bar, a James Beard Award-winning restaurant serving seasonal dishes made with local ingredients (800 North Palm Canyon Dr.).
There are so many hotels for your stay—boutique inns, retro-style spots, luxurious full-service hotels with spas—right in downtown Palm Springs or a short drive away. A massage, facial, or rest by the pool to take advantage of the “winter” weather in this desert oasis will complete your visit. All that, and some holiday gifts to cross off your list.