Laura Flippen

Desert Shopping

Desert Shopping
From boutiques to bargains, vintage to boho-chic, you’ll find it here

In-the-know visitors make sure to come to the Palm Springs area with room in their suitcases. Bargain hunters make a beeline for the town of Cabazon, home of Desert Hills Premium Outlets and an impressive list of designer brands including Prada, Burberry, and Gucci. Nearby Cabazon Outlets offers more great deals on clothes, shoes, and housewares.

In Palm Desert, the wide, artwork-and-flower trimmed street known as El Paseo has boutiques, galleries, and shops trendy enough to earn in the nickname “The Rodeo Drive of the Desert.” The Gardens on El Paseo retail complex is especially luxurious—a great destination for strolling on warm evenings before having dinner at one of its outdoor cafés—it really doesn’t get much better than this. Creativity also plays a big role in Palm Springs, where the Backstreet Art District features artist-owned galleries and working studios, giving you a chance to chat with artists as well as buy their one-of-a-kind pieces. Browse at shops in the appealing Uptown Design District, a hotbed of vintage and contemporary treasures in Mid-century Modern buildings as retro-chic as the items for sale inside.

Kodiak Greenwood

Discover the Deserts

The thwack of a golf club, the hum of the wind buffeting towering sand dunes, the splash of a dive into a perfect pool—the desert region is a sensory feast.

Following winter rains, springtime wildflowers paint the desert with colour.

Death Valley National Park holds the record for hottest temperature ever recorded (129°F/54°C in 1913), while the deserts of Joshua Tree National Park have giant boulders and alien-like yucca plants. At Anza-Borrego, California’s largest state park, discover amazing springtime wildflowers. The oasis-like Palm Springs region (2 hours east of L.A. and 3 hours northeast of San Diego) has golf resorts, midcentury modern architecture, and every spring, the epic Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

David H. Carriere/Getty Images

California’s Spring 2017 Wildflower Forecast

Where to find this year’s extraordinary bounty of blooms, from poppies to lupine and chocolate lilies

The most abundant winter precipitation to hit California in a decade has flower aficionados budding with optimism about the...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Find beauty, wildlife, and solitude in three of America’s newest national preserves

You could call it a monumental achievement: In February 2016, three new national monuments were created, protecting a combined total of 1.8 million acres of California desert. The names of the...

Ann Marie Brown
In 1867, the U.S. Army established Fort Piute (listed on the National Register of Historic Places) along the Old Spanish Trail that crossed the Mojave Desert from the Colorado River to San Bernardino, California.
Janell Shirtcliff/Courtesy of Best Coast

Best Coast Celebrates Pappy & Harriet’s

The Los Angeles rock duo loves performing at this unique desert venue

Anyone who has ever attended a concert at Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, or scarfed down a plate of its celebrated macaroni and cheese...

At 282 ft. below sea level, Badwater in Death Valley National Park is the lowest point in the contiguous United States.
Harriot Manley/ Sunset Publishing

Spotlight: Greater Palm Springs

Hipster cool in the desert. Das Ledderhosen!

Fed by underground springs, the desert comes alive here, not only with signature palms, but also with a string of resort communities—Palm Desert,...

Luxury Resorts in the Desert
Lucas Himovitz

Luxury Resorts in the Desert

Relax at spoil-yourself spas under the desert sun

Pampering just comes with the territory in the California desert. Maybe in the old days, desert visitors had to pack in supplies and sleep on the...

Trip 3-4 days 10 stops

Route 66 - Mother Road

Legendary Highway, California Dream
Santa Monica

Start your trip in this idyllic oceanfront city, bounded by a 3.5-mi/5.6-km-long beach, and feeling more like a weekend getaway spot than a city just a few minutes west of downtown Los Angeles. Car-free options, including a shuttle to Los Angeles International Airport (8 miles/13 km south) make...

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

On your way to this park, you’ll pass through the little community of Borrego Springs. Stop in at the town’s visitor center to get driving maps to an astounding collection of enormous prehistoric animals—metal sculptures made by artist Ricardo Breceda—that dot the surrounding desert landscape....

Alex Farnum

Spotlight: Joshua Tree National Park

Rugged mountains, vibrant sunsets & uncountable stars

Boulders and buttresses, rugged mountains, gold mining ruins, desert plains dotted with the oddball trees—this is one weird place. Joshua Tree,...

This is the sense of the desert hills, that there is room enough and time enough.
Mary Austin
SPECIAL FEATURE
Where to release your inner fashionista

Shopping is an art form in California. Whether you're in search of the perfect cocktail dress or an authentic Mexican piñata, you'll find it here. Want to sample fresh produce? Try our farmers...

Shopping Hot Spots
Golf & tennis
Kodiak Greenwood

Golf & tennis

Swing clubs and racquets where the pros do in the Coachella Valley

With world-class golf courses set against dramatic desert landscapes and top-quality tennis courts beneath towering palms, two sports get classy...

Mid-Century Modern Design
Courtesy of Elvis Presley Estate

Mid-Century Modern Design

Swing into Sinatra cool in Palm Springs

Filled with distinctive post-World War II buildings designed by leading architects of the time, Palm Springs is America’s Mid-century Modern mecca...

The lowest golf course in the world is Furnace Creek in Death Valley, at 214 feet below sea level.
SPECIAL FEATURE
From edgy rock n’ roll to haute couture fashion, there’s a festival for you in the desert

For all of the desert’s natural splendour and outdoor destinations, creativity comes with the territory, too. Throughout the year, the region finds ways to celebrate art, design, music, and film...

 Events in the Desert
Lucas Himovitz
SPECIAL FEATURE
Vast landscapes, spectacular desert vistas

Both vast and intimate, the California desert is a region that ranges from arid, barren expanses to oasis-like canyons with hidden waterfalls. Towering sand dunes rise above the desert floor,...

Alex Farnum
Amboy Crater
Courtesy of Bureau of Land Management

Amboy Crater

Hike into a 6,000-year-old volcanic remnant

Designated a National Natural Landmark in 1973 and located just off historic Route 66, Amboy Crater is an example of geology creating geometry—it’...

Fossil Falls
Greater Southwestern Exploration Company/Flickr

Fossil Falls

Rushing river, sculpted black lava

The truth is that the name Fossil Falls is a bit of a misnomer. After all, there are neither fossils nor a waterfall here. But a walk through...