Give yourself plenty of time to stroll along the swanky El Paseo district in Palm Desert. First, you’ll want to see all the art. A roughly 1-mile strip and adjacent streets are home to one of the largest concentrations of art galleries anywhere in Southern California. As inviting and engaging as a European salon, these galleries let you get close to art, chat with knowledgeable gallery owners and staff, and even meet the artists during special openings and events.
There’s also the photo-worthy public art installations along El Paseo Drive that make the stroll that much more memorable. The renowned El Paseo Art Walk, happening on the first Friday of every month, November through May, is a great opportunity to attend exhibit openings and artist receptions.
Then you’ll want to get something to eat—dining al fresco is the way it’s often done here. Try oysters on the half-shell at Pacifica Seafood Restaurant, or wood-fired pizza at Sammy’s with nothing but a blue (or starry) sky above. Or perhaps order a juicy steak accompanied by jazz in the more sequestered environs of Sullivan's Steakhouse.
And of course—there’s the shopping. There’s a reason El Paseo reminds people of Rodeo Drive, what with the impeccably appointed boutiques of top designers, including Bottega Veneta and St. John, tempting you to come in brandishing your credit card. Find more shops at the largely open-air (and exquisitely manicured) Gardens on El Paseo complex, which boasts a boutique of the quintessentially Californian designer Trina Turk (who celebrated her brand’s 25th anniversary in 2020), plus Saks Fifth Avenue, Ann Taylor, Brooks Brothers, Tommy Bahamas, and more.