New Shopping, Dining & Sight-seeing
The new Palm Canyon Drive
Forget about the congestion and traffic of most tourist destinations – you’ve arrived in sunny Palm Springs. Anchored by the celebrity hip The Rowan hotel, Palm Canyon Drive is the new pedestrian hot spot – perfect for an afternoon stroll of shopping, dining and sight-seeing.
I began my stroll of discovery in the heart of downtown with a gourmet “Nicaragua Maracaturra Coffee Latte” at the beautiful and airy Starbucks Reserve. Turning left along Palm Canyon, I browsed the new MAC Cosmetics boutique (www.maccosmetics.com) (who doesn’t need a new MAC lipstick?), the trendy clothes at H&M (www.hm.com), and the stylish, modern furniture and home décor at West Elm (www.westelm.com). I couldn’t resist the silver “rabbit” table lamp, cleverly designed with a rabbit ears finial for an amusing, yet chic look. West Elm’s collection has a mid-century vibe, making it perfect for Palm Springs mid-century mindset. If you’ve worked up an appetite by now, neighboring Blaze Pizza (www.blazepizza.com) serves up healthful, artisanal pizzas in the blink of an eye, in a casual outdoor setting.
Crossing the street, there’s a bevy of boutiques brimming with new finds. Frenchy’s Palm Springs has fun and colorful women’s resort wear, as does the Paper Dolls Boutique. While Crazy Shirts (www.crazyshirt.com) may sound – well, crazy – it’s not. I was impressed with its wide array of top-quality t-shirts, shorts, and sports clothing. “We’re the only ones who use wine and key lime as the dye in our apparel,” the cheery salesperson told me. “That’s appropriate,” I thought, eyeing the wine-dyed (reddish and pink tones) apparel touting California, which is, of course, a major wine region. Crazy Shirts also exclusively features apparel with the Kliban cat. You’re sure to find new hip sunglasses at Sunglasses of Palm Springs, and at Ooh La La De Paris Eyewear.
For families, Mr. G’s Toys & Expressions has been a favorite for years. It bubbles over with stuffed animals, toys for toddlers to teens, games, doll furniture and everything to make kids – and adults – smile.
Entering Destination PSP (www.destinationpsp.com), it’s filled with everything I love about Palm Springs – gorgeous and sophisticated products for the Palm Springs lifestyle – all with a mid-century modern flair. From dinner and barware to clocks, jewelry and among my favorites, the killer PSP sunglasses cases and best-selling tissue box covers in the likeness of the Coachella Valley Bank building, one of Palm Springs’ midcentury modern architectural icons; you’re sure to find the perfect gift for others – and yourself. Destination PSP also makes the official merchandise for Modernism Week, the Palm Springs International Film Festival and other valley events, so it’s the go-to for these unique and collectable mementos in apparel and home décor.
Whew! Time for a treat. Watching the street life from a sidewalk seat at Vinny’s Italian Ice & Frozen Custard shop (www.vinnysitalianice.com) – the exciting new dessert sidewalk café – is a perfect choice. “As delicious as you’d find in New Jersey,” according to customers who know. What’s Italian ice? A dairy free frozen dessert popular on the East Coast. And frozen custard is a Midwest treat made with cream, sugar and eggs – way richer and creamier than traditional ice cream, I discovered, with my first bite of Vinny’s chocolate frozen custard. If you’re intent on a healthier treat, Fruit Wonders, just up the block, serves up a natural coconut-lavender horchata that is heaven.
Continuing on, I got my French fix at Who’s Next Palm Springs (www.benjaminperdereau.com), an oh-so-hip boutique featuring French resort wear, sunglasses and jewelry all made in the South of France. Then, delighting in the big colors and bold themes of stylish contemporary art, I wandered through the Elena Bulatova Fine Art gallery (www.elenabulatovafineart.com). From whimsical elephant likenesses to larger-than-life portraits, the gallery focuses on mixed-media painting and sculpture by Elena, Efraim Mashiah and other international artists.
Who knew downtown Palm Springs has classic records? Yes, collectors will find the best in vintage vinyl and knowledgeable sales folks at Palm Springs Vinyl Records and Collectibles (www.palmspringsvinylerecords.com).
By now it was happy hour. No worries. I’d passed so many fun spots, the only choice was where to rest my feet. The Tonga Hut Restaurant & Tiki Bar (www.tongahut.com) offers a hip Polynesian vibe and views of town and the mountains from its upstairs location. Azul Palm Springs (www.alibiazul.com) is a longtime favorite for patio drinks, sandwiches, flatbreads and entrees. HooDoo Restaurant & Bar (www.palmsprings.hyatt.com) is a hip outdoor cocktail scene right on Palm Canyon at the Hyatt Palm Springs. Sipping red wine at the new L’Olivo Italian Bistro (www.lolivoitalianbistro.com), accompanied by fine Italian cuisine, is the newest people-watching hot spot.
Palm Springs has reclaimed its’ reputation not only for fun in the sun, but for a sophisticated, yet casual vibe. For details Palm Springs exciting new shopping and dining scene, go to www.visitpalmsprings.com.