17 groovy shops to add to your Palm Springs bucket list
There’s a photograph of me from the early 1970s. I’m in the pool of California’s first Holiday Inn, now the Parker Palm Springs, gripping a yellow float with a proud smile on my face. I was happy because I had taught myself how to swim so that I could join my brothers who never left the pool, while my mother and father read poolside. Dinners were always at dimly lit Rat Pack-style restaurants where my mother drank Manhattans (my mother never drank Manhattans except in Palm Springs) and, much to my embarrassment, my wingtip-wearing father dined in his slippers.
Decades later, not much has changed in Palm Springs, except that the sun-soaked city feels livelier these days. On a recent visit, for instance, the shops running along Palm Canyon Drive were bustling with tourists, snowbirds and Southern Californians like myself. While Long Beach artist Dustin Gimbel installed his ceramic sculptures inside the Trina Turk shop, fortune tellers read palms at the crystals shop and a disc jockey spun tunes while kids had their faces painted at the Palm Springs Art Museum. (The enormous statue of Marilyn Monroe outside the museum was popular with selfie-taking tourists too, but my family found it depressing and sexist. For more on that, read my Times colleague Christopher Knight’s take).
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There are more shops to explore in nearby Rancho Mirage, Cathedral City and Palm Desert, but for this particular shopping roundup, I focused on independent boutiques in downtown Palm Springs, where parking is free and easy, and nearly all of the stores are within walking distance of one another. From one-of-a-kind handcrafted ceramic lamps at the Shops at 1345 to hand-knit mohair sweaters at Market Market, it’s not hard to find something truly special inside one of these desert shops.
Here are 17 that stood out for me during two recent visits.
Antique Galleries of Palm Springs
The 12,000-square-foot former industrial space is located a few miles from downtown Palm Springs and features about 35 vendors selling everything from vintage clothing and jewelry to furniture and lighting and ceramics. Even if you’re not looking to purchase anything, the retro items on two floors are fun to peruse. I came across an orange bicycle credenza bar ($1,350), a pair of orange flowered velvet couches from the 1970s ($650 to $950) and an emerald-green and gold freestanding dry bar ($1,895).
On a recent visit, the warm vibes extended to the exit — across the hall from a vintage Remington Standard typewriter ($599) — where baskets of locally grown lemons, oranges and grapefruit sat with a sign that read, “Free, please take one.”
Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
bobo Palm Springs
The store was stocked with colored pens, wrapping paper sheets ($5 a piece), headwraps by Summersalt ($20), California-themed stickers, Poketo planners ($30) and National Parks Coloring Books and journals — perfect for parents who may need activities for kids during their trip to the Southern California desert.
Open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays through Sundays; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays.
Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday as well as Wednesday through Saturday; and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.
The heavily curated home store features furniture, including a fun assortment of swivel chairs ($1,300), lamps, pillows and gift options like candles, vases and ceramics.
Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
In addition to crystals, specialty tarot decks and a vast amount of incense, books and candles, Crystal Fantasy hosts several readings throughout the week including palm, angel and tarot consultations. On a recent visit, there were four readers in attendance, with walk-in sign-ups available at the front desk. The store also hosts sound baths and reiki circles both on and off-site.
Open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Wednesday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.
Open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Monday and Thursday; and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Grace Home Furnishings
The showroom features a wide variety of Palm Springs-appropriate artworks as well as some classic furnishings that you can test out in person, including comfy sectionals available in different sizes, configurations and wood finishes ($8,495 to $8,980). For lower price-point options, the store also carries picture frames, ice buckets and pillows for gift-giving ideas with ice buckets starting at $80. (As a bonus, the interior designers, who also have a showroom in Brentwood, recently remodeled a vacation home in Palm Desert that will be open to the public during Modernism Week. Tickets are $35.)
Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
The mix of contemporary home goods includes chaise lounges, furniture, an entire room filled with colorful throw pillows, striking patio umbrellas made with Sunbrella fabric, barware for poolside sips, and pet accessories. The store’s staff is friendly and helpful and quick to offer advice or demonstrate how something works without pushing you to purchase something. (As a bonus, the interior designers’ personal residence will be open to the public as part of Modernism Week 2023. Tickets are $35.)
Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Currently, the roomy space has about 50 vendors selling new and vintage goods including clothing, furnishings, plants and art.
Among the one-of-a-kind items I spotted on a recent visit were handmade mohair cardigans by ReckLess ($746), Southwestern-inspired clothing and beaded jewelry from Los Angeles-based RTH, a vintage macrame dress at the Hallazgos stall ($1,200), caftans made from vintage silk kimonos ($1,250), hand-dyed upcycled clothing by Kazmik Grace and a Midcentury occasional chair by John Kapel ($4,200).
Open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
Mojave Flea Trading Post Palm Springs
Rounding out the nontraditional department store is the Palm Springs Bottle Shop, located at the back of the market, which carries wine, beer and specialty foods created by LGBTQ, BIPOC and women entrepreneurs and lovely grab-and-go floral arrangements by Hermano Flowers.
Open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. A second trading post is located at 55727 Twentynine Palms Hwy. in Yucca Valley.
Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays.
The Shag Store
Josh Agle, the artist popularly known as Shag, has collaborated with homeowner Brandon McBurney and designer John-Patrick Flynn to transform a Midcentury Modern pool home into a fully realized Shag painting for Modernism Week 2023. Tours on Feb. 18 and19 are sold out. Other date options are 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Feb. 20 and Feb. 24 through 26. $35.
Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday; and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday through Sunday.
The Shops at 1345
The design collective features 14 independent shops including vintage goods at L’indy California, colorful handmade pottery by Double M Pottery, and plants, succulents and pottery at the Back Yard PS. Additional boutiques offer fashion, art and housewares including Towne, Bowie & Co., Soukie Modern, Crater Studio, Talini Home, Baldo Creative, Cabana Eyewear, Modern Resale, FOS Palm Springs and James Bacchi Contemporary. There’s also an inviting outdoor space behind the building that features drought-tolerant landscaping ideas from the landscape designers at the Back Yard PS plant shop.
Open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday and Thursday through Sunday.
Thick as Thieves
Along with housewares, books, children’s items and Turkish bath towels, the store also offers jewelry handmade in Palm Springs.
Open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.
If Turk’s bright, patterned bathing suits, dresses and menswear for Mr. Turk are too bold, the boutique also carries an extensive selection of books, glassware, sheets and pillows and jigsaw puzzles for out-of-towners in need of a distraction.
Showroom bonus: a comfy built-in sofa for those who don’t like to shop but want to relax instead.
Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.
Windmill City Super #1
In addition to the fun tees, hats, greeting cards and California-inspired screen prints including California poppies and Meyer lemons, the store highlights goods from California makers including Wonder Valley olive and body oils (Joshua Tree), Bradley Mountain candles and bandannas (San Diego) and body wash from Bathing Culture (San Francisco).
For parents traveling with children, the store offers a good selection of desert books such as “Why Oh Why Are Deserts Dry?” by Tish Rabe and the Hardy Boys’ “Mystery of the Desert Giant” by Franklin W. Dixon.
Open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday through Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday.
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