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Palm Springs Is Making Great Strides in Downtown Development

The SoCal city is putting its best foot forward
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By Patricia Kemp

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Visit Palm Springs

One of the best ways to explore all the shopping, food, art and celebrity nostalgia in downtown Palm Springs is on foot. New developments emerged on the scene, like the multi-million dollar Downtown Plaza, home to stylish shops and appetizing eateries. Meanwhile, mainstays like the VillageFest street fair are still going strong after 20 years attracting big crowds every Thursday evening. The star-studded Walk of Stars lines sidewalks in front of boutiques, bistros and galleries clustered on Palm Canyon Drive and surrounding side streets. Whether you’re on the hunt for a chic, new wardrobe or need a caffeine kick, pedestrians find much to admire on a leisure stroll through downtown.

Downtown Plaza

Anchoring the downtown, the commercial plaza is a mix of retail and restaurants that was redesigned in 2018. The expansive space houses a copious collection of contemporary clothing stores like H&M, Free People and Johnny Was. West Elm livens up living spaces with modern furniture and other home goods. Health and beauty browsers can drop by Kiehl’s for hydrating skin care products. Foodies find comfort in casual eateries including Juniper Table, Blaze Pizza, Haus of Poke and Tommy Bahamas, while Starbucks Reserve is refreshing hangout to sip an iced latte on the massive wraparound outdoor terrace under cooling misters. Plans of a beautiful park and more business openings make this an ever-expanding stretch of fun.

Palm Springs Is Making Great Strides in Downtown Development

Palm Springs Is Making Great Strides in Downtown Development

Graphic by Whitney Wolff


The Thursday street fair is a lively pedestrian shopping experience that draws hundreds of creative artisans toting their handcrafted items from Native American dreamcatchers to one-of-a-kind works of funky metal art.

Taylor Lapidus has made the trek from San Diego every week since September 2018 to set up his booth, Think Possible Apparel. His unique, feel-good t-shirts are designed with positive affirmations that bend into the shape of a tree, ocean wave and even an elephant warrior in a yoga pose. “The words are relevant to the symbolism of the art so you’ll find some phrase to fit your day,” Lapidus said. “The street fair is a great way to introduce my art to people.”

Further down the block, GG’s Desserts entices passers-by with free samples of chocolate chip, cinnamon and strawberry cookies. A street fair staple since 2017, owner/baker Karen Guaudamondo and her son, Hunter, bring their farm fresh delectables to festival-goers every week. “It’s a good market,” Hunter said. “This is a tourist town and always a lot of foot traffic.”

The festival is also a magnate for shoppers on the prowl for rare, off-the-wall items, like Matthew Wilcox’s Sticks and Lasers “pop art,” you won’t find in big-box retail stores. You’ll recognize some famous faces, like David Bowie, “The Big Lebowski” Dude, and a wild Bette Davis from her iconic role in “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane.”

Palm Springs Is Making Great Strides in Downtown Development

Palm Springs Is Making Great Strides in Downtown Development

Villagefest | Photo: Kent Taylor

Palm Springs Walk of Stars

Hollywood lore has always been a fixture of Palm Springs culture, and what better way to complete your walkabout than taking a lap around the “Golden Palm Stars” Walk of Fame. With legendary luminaries like Bob Hope and Dinah Shore, you can pay homage to more than 400 stars who made Palm Springs their home away from Hollywood.

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Palm Springs Is Making Great Strides in Downtown Development

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