El Paseo is known as the “Rodeo Drive of the Desert.” It’s an upscale shopping district that’s home to over 300 retailers, art galleries, and restaurants. El Paseo has become one of the top tourist destinations in the Coachella Valley and it also serves as an economic engine for Palm Desert. El Paseo started in the 1940s and 1950s when Palm Desert was in its earlier stages of initial stages of development.
The project, which was originally named El Paseo Drive, acted as the main street of town and had basic shops and services for locals and visitors. In the 1970s, architect Howard Laphan, came in to give El Paseo Drive a facelift into a fashion retail destination. He created the design elements seen today: white stucco buildings with red tile roofs and decorative fountains. Over time and into the 1990’s, El Paseo evolved into one of the top shopping destinations around with over 150 upscale boutiques, jewelry stores, and art galleries. Big names like Gucci, Giorgio Armani, and Escada all have stores on El Paseo too — which rivals Rodeo Drive. The district attracts millions of people from around the world every year.
Today there’s a mix of regional and international brands on El Paseo. Some of those include Johnny Was, Tiffany & Co., Galerie Zimmerlee, Just Fabulous, Francesca’s etc.. Like most parts of Palm Desert you can find anything you need here from clothing to food to hardware goods. Two things people love about El Paseo is the ability to drinking outside during the day at any restaurant because it’s always hot during the summer. Secondly, all of the shops are dog-friendly.
The district also has lots of dining options for all the busy shoppers looking to refuel. El Paseo is a very large shopping center and it can take a lot of energy to visit all of the shops. There many great restaurants to choose from that will accommodate any kind of diet. Some notable spots are Pacifica Seafood Restaurant, Tommy Bahama, Arnold Palmer’s, and Lulu California Bistro.
For the City of Palm Desert, El Paseo is really important because it brings in so much money. The district employs over 2,000 people and generates about $30 million in annual sales tax revenue alone for the city. The district’s success has fueled growth and development in surrounding areas, with new restaurants, hotels, and residential communities popping up to cater to tourists and seasonal residents. El Paseo continues to solidify Palm Desert’s reputation as a premier vacation and shopping destination in Southern California. Both locals and visitors will find a world-class retail experience unmatched elsewhere in the Coachella Valley.