Downtown Palm Springs revolves around North Palm Canyon Drive; many art galleries, souvenir shops, and restaurants are here, along with a couple of large-scale hotels and shopping centers. This wide one-way boulevard is designed for pedestrians, with many businesses set back from the street (don't be shy about poking around the little courtyards you'll encounter). On Thursday nights from 6 to 10pm, the blocks between Amado and Baristo roads are transformed into VillageFest, a town street fair. Handicrafts vendors and aromatic food booths vie for attention with wacky street performers and even wackier locals shopping at the fresh-produce stalls.

The northern section of Palm Canyon, known for collectibles, is touted as the Antique and Heritage Gallery District. Check out Antiques Collector, 798 N. Palm Canyon Dr. (tel. 760/323-4443), a discriminating mall-style store with 35 dealers displaying wares that range from vintage linens to handmade African crafts, to prized Bakelite jewelry. Open hours are 10am to 4:30pm.

Serious shoppers head south to Palm Desert, with the delicious excesses of El Paseo, a cornucopia of high-rent boutiques, salons, and upscale restaurants reminiscent of Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, along with more than a dozen major shopping malls.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.