In this episode of The Coachella Valley Art Scene’s Coachella Guide we explore some of our personal favorite places to shop.
Now, mind you, please do know that this is NOT AN ADVERTISEMENT. This is really just from us, for you, to enjoy and navigate around our hometown with. We didn’t get paid to talk about any of these businesses, so please don’t interpret it that way. We try to keep it real as possible on The Coachella Valley Art Scene.
These are really places that we go and spend our money at. A majority, if not all, of these business are independently owned. If you get a moment to check them out, please do – you’ll be happy that you did!
Places to Shop
You come into town, you’re unfamiliar with the area, and you’re driving up and down HWY 111 and all you can see is Target, Home Depot, and Denny’s. Great. You wanna get some cool threads, some kicks, some shades, some tunes, some souvenirs, some random stuff…. but where to go?
As you have probably already learned about the desert….. there is much more than just what meets the eye. You must look deeper, my friend.
Tucked away, deep into the little crevices of the Coachella Valley are some really cool locally owned businesses that you can pick up some really cool things at. We have compiled our favorite list of shops that we visit on a regular basis. We like visiting these stores because they are independently owned, the owners are our friends, are cool peeps and they sell cool stuff that we need/want…. ok, more-so on the ‘want’, but whatever.
* Check out our very popular, Coachella Guide: Thrift Stores for all our favorite Thrift Stores of the desert
Our Top 5 Picks
We chose these top 5 based on the fact that they are independently owned, that they have cool stuff, and bonus points for all that are pretty close to Coachella Fest’s venue.
#1 Pick: Epidemic Skateboard Shop
Cathedral City, CA
I love Epidemic Skateboard Shop and I can count all the reasons on my right hand: (thumb) They have been in business for 10 years, (pointer finger) it’s a family owned business and the main man is Glen who is about 27 years old and is SUPER cool, (middle finger) they have a super dope skate team and have helped bred and inspire many desert skaters, (ring finger) they have good selections of boards, girl clothes, guy clothes, sunglasses, etc, (pinky finger) they are selling the limited edition of Alf Alpha X Epidemic Sunglasses at the shop for only $5.00 (!!!!!!) during Coachella Fest weekend!!! Better go pick yours up because they are super fly (photo of them being modeled by Alf Alpha in picture above) and are literally flying off the shelves at the shop already.
68802 Ramon Road
Cathedral City, CA 92234-3384
#2 Pick: Cactus Mart
Morongo Valley, CA
Cactus Mart is truly a desert gem and everyone should go there at least once in your life. Seriously. Oh, and my dearly beloved Grandparents own the Cactus Mart. Another ‘serious’ statement. So, you know it’s awesome. Let me tell you a bit about it: my Grandparents have about 5 different large green houses on the property – all of which you can walk through and check out thousands of different types of cacti and succulents. Yes, thousands. Just take a look at the photos above, that’s not even like a smiggin’ of what they got up there. And don’t worry about anything being expensive, you are buying a product directly from the source! Cacti from the desert – duh. Everything is very reasonably priced. You can even “Dig Your Own for .59 cents” (I put it in quotes because that’s what a sign says out in the front – and this deal actually made them so famous that a Hi-Desert band named themselves ‘Dig Your Own’). And these are actually really great presents/souvenirs to take home because they need little to no water! Sweet. Oh – and tell them their favorite Granddaughter, Sarah, recommended you and you will get the special “Grandma Tour”. My Grandma will introduce you to the Cactus Mart dog, the chickens, the exotic birds, and the cats…. and even show you her special collection of High Desert art from her favorite local Hi-Desert artists.
I could go on and on and on about how much I love this place…. but I’ll just let you explore it for yourself.
49889 29 Palms Hwy
Morongo Valley, CA 92256-9470
#3 Pick: Uptown Design District
Palm Springs, CA
There are two places I try avoid: El Paseo and Downtown Palm Springs. There is one place where I spend all my time roaming the streets and window shopping: the Uptown Design District of Palm Springs. Swooooooooooon. Drool. Jaw Drop. The whole shabang. I love this area. In my opinion, the Uptown Design District of Palm Springs is what defines Palm Springs. It brings to life all of it’s eccentricities and let’s you take a step inside the world of Modernism and experience it first hand. Any Interior Designers out there? Vintage lovers? Modern lovers? Lovers of great design and clean lines? Well, me too. Even if you are looking for stuff like perfumes, clothes, shoes… it’s all here, tucked away inside small, adorable boutiques. A must!
Check out their online handout that highlights some of my favorite shops: http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/a9fdbbbc#/a9fdbbbc/1
basically, on North Palm Canyon Drive, between the streets about about E Granvia Valmonte to around E Tacheva Drive
in Palm Springs, CA
#4 Pick: Johnson Photo
The desert is such a beautiful place. And really any photo you take out here is going to be beautiful because your canvas to work with is absolutely stunning. However, if you don’t have the right tools to take that photo with – then it won’t come out as beautiful as it has the potential to. Know what I’m saying? Thus, leading to you to the desert’s most adorable camera shop, Johnson Photo. If you’re a camera fan – new or old – you are gonna freak out when you step foot inside this place. And adorable elderly couple runs the shop and they have the sickest new skool and vintage camera around. Lenses? Check. Printers? Check. It’s all there. And – one of the biggest pluses about the shop is that it is located in Old Town Indio, a place that I always recommend all out-of-towners to explore. Some of the most amazing photos opps around. Tell your Facebook and Flickr page to thank me later.
82789 Miles Avenue
Indio, CA (760) 347-3774
#5 Pick: Record Alley
Palm Desert, CA
I love the Record Alley. I always felt like some indie film should be made about that store. It’s the deserts only independently owned record shop and it’s been located inside the Westfield Mall in Palm Desert forever. So picture that – all the indie kids gotta make a trip into the mall. It’s great. No, but seriously, the Record Alley not only has an amazing selection of vinyl (new and used), but also CDs, merch, and some of the coolest employees around. The picture above features one of my favorite local DJs, Alf Alpha, who has been digging for vinyl at the Record Alley for more than 6 years. Pick up some tunes for your ride back home here.
72-840 HWY 111 (inside the Westfield Mall)
Palm Desert, CA (760) 341-2017
#5 Pick: Fresh Out the Box
Palm Desert, CA
Down for Nike Dunks? Street wear? Fitted caps? Fresh Out the Box is best store in the Valley for you then. They always come correct when supplying the streets with the latest in premium kicks from brands like Supra and the latest designs from t-shirt companies like Acrylick and Married to the Mob. They have goodies for guys and girls. So, when you’re out there sweating on the Polo Fields, don’t say we never told you where to get your freshness at.
73-614 Hwy 111
Palm Desert, CA (760) 346-3682
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Thank you for reading our Coachella Guide: Places to Shop.
We hope it helped. Let us know if it did, send us some pictures of your finds:firstname.lastname@example.org
And if you are a local who would like to recommend some of your favorite places, hit us up!
Sarah at email@example.com
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