Palm Springs' discount, outlet and off-price shopping is hard to miss. You'll pass a mammoth collection of outlet stores on I-10, twenty minutes before you get to Palm Springs. A newer collection of discount stores is on Hwy. 111, at the edge of Rancho Mirage and Palm Desert. Palm Springs VillageFest (Palm Canyon Drive from Baristo to Amado) takes place every Thursday night (except holidays), 6-10 p.m. from October through May, and 7-10 p.m. June through September. Several blocks are closed to vehicular traffic and turned into a bustling, old-time street fair featuring entertainers, arts, crafts, vendor carts, and a variety of food and certified farmers market. It's free to the public.
Another shopping event is First Friday; on the first Friday of each month, shops at the north end of North Palm Canyon Drive stay open late and host entertainment, food and sidewalk activities. Many of these boutiques, featuring housewares, antiques, artwork, clothing and furniture, are gay-owned and operated.
You'll find clothes more suited for gay men at R&R Menswear (333 N. Palm Canyon Drive; 760-320-3007), and Ty'z Menz Wear (125 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way, Suite 100; 760/778-1488), a men's store, with a very good selection of club, sports and active wear. GayMart (305 E. Arenas Rd; 760/ 416-6436) sells gay-themed casual and club wear, cards, books, candles and more in a huge department store-size location.
The PrideNation Network (PNN) Entertainment Center (300 E. Arenas Rd; 760-864-9542, ext. 10), home to Pride Nation radio and TV, is a great shop for gay music, DVDs, cards, T-shirts, drag supplies, and party toys. In the same shopping center as Oasis nightclub Revivals Resale Mart (611 S. Palm Canyon Drive; 760-318- 6491) carries secondhand threads, and a portion of profits go to the Desert AIDS Project. Gay-themed Q Trading Company (606 E. Sunny Dunes Rd; 760-416-7150; www.qtrading.com) sells books, cards and gifts and rents movies.
Head to Bear Wear Etc. (319 E. Arenas Rd; 760-323-8940) for the latest in bearish fashions. Sublime (402 N. Palm Canyon Drive; 760-322-3286) carries fabulous gifts and retro-cool housewares and decorative arts, including fun martini and other cocktail accessories.
The gay-owned Peppertree Bookstore (155 S. Palm Canyon Drive; 760-325-4821) is a mainstream shop with an excellent selection of gay/lesbian titles -- the store also brings many gay authors into town and has a second location with a small cafe up the street at 622 North Palm Canyon Drive. Mischief (210 East Arenas Rd; 760-322-8555) is an adult novelty, card, gift and home accessory outlet.
A fabulous emporium for antiques, including many of the modern Mid-Century pieces that were designed with Palm Springs' distinctive architecture in mind, is 111 Antique Mall (2500 N. Palm Canyon Drive; 760- 864-9390), which has a vast showroom. LDC Design Studio ( 1775 East Palm Canyon Drive; 760-864-9499) sells contemporary modern lighting, upholstery and accessories; it's inside a vast design center carrying great furnishings from several different companies.
For some of the sleek retro-cool '50s and '60s housewares and furnishings you see at many of the city's boutique hotels, stop by Deluxe Home ( 244 North Monterey Road; 760-325-9299). In Cathedral City, Hidden Joy (68424 Commercial Road, 760-328-1694) is the region's adult-movie and bookstore.