Complement your El Paseo experience with nearby activities.
Meet Some Critters
The nonprofit Living Desert Zoo and Gardens houses more than 500 animals and a magnificent variety of plant species that are native to the world's desert regions. Creature encounters include feeding the giraffes and walking with wallabies.
Enjoy a Live Performance
Treat yourself to a show at the 1,127-seat McCallum Theatre, where the 2021–2022 season features performances by LeAnn Rimes, Jay Leno, and Pink Martini as well as acclaimed musicals including Fiddler on the Roof. The theatre's season runs November through April.
Get a Bird's Eye View
Highway 74 is known as the Palms to Pines Scenic Byway because it rises from the palm-studded desert floor to the forested mountaintops. The full route will take you 67 miles through the preserved wilderness, but you need drive only 9 miles from El Paseo to reach Vista Point, a popular lookout spot that surveys the Coachella Valley.
Hit the Greens
Palm Desert and the surrounding cities are packed with picturesque courses that have been favored among golf pros for decades. Get your swing on at Desert Willow, Shadow Ridge, Desert Springs, or Classic Club, all within a few miles of El Paseo. The nearby Golf Center at Palm Desert has a driving range open for night play as well as a small golf museum.
Stroll a Sculpture Garden
At the Faye Sarkowski Sculpture Garden, paved pathways wind through a 4-acre oasis of native flora and modern sculptures from artists including Betty Gold, Yehiel Shemi, and Felipe Castañeda. The garden is open daily from sunrise to sunset.
Learn Local History
The collection of archival photographs and documents on display at the Palm Desert Historical Society Museum showcases the city's settlers and development dating back to the early 1900s. The all-volunteer historical society hosts monthly lectures at the Portola Community Center, a few blocks behind El Paseo. The historical society is open October through May.
Take a Hike
Trails abound in Palm Desert. A healthy range of distance and difficulty ratings will satisfy hikers of all levels. Popular routes include the Bump and Grind (4 miles), the Palm Desert Cross (2.3 miles), and the Hopalong Cassidy Trail (7.4 miles).
Picnic at the Park
Grab some takeout at one of the fabulous restaurants on El Paseo and head to Civic Center Park to eat alfresco by the lake. This recreational haven is the city's largest park and host to regular events including outdoor concerts and movie screenings.
Visit the National Monument
The Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains National Monument climbs from the low desert to an elevation of 10,834 feet. Stop by the visitor center on Highway 74 to learn about the land and pick up a map. Then explore the short Ed Hastey Garden Trail, which circles the building; enhance your experience by using the augmented-reality app Agents of Discovery, available on Google Play and the App Store.
Make a Splash
With three sparkling pools, multiple waterslides and diving boards, and a fun fountain playground, it's easy to spend the whole afternoon swimming at Palm Desert Aquatic Center.
/ SARIA House of Lolo dress. Oliver Peoples sunglasses. Gucci sandals. Chrissy's on El Paseo cuff bracelet. / RYAN Mr Turk polo. Blonde Clothing Boutique vintage Levi's. Stylist's own sandals.
Photography by Fab Vernandez; Styling by Neil Cohen; Beauty by Jen Plus Colour.
El Paseo Cruise Night
The monthly meetup for vintage car owners and enthusiasts turns 10.
In 2012, Jerry and Judy Martin decided to host a gathering for car lovers in Palm Desert. They spread the word, inviting acquaintances they'd met at the Dr. George Charity Car Show and some of Jerry's buds from the VA. The night came — and more than 400 cars rolled up to El Paseo. "It was mind-blowing," Judy recalls. "We had no idea it'd be so well-received."
A decade later, Cruise Night retains the same open-door policy — anyone can join car owners at The Gardens on El Paseo to scope out classic rides at the free event, which happens on the first and third Fridays of the month, November to April. After social hour, drivers hop behind their wheels and cruise up and down El Paseo, a delight for patio diners and spectators who line up along the sidewalks.
Longtime Cruise Night participant Ed Lindsay appreciates that the event is as much about the community as it is about cars. "[It draws] people who wouldn't normally go to a car show," he says. "You can have happy hour while watching guys with great cars."