Plan Your Visit

Plan Your Visit

Plan Your Visit to El Paseo Palm Desert
Palm Desert Historical Society

Welcome to El Paseo, the Coachella Valley's premier shopping, dining, and cultural destination. With more than 250 businesses at your service, everything you need for a memorable desert experience — and more — lies within walking distance. Day or night, this mile-long street aims to inspire. So come as you are, and discover all that the El Paseo Shopping District has to offer.


A Brief History
The city of Palm Desert sprouted up around this promenade.

In the 1940s, a businessman and aviator named Cliff Henderson mapped out his idea for a luxury resort playground in the middle of the Southern California desert. Henderson arrived in the area by way of Los Angeles, where he'd been involved with such projects as the Pan-Am Pacific Auditorium and Los Angeles International Airport. After serving in the Army Air Corps and falling ill with valley fever overseas, he found respite at a scenic ranch on the outskirts of Palm Springs. The native Iowan became captivated by the healing nature of the arid climes and felt called to cultivate a community around it. Henderson acquired approximately 1,600 acres in 1946. With the support of his two brothers, brother-inlaw, and an investor, he established the infrastructure and laid the groundwork for the city of Palm Desert. It all blossomed around this boulevard. One of the first roads poured, the street was aff ectionately dubbed El Paseo (Spanish for "The Promenade").