Do Your Holiday Shopping at Palm Springs Attractions

Posted By: Barbara Beckley Monday, November 02, 2015

Surprise!  Palm Springs attractions are more than interesting – their stores are the ultimate in gift shopping. So do like the locals, and head to the nearest museum for trend-setting treasures. And of course, remember the golden rule – one for them and one for me. 

Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center. Since opening last year, the Bradford W. Bates Vault: The Museum Design Store has become one of the resort’s hottest shopping destinations. “This is where shoppers who like unique, fun, cutting edge gifts come,” Deb McGroarty, design store sales associate, told me recently. “We’re all about products that showcase the best directions in contemporary design.”Gift shop

“Dome and bullet clocks,” hip architectural numerals – avant garde  2s, 3s and so forth – are top sellers. You’ll also find ultra-cool Savora kitchen tools. And jewelry made from recycled aluminum airplane parts. It’s very light, like wearing nothing – but style. The bracelet I loved was $175. And cute pins and bracelets made out of legos. “We’re getting more things in all the time,” Deb said. There are books galore on architecture and mid-century modern style for adults and younger design enthusiasts. Neutra Complete Works is a huge seller as is Iggy Peck, Architect.  www.psmuseum.org/architecture-design-center; 300 South Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs.

Palm Springs Art Museum.  It’s a different world of shopping a few blocks away at the iconic Palm Springs Art Museum. “People come here to buy bright, contemporary gifts,” Betty Rinnig, associate director of merchandising for the museum, explained. More than half the inventory is designed and hand-crafted by artists. Kent Stetson of Rhode Island’s off-the-chart handbags offer an homage to the museum’s Killer Heels: The Art of the High Heeled Shoe running through December 15, 2015. 

This shop is the only place on earth where you can purchase his “over the rainbow” purse, custom-designed for the Palm Springs Art Museum. The original shoe pillow designs Rita Lerman Erickson of Minnesota are another perfect fit. Local artist Sue Rappaport features shoe shaped cookies and creative handbags. Wine glasses with heels, cake plate with heels. The googly-fun button, bead and art jewelry by Lori Kirsch of Arizona are must-have eye-catchers.  

The extensive collection of wonderful gifts for children seems to fill half the shop. No plastic or high tech toys are allowed. The children’s collection is “education in a soft way. They don’t know they’re learning,” she explained. Whimsical animal-shaped lights made of creamy-colored plastic caught my eye immediately. Tiny painted wooden pull toys, classic – a doggie --and non-classic – a cuddly crocodile are among dozens of toys. Children’s books abound, focused on art and beautifully illustrated keep-for-a-lifetime tomes like the gorgeous full-size Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen. And fun, yet traditional The Wizard of Oz Scanimation book – another top seller.  Designer décor, cool coffee mugs from Italy, scarves, watches – the gifting finds are endless. www.psmuseum.org; 101 N. Museum Drive, Palm Springs.

Gift ShopThe Agua Caliente Cultural Museum. Wow! If you love authentic Native American jewelry and art, this is a must. The gift shop is a treasure trove of hand-crafted Native American jewelry, baskets and Cahuilla-style pottery. No need to drive to Arizona or New Mexico – the buyer does it for you, going twice a year to visit the best of the tribal artisans, said Ursula Cripps, the museum’s lead interpreter. 

Only genuine Hopi, Zuni and Navajo silver jewelry graces the displays, set with turquoise, onyx and other traditional stones. This is also one of the few places to purchase the works of Tony Soares. Soares is credited with reviving the ancient coil/paddle and anvil technique to make classic Cahuilla-style clay pots. All his pots are handmade in at his studio in Joshua Tree using local clays and red or brown designs from iron oxides. 

The library of books about Native American history and culture for adults and children, are huge sellers, Ursula said. Dream catchers made by a Native American gentleman in Indio, posters, puzzles and handmade note cards are additional gift opportunities. And – the best news is -- if you become a museum member at the time of purchase, you receive a 15 percent discount on all items. www.accmuseum.org; 219 South Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs.

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