On your way back to the Southland, just 20 minutes from Palm Springs headed west on Highway 10, there is a not-to-be missed shopping Mecca. It is worth a stop. Obviously thousands that stream by to and fro the Palm Springs Valley and points east know about the outlets. I’m not much of a shopper so recently on an exploratory mission to check out the outlets I was dumbfounded to observe busloads of Chinese shoppers frantically engaged in impulse capitalism at the Gucci and Dulce & Gabbana stores. They were having a blast. Chairman Mao would have blown a gasket. High end tee shirts adorned with stitched and beaded skulls are a long way from the de rigueur and drab Mao jackets of the Chinese Cultural Revolution.

Two premium outlets can be found side by side. Cabazon Outlets and Desert Hills Premium Outlets. Both reflect the genius of today’s entrepreneurial American Indians who are getting even where it works – in the pocket book. The Morongo Band of Mission Indians have turned a wind swept pass that connects the desert to the Inland Empire into a dazzling destination comprised of a high rise casino, luxe resort, fine dining, world class shopping and fun kitschy nods to the past involving date shakes and life size dinosaurs. You gotta check it out.

Cabazon Outlets is the smaller of the two shopping destinations but not at all the least interesting. Here outlets for Le Creuset and Crate and Barrel feature their last year’s lines at huge reductions. Foodies will have to restrain themselves. The Brighton outlet store is where men can find a winning gift for their wives while Puma, adidas, Rip Curl and the Oakley Vault have the loot that will make junior smile the next time a gift is required – ALL AT HUGE REDUCTIONS!

Next door – no need to move the car – is the mega Desert Hills Premium Outlets. “Premium” is the give away about this shopper’s paradise featuring over 130 top-of-the-line designer and name brand outlets. Think Ferragamo scarves, Prada pant suits, Jimmy Chou shoes, Diane Van Furstenberg dresses, Giorgio Armani evening wear, Zegna suits, Dior handbags and the list goes on and on. Forget Rodeo Drive this is where die hard shoppers can be found accessing all the couture they desire for dimes on the dollar. I got to admit I had fun and though it’s June I took care of all my holiday shopping for the year. Now the challenge is where to stash the loot where my wife Reba – who has the nose of a bloodhound – won’t find it. Surprise at my home takes the skill of a jewel thief combined with the stealth of a ninja.

Both Outlets are open seven days a week from 10 AM until 8 PM. Both have additional discount programs worth checking out at their concierge offices or online. On July 4th each year Desert Hills Premium Outlets pulls out all the stops with a blowout summer sale offering a 25% – 65% extra savings on top of the every day savings at all their stores. I imagine that this event is for the most stalwart of shoppers.


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