Desert - Palm Desert - El Paseo
Touring * Street * Scene *
From Interstate 10 at Thousand Palms, take the Monterey Avenue exit and head south for just over five miles to one block south of the junction of Highways 74 and 111. Turn right on El Paseo Street and park in the corner shopping center parking lot. Skate back across Highway 74 to the sidewalks bordering either side of El Paseo.
In the relative cool of the evening, skating along El Paseo Street, where the trunks of the palm trees lining the road are wrapped in tiny white lights, can be a delightful experience. The pedestrian traffic is lighter then, so you can relax and enjoy window shopping on this commercial street, where vendors of paintings and sculpture, jewelry, clothing, and fingernail maintenance seem to have a monopoly on the local commerce. There are several eating establishments, and at least three of them offer outdoor seating. (The Daily Grill has the best location and the best food.) Sculptures are mounted along the street's center divider; they are better appreciated during daylight hours. You will cross several intersections, but at night there isn't much traffic to worry about. Just keep your eyes open for the big drainage crack (two inches wide) in the San Pablo Avenue intersection. The downtown section of El Paseo may be only one mile long, but all up and down the street there are little tiled or bricked breezeways leading to more shops. On the north side, most of them draw you in with the inviting sounds of a splashing water fountain. On the south side, they lead to larger shopping grottoes with pools, but the bricks here are difficult to skate on. Pass through the breezeways to get behind the shops on both sides of El Paseo, and you will find two miles of parking lot playlands. The lots on the south side are concrete and compact, with curbs. At night, one or two of these lots are lit well enough to inspire thoughts of roller hockey, a sports craze just waiting to happen in Palm Desert. The big lots behind the shops on the north side of El Paseo belong to a shopping center and face Highway 111. Nighttime skating is really fun here because of the long, gentle slopes, good lighting and pavement, and few cars.
Aug 1, 1995
Aug 1, 1995