Staycation in Palm Springs: 10 Places to Spend Your Memorial Day Weekend

Pay tribute to Liberace, rent a cool getaway or visit a military museum

Looking for a Memorial Day getaway? For $550 a night, you can rent this 1940s Palm Springs house built for composer Henry Mancini.

As the price of gas mysteriously drifts back toward $4 a gallon, perhaps staying in town for the Memorial Day weekend is looking better and better.

It’s not like Staycation is a new term anymore, and it’s amazing what you can discover right outside your own front door.

So here are some recommendations for the weekend, in no particular order. Have one to suggest? Leave a comment at the bottom of the story.

*  In the spirit of the weekend, take a drive out to the George Patton Memorial Museum. It's about an hour east of Palm Springs on Interstate 10. There is a collection of a dozen armored vehicles, including five types of tanks. You'll also learn about The Desert Training Center, which dates back to World War II and served as a simulated battle area to train troops.

*  Elks Charities Memorial Day Car Show. This free event runs 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 27, and welcomes all types of cars. Trophies will be awarded to the “People’s Choice”, “P.E.R.’s Choice”, “Best Street/Best Roadster”, “Best Muscle Car” and “Best Stock”. Food court and beer garden. Elks Lodge 1905, 67491 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Cathedral City, (760) 328-2554.

An annual event, the Palm Springs Air Museum drops 3,000 red and white carnations from a B-25 bomber to honor fallen military personnel. Flower drop starts at 1 p.m. May 27, and there will be food vendors and other activities.

“A Palm Springs Tribute to Liberace” will include a special appearance by Debbie Reynolds and take place at the location of the film, “Behind the Candelabra”, which opens Memorial Day weekend on HBO and was partially filmed in Palm Springs (pictured left). Runs 6-10 p.m. May 26. Martin Preston, a Liberace impersonator, will entertain plus the Las Vegas magic of David Sandy. Dinner buffet catered by LULU California Bistro. $99 per person. 696 N. Via Monte Vista. Reservation, (760) 320-1500.

How about a one-night stay at the Henry Mancini house? $550 gets you a four bedroom, five bathroom estate in Palm Springs that sleeps 10. The 5,200 square feet mansion was made for entertaining with a barbecue, fireplace and fountain in the main courtyard. Great mountain views, a media room and the master bath has a large steam shower and deep tub. McLean Company Rentals, 60-322-2500,

What better place to cool off than Knott’s Soak City Water Park in Palm Springs. For Memorial Day weekend, save $5 off regular admission for up to six guests. Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 1500 S. Gene Autry Trail, 760-327-0499,

“A Black and Brown Anthology” is a premiere dance concert by the Palm Springs Historical Dance Theater and founder Trina Parks, who was the first African American to play in a James Bond film, “Villians”. The choreography depicts significant events in American history. Set for 8 p.m. May 26 at Palm Springs High School auditorium. Information, (760) 218-0356 or (323) 270-0356.

Check out "Desert Days" at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club in Palm Springs. DJs spin throughout the long weekend, plus an auction and raffle to support the Lifecycle benefit bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles next month. There will be a Mt. Fuji General Store pop-up shop. Look for Griefshare, Illuminants on May 27, Dean Spunt on May 29. 760-325-9900 or

The Palm Springs American Legion Post 519 will honor all veterans starting at 1:30 p.m. May 27 with entertainment, hamburgers, hot dogs and tacos among the offerings. 400 N. Belardo Road, (760) 325-6229,

The CK Dance Company in Palm Springs will perform “Carnival of the Animals” at 7 p.m. May 24 and 2 p.m. May 25 at the Annenberg Theater. A boyu wanders from a school field trip and falls asleep in the Natural History Museum where his classmates, teachers and family are transformed into a menagerie of animals. (760) 322-4800 or

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