Night Crawlers

chris miller/imagine imagery

From beat-pounding dance clubs to cool jazz joints, the desert serves up an exciting mix of after-dark action. If you’re a night crawler with your sights set on after hours adventures, read on.

One of the hippest locales in the desert, ace hotel & swim club 1-760-325-9900; in Palm Springs offers so much more than a mere hotel. When it’s not hosting fundraisers for local organizations such as Desert AIDS Project, the Ace comes alive with youthful energy, ripe with “tequila and spontaneous dancing” in the Amigo Room (their words, not ours). Folks at the Ace are wildly creative. Be prepared for anything during their weekly theme nights, from making disco lanyards to playing sissy bingo (if you need to ask, you need to go). Other nights are devoted to dancing, with DJ Day tearing it up on Thursdays, spinning everything from funk to samba to dance hall to juke.

For a stylish night out dancing, try Costas nightclub or stir lounge. Both posh clubs are located inside trendy, upscale resorts: Costas inside JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa in Palm Desert and Stir Lounge inside the Renaissance Esmeralda Resort and Spa in Indian Wells.

Costas 1-760-341-2211;  prides itself on trendy, sexy patrons and hot, pulsating music (and occasionally professional dancers), with sounds ranging from hip-hop to disco to techno. Stir Lounge 1-760-773-4444;  offers elegance and a strictly enforced dress code. Both clubs attract a wide swath of people, from laid-back desert dwellers to cosmopolitan trendsetters from L.A. and other big-city environs.

Las Casuelas Terraza  1-760-325-2794; has been voted “best of” all kinds of stuff in local publications, from Best Happy Hour, to Best Outdoor Dining, to Best Live Music and Dance Spot. And for good reason: the energy in the outdoor palapas is palpable any night of the week. A live band plays classic rock and oldies, much to the delight of people of all ages who dance with abandon on the small dance floor surrounded by diners.

Village Pub 1-760-323-3265 is a neighborhood bar with good food, reasonably priced drinks, and live bands in the main room. A nearby dance floor never empties, and you can dance, drink, and dine until 1:30 a.m. Here’s another cool thing: If you want to check it out before you make the drive, go to the website to watch what’s happening on the webcam.

A Palm Springs institution for more than 30 years, Zelda’s Nightclub 1-760-325-2375 is one of the best-known places in the desert for dancing, drinking, and few-holds-barred fun. The dance party heats up Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays with two DJs spinning today’s hottest music.

Casinos are a hotbed of hot action, whether it’s at the tables or on the dance floor. fantasy springs resort casino 1-800-827-2946 features Lit, a two-level club with a modern vibe, full bar, and live music on weekends. Various venues in spa resort casino and Agua Caliente Casino • Resort • Spa 1-888-999-1995 for both offer an inviting mix of live music, tribute bands, comedy, and more. And spotlight 29 casino’s Groove 1-866-878-6729 compels you to “mix and mingle with the coolest cats in the desert.”

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