Palm Springs - Explore the Urban Desert

A fun and informative guide to Coachella Valley cities

The Grill at Escena Golf Club

photos by david a. lee

More than 300 years before Palm Springs became a hideaway for celebrities, the area was the home to the Cahuilla Indians. Their presence is still felt, especially when visiting downtown’s Spa Resort Casino (1) or hiking in the canyons they once called home.

As early Hollywood prospered, Palm Springs grew into a destination with a worldwide reputation for first-class hotels, modern architecture, and year-round fun. 

The city offers a variety of events, including Palm Springs International Film Festival in January, Modernism Week in February, and VillageFest every Thursday night on Palm Canyon Drive. And no visit would be complete without a ride on Palm Springs Aerial Tramway (2) to enjoy the refreshing beauty of the San Jacinto Mountains.  

For those who live to shop, retailers of every stripe comprise the Uptown Design District  (3) on North Palm Canyon and along the downtown strip (4).   The restaurant scene continues to grow, with newcomers such as Trio (5) , LuLu California Bistro (6) , Cheeky’s (7) , and Zini Café Med (8) joining long-standing establishments such as Le Vallauris, LG’s Steakhouse, and Las Casuelas Terraza.

As one of the first, and arguably the most famous desert resort destinations in the United States, the celebrity vibe of Palm Springs is hard to beat. 

  Tips & Fun Facts 
■    See compelling exhibitions and an outstanding permanent collection at Palm Springs Art Museum.

■    Join 80,000 of your new best friends at the popular Palm Springs Festival of Lights Parade.

■    Scurry about town on a scooter, available at Scoot Palm Springs.

■    Watch a group of “mature” singers and dancers (minimum age 55)  perform at The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies.

■    Wash down thin-crust pizza with a beer, cocktail, or glass of wine at Birba.

■    Enjoy one of the best mountain views at Escena Golf Club’s Lounge & Grill.

The view from the San Jacinto Mountains

Whether you live in the Coachella Valley full- or part-time, or just come a-calling now and then, you know this place is more than simply location, location, location. It’s a feeling, a lifestyle, and most definitely a privilege. It’s also one of the “greenest” deserts around, not only because of the profusion of golf courses and verdant botanical gardens, but also for its collective commitment to sustainability evident in exemplary conservation measures, including recycling programs and xeriscaping implemented by cities, resorts, and residents.
What many consider “Palm Springs” is actually a collage of nine quite distinct cities that together fashion a one-of-a-kind resort destination. Included in this potpourri of paradise are Desert Hot Springs, Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage, La Quinta, Indio, Indian Wells, and Coachella — municipalities that make life under our beloved sun, blue sky, and majestic palms ever merrier.

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