desert willow golf resort

25 Things to Do Right Now

Explore Greater Palm Springs this month from your home, inside your car, outdoors at a public park, hit the shops, or tee up at the recently reseeded golf courses.

Derrik J. Lang Attractions, Current Guide

desert willow golf resort
Following the traditional fall reseeding, golf courses like Desert Willow Golf Resort in Palm Desert will reopen for play this month.
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY DESERT WILLOW GOLF RESORT

Whether you’re ready to explore the desert or prefer to stay safe inside, you’ll find plenty of ways to embrace life, try something new, and have fun across the Coachella Valley this month. Schedules and offerings remain in flux, so call or check online before heading out, and subscribe to the Palm Springs Life Daily Guide at palmspringslife.com/newsletter.

1.

Take a windmill tour.

While many in-person excursions have been scrapped, Palm Springs Windmill Tours is still swirling. They offer a self-guided, 10-stop journey packed with information about the thousands of windmills located between the San Jacinto and San Gorgonio mountains. (For starters, did you know they’re actually wind turbines, not windmills?) windmilltours.com

palmspringswindmills

PHOTOGRAPH BY DANIELA STALLINGER

2.

Throw a picnic.

Take outdoor dining a step further and make one of the Coachella Valley’s breezy parks your new favorite eatery. Grab a big blanket, and stock up on goodies from artisans like those at Aspen Mills Bread Company, On the Mark, TKB Bakery & Deli, or Shields Date Garden for a picture-perfect lunch. aspenmillsps.com; onthemarkpalmsprings.com; tkbbakery.com; shieldsdategarden.com

picnic

PHOTOGRAPH BY SAM N. ORIAS

3.

Participate in a wine tasting.

Bouschet doesn’t want you to you drink alone — especially during a pandemic. Each Saturday, the Palm Springs wine bar and gourmet shop hosts virtual wine tasting sessions. Sign up online, pick up the bottles in person, and log on to Zoom at home. The tastings usually include four or five different wines. bouschet.com

4.

Order a drag queen.

Enjoy a side of fabulousness with your fried rice. Roly China Fusion in Palm Springs’ Uptown Design District offers take-out with a twist: dinner delivered by a real-life drag queen. The extra special orders sashay straight to your location and provide socially distanced performances and selfie sessions. rolychinafusion.com

5.

Shop for a fashionable mask.

If you’ve been wearing the same basic face covering since summer, you need an update. In downtown Palm Springs, head to Peepa’s for shimmering and bedazzled masks designed by artists like RoyLyB-Dazzled. greetingspalmsprings.com; peepasps.com

rolychinafusion

PHOTOGRAPH BY NATE ABBOTT
Angelique VaGorgeous

6.

Join a virtual sing-a-along.

Throughout the pandemic, Coachella Valley Repertory has made sure the show goes on. Each Thursday, the Cathedral City theater company hosts virtual sing-a-longs, concerts, and more. Past performers in CVRep’s standing-Zoom-only events have included jazz pianist Josh Nelson and husband-and-wife cabaret act Diane Vincent and Sam Kriger. cvrep.org

7.

Meet a wallaby.

Regardless of travel restrictions to Australia, you can come face to face with a wallaby. At the Australian Adventures pavilion at The Living Desert Zoo & Gardens in Palm Desert, the kangaroo-like creatures freely hop around visitors (and other critters from Down Under like laughing kookaburras) in the newly opened habitat. livingdesert.org

wallabypalmdesert

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY THE LIVING DESERT ZOO & GARDENS

8.

Unload your change.

When the pandemic shut down businesses, coins stopped circulating. Turn your quarters and other change into fee-free cash — or maybe more cash if you’re lucky — area casinos, such as Fantasy Springs Resort Casino and Spotlight 29 Casino in Indio, Augustine Casino in Coachella, and the Agua Caliente casinos in Palm Springs and Rancho Mirage. fantasyspringsresort.com; spot light29.com; augustinecasino.com; aquacalientecasinos.com

9.

See a drive-in movie.

Not ready to sit inside a theater? Catch a flick at one of several outdoor options, including this month’s drive-in theater experiences at the Palm Springs Cultural Center (The Planters); Westfield Palm Desert (Cars, The Ring); and Palm Springs Air Museum (The Broken Hearts Gallery, Anchorman). psculturalcenter.org; eltorotickets.com; coachellavalleydrivein.com

Driveinmovie

ILLUSTRATION BY SAM N. ORIAS

10.

Pair wine with your take-out.

For imbibers engaging in more delivery these days, allow local experts to assist with your selections. In Palm Springs, Dead or Alive offers an owner-curated menu focused on off-the-beaten-path sustainable and organic wines, while the Desert Wine Shop in Palm Desert is long-reputed for strong in-store advice. deadoralivebarandshop.com; desertwineshop.com

11.

Become a master gardener.

The pandemic has inspired a bright surge of green thumbs. For the ultimate seal of approval, enroll in the University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardner Program of Riverside County. Classes begin in November, and grads go on to volunteer time to plant demonstration gardens and answer community questions about cacti and everything else under the sun. ucanr.edu

gardening

PHOTOGRAPH BY DANIELA STALLINGER

12.

Listen to a story.

The library is … not open. However, reading is still fundamental. The staffs at both Palm Springs Library and Rancho Mirage Library and Observatory regularly recite fun titles for kiddos like When a Tiger Comes to Dinner and Llama Destroys the World in online videos. palmspringsca.gov; ranchomiragelibrary.org

13.

Laugh at comedians.

The Palm Springs International Comedy Festival streams Oct. 11–18. From the comfort of a couch, you can watch the fest’s nominated films, sketches, stand-up routines, and more. The event also broadcasts its awards gala, celebrating the best performances in comedy from the past year. psicf.org

• READ NEXT: Selene Luna Loves Her New Life in the Desert.

seleneluna

PHOTOGRAPH BY MADELINE NORTHWAY
Selene Luna will be honored at the Palm Springs International Comedy Festival, which runs Oct. 11-18.

14.

Sit on art.

Several of the bulky concrete benches along Palm Canyon Drive in downtown Palm Springs have received Instagram-worthy makeovers by local artists. Thanks to the Palm Springs Public Arts Commission, you can now plop down on Zack Fleming’s Cactus or feel the harmonies of QWEST COAST’s Cassette Tape. pspublicarts.com

15.

Attend a happy hour for dogs.

Animal lovers and their pets — dogs, cats, birds, guinea pigs, you name it — can participate in Animal Samaritans’ monthly Yappy Hour on Zoom. The events include contests, how-to sessions, pet advice, and general schmoozing with furry and feathered friends to benefit the organization’s life saving programs. animalsamaritans.org

yappyhour

ILLUSTRATION BY SAM N. ORIAS

16.

Play a game (or go on a speed date).

With no club life during the pandemic, the Gay Desert Guide has amped up at-home amusement with virtual gatherings. This month, the LGBTQ+ organization hosts events such as a game-night fundraiser Oct. 6, speed dating for bears Oct. 10, and a Halloween-themed edition of their Zoom That Tune show Oct. 27.
gaydesertguide.com

17.

Cook with local ingredients.

Be your own farm-to-table chef by ordering a CV Harvest Box. The new venture from Aziz Farms president Mark Tadros and Trio Restaurant owner Tony Marchese delivers valley-fresh fare like pink variegated lemons, kabocha squash, white rose potatoes, and Medjool dates. cvharvestbox.com

18.

Hit Fresh Greens.

As the desert heads into autumn seeding season — trading Bermuda for winter-ready rye grass — it’s on par to check out dual-course facilities. At the Desert Willow Golf Resort in Palm Desert, the manicured Mountain View Course and Palm Desert Golf Academy are set to reopen Oct. 22, while the Firecliff Course is back Nov. 9. desertwillow.com

19.

Go for a walk (for a good cause).

Like most events, the Desert AIDS Walk has gone virtual. Register to walk Oct. 23 and 24 to support Desert AIDS Project efforts to expand healthcare access in the Coachella Valley and stop the spread of HIV and COVID-19. The suggested route starts at Ruth Hardy Park and continues along Palm Canyon Drive. desertaidswalk.org

lgbt rainbow

PHOTOGRAPH BY GETTY IMAGES

20.

Test for COVID-19 antibodies.

It’s always nice to donate blood,the local LifeStream Blood Bank also checks successful donations for antibodies to determine if they can help COVID-19 patients. The test indicates if an immune system has produced antibodies to the coronavirus, regardless whether the donor ever showed symptoms. lstream.org

21.

Make your own Modernism Week.

Participate in the Modernism Week Fall Preview Online Experience by accessing compelling programs for 30 days starting Oct. 15. Or, if you would like a more hands on approach, with a smartphone, you can experience Modernism Week whenever you want. Available for Apple and Android devices, download the Palm Springs Modernism app for guided tours of more than 80 midcentury modern landmarks. Select a suggested driving route by location or architect — or craft a custom tour with a few taps. modernismweek.com; psmodcom.org/mid-century-modern-tour-app

palmspringsmodernism

PHOTOGRAPH BY DANIELA STALLINGER

22.

Do yoga outdoors.

If a skyward-stretch toward the actual sky is your fitness jam, park your mat in Palm Springs’s Ruth Hardy Park, where Power Yoga of Palm Springs and Kristin Olson’s Urban Yoga meet for socially distanced classes. If you prefer to downward dog indoors, they also offer online sessions. poweryogapalmsprings.com; urbanyoga.org

yoga

ILLUSTRATION BY SAM N. ORIAS

23.

Enroll in a boot camp.

Gained the COVID-19? Work off those extra quarantine pounds with an outdoor training regime. With locations in Palm Desert, La Quinta, and Palm Springs, Fit in 42 hosts an array of classes beyond their gym walls, while Power of Fitness in Palm Desert boasts an outdoor facility complete with medicine balls and giant tires. fitin42.com; poweroffitness.com

24.

Create your own spa.

You can find the materials to create a de-stressing atmosphere right here in the Coachella Valley. Go to Crystal Fantasy in downtown Palm Springs for bundles of sage, incense, and crystals, and then head to The Body Deli in Palm Desert for creams, oils, mists, and more. (The new pumpkin spice blends help you fall into an autumnal mode.) crystalfantasy.com; thebodydeli.com

crystalfantasy

PHOTOGRAPH BY DANIELA STALLINGER

25.

Fly in a Warbird.

What’s cooler than checking out the dozens of vintage planes scattered across the tarmac and climate-controlled hangars at the Palm Springs Air Museum? Riding in one. For the ultimate experience in the air, book a Warbird flights on the T-28 Trojan, PT-17 Stearman, P-51 Mustang, or T-33 Shooting Star Jet.
palmspringsairmuseum.org