Self-Guided Bike Tour
Enjoy a morning of midcentury modernism before those sizzling sunrays kick in with a leisurely ride through some of Palm Springs’ most iconic neighborhoods.
Pedal your way through Movie Colony East, best known as Frank Sinatra’s former stomping ground, or pay a visit to the #PartyLions in the Indian Canyons neighborhood. Rent cruisers as cute as the homes by the half-day, day, or week from Bike Palm Springs. Open 8–10 a.m. daily in the summertime, the rental company offers a selection of electric, mountain, tandem, road, and standard pedal bikes and provides a lock, helmet, and riding map with your rental. If you prefer to plan ahead, make your reservation online and pick up the bikes at your convenience. bikepsrentals.com
There’s far more to the 1-acre Moorten Botanical Garden than its oft-photographed Cactarium greenhouse, although you’ll definitely come away with a ton of amazing selfies. The unofficial Palm Springs landmark represents the vision of Patricia Moorten and her husband, Chester “Cactus Slim.” The pair collected plant specimens throughout their travels and in 1939 established a garden of peculiar plants at their home. Their son Clark, now in his 70s, grew up on the property and continues to care for his parents’ thriving desert nursery, which also houses tortoises and doves. Plants are priced well, so you may find yourself bringing home your own spindly cactus (or 20) to commemorate the visit. Open daily, except on Wednesdays. moortenbotanicalgarden.com
Old Western Throwback
Built in the 1940s by actor Dick Curtis and his entertainment industry cohorts as a functioning Old West film set (complete with a saloon, “likker” store, and feed barn), Pioneertown has set the scene for more than 200 motion pictures and serials through the years. Perched in the High Desert (about a 45-minute drive from Palm Springs), the community now has an art studio, a saddler, and pottery and soap shops. Visit at sunup (because you’ll want to wander outdoors) then get a table at the lauded Pappy & Harriet’s for drinks and a downhome barbecue lunch. visitpioneertown.com
DID YOU KNOW?
Filmmaker Dorothy Arzner invented one of the earliest boom mics and was the only female director working in Hollywood from 1927 to 1943. In the early ’40s, she retired in La Quinta. Now you can stay in her former home: Book the two-bedroom Arzner Suite at La Quinta Resort & Club.
Designer Shops & Dinosaurs
Get your comfy shoes on — you can spend hours traversing the retail wilds of Cabazon. The heavily discounted prices on everything from Adidas to Alexander McQueen are hard to pass up. In need of a pick-me-up? Pop into the East Village Café and grab a refreshing bubble tea from the Chatime tea shop. Afterward, don your new designer duds for a photo shoot with prehistoric props — Claude Bell’s Cabazon Dinosaurs are adjacent to the outlets. Most will recognize Mr. Rex and Dinny, the behemoths visible from the freeway (and in films like Pee-wee’s Big Adventure and The Wizard), but may not realize more than 50 lifelike dinos dot the park.
PHOTOGRAPH BY @BEARLEADERCHRONICLE
On weekends, the Sweet-o-saur serves colorful ice cream treats topped with dino-shaped waffles. Intrepid adventurers can climb the stairs inside Mr. Rex to reach an epic viewpoint in his mouth — just watch out for those Tyrannosaurus teeth. There’s also a gift shop with Jurassic Period swag located inside Dinny the Brachiosaurus’ cavernous belly. cabazonoutlets.com; premiumoutlets.com
Discover El Paseo
Palm Desert’s elegant shopping and dining strip reminds locals and those on vacay that sophistication never panders to trends. Palms rustle above this sunny boulevard, lined with cafés serving cold brew coffee and healthy lunch options, salons specializing in lash fills and blowouts, and boutiques and designer stores purveying timeless apparel, jewelry, and accessories. For covered parking, head to the structure located at San Pablo Avenue. elpaseocatalogue.com
Summer is all about sipping Skinny Cucumber Coolers poolside while the DJ spins. Reserve a decked-out cabana for the afternoon or plan to pool hop. Several hotels throughout the area offer day passes, and some even include access to eucalyptus-infused steam rooms, saltwater grottos, and fitness facilities. Many resorts offer day passes through ResortPass. Others, such as Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa, offer them in person (though after Labor Day, guests will be able to purchase a pass for Omni via ResortPass). resortpass.com
PHOTOGRAPH BY PAULINA PERRUCCI
L’Horizon Resort & Spa
Paint & Sip
When you can’t decide between cocktails and craft night, sidle up to an easel at Pinot’s Palette, where the whole crew can make a masterpiece. A local artist guides dabblers and Da Vinci acolytes through creating a cheerful canvas worthy of any gallery wall. Book a private event and consult with your girls to choose a work of art from their massive library of options (we recommend a desert-inspired cactus design for the perfect Palm Springs souvenir) or sign up for one of the classes on their packed event calendar. The price includes materials, but beer and wine are extra — the menu includes locally made suds from La Quinta and Coachella Valley brewing companies. pinotspalette.com
When daytime temps soar, humans and critters find the desert’s untouched natural areas most hospitable after the sun sets. So plan to get your steps in at night. Trails abound throughout Greater Palm Springs; well-trafficked options include an easy trek in La Quinta Cove (3 miles leads to a lake!) and the Bump and Grind trail in Palm Desert. Both locations also have harder, rockier routes if you’re seeking a more challenging ascent. Stick to the paths to avoid distrupting plant life, and keep an eye out for native species (including hooting great horned owls, tiny mouse-eared bats, and elusive desert kit foxes). Don’t forget basics, like a flashlight, trail mix, plenty of water, and closed-toe shoes. alltrails.com
Music pulses through Greater Palm Springs’ veins, from the earliest Native American bird singers to the croons of Rat Packers on supper club stages to the gritty thump of desert rock birthed at 1990s generator parties. These days, the sound scene thrives on pumping bass and flashing lights. (Though you’ll still find plenty of throwback piano bars and lounges.) In Palm Springs, Copa Nightclub showcases killer resident DJs Wednesday through Saturday nights, while gay bar Toucans Tiki Lounge hosts special events almost every night. In Palm Desert, Costas at the JW Marriot Desert Springs Resort & Spa delivers high-energy, European-nightclub vibes. Grab your girls — it’s time to dance. coparoomps.com; toucanstikilounge.com; fb.com/costasnightclub
5 things / vintage shopping
Ricochet Vintage Wears
Western’s the word at this cozy Joshua Tree spot carrying clothes and accessories worthy of both L.A. it-girls and Georgia O’Keeffe. Check out the wall of homespun aprons. ricochetjoshuatree.com
The ideal stop for funky furniture, colorful clothing, and selfies with the store’s pink poodle-mannequin mascot, who greets customers by the front door. fb.com/gypsyland-palm-springs
An abundant selectionof clothing, boots, and accessories, with a flair for Americana, patchwork pieces, and dreamy vintage tees; located in Yucca Valley. visitpromisedland.com
This sunny Palm Springs shop specializes in resortwear with a bohemian twist and a nod to mod — think colorful caftans for poolside lounging. thefrippery.com
The Fine Art of Design
Elle named this meticulously curated (and color-coded) Palm Desert mecca of well-preserved Chanel, Dior, and more one of the best vintage stores in America. thefineartofdesign.com
PHOTOGRAPH BY DUSTIN MULSTAY
The Fine Art of Design