It used to be that come June 1, Coachella Valley residents took to the freeway and didn’t come back until the first blush of autumn. Restaurants would shutter, hotels would go dark, and entire city blocks would simply close. That’s changed, of course, as the year-round population has surged and more and more families call the desert their full-time home. Now, most restaurants and retailers remain open all year long (some have summer hours, so check your favorites). For those hearty souls who scoff at 120 degrees, we offer these great summer deals to keep you close to home.
Prep your golf cart with plenty of water and a good fan, because local courses offer great savings to die-hards who play through the scorching elements. Hats, sunglasses, and SPF-to-the-max — they’re as important as lining up with the right club!
Indian Canyons Golf Resort (327-6550) in Palm Springs — one of the desert’s newest courses — sits at the mouth of Murray Canyon and offers scenic and challenging holes. Beginning June 1, weekday fees are $35 before noon, $25 after noon, and $20 after 2 p.m. Weekend fees are $50, $40, and $30, respectively.
The Pete Dye-designed gem at Westin Mission Hills Resort (328-3198) in Rancho Mirage features large, deep bunkers; magnificent lakes; rolling fairways; and Dye’s trademark railroad ties. From June 1 to Sept. 30, greens fees are $70 per player, seven days a week.
Nick Faldo’s first West Coast design, Marriott’s Shadow Ridge Resort (674-2700) has quickly become known as one of the most challenging 18 holes in the area. Summer fees at the Palm Desert course are $65 before 1 p.m. daily. Twilight golf is $35.
Desert Springs (341-1756), a JW Marriott Resort and Spa in Palm Desert, one of Ted Robinson’s most acclaimed courses, appeals to all skill levels. From May 30, fees are $50 Monday through Thursday (twilight golf is $34). Weekends: $60 and $42.
Annually ranked as one of the desert’s best courses, Michael Hurdzan’s bunker-filled course at Desert Willow Golf Resort (346-7060) in Palm Desert is also one of the most affordable come summer. Beginning June 1, fees are $75 from 6 to 8 a.m., $55 from 8 a.m. to noon, $45 from noon to 1 p.m., $35 from 1 to 2 p.m., and $25 from 2 p.m. until you melt.
Golf Resort at Indian Wells (346-4653), another Ted Robinson course, boasts undulating greens, numerous lakes, and a premium of traps. The fees: $45 on weekdays and $50 on weekends beginning June 1.
Play the future home of the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic before the pros do at SilverRock Resort (600-7272) in La Quinta. Starting July 5, weekday play runs non-La Quinta residents $65. Fridays and weekends are $75. A La Quinta resident must show a La Quinta resident card to receive an additional discount.
The newly redesigned course at Indian Palms Country Club and Resort (347-2326) in Indio is one of the oldest in the desert (President Eisenhower once stayed on the grounds) and home to the John Jacobs Golf School. From June 1 to Sept. 30,
$25 gets you unlimited golf!
Retreat To A Resort
Locals enjoy first-class amenities at rock-bottom prices. Here’s a sample of what’s available.
Two Bunch Palms Resort (329-8791) — long the playground of the rich, famous, and notorious — is the kind of place you tell your friends to visit but never actually get to yourself. This secluded Desert Hot Springs resort offers rooms at half price from June through August. Now’s your chance to indulge.
The Lodge at Rancho Mirage (321-8282), an exquisite resort 650 feet above the valley floor, is known worldwide for its elegant design and fine dining. In the summer, it’s known for being very affordable. From June through Sept. 15, guest rooms are $129 from Sunday through Thursday, and $169 on weekends — nearly half off seasonal prices.
Been meaning to do nothing? Then the La Quinta Resort & Club (564-4111) is your summer retreat. Try their Best of La Quinta Summertime package, which — for $199 a night — gives you a resort casita, two rounds of golf or two spa treatments, or a combo of both.
Triangle Inn (322-7993), one of Palm Springs’ top gay resorts, offers every other weeknight free during the summer, with room rates a tantalizingly low $99 a night. June is also the resort’s signature summer event: 30 Days of Naked Nights featuring, well, exactly what it says.
The Palm Springs Film Noir Festival (June 2-5, www.palmspringsfilmnoir.com) celebrates the dark side of film. There’s nothing cooler than noir. The $110 all-access film and party pass is a steal.
Palm Springs Power (www.palmspringspowerbaseball.com), the boys of summer, return for their second season of exciting baseball in the historic confines of Palm Springs Stadium. The season begins June 3. A $13 Power Ticket Package gets you a game ticket, a program, a hot dog, a soft drink, a candy bar, and (of course) a bag of peanuts.
Summer prices and events begin June 16 at The Living Desert (www.livingdesert.org). With discount prices — $8.75 for adults and $4.75 for children — and heat-conscious hours (8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.), you can experience all the attractions, including animal shows, up-close animal encounters, and one-of-a-kind sightseeing.
Palm Desert’s Summer of Fun Concert and Movie Series begins June 2 and continues every Thursday (7:30 p.m.) through Sept. 1. A slice of Americana in your own back yard, the series offers free outdoor films and concerts on alternating Thursdays at Civic Center Amphitheater on Fred Waring Drive and San Pablo Avenue.
Looking for a break from the heat, but don’t want to fly to Canada? A trip up the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway (www.pstramway.com) promises temperatures 30 degrees cooler than the valley floor — and unparalleled views and hiking opportunities. The Natural History Association offers free, guided nature walks every weekend this summer.
Knott’s Soak City, USA will offer discount tickets from June 21 through Labor Day if you purchase them at Ralphs. The prices are $17.95 for adults and $14.95 for children.
Palm Springs Air Museum offers the Family Fun Pack ($20 per family — two adults and up to three children). Active-duty military and their immediate families pay no admission fee.
Shop ’til You Drop
The River at Rancho Mirage will again offer a 20 percent discount card at select retailers located within the shopping hub. Call the management offices at 341-2711 for details. While you’re there, stop by The Yard House (779-1415) for the Martini and Beer Happy Hour (Monday through Friday, 3-6 p.m.). Appetizers and pizzas are half price, vaunted pints are $2.75, well drinks are $3.75, and martinis are $4.75.
Do you recall all the nights you wanted to visit Cuistot (340-1000) but couldn’t get a reservation? The wait is over, as Cuistot brings back its summer staple: the Tour de France menu. Available through July 4, this popular prix fixe menu features cuisine from a different region of France each weekday evening.
Here’s a little secret: El Paseo is now a year-round shopping destination. The Old West ghost-town feel of the late 1980s is a thing of the past now that vibrant shopping centers such as The Gardens on El Paseo and The Collection lure people even during the hottest summer months. With sporty new courtesy carts shuttling people and impressive, summer-only sales, it’s time you reintroduce yourself to the world-class experience of El Paseo.
Desert Hills Premium Outlets (951-849-6641) in Cabazon has two sales: July 4 weekend and Labor Day weekend. If you want good parking, leave right now!