20 Ways to Play in Palm Springs

Palm Springs has been a Southern California resort vacation destination since the beginning of the 20th century.  Once known as the “Playground of the Stars”, the city gained popularity as a getaway for classic Hollywood elite attracted by the hot, dry climate, scenic seclusion, and recreation opportunities.  Today, this Coachella Valley paradise is a relaxing desert escape for everyone to enjoy!  Join The Event Team as we continue our 20 year anniversary with a celebration of the attractions of beautiful Palm Springs.

1. Resort Royalty:  This famed California desert city is known for its fabulous hotels!  Bask in an oasis of luxury at one of the many grand resorts or elegant historic hotels.  There is a place to stay for every style and taste.  Sipping on a tropical poolside beverage surrounded by the gorgeous desert scenery while getting waited on hand and foot is the quintessential Palm Springs experience.   The extravagance of Hollywood celebrity lifestyle has never left!

2. Majestic Geology:  A hike through one of the Coachella Valley’s protected areas will make anyone a fan of the natural beauty of desert landscape.  Feel like an early explorer by wandering among mysterious canyons and palm oases.  Agua Caliente Indian Canyons, Coachella Valley Preserve, and Painted Canyon are a few of the best places to commune with the spirit of the desert.

image from tripadvisor.com

3. A Noble Sport: Golf is synonymous with Palm Springs.  With over 125 to choose from, there are enough world-class courses to satisfy even the most hardcore linksman (or linkswoman!).  After refreshment at the clubhouse, explore the history of this gentlemen’s leisure activity at the Jude E. Poynter Golf Museum, dedicated to the valley’s most popular sport.

4. Mountain Glory: Like mammoth monoliths to the desert gods, the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument rises from the valley floor to provide a magnificent backdrop for the city.  This precious backcountry is home to magnificent vistas, endangered wildlife, unique land forms, and a wealth of natural and cultural resources.  A ride on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway up the mountain for a scenic picnic is a perfect day trip.  Don’t forget the sled and snow shoes in the winter months for wilderness wintertime fun.

5. Joyous Jackpots:  A new level of resort living lavishness bloomed when casino gaming was welcomed in to the Coachella Valley.  Slot machines, table games, bingo, and sports betting await the lucky inside luxury resort casinos.  Spa Resort Casino, Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, Fantasy Springs Resort & Casino, and Morongo Casino Resort & Spa are the cream of the crop.

image from www.morongocasinoresort.com/gaming

6. Geriatric Jubilee:  Experience the music and dance of the 40’s-70’s with a cast of golden age entertainers at The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies!  Former Vegas showgirls and Rockettes strut their age-defying bodies around famous guest stars and world-renowned variety acts.  The entire family will be entertained by this modern, high energy show that celebrates the later-half of life!

7. Desert Natives:  Plants and creatures from the deserts of the world are the focus of Living Desert Zoo & Gardens.  Giraffes, mountain lions, meerkats, leopards, and wolves are a few of the magnificent animals seen in their natural habitat while venturing from Africa to North America.  The interactive wildlife hospital and giant G-scale model train display are other highlights.  Get a glimpse of a prehistoric age at the Moorten Botanical Garden which is home to an outstanding collection of cactus and succulents.  There is more life than you might think in the desert.

8. Retail Oasis:  Upscale to outlet, all the shopping bases are covered in Palm Springs.  A variety of shops line downtown’s main drag, Palm Canyon Drive, which also features the Palm Springs Walk of Stars celebrating the many celebrities who resided here.  El Paseo Shopping District is the famed “Rodeo Drive of the Desert” with a mile of upscale stores, clothing boutiques, art galleries, and jewelers.  The River at Rancho Mirage is the latest and greatest addition to the Palm Springs shopping and entertainment scene.  Coach, Dolce & Gabbana, Elie Tahari, Giorgio Armani, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, and Last Call by Neiman Marcus are only a few of the names to be found at the bargain paradise of Desert Hills Premium Outlets.

The River at Rancho Mirage - image from desertgolfoasis.com

9. Princess Pampering:  The resort lifestyle would not be complete without spas!  Palm Springs is brimming with spas and salons on par with the finest in the world.  Tap in to the rejuvenating properties of the desert with a facial, massage, and body scrub.   

10.  Original Residents:  The Cahuilla people have called the Coachella Valley home for 2000 years.  The history, legends, and culture of these Native Americans are honored at the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum and Cabot’s Old Indian Pueblo Museum.  Ancient artifact galleries and interactive exhibits educate on the first residents who settled this sacred land long before Hollywood invaded.

11. Lake Escape:  Get out of the valley floor heat at the peaceful and beautiful Lake Hemet.  Camping and fishing is offered all year long at this man-made reservoir.  A day of boating is a sure way to cool off when it is 110 degrees in the city.

12. Historic Homes:  The Las Palmas neighborhood is the place to see the spectacular celebrity homes of the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s.  Modernist, mid-century architecture characterizes these unique houses that were owned by Palm Springs’s most famous residents, including Elvis and Liberace.  This high-end “Desert Modern” Palm Springs architecture became the model for mass-produced suburban homes throughout the Southwest.  A well-marked bike trail provides an easy way to see these legendary homes.

13. War Stories:  One of the nation’s largest collections of World War II aircraft are housed at Palm Springs Air Museum.  Displays, documentary films, lecture series, and educational programs compliment the aerial artifacts and historic pieces.  Exhibition flight demonstrations happen often!   Also in the area, General Patton Memorial Museum honors modern U.S. military history of the 20th and 21st centuries.  A tank yard with armored vehicles from WWII through Vietnam and the West Coast Vietnam Wall are major attractions.

14. VillageFest:  Every Thursday night, year-round, downtown Palm Springs transforms in to VillageFest!  Thousands of locals and visitors descend on this weekly local tradition of arts, crafts, food, and entertainment.  Combine this with all the attractions of world famous Palm Canyon Drive and you have the desert’s most popular event!

Village Fest - image from visitpalmsprings.com

15. Gallantly Gallop:  What better way is there to experience the majestic desert landscape than on horseback?!?  Feel like a real pioneer while journeying along the base of the Santa Rosa Mountains, crossing streams and blazing canyon trails.  This is the only authentic transportation for experiencing the Coachella Valley.

16.  First Foundation:  Village Green Heritage Center is located at the heart of Palm Springs’s origins.  This collection of small museums at the city’s birthplace includes Ruddy’s General Store Museum, McCallum Adobe, and the Cornelia White House.   Come to explore the history of Palm Springs and 19th century life in the city’s oldest structures.

17. Melodious Memorial:  Pay your respects to ‘Ol Blue Eyes at Desert Memorial Park, the final resting place of the legendary Frank Sinatra.  Grave hunters will find several other monuments to some of the city’s most famous residents including former mayor Sonny Bono, film director Busby Berkeley, and a host of classic Hollywood stars.

18. Amazing Art:  Explore an extensive permanent collection of works from modern, contemporary, western, and glass artists at the Palm Springs Art Museum.  Temporary exhibitions arrive throughout the year and the state-of-the-art Annenberg Theatre features a slate of theatrical and musical performances that range from the traditional to the avant-garde.  Admission is free on Thursdays after 4 p.m.

Palm Springs Art Museum - image from http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com

19. Wonderful Water:  Beat the heat at Knott’s Soak City Water Park Palm Springs!  Slides, a wave pool, lazy river, and various other water attractions for kids and adults will keep the whole family cool.  Enjoy a “dive-in” movie from a floating inner tube on select summer evenings.

20. Joshua Tree:  Take an excursion in to the other-worldly beauty of Joshua Tree National Park.  Named for the unique Joshua Tree forests native to the one-of-a-kind ecosystem, the National Park spans 429,690 acres and includes parts of both the Mojave and Colorado deserts.  Enormous smoothed boulders formed 100 million years ago decorate this camper, hiker, and rock climber haven.  Cross the wondrous landscape to Keys View for an unparalleled view of the Coachella Valley that spans 3 mountain ranges all the way to the Salton Sea!