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Visit Palm Springs

As the Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce says …

“As the western gateway of the Coachella Valley, Palm Springs draws visitors from all over the world with its beautiful landscape, rich culture, fine restaurants, spectacular resorts, outstanding attractions, and prosperous business climate. Incorporated in 1938, Palm Springs offers residents and visitors the culture, sophistication, and opportunity usually reserved for large metropolitan areas. An attractive destination for visitors and many who will make Palm Springs their home, the city is enriched with culture, history, and more importantly a strong sense of community. All are welcome; no one should miss all that this enchanting community has to offer.”

But perhaps Anna Collins, noted travel writer and author, says it better …

“The best thing about Palm Springs, playground of the rich and famous, is that you don’t have to be rich or famous to enjoy it. It’s a beautiful, relaxing and affordable vacation spot that will leave you feeling like a star without paying astronomical prices. My traveling companion and I sampled delicious food, stayed at a resort in an exclusive neighborhood and even purchased something at an art gallery. And neither one of us have the last name Rockefeller or Gates. But we sure felt like it!”

What’s so great about Palm Springs?

Everything and a palm tree more! Palm Springs has the perfect combination of weather, food and great shopping mixed with gorgeous scenery hugged by breathtaking mountains. For five days, I walked around looking up at the mountains so much, it’s a wonder I didn’t walk face first into a pole! The beauty is always there; warm dry sunny days, followed by the starlit desert nights.

Palm Springs is a desert city in Riverside County, California, within the Coachella Valley, located approximately 37 miles east of San Bernardino, 111 miles east of Los Angeles and 136 miles and northeast of San Diego.

Nestled at the base of the Mount San Jacinto Mountains, Palm Springs is known for its crystal blue skies, year-round sunshine, stunning landscape, palm tree lined streets and starry nights.

Palm Springs Weather

Palm Springs is sheltered by the San Bernardino Mountains to the north, the Santa Rosa Mountains to the south, by the San Jacinto Mountains to the west and by the Little San Bernardino Mountains to the east. This geography provides Palm Springs its hot, dry climate. Typically, there are 354 days of sunshine and only 4.83 inches of rain annually.

The winter months are warm, with daytime highs often between 73F and 86F (23–30C) and nighttime lows of 50F to 60F (10–16C), while the coolest days tend to average from 62F to 71F (17–22C), and nights falling to the mid 40sF (7–9C). Ideal for golf, tennis, jogging, hiking, exploring the desert, shopping and being out and about during the evening.

But aside from the weather, Palm Spring is also known for movie stars, movie lore, architecture, and is a notable golf destination.

What to do in Palm Springs

Golf in Palm Springs | Photo credit: California Travel and Tourism Commission / Andreas Hub

On first impression, Palm Springs is a quirky but discreet place, without the brash neon swagger of Las Vegas. It’s no surprise then, and given its proximity to Hollywood, that since the glory days of cinema, Palm Springs has been a haven for A-Listers keen to remove themselves from the dizzying swirl of the Hollywood social life.

Palm Springs began to attract big name weekenders in the 1950s. Think Sinatra and the Rat Pack, Marilyn Monroe and Liberace. They all came, and also commissioned the most sought after architects of the day to design and build the most outrageously debonair homes. Kirk Douglas moved into the Las Palmas area and Frank Sinatra built a large house on Alejo. Bob Hope, a long time resident, was appointed Honorary Mayor. Dean Martin was one of the last of the era to purchase a home here.

American Presidents gravitated to the area. Though Herbert Hoover had come to The Desert Inn in 1936 to visit his friend, George Lorimer, Franklin D. Roosevelt had stayed at La Quinta before the war. But nothing equalled the furor of Dwight D. Eisenhower’s arrival in February, 1954. Over 2,000 people were on hand to greet Ike and his wife Mamie. Harry Truman also spent considerable time here. So, when John F. Kennedy came to town on the first of several trips, the folks in Palm Springs considered themselves experienced presidential hosts.

Palm Springs is the oldest desert resort in the picturesque Coachella Valley. It has developed and matured since the 1950s and ‘60s. Palm Springs has exceptional facilities and offers; although every resort area claims so (But in P.S. it’s true); something for everyone. As such, Palm Springs attracts a variety of visitors year round, for numerous reasons.

If you are looking for entertainment for all ages, Palm Springs offers a wealth of indoor and outdoor activities. You can soar to the top of Mount San Jacinto on the world famous Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, shop the many mid-century boutiques and art galleries located uptown and downtown, hike scenic trails throughout the imposing mountains, tour celebrity and mid-century ‘modern’ homes, attend theatre performances, stroll through art and cultural museums, or simply unwind by a sparkling pool. Golf, swimming, tennis, horseback riding and hiking in the nearby desert and mountain areas are popular forms of recreation in Palm Springs, for the experienced and inexperienced, alike.

And while you are here, if you take the San Andreas Fault Adventure tour, you can do something very few people have: stand in the middle of the San Andreas Fault. You’ll also visit a real desert oasis (created by the fault) and get a chance to find out all kinds of fun things about Mother Nature’s escapades in the Colorado Desert.

And don’t pass up the opportunity (as mundane as it may seem) to visit the “windmills”; giant wind-powered, electricity-generating turbines that line I-10 on the way into Palm Springs. This interesting and informative tour will help you discover what they’re all about, how they work and why they’re there. It’s fun for the technically inclined, but equally interesting if you don’t know a watt from volt.

During the evening, you can take in the famous Palm Springs Follies. This vaudeville revue and stage show features an admirable and enthusiastic bunch of performers who are all over 50 years old, although you’d never know it by looking at them.

But you would not be doing your trip justice if you do not take in the architecture of the area. Palm Springs is noted for its mid-century modern architecture, a tradition that grew out of the aesthetics of the German Bauhaus. It is reflected in the work of Albert Frey (who designed the Palm Springs city hall, aerial-tram (cable car) station, Movie Colony Hotel and airport), Donald Wexler, Richard Neutra, E. Stewart Williams, John Lautner and others.

The resort community is so well known for its ‘modernistic’ homes and other structures that there is a Palm Springs Modern Committee (PS ModCom), which is a non-profit, volunteer organization dedicated to maintaining the heritage of modern architecture and historic neighbourhoods in Palm Springs.

And if you are a golfer, what can be said, or what more can be said, about this golfer’s mecca? Simply put … bring your clubs and your game. Known as the Capital of Golf in the western United States, Palm Springs and the surrounding desert cities is home to 125 world-class golf courses. Few vacation destinations can boast of the diversity of courses and ideal playing conditions that you will find here.

When planning to visit Palm Springs, you may want to be aware that Palm Springs is also referred to as Greater Palm Springs, and consists of eight cities: Cathedral City, Desert Hot Springs, Indian Wells, Indio, La Quinta, Palm Desert, Palm Springs and Rancho Mirage. So, when choosing accommodations, ensure that you do your research. Each city is uniquely different, and location, location, location relative to your needs and wants, is important. Check with a travel agent to ensure you are well located.

So, whether you are a president (all varieties of accommodations are available), celeb in your own right (you can stay with your pals), golfer/duffer extraordinaire (remember you can choose to play 125 courses, which means you can stay in the Greater Palm Springs area for 125 days), bricks and mortar inquisitive (in case you are planning to build a ’50 / ‘60s ranch-style home), cracker-jack shopper intent on supporting the economy (you won’t believe the shopping opportunities) or just simply ‘you’ looking for a great getaway, consider Palm Springs your personal desert playing field.

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