Ready to take a hiatus from virtual events and Zoom meetings? We don’t blame you. The desert has long been a soothing oasis for the LGBTQ community with its poolside siestas, innovative cuisine, trendy shops and outdoor activities, but now, more than ever, those things have become more than luxuries. They are necessities for self-care and rejuvenation. Consider the following list of hot spots and activities and make a splash—literally—with your best LGBTQ getaway yet.
Nothing like a Japanese water feature and large multi-tiered lavish fountain to capture your attention. Beyond that, two large swimming pools, an in-ground spa, outdoor fireplace and tiled patio surrounded by palm trees comprise this Southwestern-esque haven. The idyllic rooms at The Hacienda at Warm Sands tempt your cravings to post on social media but the resort’s Personal Assistant Concierge Services truly stand out for its savvy ability to stock your suite with your requested food, beverages, amenities and even “surprise” gifts for your honey.
Information: 586 Warm Sands Drive, Palm Springs, 1-760-327-8111
This award-winning hotel has it all: sublime mountain views, a rooftop pool and bar and two stellar restaurants that boast shareable plates and inspired cocktails. The modern rooms and suites embody the artistic elegance that Greater Palm Springs has become revered for. Best of all: Tt’s perched right in the heart of downtown Palm Springs, within walking distance of the LGBTQ venues and happenings along Arenas Road.
Information: 100 W. Tahquitz Canyon Way, Palm Springs; 760-904-5015
During the day, it’s a fabulous outpost for swimming and sunbathing. At night, there’s a mystique that surrounds the pool deck when it becomes illuminated with colorful lights. From the pet-friendly accommodations and poolside events to its close proximity to shopping and clothing-optional vibe, CCBC has everything for the perfect weekend or weeklong getaway with your partner or pals.
Information: 68300 Gay Resort Dr, Cathedral City, 760-324-1350
Gourmet burgers on a second-story patio overlooking Palm Canyon Drive. Specialty cocktails with a distinctly original tropical vibe. Dog-friendly menus. Cheerful diners swapping travel tales. What’s not to like? Bongo Johnny’s Patio Bar & Grill beats to its own drum and the rhythm is perfectly chill. This is an ideal downtown Palm Springs hot spot for unique appetizers and memorable meals - chased back with socializing.
Information: 301 N Palm Canyon Dr. Suite 200, Palm Springs
It’s a piece of orange-trimmed heaven. The colorful design elements here make for a groovy backdrop and over the years TRIO Restaurant has established itself as a fiery, award-winning dining destination in the Palm Springs Uptown shopping district. LGBTQ comrades abound here, but so do an abundance of specialty cocktails (try any seasonal sips) and a chef-inspired menu featuring a bevy of American food filled with twists on the owners’ Italian heritage. Consider the divine mac 'n cheese side, regular or cauliflower crust pizzas, and for the main course: Coca Cola Braised Short Ribs or Pesto Crusted King Salmon.
Information: 707 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, 760-864-8746
No LGBTQ getaway to Greater Palm Springs is complete without a dip into this iconic eatery. As festive as it is creative with its California-inspired menu, LULU California Bistro is a two-story dining mecca designed to soothe the palate and ignite the senses. Best known for its affordable three-course weekend brunch, it’s one of the places where LGBTQ diners gather to catch up with old friends—and meet new ones. Patio dining is a scene unto itself. Dig in.
Information: 200 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, 760-327-5858
Public arts initiatives have given street artists in Greater Palm Springs larger creative canvases to work on. The City of Coachella itself is home to a plethora of must-see murals, which include “La Cosecha Del Futuro” by Mexican artist Sego y Obval. The dynamic, colorful piece is filled with honors—the hands herald farm workers, the grape leaves give a nod to civil rights activist Cesar Chavez, the birds tribute Mexican migrants. One of the most powerful works of art in the area.
Location: 722 Vine Ave, Coachella
Indio has done a remarkable job at preserving the heritage of the oldest city in Greater Palm Springs. Its Historic Mural Project has given birth to nine eye-catching murals. One of them is “Moving Towards The Future” by David Ocelotl Garcia. The artist showcases Indio’s past, present and future with everything from a farmer to a musician, a worthy nod to all the creatives that have made the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival such a hit in the city. Definitely a must-see.
Location: 45125 Smurr Street, Indio
Explore art installations and murals with a self-guided tour using the artsGPS app.
This memorable hike brings you and your pals up into Araby Cove, nestled directly behind the Backstreet Art District in Palm Springs. Plan for an hour-long hike, which takes you directly past the former home of Hollywood legend Bob Hope. The 24,000-square-foot Modernist enclave designed by revered architect John Lautner is great eye-candy but so are the views here, which, by the time you hit 1,200 feet, are downright sublime.
Put on the boots, grab your partner and/or pals and head to this popular Rancho Mirage trail. The location is perfect to take in glorious views of Greater Palm Springs. Elevation begins at 250 feet and rises about 1,000 feet with a modest slope. Big perk: easy access parking.
Location: Park on Painters Path behind the Target store located on Highway 111 in Rancho Mirage.
BIKE Palm Springs Rentals & Tours is a gay-owned business known for its easy access and friendly service. You can nab everything from helmets and locks to free maps. Bike rentals range from half-day and full-day to a full week. While there are many trails to experience, consider the interactive bike map with trails, facilities, drinking fountains and public restrooms offered by the City of La Quinta.
Location: 194 S. Indian Canyon, Palm Springs
East Arenas Road, between South Indian Canyon Drive and South Calle Encilia in Palm Springs, is one of the most popular shopping destinations for the LGBTQ community. GayMart continues to stand out as a major go-to, a virtual haven for mesh shirts and trendy souvenirs. No LGBTQ getaway is finished without a jaunt through the remarkable shops in Palm Springs’ Uptown district—all that midcentury modern clothing and art—or the posh that permeates The Shops on El Paseo in Palm Desert.