Sunrise hikes, mornings at the pool, midday spa retreats, mister-cooled dining al fresco, and dive-in movies under the stars—summer has arrived in Greater Palm Springs.
Ask any local or frequent warm weather guest, summer and fall in the oasis offer plenty of perks—unbeatable prices, super affordable family vacation packages, fewer crowds, and a host of water-centric activities like Splash House, an annual multivenue music festival taking place June 7–9 and August 9–11. Held poolside at the Renaissance, Riviera and Saguaro resorts, the parties continue into the night with open air After Hours events at the Palm Springs Air Museum.
In June, film buffs can count on quality storytelling at the Palm Springs International Short Film Festival & Market (June 18–24) as 'ShortFest' marks its 25thanniversary this year. Now the largest film festival in North America, the festival screens more than 300 short films and attracts filmmakers and industry players from around the world.
Looking ahead, Greater Palm Springs makes a great weekend base from which to experience Joshua Tree National Park's fifth annual Night Sky Festival (September 21)—highlights include a Star Party with 20 telescopes, music, constellation tours and sky stories. In October, Wanderlust Wellspring (October 4–6) returns to Palm Springs with a sensational array of interactive classes, workshops, holistic treatments, services and much more. Stay tuned for the line-up of wellness thought leaders, teachers and healers to be announced this month. Autumn also brings several more special events including the inimitable Palm Desert Golf Cart Parade (October 27), Greater Palm Springs Pride (November 1–3) and the second edition of Ironman 70.3 Indian Wells La Quinta (December 8).
Greater Palm Springs is currently undergoing a series of hospitality enhancements that will give travellers to our destination more tourism options and amenities than ever before. Twenty hotels and resorts have recently opened, refreshed their properties or are in development throughout our nine-city oasis. In the meantime,The Bell: A Taco Bell Hotel and Resort will be popping up in Palm Springs for five days beginning August 9.
Here is the latest on where to appreciate culture, savor, play and stay in the nine cities of Greater Palm Springs.
Desert Hot Springs
APPRECIATE CULTURE: Step back in time at Cabot Yerxa's Hopi-inspired Pueblo Museum. Greater Palm Springs has a rich Native American history still thriving today. This museum, built in 1941, is filled with Native American art and artifacts. Visitors can see how artist Cabot Yerxa built the pueblo himself, using objects and materials he collected across the desert. cabotsmuseum.org
SAVOR: Eat whole foods with a side of spa. Essence at famed Two Bunch Palms serves up a menu wholly focused on “sustainable, local, seasonal and organic” ingredients. The farm-to-table restaurant features vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free fare amid an atmosphere awash in serenity and scenic views. www.twobunchpalms.com
STAY: Escape to an exotic riad reminiscent of Tangier. Retreat to El Morocco Inn & Spa, an intimate boutique hotel centered around a secluded courtyard and spa. The decor features a blend of color and furnishings, many of which the owner purchased in Morocco, including handmade fabrics from women's co-ops. Amenities are generous—from the French press coffee accompanying an expanded continental breakfast to a movie library, infrared sauna, spa garden, and perfectly chilled Morocco-tinis. www.elmoroccoinn.com
APPRECIATE CULTURE: Agua Caliente cultural center and spa will open in 2020. The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians is in the midst of building a spectacular new center in downtown Palm Springs to showcase its Native American heritage. When complete, the center will feature a new cultural museum, spa and bathhouse that celebrates the Tribe's ancient Agua Caliente hot mineral spring, a central gathering plaza, gardens and walking trail. www.accmuseum.org
SAVOR: Gather under the clock for good cheer and great food. Housed in a restored 1936 building in La Plaza downtown, Grand Central Palm Springs is a combination coffee shop, restaurant, bar and event space with a warm welcoming setting that invites diners to unplug and reconnect. You'll find a fresh take on old favorites—stop by for breakfast and order your French Toast sweet or savory—and even a monthly coffee membership for that much-needed daily jolt. www.grandcentralpalmsprings.com
STAY: Andaz Palm Springs to open in late 2019. Listed by Forbes as one of “The Most Exciting Hotels Opening in the U.S. in 2019,” this new 150-room luxury hotel is bound to entice travellers with its full-floor spa and fitness center, two pools, stylish restaurant serving up Argentinian fare and stunning views almost everywhere you turn. www.hyatt.com
APPRECIATE CULTURE: See Broadway-caliber productions and performances at CVRep. Following an active schedule of summertime jazz and cabaret offerings, the acclaimed CVRep has four exciting offerings on tap for the upcoming season: Donald Margulies' Pulitzer Prize-winning play Dinner with Friends (November 6–24), Tony Award-winning musical Ballroom (January 9–February 16, 2020), The City of Conversation (March 11–29, 2020) and Native Gardens (April 22–May 10, 2020). Now located in its new 208-seat playhouse, CVRep is wowing locals and visitors alike. www.cvrep.org
SAVOR: Embark on a globally inspired culinary tour. Cathedral City's diverse ethnic food scene boasts both hotspots and hidden gems laying out a smorgasbord of delectable dishes. Crave Italian? Reserve a table at Trilussa, Nicolino's or stop by Frankie's Italian Bakery (also a restaurant) for out-of-this-world Sicilian-style pastries. For authentic Mexican food, visit La Tablita known for its signature parillada, go Greek at Yianni's Taverna and Wine Bar, or try BontáRestaurant & Bar for an inventive menu combining German, Argentinian and Italian cuisine. Fans of Indian food will find a wide selection of dishes at India Oven. Top it off all off with a frozen paleta at La Michoacana Ice Cream Parlor. www.visitgreaterpalmsprings.com/eat-and-drink/
STAY: Whitewashed Villa Mykonos caters to the LGBTQ traveller. This upscale Mediterranean-inspired Cathedral City resort features ten 1,500 square foot villas—some pet-friendly—with dual master suites, luxe bathrooms, fully equipped kitchens, dining and living areas, and private patios or balconies. The pool, spa and BBQ areas make it easy for guests to mingle and entertain outdoors. www.villamykonos.com
APPRECIATE CULTURE:Tour famed Sunnylands Center and Gardens. In 1963, Ambassador Walter and Mrs. Annenberg commissioned the construction of Sunnylands as their winter home; the rest is literally history. Today, visitors can tour the historic mid-century modern estate, viewing treasures like the more than 3,000 letters from 11 presidents dating from Dwight D. Eisenhower to Barack Obama. The Sunnylands campus also encompasses a contemporary 17,000-square-foot visitors center, nine acres of gardens, and 1.25 miles of walking paths. But Sunnylands' relevance in the world of global politics can't be understated. U.S. Presidents have hosted numerous meetings with foreign leaders earning Sunnylands the nickname of the 'Western White House'. Please note that Sunnylands is now on summer hiatus and will reopen September 11 with tours resuming in the fall. www.sunnylands.org
SAVOR: When in Rancho Mirage, eat Peruvian. The new Maria José Peruvian Gourmet restaurant has taken over a space in The Atrium and is getting rave reviews for its delicious authentic Peruvian cuisine, South American hospitality and stylish décor. Go for the delectable starters like ceviche and causa, a stuff mashed potato terrine. Try the lomo soltado, fresh seafood and chicken dishes, and don't pass up the rice pudding and Peruvian ice cream. www.mariajoseperuviangourmet.com
STAY: Recharge at Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa. As easy walk to THE RIVER entertainment destination, Omni Rancho Las Palmas offers nearly every resort amenity under the sun: 20,000-square-foot spa, 27 holes of championship golf, 25 tennis courts, fitness center and five restaurants. A two-acre water playground, Splashtopia features a lazy river, water slides, cliffside hot tub and sprinklers. Those sanskids will find respite at the adults-only pool. www.rancholaspalmas.com
APPRECIATE CULTURE: Find amazing art around every corner. The City of Palm Desert maintains a dynamic public art collection with more than 150 pieces on display throughout the city at locations like Civic Center Park. Palm Desert also presents biennial exhibits along the main thoroughfare in the El Paseo shopping district, a community art gallery, and offers free, guided tours of the collection on select Saturdays September through May. www.discoverpalmdesert.com
STAY: JW Marriott Desert Springs is in the midst of a makeover. This magnificent 450-acre vacation oasis with its stunning labyrinth of waterways is reinventing itself with a complete remodel of its 884 guestrooms, lobby, meeting and dining areas. The luxury resort will remain open during the project, scheduled to take place in stages. www.marriott.com
PLAY: Practice your back swing at Indian Wells Tennis Garden: Keep your fitness up with a day at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Famed as the home of the annual BNP Paribas Open (March 9–22, 2020), the Indian Wells Tennis Garden is the second largest tennis stadium in the world. Visitors can watch a match or hire a court for the day to play. iwtg.net
PLAY: Surf the Indian Wells Golf Resort on a golfboard. The environmentally friendly golfboard is letting players “surf the earth” on Indian Wells' championship golf courses. The motorized scooters speeds up pace-of-play so golfers can get in more rounds. www.indianwellsgolfresort.com
STAY: Kick back and relax in this refreshing – and soon-to-be refreshed – luxury resort. This summer, Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa is undergoing an exciting enhancement with the addition of a three-story water slide tower and lazy river, as well as upgrades to the lobby, restaurants and meeting spaces. www.hyatt.com
APPRECIATE CULTURE: Become a desert artisan at Old Town Artisan Studio: Visitors can channel their inner creative at the Old Town Artisan Studio, where they can take up classes in everything from clay sculpting to jewellery making. oldtownartisanstudios.org
SAVOR: Indulge in wine and food pairing experience at Cork & Fork. The idea for this noted bistro came from weekly wine gatherings at Chef Andie Hubka's adjacent cooking school, Cooking with Class. Patrons laud the award-winning restaurant for its food friendly wines and creative seasonal small plate menus. Reserve a space at one of the popular Chef's Table wine dinners. www.corkandforkwinebar.com
STAY: Spend a weekend, week or month by the lake. Greater Palm Springs meets Provence at The Chateau at Lake La Quinta, a 24-room boutique hotel boasting picturesque views, lakeside dining, lush grounds and beautifully appointed rooms. An idyllic destination for romantic getaways, weddings and special events. www.thechateau.com
APPRECIATE CULTURE: Experience the City of Festivals. Mark your calendars now because November and December bring a flurry of annual festivals to this growing east valley city: Taste of Indio; Cars, Stars & Rock 'n' Roll & BBQ Festival; Dia de Los Muertos celebrations, Indio Powwow, and Indio International Tamale Festival (December 7–8), ranked a “Top Ten Food Festival” by the Food Network. www.discoverindio.com
SAVOR: Another cool eatery from Chef Andi Hubka. Heirloom Craft Kitchen serves up an inventive menu showcasing small and big plates, salads, sandwiches, blackboard specials, and a nice selection of vegan dishes. Order a side of the famous truffle tots and wash it down with a grapefruit basil spritz. The Craft Beer & Wine program features small up-and-coming producers focused on sustainability. www.heirloomcraftkitchen.com
SAVOR: South of the border cuisine stands out in Indio.There are so many outstanding Mexican restaurants in Indio, we're hard-pressed to name just one. Family-owned Rincón Norteño has been a locals favorite for more than 50 years, while the Chile Relleno en Ahogada at Soul of Mexico gets rave reviews and El Mexicali Café has a loyal following for its traditional dishes and home-style Mexican breakfasts. There's also Pueblo Viejo Grill & Tequila Bar, Macario's Grill, El Campanario and many more on this unofficlal Mexican restaurant trail. www.visitgreaterpalmsprings.com
APPRECIATE CULTURE:Coachella Walls displays captivating socially conscious art: Launched in 2014, the Coachella Walls is a mural project by local artists, showcasing art that reflects Greater Palm Springs' agrarian roots and the city of Coachella's community. Download a map from the Visitors section of the City of Coachella website and take a self-guided walking tour. www.coachella.org
SAVOR: Baked goods from Panaderia Las Tres Conchitas. Situated on 6thStreet in Pueblo Viejo near City Hall, this local bakery churns out some of the finest Mexican breads and pastries in the Coachella Valley. Beyond the excellent pan dulce, bolillos and Conchas, the panaderia offers a mouth-watering selection of cookies, cakes and muffins.
STAY: Coachella's first resort is now taking reservations. The highly anticipated opening of the city's first resort is set to take place this fall. From the IHG Hotel brand and scheduled to open in November, Hotel Indigo will feature 250 casita-style accommodations, a 10,000-square-foot party pool, and 11-acre concert venue. www.ihg.com