Fertile valleys are nestled beneath rugged mountains, grapevines cover the hillsides and the tallest trees in the world stand high above a rocky ocean shore. Add warm weather, sun and sand, and travelers may be the ones who come closest to finding a utopia in the state of California. There's so much to see and do, making a choice could be challenging.
Value Times are July, August, September, November, December
Excludes Holidays and Special Events
The words "Palm Springs" evoke images of lavish spas, world-class golf (with more than 100 courses to choose from), tennis, horseback riding, and fine dining – all in a semi-tropical paradise. Since the 1920s, the who's who of Hollywood has flocked to lay down roots in Palm Springs. One of several adjacent communities in the naturally beautiful Coachella Valley, today's Palm Springs thrives with some of the finest dining in the country, stylish boutique hotels, historic celebrity homes and Hollywood stars sipping their martinis at fashionable resorts. But despite the glitz and glitter, Palm Springs can also be affordable as a family destination.
Some of California's top chefs are in Palm Springs, conjuring dishes that draw epicureans from far and wide. The area is known for its top-class steak houses and fusion restaurants, but French, Italian, and even Chinese and Japanese restaurants earn raves. The produce is always fresh—much of it grown locally in the Imperial Valley—including dates, which find their way into many dishes, notably during the annual California Date Chef Competition each April. There's no shortage of dining for more simple tastes, too, from classic American diners to charming mom-and-pop cafes. A handy resource is Palm Springs Life: Dine Out magazine, available in the arrivals lounge at Palm Springs airport.
For a small city, Palm Springs' shopping scene is surprisingly plentiful and diverse, from quaint to couture. Whether seeking a genuine 1950s tulip-shaped Jackson chair or simply a lava lamp, you're sure to find it in Palm Springs' modernist décor boutiques. Down valley, Cathedral City and Rancho Mirage are an epicenter for thrift and consignment stores, and Palm Desert lures the big money to El Paseo, the desert's ritzy version of Beverly Hills' Rodeo Drive. Meanwhile, farther west, Cabazon is the setting for a vast complex of factory outlets. Don't forget to buy some of Palm Springs' famous dates!
Although temps soar in summer, you can hop the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway which drops you in at 8,516 ft/2,640 m amidst the cliffs of Chino Canyon, where it's usually 30 F/17 C cooler.
Palm Springs is all about a leisurely pace, so dressing up is rarely required. Shorts are the most common garb, especially for men.
When hiking, watch for the well-camouflaged rattlesnake – don't reach into dark areas or spaces you can't clearly see.
The Palm Springs area averages 328 days of sunshine per year. Winter temperatures are usually in the 70s and 80s (F)/low- to mid-20s C in the day, with cooler temps at night. By July and August, temperatures rarely drop below 100 F/38C (although the air mostly year-round is usually dry and therefore the heat tolerable, July and August can be humid). Rainfall is rare and sporadic.
Most visitors fly into Palm Springs International Airport (PSP), on the eastern edge of downtown Palm Springs.
GETTING AROUND THE AREA
Driving in or renting a car is absolutely necessary due to the distance between towns and main sites. Excursion tour buses provide a great way to see many of the sites, especially celebrity homes and architectural highlights. Sunline Transit Agency (SunBus) operates comfortable public buses throughout the valley. Many hotels in downtown Palm Springs offer free use of beach-cruiser bikes.
The information contained here and within the Time Out Vacations website is believed to be correct. Every effort has been made to assure accuracy. Time Out Vacations and Global Connections, Inc. assumes no responsibility for errors, inaccuracies or omissions.
The destinations listed are subject to change without notice or may no longer be available under this vacation certificate.