Friday, February 21, 2020

Palm Springs idyll: nature, dining, music, theater, art, golf and more

Lovely hotels are part of the allure of Palm Springs, here the pool area of the Hilton Palm Springs in the heart of downtown.



The signature big horn sheep welcomes people to Santa Rosa
 and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center.


A STROLL through downtown Palm Springs, California, is a nod to the dozens of famous folks who lived in the area.
Here they are remembered today -- embedded in the sidewalks of this glitzy desert town, whose official beginning is dated at 1876, when the Agua Caliente Reservation was established. The Cahuilla people lived here centuries before, and gave the town its name, "Se-Khi," or boiling water.
Elvis Presley's home is one you'll stop by on our favorite
tour, Viator's 2.5 hour Palm Springs Celebrity Tour.

Take a trip to Palm Springs,
which boomed because of Hollywood.

Downtown Palm Springs is lively and sophisticated,
not as noisy as Las Vegas and less frantic than L.A.

Tucked into a lovely corner of the Sonoran Desert, Palm Springs is known across the world for  its stylish hotels, beautiful golf courses and top
rated spas and nightlife.
It is also noted for many fine examples of midcentury-modern architecture, shopping compared to Beverly Hills, golf on perfectly manicured greens, vintage boutiques, lively theater and acclaimed restaurants.
Its casinos are friendly, the eateries have a gracious "old world" feel, and if you're drawn to nature, you can soak up the beauty of the surrounding Coachella Valley. There, hiking, biking and horseback riding await.
Fantastic female impersonators offer a top-drawer
 show at Oscar's. Here, "Lady Gaga" as performed
by Judas Joe Manson, one of four fabulous actors.
WE VISIT frequently, from our San Diego base, just two-plus hours from home through a lovely desert terrain (one can avoid the freeway for most of the journey.)  We find Palm Springs more sophisticated than Las Vegas, with an enticing variety of entertainment from fine live theater to excellent live music and a stunning female impersonators' revue at Oscar's featuring fabulous impressions of Barbra Streisand, Judy Garland, Bette Midler, Liza Minnelli and Lady Gaga. Director Dan Gore has assembled 150 years of experience in his crack cast headed by genial emcee Tommi Rose, with veterans Logan Walker and Brent Allen and newcomer Judas Joe Manson giving spot-on performances as the ladies. Oscar's is a classy cabaret every bit the equal of its Vegas counterparts.
The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway takes you to the top, for a
thrilling view; there might still be snow on the mountains. 
The draw of the town can't be denied. It's intoxicating. It's easy to relax beneath the mountains, sipping a coffee or wine around the pool or from your balcony at the lovely Hilton Palm Springs, a pleasant walking distance to shops, restaurants, clubs and casinos.
PALM SPRINGS is more laid back and sunnier than Los Angeles. In more than a dozen visits, we've never had bad weather. Balmy 70-degree winter temperatures are the rule and for us San Diegans, it's half the distance of Las Vegas, with its much less dependable weather.
Check out Viator for various fun tours in the area. Don't miss the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, up, up, up to the still snowy mountain top where you'll mingle with sun and scenery seekers from around the globe.
We noted license plates from New England, the Midwest and Canada in the Hilton and Tramway parking lot. The blend of city excitement with the beauty of the natural environment makes an intoxicating lure.
And who doesn't enjoy 70 degree weather,
Christene "Cookie" Meyers, Bruce Keller enjoy a desert hike.
when half of the country is still swathed in snow.
WE LOVE the variety of a Palm Springs day.  On one Saturday, we enjoyed a lovely nature walk in Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument, took a splendid docent tour at the beautiful Palm Springs Art Museum and enjoyed a show at Oscar's. Dining options abound. Our favorites are Eight 4 Nine Restaurant and Lounge with continental flair, and Sammy G's Tuscan Grill, also excellent. Both offer fine, precise, personalized service.
Fan palms are native to Palm Springs.
Here, on a hike at Agua Caliente.
Walking around town, the tourist sees thousands of palm trees, most not native to this part of the world.  The lovely California fan palm is native, though.  To experience the region's original landscape -- before 100-plus golf courses and manicured resort lawns, drive 10 short  minutes west to the Agua Caliente Indian Reservation (means hot water). Take the delightful hike from the Trading Post to see the world's largest oasis of native fan palms.  They cluster near the oasis because of the enormous amounts of water they demand.
 Fun celebrity home tour
PALM TREES are part of the romance of Palm Springs, though, and movie stars planted hundreds around their homes when Hollywood discovered the balm of Palm Springs. The stars came because
Theater in a small welcoming venue at the Palm Canyon
 Theatre, which recently ended a run of "Camelot."
"Pajama Game" is on now with a run through March 15.
studios insisted they be no more than began "reasonable driving distance" from Hollywood -- about 140 miles in the 1940s.  Many of the stars lived in studio-built cottages, many still existing  in the "Movie Colony," whose streets are marked.
Dozens of sidewalk stars
honor the famous folks who
lived in Palm Springs, from
U.S. Presidents to actors.
 "Golden Palm Stars" are embedded in the city's main streets and it's fun to walk downtown and admire them -- a lively mix of the rich and famous -- movie stars, literary figures, TV personalities, diplomats, civic leaders, philanthropists, artists and U.S. Presidents with ties to the town and region.  Nixon, Ford and Reagan all built homes here. The 2.5 hour Celebrity Tour through Viator/Trip Advisor, will take you past the homes of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Cary Grant, Jack Benny, Marilyn Monroe and even Albert Einstein. 
We leave a piece of our hearts on Palm Springs each visit, hoping we'll return.;;;

A diverse permanent collection, including works by world-class sculptors
and painters awaits, with an impressive variety of murals, paintings and
changing exhibits. Next week, we visit Palm Springs Art Museum. 
UP NEXT:  Come with us to explore the Palm Springs Art Museum, a treasure trove of world class art and sculpture. Then 150,000 square foot museum houses a diverse permanent collection, with innovative changing exhibitions and excellent docent-led tours to enhance your visit. We'll take you along to visit this world class museum with a lovely bistro and two outdoor sculpture gardens as well. Remember to explore, learn and live and catch us weekly for a fresh look at art, nature, theater, family, travel and more: 


  1. Another stellar piece. Great photos and story on a favorite place.

  2. A fun getaway for us and we love the theater and Oscar's too. Look forward to the museum piece. Fabulous place.

  3. Texas Traveling TwosomeFebruary 22, 2020 at 1:39 PM

    We love Palm Springs, too. Thanks for another fun piece.

  4. Pasadena Palm Springs FansFebruary 23, 2020 at 8:26 AM

    We maake the trip, too, several times year. Thanks for the fun overview.