Palm Springs has always been one of those places that looks like they were made to be on postcards and travel magazines. Located in the Sonoran desert, just 100 miles east of Los Angeles, Palm Springs is the perfect destination if you want to enjoy lazing under the sun and enjoying the warmth of the tropics in a vintage resort town. It started gaining popularity during the 60s when stars like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Bob Hope, Sammy Davis Jr., and Doris Day would roam its streets (some of which are named after them now).
Now, it is more than just the Palm Springs mansions showing its transformation from desert haven to a glamourous city getaway, it is offering a very laid-back setting in the usually busy California. Moreover, it has been dubbed Coachella Valley, where every year the popular music festival is held, showcasing independent music from all across the world. Remove the flower crowns and obscure music though, there are new things to experience in Palm Springs. Here is what you can expect from a trip to this California desert oasis.
Eat all the Dates!
Palm Springs is basically date country; this is one of the places dates are largely grown. Dates are the oldest cultivated fruit which can be traced back to the Middle East. We usually buy them in packs, already dried and ready to eat from the package. However, there are many ways we can consume the popular sweet fruit, you will learn all about it in your Palm Springs visit. Here, you will get a taste of the date shake beverage — composed of date crystals and milk or yoghurt. Date crystals are just crushed dates until they are powdered. The man responsible for the crystals is farmer Floyd Shields. You can visit his Shields Date Garden and buy all kinds of date-based products like date sugar.
Fun fact: If you go around the Shields Date Garden, you will see sculptures of various scenes from Jesus’ life in between the trees. At first it would seem out of place if you are thinking about the overall theme of the place (which is basically just dates). But remember that the fruit came from the Middle East, the region where Jesus lived. Not only that, dates were actually one of the fruits in the bible. So make sure to check that out on your visit.
Take the time to enjoy all the outdoor activities
Good news for active travelers, because Palm Springs basically has the most reliable weather, there are tons of outdoor activities that can be done here.
You can choose to hike up the Mecca Hills, which is about 100 feet high and will take you 3 hours to traverse. If you have seen the film San Andreas (you know, the one with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson), this is where you will see the San Andreas Fault, where it converges with other fault lines that forms the Mecca Hills. During the day, you will be treated to a landscape sporting different hues of vibrant colour like orange, red, lilac, and red. This is due to the minerals in the Earth that have been exposed because of erosion. At night, though, Mecca Hills looks like something out of a science fiction film, with its lunar-like landscape.
Another hiking trail you can try is the Palm Springs Indian Canyons, which is about 880 feet high and will take 3 hours to climb. Here you will walk through a jungle-like river bottom and end up out of the High Desert plateaus. From this trail, you will see the San Jacinto Mountain Peaks and the Santa Rosa Mountains. And right through the rock gorges, you will see plunging cliffs, natural pools, and waterfalls.
If you want to go high up, you can also take the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway and go up to Joshua Tree — a national park which is home to trees of the same name. These Joshua Trees are named after the biblical Joshua who lifted his hands in prayer. If you want to spend the night there, you can definitely bring in packed food and an overnight pack for a Joshua Tree camping trip; just do not forget to clean up afterwards. Here, you can visit the outdoor museum where you will find repurposed unk turned into amazing sculptures. You should bring a jacket though because it can be quite cold there.
Appreciate modern architecture and history
At Palm Springs, you can get a tour of homes owned by some of the A-listers who used to visit the place like Frank Sinatra and Liberace. You can also see buildings designed by famous architects like Richard Neutra. Those who are fond of political history, you will find the estate founded by the Annenbergs, publishers and philanthropists since 1989. The estate is located at Sunnylands and was used for diplomatic talks and played host to different US presidents like Reagan, Bush, and Obama.
After taking the tour, you can take a leisurely stroll with the Palm Springs Modern Tour and appreciate the mid-century modern architecture that is dominant in Palm Springs. This tour was founded by Robert Imber, a writer who has published books on local architecture.
Once you are done with the tours and the hikes, you can put up your feet at any of the rental mansions or cabins around Palm Springs. Just make sure that you are able to maximise your stay there by taking to the time to take all the tours available and admiring the nature and art you can find at every turn.