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We’ve been watching the weather and see snowflakes are starting to fly in many parts of the country. While we’re not fortune tellers, we can tell you a sure way to avoid some of the winter snow: come visit Palm Springs, California, where the sun shines 350 days a year. 

Our pools are heated, and most assuredly, you will find palm trees nearby to take the perfect picture to send back home to your friends. If you want a cocktail in your hand for the photo while you are relaxing, that can be arranged, too.

We may be a little prejudiced, but we think one of our more than 70 boutique hotels will meet the vision you had in your head of a winter getaway. The official definition of a boutique hotel is 50 rooms or less. However, when you start looking, you will discover Palm Springs has many small hotels with under 20 rooms. One of the more intimate hotels was once the home of movie star Gloria Swanson. Now called Amin Casa, it has one studio; four private bungalows with full kitchens, living areas, and bedrooms; and Swanson’s original residence, a premier space with a grand living area and historic stone fireplace.

Our Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels website is the place to start your exploration, and here’s why:

1. Honest descriptions of our hotels

Journalists and travel writers have written the descriptions of our hotels, so you won’t read hyped-up marketing speak on our site. We strive to tell it like it is and often interview the property managers and owners, so what you read is what you can expect to experience once you arrive at your hotel.

The beautiful pool at Amin Casa. Photo courtesy of Amin Casa

2. A search tool that works

Whether you’re looking for a gay men’s clothing-optional resort, a hotel where you can bring your dog, or a property with a spa, all you have to do is put the specific term in our search bar and you’ll find what you’re looking for. Speaking of bringing your pup to Palm Springs, this is a very dog-friendly town, and you can take Fido just about everywhere. It’s not unheard of to arrive at a hotel and see a welcome sign waiting for Fido at the registration desk. By the way — be ready to find water bowls in front of storefronts and cashiers asking if your dog can have one of the treats carefully hidden behind the counter. 

3. Dining and shopping recommendations from insiders

With no empty storefronts, this town is thriving, and new shops are enticing visitors and residents alike. Our Boutiquely Palm Springs blog may help you decide where to start, but be aware that it can be hard even for locals to keep up with our ever-changing town, so you may discover some locally owned shops that just popped up.

Our food scene is also attracting some of the finest chefs in the nation, who know sophisticated foodies from all over the world flock to Palm Springs — and they are not about to disappoint. Our bloggers are writing in depth about restaurants and chefs, making our site is an excellent place to start researching restaurants that serve your favorite cuisine.

Everyone — dogs included — love shopping in Palm Springs. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

4. Extensive event guides to find out what’s happening in town

With the busy season starting, you will want to check out the many attractions open and special events taking place in our city during your stay. Our blog has comprehensive articles about everything from Pride and Modernism Week to the best hiking trails in the desert. In addition, you will find articles written about lesser-known places you might want to visit.

5. Maps to show you the way

The Palm Springs International Airport is only about two miles from downtown. The Coachella Valley, home to Palm Springs and eight other cities, is 45 miles long, and some destinations are pretty far from the airport — Indio, for example, is 20 miles away. If you’re not renting a car, you can see why our proximity to the airport is a superb reason to stay nearby. The Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels website has a map that shows all of our hotels in relation to the airport, as well as landmarks, attractions, and neighborhoods.

Cruising up to the Palm Springs International Airport in style. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

There is so much to explore in our area, and some planning can help ensure you have a stress-free vacation. Doesn’t it sound easy to sit in your comfy chair at home, favorite drink in hand, and use our Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels website to plan your dream vacation?

“April comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.” — Edna St. Vincent Millay

In the spring, nature’s theater doesn’t always mean “head to the storm cellar!” In the desert, spring stages an extravaganza of colorful wildflowers called the superbloom. But that’s only when we are fortunate to have had a rainy winter.

This year the clouds have been a bit stingy with the wet, so it’s gonna be a smaller, but still gorgeous show. There are a few well-known spots to experience them, which I’m gonna tell you about because I’m nice like that and, full disclosure, I like to talk.

Keep in mind, almost all of them include some level of walking, and some are definitely challenging. So make sure you find your own comfort level and don’t push it. Even people who are avid hikers can misjudge their stamina or not bring enough water. It’s the desert — you need a LOT of water.

Mom warnings aside, off we go!

The best known spot is called Anza-Borrego, and it’s a little bit of a haul. About an hour and fifteen outside of Palm Springs, it’s well worth the drive. It’s best to go during superblooms, but you can still see swaths of gorgeous color in drier times. These clever folks have a website/hotline to check on the situation. Hey buds, how you bloomin’?

Wildflowers in bloom. Courtesy of Anza Borrego Botany

Big Morongo Canyon Preserve: This one is why I said “almost all of them” require some level of walking. It’s about 45 minutes from Palm Springs. Per the website: “The preserve entrance is one block south of State Highway 62 in Morongo Valley, a community located between Palm Springs and Joshua Tree National Park. Several trails, including boardwalks through the marsh and stream habitats, meander through the preserve. The one-half mile Marsh Trail is wheelchair accessible. Open daily throughout the year, from 7:30 a.m. to sunset.”

Joshua Tree: It’s a national park, so make sure to hop on the site to purchase a pass before you go. Not only will it show you what blooms to expect, but the Joshua Tree itself should be blooming.

Coachella Valley Preserve, Thousand Palms: For those with sciatica (raises hand), I’m told there is a flat hike here. Hours: December 1 through April 30, Wednesday through Sunday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. This is an oasis, so you’re likely to see a lot of color. The trails are McCallum, Moon Country, Smoke Tree, and Herman’s Hike. Lots of critters too, so no dogs unless your pup is a registered service dog.

The Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center in Palm Desert is another group of trails with possible flowering flora. Everything you want to know can be found here.

The La Quinta Cove to Lake Trail: Their website mentions wildflowers and I believe everything I read on the internet.

South Lykken Trail: This is a very popular trail. It’s on South Palm Canyon, just after E. Murray Canyon Drive (on your left). The trail is a titch further up on your right. Hit up Moorten’s on your way (keep scrolling more info). It’s near the start of South Palm Canyon on your right.

Moorten Botanical Gardens is a plant lover’s paradise. Photo courtesy of Moorten Botanical Gardens

East Indio Hills Badlands: From their website comes this dramatic reading: “This trail enters the Indio Hills badlands and traverses the San Andreas Fault exposing twisted and tortured rocks that have been uplifted and moved over millions of years. The trail enters several narrow slot canyons and twists and turns in the sandy washes before climbing up to the ridge with panoramic views of the entire Coachella Valley.” Epic.

Sunnylands: If hiking is not your jam, Sunnylands is the place to go. The grounds are astounding, and it’s free to roam them.

Wildflowers aren’t the only thing blooming. The cacti are absolutely bonkers with blooms this year. The little cactus in front of my house has buds where she never bloomed before. And you don’t have to leave town for that, you just go where the cacti are, which is everywhere in my park. But if you prefer something more structured, Moorten Botanical Gardens is for you. The cost to get in is minimal: $5 for adults, $2 for kids 6 to 15, and free for children 5 and under.

Kay’s cactus. Photo courtesy of Kay Kudukis

Here’s a little blurb about cacti: “The greatest diversity of spring-flowering cacti species can be seen in April. Some also stretch into May with some species such as the prickly pears cactus blooming well in early May. Saguaros tend to flower from mid-May to mid-June.”

The Ocotillo, a shrub that’s so fancy Palm Springs named things after her, has orange-red flowers and that girl doesn’t care if it was wet or dry, she’s showing off. You can blink all you want, you’re not going to miss her.

The world is a bit serious right now, so it’s even more important to reset and enjoy a fleeting moment brought to you by nature. As Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “Earth laughs in flowers.”

Have a giggle.

The Ocotillo bloom. Photo by Pixabay

“Too much of a good thing is wonderful.” — Liberace

When you Google “best gay cities,” my results did not include one single listicle mentioning Palm Springs. What? People, our entire city council is LGBTQIA, and from Wikipedia’s entry for Gay Village: “An estimated 33 to 50 percent of Palm Springs, California, are gay male or other parts of the LGBTQ community; this statistic makes them the largest percentage community in the US.”

In 2016, Palm Springs received a final score of 100 points in the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index Scorecard. Our city exceeded the highest possible final score of 100 with a raw score of 109, and we’ve kept that score through their last report of 2020.

Speaking of the ’20s, 100 years ago, Palm Springs began its journey as a playground for celebrities and the LGBTQ+ community thanks to Dr. Florilla White and her sister Cornelia. The two “independent and eccentric women” (code: lesbian) purchased the Palm Springs Hotel and spiffed it up a bit. Rudolph Valentino spent his second honeymoon there (it was escandalo!), and Greta Garbo demanded the premiere of Camille be held at the new Plaza Theater while she stayed at the hotel. Side note: if it weren’t for the founding mothers of Palm Springs (the White Sisters, Nellie Coffman, Lois Kellog —she was a wild one! — and Pearl McCallum McManus), it might still be a dusty little town. And the Cahuilla likely wouldn’t be where they are today without the 1950s all-women tribal council. Historically, in Palm Springs, men beat the drum of awareness while the women quietly made history. Sisters, amirite?

Liberace.

Palm Springs is so gay Liberace, Rock Hudson, Tab Hunter, Barry Manilow and gay icons Cher and Carol Channing had/have homes here. Not to mention the other “maybe they were, maybe there weren’t” plethora of stars. Although there is speculation, it doesn’t really matter, because Palm Springs has always offered personal privacy. No one is getting “outed” if they don’t want to be out.

Courtesy of CV Independent

In the 1980s, two anti-gay and AIDS-related bills were soundly trounced and, according to a 2017 article in Palm Springs Life, in 1991 club owner Gloria Green opened the first gay bar on Arenas Road, A Streetbar Named Desire (now known as Streetbar). I qualify that with the Palm Springs Life article because most accounts attribute the bar to Dick Haskamp and Hank Morgan, who apparently purchased it in the same year. So something is a little sketchy about the origins — however, Arenas would soon build up to become an all-gay city block with clubs and stores catering to gay men.

Pride was first celebrated in Palm Springs with a showcase called Sizzle. It wasn’t well received or advertised, and Sizzle fizzled out until 1992. By 1997, The Desert Sun estimated 30,000 people watched the (now) Pride parade.

Our gayness isn’t limited to Arenas. Oscar’s is alive almost every night with gay-leaning entertainment and Sundays is all about celebrating your gayness at the T-Dance. You can hear the party from blocks away.

We have so many drag queens they could hold court for an entire generation of royals, and they’re damn fine. Late night entertainment at The Copa and Toucans include long-running drag shows that pack the rooms, and drag brunches abound in our exceptionally inviting cozy town.

The San Francisco establishment of transgender performers AsiaSF chose Palm Springs as its second home. They opened just before the pandemic, and I’m told will reopen again in November — maybe December — of this year. I went to the opening in early 2020 (before you know what): these ladies are hot AF.

Some of the finest dining in Palm Springs is brought to you by gay restaurateurs. Roly China Fusion, Tropicale, Eight4Nine, Trio, PS Underground (an exciting take on dinner theater), The Purple Room (supper club), and 533 Viet Fusion to name just a few not on Arenas.

Desert Rose Playhouse is the one and only LGBTQ theater company and venue in the Coachella Valley. Now in Palm Springs proper at the old Zelda’s Nightclub space, they produce, support and elevate LGBTQ stories, actors, playwrights, and musicians. I have never been disappointed by their productions. So far this year I have seen The Great American Trailer Park Musical and Rocky Horror, and have tickets to see Hedwig and the Angry Inch. It’s a great space with a great vibe and the shows are delicious.

We have an LGBTQ+ community center, PFLAG (for supporters), and a retirement community for gays called Stonewall Gardens. We have two gay radio stations, the Gay Desert Guide, and the Palm Springs Cultural Center, with a mixture of artsy blockbusters and showcasing gay-themed films.

If you check out our website (already sorted for you!), you’ll find we have 11 resort hotels catering to gay men, some clothing optional. The Warm Sands area is generously dotted with gay boutique hotels.

One of my favorite things that hasn’t yet returned in the pandemic is our star drag queen Bella da Ball (aka Brian Wanzek) reading stories to kids at the Palm Springs Library. Bella even has her own star on our Walk of Stars.

There’s DAP, Desert AIDS Project, a terrific medical establishment that not only caters to gays living with AIDS but also administers to MediCal patients. I was on MediCal for a bit and they provide stellar care (I was sad when my insurance switched). They also run the resale stores Revivals which have terrific bargains on gently-used items, and some brand-new stuff too. Profits benefit DAP.

And of course there is the big event, Palm Springs Pride.

Some “must” events sent to me by Bella Da Ball:

November 1, 6 to 7 p.m.: George Zander Candlelight Vigil and March, 101 N. Museum Dr.

Beginning at the new downtown park (Museum Way and Museum Drive), this rally and march is in honor of George Zander. Six years ago to the day, George and Chris Zander were attacked in downtown Palm Springs, resulting in George’s death on December 10, 2015. This remembrance of George’s life keeps his memory alive, so that no other individual falls victim to a crime of hate.

November 7, 5 to 10 p.m.: Effen Vodka main stage, near the Hyatt Hotel on North Palm Canyon Drive. Party. Huge stage. Special video screens.

But wait, there’s even more eye candy than the parade! On November 5 and 6, enjoy the West Coast premiere of Global Rainbow by American artist Yvette Mattern. Specially designed lasers project a large-scale abstraction of a natural rainbow (the same colors in Gilbert Baker’s rainbow flag) celebrating the diverse LGBTQ+ communities and symbolizing hope and peace. Beamed high above Palm Canyon Drive at Amado Road, as far as the eye can see, until finally diminishing to a colorful glow over South Palm Canyon.  

Hitting the stage on November 5:

5:30 p.m. — Charles Herrera 

6 p.m. — Steven Michael’s Dance Machine, dancers, flaggers, drag

6:15 p.m. — Jason Stuart

6:30 p.m. — Shannon 

7:15 p.m. — Sassy Ross

7:30 p.m. — Jeanie Tracy

8 p.m. — Jody Watley

8:45 p.m. — The Perry Twins

The unadulterated joy and magic the Palm Springs LGBTQ+ community brings to our little town is unparalleled. That’s right, I said it: unparalleled.

Not gay? No one cares, we are a mecca for all who want to be included…unless you’re homophobic, then according to the website Abodo, you should vacation in Buffalo, New York.

See you at Pride!

Paul Kurdian and Sam McDermott started their married life off with a bang.

While they were dating, the couple imagined one day starting a business together, and the opportunity arrived on the morning after their wedding.

“On our way to Sunday brunch at my brother’s house, Paul received a call from a former client who had owned another hotel he sold for her,” Sam said. “She told Paul she was ready to retire completely and called to see if he could help with the sale of this hotel. We decided to purchase it ourselves, and nearly eight months later, we began our journey, and the rest is history!”

There were several things about the 18-room property in Palm Springs that appealed to Paul, a real estate broker with corporate experience in operations and management, and Sam, who has a background in strategy, marketing, and business development. The timing was “pretty remarkable,” Sam said, especially since she had once “flirted” with the idea of buying a hotel, and owning one was something Paul had always dreamed about.

“How this came about was surreal because we wanted to extend our life partnership in a new and exciting way,” Sam said. “Many newlyweds have children within their first year of marriage — we gave birth to a new business.”

The hotel was in need of some serious sprucing up, and Sam and Paul started by removing “anything old and outdated.” They replaced “everything that guests could see and touch,” and added conveniences like Qi wireless charging stations in every room. 

All of the carpeting was ripped out, new flooring was installed, and each room now has its own air conditioning and heating unit. The walls are covered with fresh paint, the rooms are filled with new furniture, beds, linens, and towels, and the pool is surrounded by colorful umbrellas and loungers. Perhaps the biggest change Sam and Paul made was giving the property a new name: The Inn at Palm Springs.

“Inn at Palm Springs is the very first property you see on your way into Palm Springs on Highway 111,” Sam said. “We like to tell people we are the Gateway to Palm Springs. When you visit, you’ll see a happy and colorful vibe throughout the property.”

The hotel is dog-friendly — Sam and Paul’s own pup, Gus, lives with them on-site — and able to host small groups for special occasions. 

“We’ve had several guests tell us they plan to come back with a group and take over the inn,” Sam said. “We find joy in helping our guests create great memories with their friends and family, and we look forward to hosting more intimate gatherings in the future.”

Because Paul and Sam have both traveled so extensively for work and fun, they came into this with a clear vision for their hotel: It had to be comfortable, clean, and private, a space where guests felt welcome the instant they stepped onto the property and left feeling they had a positive experience that was an excellent value. The effusive response they have received from patrons shows they accomplished what they set out to do.

“We’ve been very grateful for the wonderful guests who have stayed with us,” Sam said. “It is the positive feedback we receive from guests that keeps us motivated each day.”

First, I regret the announcements: Not quite ready to take the plunge, Splash House has been rescheduled for August; Pride will happen in November. I know! I’m verklempt too. However, there’s still an awful lot of fun to be had this June in Palm Springs. And I hear they’ll be back soon.

Oh, before we get to events, it’s good to mention that we’ve got a few specials going on. Each boutique hotel has a different vibe and their own brand of swagger. Make sure to check them out here.

Okay. June. Planned events, then some build-your-own adventures. Let’s go!

Special Events

June 22-28 – At the top of the list is Palm Springs Short Film Festival. Per Variety, “Palm Springs Shortfest will be the first film festival of 2021 in California to hold all of its screenings in-theater when the event takes place at the Camelot Theatres (aka Palm Springs Cultural Center). Check them out too.

June 17th – Cast & Crew screening of Palm Springs Women in Film & Television’s two short films, “Accidental Date” and “Aftermath.” 6pm reception, 7pm screening followed by a Q&A for both films. Camelot Theater (PS Cultural Center) in Palm Springs.

Oscars – they keep adding events (yay!), so here’s what’s listed as of this writing. Check the link to see if there are additions.

  • Melissa Manchester @ Oscars June 17 & 18
  • Gunhild Carling @ Oscars June 10 5:30 & 9:30, Sweden’s Queen of Swing. Famous for playing trombone, she also plays bagpipes, trumpet, recorder, string instruments and will often play them all in one song, sometimes casually breaking into a tap dance or singing.

Four Twenty Bank and Lounge – The dispensary, lounge, and entertainment venue is located on Palm Canyon and Baristo (this is important, used to be at 777 Palm Canyon). They’ve got a great stage, but check their calendar. There was a Bowie tribute band and a Journey tribute band scheduled when I checked a day ago, but they’re gone, and others added. Things are still coming together on their line-up, but the Lounge is still pretty badass.

PS Underground: Book well in advance; these are the hottest shows in town. Ticketing links below.

  • June 11:  IMAGINE. A multiple course journey of music and food. “What would it feel like to climb into music and let it tantalize your every sense?”
  • June 13: GOSPEL –  a multiple course Sunday brunch with fantastic food and toe-tapping, hand clapping gospel music from the band onstage.
  • June 18: ENIGMA – a puzzling or inexplicable experience or occurrence. “Things are not always as they seem as we navigate through this feast for all senses. …an over-the-top unexplainable out-of-the-box immersive dinner experience.”
  • June 25: LIGHT – “Wear white and bring to the table an open mind and a sense of adventure. Prepare yourselves for an evening of the truly unexpected.
  • June 27: OVATION – A jazzed up Sunday Brunch, “Surprise performers and musicians…free-flowing, bubbly and Bloody Mary’s are included.

On-Going Events

I’m recycling some of these from last month because, FUN! Once again, an asterisk denotes that I have been and it’s fabulous.

*Thursday afternoons are free at Palm Springs Art Museum from 5-7 p.m. Make a reservation.

Saturdays: Saturday Night Flight at PS Air Bar.”Boarding time”  5 p.m.

Wine tastings at Bouschet. They keep adding dates so I’m just linking to their website. Also, their California Caesar is bowl-licking good (the fancy bowl makes it hard, though), and a friend likes their macaroni salad so much he asked for the recipe.

Saturdays: Not Your Grandma’s Bingo at Chill Bar from 12-2 p.m. The name says it all.

*Sundays: Palm Springs Drag Brunch, with Rosemary Galore and her queenly court at Roly China Fusion.

*Saturdays and Sundays – I have written about Palm Springs magic before, but Crystal Fantasy is our go-to guide for crystals, sage, tarot cards, and all things material to interact with or distract the spiritual realm. Saturday and Sundays they have a Psychic/Healing Arts Fair, where you pick your psychic (or did they pick you, hmmm?). Check the website for times and the cool classes they have during the week.

*Sundays: It’s the Pro-Jazz Jam from 2-5 p.m. at Palm Canyon Roadhouse. It’s all the best players in the Coachella Valley led by solid jazz musician, Mikale Karr.

And, drumroll please, the most raucous dance party in Palm Springs is back! It’s Oscar’s T-Dance, Sunday’s from 4-8 pm. You can hear it blocks away. Mostly gay men, but I’ve been and it was a gas!

Day-Time Activities

*Like Mid-Mod? Or the architecturally significant homes of the stars? Palm Springs Life has a self-guided tour app. It’s a great fix as we wait for tours to restart, and Modernism Week to return.

*CannaBUS Express Tours, there’s no other like it. Any canna-curiosity you might have will be replaced with knowledge from their Extreme Green Team. BONUS: it’s hella-fun.

If you’re staying in a boutique hotel, there’s a good chance there’s work by a local artist hanging on a wall, or sitting on a table. That’s because creativity is off-the-charts flowing unlike the rain in Palm Springs. Art has many expressions, and at the indoor Mojave Flea Trading Post, artists and crafters of every ilk come together in a 10,000 sq. ft. marketplace of makers & merchants from Joshua Tree, the Coachella Valley, and beyond.

And guys, check this out: you can take a ride in an old warbird at Palm Springs Air Museum! The Warbird Ride has six options: C-47 Skytrain, T-28 Trojan, PT-17 Stearman, P-51 Mustang and the T-33 Shooting Star Jet.  While you’re there, make sure to take a tour of the *Palm Springs Air Museum. It’s cooler than you might think.

That’s it for events, but I’m super excited to play show and tell with all of the fun and funky spots for your Instagram page. I found some fabulous filters, so I used them. Hope you likey. It’s my first try. You’ll find out why this chair sits on a pedestal.

As always, please shop and stay at locally-owned businesses. And if you go to any of our hotels or enjoy our recommendations, please be sure to tag us with your photos on IG, or @palmspringspreferredsmallhotel (yeah, it’s a lot to type, but we appreciate it!)  #PSPSH

“Last night you were unhinged. You were like some desperate, howling demon. You frightened me. Do it again.” — The Addams Family

Halloween is a great time to spend the weekend in Palm Springs. The weather is cooler, but not cold, and the food and entertainment are hot! Also, if you weren’t already aware, Halloween is a HUGE deal here in Palm Springs. Arenas is all about creativity in costumes, music, drinks and reverie — it’s quite the kiki.

Halloween is so big in LGBTQ+ culture that it’s called Gay Christmas. And on Arenas it is FUN, it is FABULOUS, it’s a CELEBRATION, and it is PAGEANTRY! It is a scene, baby!

A writer for The Advocate had some musings about why Halloween is such a big deal in gay culture and hoo boy, they were pretty dark, and not in a spooky way but in a way that sucks all of the gaiety out of fright night. So we’re not going to focus on the hocus pocus and go with another suggestion from him that rings true, “Halloween is the one time of year when everyone is allowed to be whoever they want to be.” That gets a bubbling, piping hot cauldron full of “yes!”

If you’re not gay, who cares? Everyone is welcome everywhere. For those who have an aversion to crowds, and it will be crowded on Arenas, there’s still plenty’o-ween to be had in smaller doses.

(If you’d like to read a detailed history about Halloween and Gay Christmas go here. Or you can come back to it after you read about all the spooktacular ((sorry)) goings on in Palm Springs 2022).

Halloween revelers in Palm Springs. Photo credit: Kay Kudukis

Party in the U.S. Gay:

Oct. 30: Arenas Halloween  — There is SO much to do and see, you’re going to have to click the link and check it out. If you don’t wear a costume, you can still go, but you’ll feel horribly out of place. Here are some shopping spots to find your spooky boo you. Or just find a fun mask.

Oct. 12, 19, and 26: A Classic TV Halloween at Quadz. On Oct. 19th, stop by for 1970’s HORROR FILMS: A Nod to The Classics in Palm Springs, or check out The History of Horror/Scariest Short Films Part 2 on Oct. 26. 

Oct. 20: Hey Boo! at Oscar’s, is described as such: “Heklina, international drag queen extraordinaire, will be ‘HELLina’ with her spooky parody songs and hocus-pocus tales. Heklina’s spine-chilling performance will remind you that this podcaster, actor, emcee and ghost buster is more than just a pretty face. Deven Green & Ned Douglas are the boniest award-winning performers this side of purgatory. Brought back from the dead for one night only, their live music and songs with inscrutable words will make you soil yourself with frightful laughter.”

Families with kids

Oct. 29: Spooktacular Halloween – Rancho Mirage Library — Enjoy an afternoon of trick-or-treating and a costume parade through the library. Christopher T. Magician will also be on hand to perform his Halloween magic show in the Community Room. 1 to 4 p.m.

Oct. 29 and 30: Howl-O-Ween at the Living Desert. Kids are encouraged to dress up in their favorite costumes and enjoy one of the many exciting activities planned for the weekend, including more than 20 trick-or-treat stations, a monster maze, pumpkin bowling, pumpkin decorating, animal encounters, meeting Living Desert zoo mascots, storytelling, face-painting, bounce houses, craft workshops, and more. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. This event is free with paid park admission.

Oct. 30: Cathedral City Spooktacular — This free event features trick-or-treating with more than 40,000 pieces of candy. Kids will have a spooktacular time participating in activities like Halloween costume contests (two bikes are being given away each hour), police and fire exhibitions, and games. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Charity events

Oct. 8: House Party For A Cause — $100 but well worth it. Debbie Boone (the ’80s), Steve Knill (The Voice), Alix Korey (Broadway) and my favorite, DJ ModGirl.

Oct. 30: Be a Hero For Kids — If you’ve got a little bit deeper pockets, check out this event presented by The Boys and Girls Club of Palm Springs. It’s poolside!

All the rest

Escape Room — Vampire’s Lair, Jack The Ripper, and Merlin’s Magic Room are three of the spooky adventures awaiting you and your besties. The object? Just like Jordan Peele’s scary film: Get Out.

Oct. 16, 20, and 27: Palm Springs Cultural Center — Tim Burton “festival” with Ed Wood, Beetlejuice, and Nightmare Before Christmas. If you didn’t know, PSCC/Camelot Theatre has a 58′ screen, and the finest projection capabilities in the valley. It’s truly an experience to see a film in this theater.

Oct. 28: The Hilton’s Palm Springs Halloween Comedy Mashup.

Oct. 28, 29, and 31: PS Underground “Bite: Vampire Circus” — Always a frightful night in the best possible way. It changes every year, but it’s always wonderful. From the top-notch entertainment to the fantastic food to complement the evening. Expect the unexpected.

Oct. 29:  Mogo Silent Disco Monster Mash — Dance like nobody’s watching (even though they all are, because you’re dancing down the street to curated music with a bunch of people wearing headphone). Always fun.

Stay safe, buddy up, take rideshares, and don’t forget to hydrate. Love, A Witchy Woman

Creative Halloween costumes abound in Palm Springs. Photo credit: Kay Kudukis

Kay Kudukis Paints Palm Springs Red

Glorious September in Palm Springs, often offering the perfect balance between sun worshipers and those preferring a more sun-kissed look. With the lower temps and evenings cooling down substantially, the nights are delightfully dreamy. Leisurely strolls down Palm Canyon are back in style, and dining al fresco is de rigueur.

VillageFest courtesy of VillageFest

With the evenings cooling off, the VillageFest is definitely heating up! Our Thursday night street fair/party partially closes Palm Canyon Drive to traffic. Vendors are usually scattered from Amado to Baristo. Palm Canyon Drive is filled with buskers; pop-up restaurants and stores; and artisans of every ilk. Palm Springs is home to a ton of incredibly talented artists and crafters. Downtown businesses remain open, so it’s scads of fun. Even though it’s outdoors, it’s a large event and masks are required. More about that at the end.

And now, onto some most excellent adventures. Some big, some small– you can have it all in Palm Springs:

Dinah Weekend

This is for all the Sappho Sisters who have been waiting for their turn to throw a party. And this is a great one. I will talk more about it in my article All Gay, All Day. It has been my observation that lesbians are underserved in Palm Springs. Although everywhere is all-inclusive, gay bars mean mostly for men. I’ll tell you more about it in the next blog. But

If you’d like to skip my next article, you can go straight (“Never!” said every lesbian) to their website here.

Desert Rose Theater Upcoming Shows and Venue

Theater

Desert Rose Playhouse is just off its massively successful run of The Great American Trailer Park Musical (TGATPM). I saw it, and I laughed uncontrollably throughout the whole show. Those who hadn’t stopped at a dispensary prior laughed just as hard. The Rocky Horror Show will be up on stage until September 12th. Trust me when I say that this LGBTQ+ friendly theater company is full of surprises (the leads of TGATPM were in drag) so I’m looking forward to meeting their Dr. Frank-N-Furter.

Latin Nights at The Cascade Lounge courtesy of Cascade Lounge

Entertainment

Jazzville is back at The Cascade Lounge. If you wear the name jazzbo proudly (as you should) this is where you want to be on Thursdays. Book in advance. Their shows sell out pretty quickly and start at 7:00 PM.

Sunday nights get steamy at Cascade with Nacho Bustillos and Quinto Menguante’s Latin Nights. Their music ranges from salsa, cumbia, banda, bachata, reggaeton to pop. Dancing shoes are highly encouraged.

Melvyn’s Sunday Jams at the famous Ingleside Inn begin at 3pm on Sundays and go until the musicians get tired, aka dinner time. Led by Mikael Healey, it’s a lineup of the best of the best players in PS and beyond. It’s a $30 cover, it’s in Melyvn’s Casablanca Lounge, and – oh no! It’s only running through 9/26! Once again, calling all jazzbos. Also, it’s a pretty fun experience. You get to do a little bit of dress up, and drink martinis just like in the Rat Pack days.

Oscars has some special shows coming up, including evenings with Linsday Wagner and Sandra Bernardt – not together, that would be a bit “too too” even for Palm Springs. Heads would explode from nostalgia overload if the Bionic Woman and Madonna’s ex-bestie shared a stage.

Me and some of my favorite Queens

Drag Shows

Toucans – OM Stars, far too many shows to list. Check the website, prepare to stay out late, and prepare to dance your “katushies” off.

Roly China Fusion Sadly, the Drag Brunch ends on 9/5 (as of this typing). HOWEVER they have a great party planned for Pride, so give it a look-see. More in my next blog.

Bitchies Brunch at Oscars – Like you need me to tell you anything at all about this event.

PS Air Saturday Night Flight – Naughty stewardess, drinks, while you “fly” the friendly skies. Special experience.

The Judy Show starring Michael Holmes at The Purple Room

Dinner Shows

Guys– The Purple Room is back! That means The Judy Show is back! I may have just peed a little. Upcoming guests are Jane Monheit, and Lee Squared: Liberace and Ms. Peggy Lee Coming Out (of covid). Keep checking the website for updated acts, and if you’ve never been, go to The Judy Show. If you’re like me and gained the COVID ten-ish, you’ll laugh a few pounds off.

There are some returning shows and some new forms of musical and culinary insanity from the wildly creative minds of Michael Fietsam and David Horgen of PS Underground. They, too, keep adding shows, and sell-out fast, so you’ve gotta be fast on the click.

Fun and Games

Monday nights Wilma and Frieda’s turns into Ethyl’s Place and Atomic Bingo! Doors open 5:30pm, Bingo! Starts at 6:30pm.

420 Bank and Dispensary Lounge has some events coming up, so check out their events. They also have a sort of “Palm Springs’ Got Talent” show with a recording contract at Melrose Recording Studio here in PS. Hosted by Derek Jordan Gregg, you can email [email protected] for more info and to sign up. Every Thursday, 5:30pm-8:00pm.

Summer Sing Along is still happening at the PS Cultural Center.

Don’t forget about The PS Tramway. Super fun ride to the top of the mountain with plenty of trails to hike. Speaking of hiking, don’t forget to check out our great preserves at Indian Canyons. Tons of trails and they’re all absolutely GORGEOUS. Take water, and wear hiking shoes and socks. We got rattlers.

Scavenger hunts. I know. You were not expecting that. But what fun! It’s a bit more of a group activity, so if you don’t work and play well with others, earbuds by the pool! There are two here in Palm Springs, Viator and Let’s Roam. They are a fun addition to a walking tour, so you get to stroll through history and Palm Springs landmarks while playing a game.

In October, there’s one to support our fantastic, no-kill, Palm Springs Animal Shelter. Here’s the info on the Scavenger Hunt. If you can’t play, a small donation goes a long way. I was going to put a team together, but I only have one friend–and they’re mad at me.

Comedy

Oscars is bringing Last Laugh Comedy to the last Wednesday of every month. Comedian and host Max Mitchell is bringing his funniest friends to entertain us. I’m a comedy ho, so – see ya there.

Upping their Friday game, Cascade Lounge has Cascade Comedy. Presented by Comedy Madness, each show is 90 minutes and features a roster of comedians with past appearances on Tonight Show, Conan, Netflix, America’s Got Talent, Comedy Central, Showtime and more.

One-Off Event

Dîner en Blanc – COMING IN OCTOBER

You really need to do some planning for this one. Everything except your skin color needs to be white. Your outfit, your table and chairs (which you bring) – and your picnic basket (which you also bring…with food in it). You will not know where you will be dining until you get there, but you will be eating your own food – so no allergy issues there. You can learn all about it on their website (which I believe might also be white) where you can also sign up,

Now that our lights are back on, we’re doing our best to keep them that way. The City of Palm Springs requires that all of the clubs require proof of vaccination, so you can either whip out your card, or show them your QR code from the State of California. And, at the time of this writing, masks are required indoors, so when you put on your shoes and your shirt, stick a mask in your pocket. And then–you know what? I’m not your mom, and you’re a responsible adult, right? You know what to do.

Viva Palm Springs!

Happy New Year!

The holiday season has gone its merry way, and we’re all feeling a little less flush in the pocket and a little more snug in the waistband. And that’s okay! We’ve got a full year to refill the coffers and pare down the pooch so screw it, let’s put it all on the back burner and have some glorious “it’s all about me” time basking in Palm Springs’ hospitality. You worked hard all year and you deserve a break, damnit. 

It’s hot tubbing, spa treatments, and hot toddies time! Come on. You know you wanna.

Before we get started, a wee bit of bad news: Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) has canceled its gala due to the new and highly unwelcome Omicron coronavirus variant. Keep an eye on PSIFF’s website for schedules and possible changes. So far, it’s the only event to (wisely) take that precaution, but these are strange times. Everything can change in a nano.

And now, it’s time to plan that “me” time!

Courtesy of PS Air Bar

Starting January 2, check out Disco Boozy Brunch at PS Air Bar. Recurring weekly on Sundays until March 27. Also, check out their Saturday night movies and grab yourself some fine wine from their downstairs parent, Bouschet. And by grab, I mean pay for it.

Desert Rose Playhouse has the world premiere of a new musical, Mid-Century Moderns. Set to the music of 1966, it’s the story of a plucky Wisconsin widow who transforms from frump to fabulous when she finds herself at the center of modernity in Palm Springs. Featuring the music of Tom Jones, Petula Clark, Lesley Gore, Frank and Nancy Sinatra, The Association, The Monkees, and many more. Sounds fun!

Palm Springs Air Museum has tons of great events coming up, including a show about Amelia Earhart. They also still have the Warbird Experience.

PS Underground 
Lots of fun. You never know what to expect. All of their shows are delightful, delicious, and wildly entertaining.

The Purple Room. Photo courtesy of The Purple Room

Purple Room offers entertainment six days a week, with ticketed shows on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Always Rat-Packy, and always classy. I’ll say it again: You’ve gotta see The Judy Show.

Palm Springs Tramway
Wear layers and heavy coats for the top.

Cascade Lounge at Agua Spa in downtown Palm Springs offers Caliente Comedy every Friday night, and Thursdays belongs to Jazzville.

Oscar’s is always coming up with innovative entertainment, so make sure to check their website. Every Sunday is the T Dance and Bitchiest Brunch.

Toucan’s Tiki Lounge is known for the city’s longest continuously running drag show, Tommi Rose & The Playgirls, as well as weekly theme nights, ranging from Latin Fever Monday to Neon Thursday to Dirty Pop Saturday. The club also brings in top tier cabaret and performance talent as part of Toucans Live on Stage.

CannaBUS Express Tours Canna-Sprinter. Photo courtesy of CannaBUS Express Tours

CannaBUS Express Tours
Greater Palm Springs is basically the Silicon Valley of cannabis. This is a very lively and informative 3-hour tour behind the scenes of the big business.

V Wine Lounge has music on Mondays, tacos and margaritas on Tuesdays, and karaoke on Wednesdays. Plus, they have a bomb selection of unusual wines. The lounge has a super cool vibe, so check it out.

Keep an eye out for a new franchise restaurant opening at 190 E. Indian Canyon later this month. Although these restaurants can be found all over Florida and in many other states, this will be the first I Heart Mac and Cheese in California. Comes with a side of Lipitor. (I’m kidding. It’s extra.)

Every Thursday is the Village Fest, every Saturday is the Certified Farmers Market, and the first Sunday of the month is the Vintage Market. If you’re craving vintage items on a day that is not the first Sunday of every month, then head on over to Sunny Dunes and Industrial Place and the Antiques Mall.

Oasis Music Festival is brand new event, and man do they have a lot of great acts during their five-day run. January 26 to 30 are the dates, and the venues are all over Palm Springs. What a great way to hear some great music and check off some of those venues you’ve been meaning to try. 

The Shag poster for Modernism Week 2022. Photo courtesy of Modernism Week

Notes to your future fun selves:

February is Modernism Week. It is likely many events have sold out (enthusiasts be enthusing), so get cracking on signing up. If you’re too late, you can always scratch your mid-mod itch with a copy of their new Shag poster here, or pop into Shag’s store to get an original. This is the fifth poster for Modernism Week by the local artist.

BNP Paribas Open is in March, so start planning now.

It’s never too early to prepare for Coachella or Stagecoach. Start booking rooms and getting tickets now. Looks like Coachella is already waitlisted!

Reminder: We love you and every single one of our neighbors, which means indoor events require a vax card. I got an electronic copy of mine here, then told Siri to take a screenshot and saved it in my iPhone’s Notes. Super simple.

Stay safe, and I hope to see you around town! 

Did you know that Palm Springs is internationally famous? Well, it is. Since 2006, people from all over the planet have been coming to Palm Springs during the month of February for the banging party we call Modernism Week. It’s like the United Nations all up in here.  

Before the big event, Modernism Week holds a four-day preview in October called Modernism Fall Preview (a.k.a. Mini-Mod Week), running from October 14 through 17. It’s jam-packed with loads to do — over 50 events!  

Modernism Week and Mini-Mod Week are so popular the best events sell out the same day they go on sale. So unless some fabulous bit of wizardry transpires (it might, Palm Springs is magical), forget about Sunnylands and Frank Sinatra’s Twin Palms Estate Tour. There’s plenty left to see though, from significant mid-century modern home tours to architectural double decker bus tours. 

You can dress as you like, but a lot of people choose to pull out their pedal pushers and fedoras — whatever it takes to achieve that retro look. During Mini-Mod Week, the town takes on that old-timey feel of the ’50s and ’60s.

There are some cool cocktail-style events, but those sell out pretty fast. One of my very favorite supper clubs, PS Underground, has a brand new show for this year called Beatnik. Hurry and book, their shows are always outstanding. 

Even if you miss out on your favorite events, there’s still the main event at the Palm Springs Convention Center where you can browse everything mid-century modern, including art, furniture, and lighting. You can find a list of exhibitors here. 

If you’re the curious type like me, or a little iffy on modernism, this article breaks down mid-century modern art for you. The same with architecture here. 

Friday night is the big opening night party for the Modernism Show and Sale. Tickets are $75 in advance and $85 at the door. A purchase to the opening night party gives you access to the show on Saturday and Sunday. 

Skipping the party? (You’re gonna say “no” to a party?!) You can still buy a ticket for Saturday and Sunday that will cost you one Jackson (soon to be Tubman!) and gets you in both days so you can shop ‘til you bop later on that evening. 

Whether you do or don’t plan on going to the Modernism Week preview, but love the vibe of the mid-mod experience, we have mid-century modern hotels for the complete experience. There are 25 of them, all with great amenities — learn more about these fabulous spots here. 


The Purple Room, a Rat Pack-inspired supper club, has some of the finest entertainment in town. Here are the weekend shows during Modernism Preview:  

October 14: Sharon Sills (every Thursday) 

October 15: Branden and James — vocals and cello performing the Lady Gaga songbook 

October 16: Branden and James  — vocals and cello performing the Lady Gaga songbook 

October 17: The Judy Show (my favorite show in town! Every Sunday.) 

Also, check out V Wine Lounge, where the vibe is so retro you’ll squee. 

By the way, the bus tours are hella fun. I am a tour guide assistant and even from my view (I sit in the bottom of the bus, you’ll be on top — bring sunscreen and hold onto your hats!) it’s a fun and informative 2-and-a-half hour ride. 

Hope to see you there, and let’s go retro! 

Missed Part 1? Read it here.

Welcome to summer in Palm Springs! This is long — lots to share! — so without further ado, the smaller resorts with restaurants:

Night falls on Arrive Palm Springs. Photo credit: Visit Palm Springs

Arrive Palm Springs — This resort is built to be social, and the poolside restaurant serves snacks and libations including “Poptails” — icy alcoholic popsicles. They used to have another restaurant, but sadly, the local favorite for lunch closed. However, you’ll barely notice the temps when you walk a few storefronts away to the hotel’s coffee shop, Cartel Coffee Lab, and ice cream parlor, Ice Cream & Shop(pe). Just a titch further is 1501 Gastropub by local restaurateurs Chad Gardner and Willie Rhine. Directly across the street from the resort is Sandfish Sushi and Whiskey Bar, which is as trendy as it sounds.

The view from above Fleur Noire. Photo credit: Visit Palm Springs

Fleur Noire Hotel — Initially called Burket’s Trade Winds Hotel, the new owners have reimagined the 1940s hotel and brought its original (heated) pool back to life. Surrounded by lush desert landscaping, the Spanish-style property has 21 casitas, studios, and standard rooms — all eclectic and all designed by Chris Pardo and wallpaper designer Ellie Cashman.

The clubhouse is open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., with a communal pantry, lounge seating, and working and dining areas. They don’t actually have a restaurant, but Rick’s Desert Grill is its next door neighbor. They do, however, have a rosé and champagne speakeasy called La Boisson that will also bring your chilled libation poolside. You can literally have rosé all day.

Welcome to Holiday House. Photo credit: Holiday House

Holiday House — Smack in the middle of downtown and just a bit west of Palm Canyon is Holiday House. This is the sister property of Sparrows Lodge, which is located on the south end of Palm Springs.

Named one of Travel + Leisure’s Top 500 Hotels of 2022, Holiday House is a 21+ property. Please note there are no TVs in the rooms, but honestly, you can do that at home. Your time is best spent poolside, in a very swimmable pool.

The 28-room hipster hideaway has a little restaurant called The Pantry. Lunch is served 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and dinner is from 5 to 9 p.m., and they’ve even got a poolside menu. There aren’t a lot of choices for dinner, but what they do have is pretty scrumptious, which means they’re pretty busy. Locals try to go, but you guys generally have eaten all that deliciousness by the time we get there.

L’Horizon’s cabanas. Photo credit: Visit Palm Springs

L’Horizon Palm Springs — Originally designed in 1952 by William F. Cody as a retreat for television producer and oil tycoon Jack Wrather and his actress wife, Bonita “Bunny” Granville (yeah, no idea either), L’Horizon has been restored to its original grandeur and is 100 percent squee-worthy.

Located on three acres, the 21+ resort has 25 private bungalows, and the original 2,000 square foot home is available for bookings as well. The living room and yard of the house have unobstructed views of the mountains, and there is a sunken seating area, wood-burning fireplace, dining room, wet bar, kitchen, marble bathrooms with rainforest showers, and an outdoor shower.

When you’re done lazing by the pool, The Spa offers massages, body treatments, facials, and add-ons like peppermint foot therapy and wild lime scalp treatments. Once you’re fully relaxed, stop by Le Shop, a boutique featuring Naturopathica’s skin care and body products, resort wear, swimsuits, jewelry, sunglasses, and home accessories.

And…drumroll…L’Horizon also has a gourmet restaurant called SO•PA that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner (feel free to order poolside as well). Dramatic, refined, and intimate, SO•PA offers a unique alfresco dining experience, and is on everyone in Palm Springs’ bucket list for dining.

The patio at El Mirasol at Los Arboles. Photo credit: Los Arboles Hotel

Los Arboles — The Casteñada family would like to welcome you to their 21-room “home” featuring a rooftop deck, a courtyard pool, hot tub, and home cooked authentic Mexican meals at El Mirasol at Los Arboles. 

I am not kidding you about the authentic food. Mama Casteñeda oversees the kitchen, and all of the dishes are from her recipe box (the box actually lived in her head, and she had no need to write them down until she opened a restaurant).

The restaurant is in a courtyard, and is a local favorite. They also have a sister location on the south end of town, the original El Mirasol. Pair the jalapeño margarita with any dish and you’ll be a very happy camper.

Pull up a chair at Sparrows Lodge. Photo credit: Sparrows Lodge

Sparrows Lodge — The bohemian sister resort to Holiday House also has zero TVs, but man do they have a great swimmable pool and misters all throughout the courtyard. The interiors have a modernist, beachy, farmhouse feel to them. If I’m any indication, you’ll feel a sense of serenity the moment you enter.

Their restaurant is called The Barn and like The Pantry at Holiday House, it’s on everyone’s bucket list. I cannot stress to you enough that you need a reservation, and generally well in advance. Executive Chef Sebastian Lowrey and Sous Chef Daniella Lara have created some wonderful offerings for lunch and dinner, and everyone wants in.

One of Villa Royale’s sparkling pools. Photo credit: Villa Royale

Villa Royale — Gorgeous old bones have been renovated to an even more glorious and contemporary retreat, well off the beaten path in the Deepwell neighborhood. The 21+, 38-suite property has three pools, mountain views, and folks, it is pet-friendly.

With over 50 original pieces of artwork on site, it’s like being immersed in a museum. All of the work was commissioned exclusively for the resort, and artists Sara Radovanovich, Lou Kregal, and Juan Casas lived at the Villa Royale while creating their oil paintings, which feature everything from pop culture icons to desert scenes.

Focusing on Spanish and Mediterranean flavors and led by Chef Louis Martinez, the Del Rey is Villa Royale’s small-plate restaurant. It boasts a beautiful 12-seat oak and marble bar, as well as booths and an outdoor patio with firepit. The cocktail menu is very creative — drink ingredients include black tea ice cubes, saffron syrup, and olive oil — so  get ready to imbibe. 

Coming next Tuesday: resorts with breakfast and lunch served on premise for guests only. Not a local in sight.