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Is your daily life starting to wear you down? Are you experiencing symptoms of undue stress — constant worrying, sleepless nights, feelings of anxiety? Or, maybe you’re just looking for a change of scene.

It may be time for a true getaway, and Palm Springs is your perfect destination. Not only is the weather beautiful, but there are lots of “get-away-from-it-all” activities and a plethora of charming, peaceful boutique hotels in the Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels group that provide the ideal places to relax and regroup.

Here are some tips that may help you plan a real getaway in Palm Springs:

First, decide if you are going to get away alone or with another person, like a partner or friend. Sometimes another person can just add to your stress or distract you from focusing on relaxation — in that case, a solo getaway may be your best option. On the other hand, a traveling companion may enhance your getaway experience. It all depends on the person and what you are seeking in a getaway.

 The inviting pool at Azure Sky. Photo courtesy of Azure Sky

If you do decide to visit Palm Springs with someone else, make sure that the two of you either have similar ideas for your trip or that the other person respects your desire to experience a true getaway. If you just want to relax at your hotel and lounge around the pool, and your companion wants to hop around to museums and entertainment venues, then you need to respect each other’s wishes. You don’t have to do everything together. 

Set your getaway goals before you arrive in Palm Springs — do your research and make a list of activities that interest you, keeping in mind that trying something new is a wonderful way to get away from your daily routine. Consider going to  a spa or booking a massage, or how about that long-overdue pedicure? But please don’t over-plan. Doing too much in one day can be stressful. Allow plenty of time for naps! 

A bedroom at Sparrows Lodge. Photo courtesy of Sparrows Lodge

Choose a hotel that meets your relaxation goals. I have probably stayed at about 10 PSPSH boutique hotels in Palm Springs and I must say that they were all wonderful places to relax, but some are busier than others. They all have a relatively small number of rooms, so you will not be inundated by the distractions of lots of other guests. Many of these hotels are for adults only, and this is important if you don’t want cute but noisy little kids jumping over your lounge chair while you’re trying to lose yourself in a good book or take a serene snooze. Do you want a vibrant music scene around the pool or a more soothing atmosphere? Read the hotel reviews or call and ask about the atmosphere.

Consider a getaway where you can escape technology and the media for awhile. Several PSPSH hotels have no televisions or in-room phones, such as Azure Sky, Sparrows Lodge, and Korakia Pensione. (But of course, even if you stay in a hotel with a TV, you don’t have to turn it on.) You can also put your mobile phone and laptop away for a few days and just enjoy the sun, the sky, the pool, and a few friendly exchanges with other hotel guests. Be sure to bring some good books for relaxed reading.

The Artist Studio at Korakia Pensione. Photo courtesy of Korakia Pensione

Think about keeping a daily journal. Jot down random thoughts that come into your head. Record goals for maintaining a stress-free life when you return home. Or write about the many positive aspects of your life, and what you appreciate right now. Don’t focus on your problems — focus on what is good.

Meditation and mindful exercise or stretching routines like yoga can also be helpful in finding tranquility. Maybe you can start each day with a meditation on what you love about your life and how you hope to find peace in the future. There are also many wonderful hiking options in the Palm Springs area. Investigate those ahead of time and perhaps plan to take a daily walk or hike. There is nothing like nature to soothe your soul.

A hike in Indian Canyon is always a good idea. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

During your getaway, emphasize healthy eating and keeping alcohol to a minimum. Focus on fruits, vegetables, and fiber, which contribute to a healthy digestive system. A glass of wine occasionally is fine, but don’t overdo the cocktails. Many PSPSH hotels have small kitchens in their rooms so you can bring these healthy foods with you. Or you can order out from local restaurants if you don’t want to leave the hotel. 

Plan to stay long enough to really decompress. A week’s stay is ideal if possible.

I guarantee if you follow some or all of these suggestions you will leave refreshed and ready to embark on your daily challenges with renewed vigor. Remember the three Rs — relax, renew, refresh. Savor every moment.

April is packed with goings on, and with all the rain (now called a hydrologic event on my weather app) we had in March that means color — aka March showers bring April wildflowers!

No superbloom, they say, but the mountains have been celebrating St. Paddy’s Day the entire month of March by turning green! I have lived here for nine years and this is only the second time this has happened. The last time was 2019 and that year we were lousy with wildflowers. We also flooded, but that’s so 2019. Those rains that brought the superbloom came in February. This year they came in March so April should be bursting with color. And pollen. But they have pills for that ish.

Let’s get started on the rest, shall we?

The main events

April 1: Palm Springs Cruisin Association Car Show

April 1: AmDocs Festival at Palm Springs Cultural Center

April 1: Palm Springs International Dance Festival Nickerson Rossi Dance Studio

April 1 – May 7: Desert X. That link describes and shows photos. This link gives you options for a map and an app. (Learn more about a few of the art installations here on our blog.)

April 1: Desert Mountains Art Show. It is art in the mountains, what more can I tell you?

April 2: Palm Springs Vintage Market. Great market for vintage everything. You’d think they’d have run out of clothes by now, but not so much.

April 14-17: Coachella (Weekend 1). Waitlisted. Listen, if you don’t know what Coachella is, you’re never going to go. But here is my favorite YouTube clip from Coachella.

April 21-24: Coachella Weekend 2. Tickets still available at the time I am writing this.

April 23: South Palm Canyon Art Collective Sunday Soirée, 1500 South Palm Canyon. Work on display from five resident artists and several guest artists. The soirée is free.

April 28-30: Stagecoach. The country version of Coachella. Less drugs, more booze.

Saturdays and Sundays: College of the Desert Street Fair. If you’re down valley for Desert X or a music festival you have to stop here. It’s huge. I accidentally drove past it one weekend and was blown away by the size of it. I just made a plan to go.

This year’s Coachella lineup.

Repeat contenders

Hockey games and big name performers at Acrisure. April has Reba McIntyre and John Mayer. Concerts are pricey, but the hockey games are affordable.

Dinner and a show

Ticketed 

Oscar’s

Purple Room 

PS Underground 

PS Air Bar

Come On Up at the Palm Springs Cultural Center (Mildred’s small menu)

Come on up to Come On Up!

Reservations

Melvyn’s – Piano man.

Yaas Queen

Mondays: Bella da Ball, Palm Springs’ 6’4” Drag Mother at King’s Highway for Bingo, followed by Trivia in the Amigo Room.

Drag me to brunch

Great drag roundup article here

Roly China Fusion

Oscar’s

Chill Bar

PS Air – Mile High Boozy Brunch 

Reforma (Saturdays) Different date, different show. And in You Need To Calm Down news, the last one was a Taylor Swift drag brunch.

Nightclubs

Reforma (nightlife and dinner)

Toucan’s Tiki Lounge

Hunters

Pretty Faces

Cascade Lounge — Mixed entertainment, all A+, and home of Jazzville.

Sammy G’s Upstairs Bar — Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, The Evaro Brothers. Great pop dance music you can sing along to while dancing.

Theater

Dezart PerformsThe Garbologists

CVRepHand to God

Desert Ensemble TheaterFuture Thinking

Desert TheatricalsJoseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Musicals Under the Stars). Act fast and you can snag a dinner seat too.

An iconic Palm Springs windmill farm. Photo: Nadine Conger

Just for fun

Windmill Tour — You’re driving, someone else is talking, but they aren’t in your car. How do they do that? 

Desert Tasty Tours — Eat your way through Palm Springs history on a walking food tour.

Red Jeep Tours – San Andreas Fault, Jeep-y stuff 

Celebrity Tours

Cannabis Express Tours – April is National Cannabis Awareness Month. Get yourself educated on everything cannabis. It’s fun and educational too. 

PS Historical Society Walking & Biking Tours — There are 14 to choose from.

MOGO Silent Disco — Their tagline? “Shut up and dance.”

Pro VR — Virtual reality gaming, including escape rooms.

Escape Room — Actual escape rooms.

Movies in the Park — Old-timey movies under the stars.

Hiking: Indian Canyons is closed April 1-8; Tahquitz still open. Here’s a great article from Visit Palm Springs on where to go. Keep in mind numbers 1 and 6 are part of Indian Canyons.

That’s it for me this month. As always, please shop and stay local. And that includes cannabis because it’s National Cannabis Awareness Month. I might have said that already. I’m hungry… 

See you next time!

From the beginning, the land the Cahuilla called Se-Khi (“boiling water”), the place Spanish explorers dubbed the ridiculously wordy La Palma de la Mano de Dios (“the palm of God’s hand”), and the city now (succinctly) known as Palm Springs, should probably have been named what it is: Paradise.

In the early 1900s, Palm Springs was the spot to cure lung ailments, and evolved into a place where scads of tennis-happy movie stars and U.S. presidents with a penchant for golf and impeccable hospitality came to live their best lives away from the cameras. 

More recently it’s evolved into a foodie paradise with 18-carat jazz, award winning cabaret, and fantastic theatre. (I know, Americans spell it “theater,” but generally stage companies use the British spelling because … drama.) All the musicians and actors tired of the rat race live and thrive in 350 days of sunshine per year, with a gorgeous mountain backdrop (including the second highest peak in California) and a million stars dazzling the night sky. So, if you’re a bit earthy/crunchy, and crave a relationship with the Earth, Palm Springs is your mecca. 

We can’t float your boat (our water’s mostly underground), but we can sizzle your bacon (in the summer, with just the sun) in our soul-satisfying, untouched wilderness.

Hiking in Palm Springs

Palm trees and rocks against a blue sky in Indian Canyons in Palm Springs, California

A hike in Indian Canyons is always a good idea. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

Indian Canyons — Located at the end of South Palm Canyon, this is the ancestral home of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. Out here, with the exception of the Trading Post at the “end” (and a few hiker amenities), it’s just you and nature. One blog purports that you may “run into some old rock art, house-pits, irrigation ditches, dams, trails or food preparation areas while hiking in the canyons,” and now I have to go back and find them all, damnit.

There are three canyons to hike here (weirdly I thought there were more) and just like the rooms in your house, they’re all a bit different.

Murray Canyon This is the only trail I have personally hiked in Indian Canyons. It’s a lot of flat land with nothing going on until you hit the copse of palm trees in the distance, and then I think a chorus of angels sang as we stepped beneath the trees and into another world. Suddenly it was all flora and wildlife, and I swear someone turned on an air conditioner. We crossed a couple of streams, one a bit bigger than expected, and we both chose a different path across. I was on the other side when I heard my friend shriek “RATTLER!” I did not see it (just the snake sunbathing at the entrance where we parked. I don’t know if he’s there every day, though. You know how snakes are.) We never made it to the small waterfall at the end. Someone, who was incredibly out of shape, got tired. Might have been me. 

Andreas Canyon — At 1.2 miles, it is the shortest of the three hikes, and I wish I’d known that. From their website: “A scenic foot trail leads through the canyon passing groves of stately skirted palms, unusual rock formations, and the perennial Andreas Creek. One can still see bedrock mortars and metates used centuries ago for preparing food. This tranquil setting is excellent for photography, bird-watching, or a picnic at one of the tables along the trail.”

Palm Canyon — At 15 miles, it’s the Mack Daddy of the trio. At the top is that Trading Post I mentioned earlier and just beyond the lip is one of the most breathtaking views you’ll see in your lifetime. In fact, here’s this tidbit from their website: “Palm Canyon is one of the areas of great beauty in Western North America. A moderately graded foot path winds down into the canyon for picnicking near the stream, meditation, exploring, hiking, or horseback riding.”

While it falls under the Indian Canyons banner, the Tahquitz Trail is just west of downtown, and was the stand-in for Shangri-La in the 1937 film Lost Horizon. It’s that stunning. This is not a difficult hike (I did it with ease), and you are rewarded at the end with a beautiful waterfall gushing into a pool of water. And yes, you can hop on in.

All of the above: $12 for adults, $7 for seniors and students, $6 for children. Military get in for free (thank you for your service!). Equestrian fees are $11 (where riding is allowed).

Horseback riding around town

Two people ride horses through the Palm Springs desert landscape

Just horsin’ around in Palm Springs. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

For centuries, this was the only way to get around in Palm Springs — everybody was on a horse. Palm Springs is a great place to experience what it was like in the Old West, and Smoketree Stables will get you as close to that feeling without the hardship. I love horseback riding, but throughout the years haven’t been particularly successful at it. I had one horse that decided I needed to experience a run at full gallop my first time riding. Yet, I persisted. Several horses have tried to knock me off with low hanging branches, and one time the saddle was improperly buckled, and the saddle and I ended up perpendicular to the horse’s belly. Cats and dogs, on the other hand, love me as long as I don’t try to ride them. 

This link has everything you need to know for a much better experience than the ones I’ve had. They’ll hook you up so you can ride through Murray Canyon on a personal or group ride.

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway gondola moving up Mt. San Jacinto

Temperatures are much cooler at the top of the tramway. Courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

Most of us go for the gondola ride to the top, and have a nice lunch then gaze at the city below before we get in line for the ride back down. However, if you are an action figure, Mt. San Jacinto State Park is the place for you. Luckily, you are already in it. From their website: “Mt. San Jacinto State Park offers over 50 miles of hiking trails located within a 14,000-acre pristine wilderness, one of the last in California. All trails are accessed by exiting the Mountain Station and descending a concrete pathway to Long Valley. There you will find picnic tables, the ranger station, flush toilets, and several easy trails.”

This is the link that will lead you to the trails and a map. And the outdoor fun is not just limited to hiking. During the winter you can snowshoe and cross-country ski, and if you’re a crazy person you can camp. This stuff requires a wilderness permit, but it’s free.

For those who are certifiably insane, you can hike the tram station to Idyllwild. That link is to a great little website that tells you everything you need to know about any particular trail, plus hiker experiences, current temps, and difficulty. Tram to Idyllwild is a tough hike that is 9.6 miles and takes roughly six hours point to point. 

Stargazing in the desert

Palm Springs is shy on street lamps, which keeps the light pollution at bay. Many of our preferred hotels are tucked away in even less lit neighborhoods so you can hang by the pool in a chaise lounge and oooh and ahhh with a cocktail in your hand. But for those who are looking to get up close and personal with the cosmos, book with Sky Watcher. A knowledgable guide with telescopes and special glasses (not filled with alcohol) will take you on a tour of our planetary neighbors. 

Where to stay

Villa Royale Hotel exterior sign with a hedge and palm trees behind it

Welcome to the Villa Royale. Photo courtesy of Villa Royale

Any of our Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels will be a great experience, but for this particular type of outing, I have a few specific suggestions.

For that “by the pool under the night sky with a cocktail” experience, Villa Royale is a good choice. On the southeast end of Palm Springs, it’s far enough away from Palm Canyon that the few street lamps we do have won’t hinder your experience. 

For a completely earthy-crunchy immersion, try the exotic Korakia. Dressed up as a pensione somewhere in the Middle East, they’ve got yogurt and yoga and they’re very big on tea.

Deeper pockets will take you to The Willows Historic Palm Springs Inn. It sits higher up than most of the other inns (stargazing at a premium) and has a wonderful garden where Albert Einstein himself used to sunbathe nude. If you see dead people, that would be a great sighting. 

Here’s a link for you to sort it out yourself because I have to go. I’m craving granola.