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More than any other meal, dining out for supper is special. I mean, a meal under the desert sun is very different from a meal beneath the light of the desert sky.  Dinner could be a celebration, a romantic evening (for two or three — whatever floats your boat), or a get together with friends. No matter which one you’re here for, I’m here for you.

Fine dining in Palm Springs

Empty tables and a fire pit on the outdoor patio at Spencer's in Palm Springs, California

Spencer’s is a special occasion type of place. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

Spencer’s — This is often the go-to for special occasions. The Bougainvillea Room is nice, but so is the inner space. I’d choose this for a classy celebration.

Tropicale — Outside is a party, but the booths inside offer the feel of your own little room. I’d recommend this for a birthday dinner with a small group of friends.

Johnny Costa’s — Very old school Italian, Rat Pack. Johnny was Sinatra’s favorite chef (both now gone). The waiters are pros — no college students here.

Le Vallauris — A fine dining experience, and rife for romance.

Eight4Nine — I’d call this the alternative to Spencer’s, but it’s on the strip. Owner and restaurateur Willie Rhine is well known and beloved by our town. Feel free to love on him too.

The Purple Room — Best dinner club in Palm Springs. Super Rat Pack atmosphere, great jazz-leaning acts, very old school Palm Springs.

A white wall with a gate that reads "So•Pa"

So•Pa is a must-try while staying at L’Horizon Resort and Spa. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

So•Pa — I spent Thanksgiving here, and wowie wow wow. It’s at L’Horizon Resort and Spa and is stunning. If you want someone to fall for you, take them here.

Miro — I love this place. Excellent food, great staff, and lovely ambiance.

Mr. Lyon’s — It’s not what I expected as far as ambiance. It’s kind of “cozy LA” inside. This is another spot for special occasions and DO NOT pass on the rolls.

Melvyn’s — Another old school spot, inside Ingleside Inn which is also an old estate with a great story. You can read all about it in Mel Haber’s books about Palm Springs, which you can purchase here. There’s also terrific music.

Azúcar — Inside La Serenas Villas, this teeters between fine dining and casual dining. The food is modern contemporary cuisine, and the view is to die for.

Johannes — Clean lines, great art on the walls, the schnitzel’s the thing here. Have it just about any way you like, it’s gonna be good. It’s not the only thing, there’s seafood too, and desserts. This is not for groups, but maybe a nice evening between two or three friends. Maybe four, but if you’re loud, like I am, keep it small.

Del Rey — If I were trying to seduce someone, I’d take them here. Located at Villa Royale, it has sexy decor and tapas, which are sexy because there’s just enough for two. It’s somewhere between casual and fine dining, but the energy is swanky.

Casual dining

1501 Gastropub — Great menu, great atmosphere. There’s a nice, big, seatable full bar. Super casual, but don’t take that to mean you don’t need a reservation. It’s a hot ticket.

Las Casuelas Terraza — Take the party here.

Upscale casual dining

Diners sit at tables outside of Lulu California Bistro in Palm Springs, California

Lulu’s is always hopping. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

Lulu — Everyone has to go to Lulu at least once. The atmosphere is great, and the food is terrific too. The owner, Jerry, does great things in the community, so you can thank him by taking the party here. Although they can accommodate just about any size group, they can also give you a quieter space, or you can people watch on the patio.

Gigi’s — Take your chi chi friends here for a fun Palm Springs experience.

John Henry’s — This is off the beaten path, hard to find, and the parking is horrible, but once you find it, it’s charming. Eat outside and take someone you’re sweet on.

Birba — Pizza, but fancy.

Trio — I haven’t been since their facelift and new menu, but it used to be “the spot” for cocktails and dinner. Limited parking in the back, but there’s parking.

Maracas — I mentioned it for lunch, but it’s also great for dinner with friends.

Pomme Frite — Chef wants you to know it’s a French/Belgian bistro. It’s adorable. Go here to catch up with a friend and stay for a bit.

For foodies

French Miso — Tucked back, it’s actually part of La Plaza but, like I said, it’s tucked so it’s kind of hidden (although they now have big old signs). It’s quite lovely.

Freddie’s Kitchen — On the northern end, inside The Cole hotel, is this little French gem. I haven’t tried it yet, but it’s on my list.

Sandfish — It’s sushi. A lot of people love it. I went when it first opened, and I was short of impressed. But that was a few years back — try it out and let me know.

Farm — Farm curates a menu for dinner that is very different from its breakfast and lunch. There’s an amuse bouche to start, and then some choices, prices are fixed. It’s quite a lovely space too. Closed Wednesday and Thursday for dinner.

Michelin Guide

Blue leather chairs lined up in front of the bar at Bar Cecil in Palm Springs, California

If you can, try to score a seat at Bar Cecil. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

Bar Cecil The darling of the jet set.

Tac/Quila Jalisco, which means it’s seafood forward. Same owners as Farm. Same great attention to detail in decor and food choices.

Workshop Kitchen & Bar — It’s very L.A.

Boozehounds — Chef Aric Ianni has worked for Kimpton, but his sensibilities run more to beer pairings with fine food.

The Barn Kitchen — At Sparrows Lodge. Good food, great atmosphere.

Colony Club

4 Saints

A little something about dress. You can pretty much dress any way that you like, although resort casual seems to be the go-to these days. There has been a recent trend that I am crazy about, and that’s fashion forward streetwear. Even more specific are those that embrace the mid-mod aesthetic of yore. It’s fun, and it’s flirty. And it makes Palm Springs feel like the technicolor part of Pleasantville. It’s a gas, man. A real gas.

It’s June, and you know what that means — it’s time to forget Father’s Day! 

One year, my dad skipped church (I’m kidding, he never went to church) so my mom and my sibling and I went and learned it was Father’s Day. Gah! If it had been at the Baptist Bible school my parents sent us off to in the summer, we could have made something out of glue and macaroni, but this was the Presbyterian church, and they weren’t crafty. It was also the 1960s, and on Sundays nothing was open, so there was no way to remedy the situation. We went home defeated and, I’ll admit, a little nervous.

When we got there, Dad was moving the lawn. One look and we knew that he knew we didn’t know, and then he just wiped his brow and continued riding his mower (we had less than three-quarters of an acre, so that was kinda boujee). I now realize that is exactly what he wanted to be doing on that day, yard work, because it was away from the three females who vexed him 365 days a year. 

I hear they’re making dads a little bit more cuddly these days, so they’ll likely appreciate doing something with their kids, and I’m here to help you out. If you’re grown, you don’t need my help. Everyone knows it’s brunch for mom and dad gets to watch sports and drink beer all day.

For dads who have young’uns and like spending time with them (hopefully all of you!), bring the family down to the most laid back and grooviest little big place in the state of California: Palm Springs.

Quick note: I’ve pre-sorted a list of all of our family-friendly resorts for you here. There’s quite a few, and I’d love to tell you about all the wonderful and unique things offered by each, however this is about what to do once you score your stay. I encourage you to click and peruse, as well as add your own amenity filters. 

Now, if everyone’s gone tinkle and buckled up, let’s get this motor running and get out on the highway, looking for adventure…any more of that and I may have to pay royalties, so away we go:

Edutainment

Museum of Ancient Wonders — Comprised of 375 artifacts and fossils (many are replicas), the Museum of Ancient Wonders provides an opportunity for visitors of all ages to immerse themselves into the mesmerizing life of a pharaoh, the legends of Greek mythology, and ancient African mysticism, and to experience the international fossil record in one of the most comprehensive and diverse fossil collections ever assembled and rarely seen outside of their respective museums.

Windmill Tours — From golf cart tours to self-driving tours, it’s all about the energy of these turbines, how they work, and how much electricity they produce. I hear it’s marvelous. Likely not for toddlers, though. 

Palm Springs Air Museum — Climb aboard old planes, see memorabilia from the flyers, and even ride on an old warbird.

Next year, Discovery Children’s Museum of the Desert will be open again, and it’s full of wonder. They won’t let you in without a kid, but I got a tour once, and I wanted to play with everything.

Fascination

Create Center for the Arts — It’s hard to believe we have a place this special in our little valley, but we do. Formerly a high-end doggie and people spa, it’s been repurposed into a feast for creativity. Please, do yourself and your kids a favor and check out their website and just go. I can’t tell you everything here, but if there’s a smidge of an artist in you and you’ve got imagination, this place is a dreamcatcher. On top of that, one of the best bakeries in the valley, Aspen Mills, has a satellite shop there, and there is an art store. The whole place feels like an elegant castle. Bonus — they kept the salt cave!  

Rancho Mirage Observatory — The witching hour is 3 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. Starts in the lobby of the library. There is no cost and no registration. Tours are limited to about 20 people. Also check out their stargazing at night.

Silly Fun

Cabazon Dinosaurs — Mr. Rex, Dinny, and their more than 50 dinosaur friends provide perfect photo ops. The dinosaur walk features a dino dig and fossil panning that kids will enjoy. 

 Jurassic Wonders — I guess we love dinosaurs? This is a new installation on Highway 111 in the vicinity of the Mary Pickford Theater. They’re pretty ferocious looking — not like Dino from The Flintstones. Great photo ops.

Boomers — Are you a golfing dad? You can scratch a little of that itch at Boomers mini-golf, and maybe hit some video games and the go-carts. They also have a batting cage, but I’ve never seen anyone use it.  

Living Desert — Real live exotic animals doing real life stuff so you may have to explain, “When two lions love each other very much….” Or, you can get them interested in feeding the giraffes instead.

Get Air Trampoline Park — Something for kids of all ages. Seriously, go to their website and check it out and tell them I sent you. They have no idea who I am. It’ll be fun!

Skate Park — If you’re an action parent with an action kid, this is where you want to be.

Into The Wild

Lake Arrowhead — Take a ride on the Lake Arrowhead Queen (it’s a boat), and/or take water skiing lessons. Go to Santa’s Village where you can zipline and learn to fly fish. Or just have lunch and an ice cream.

Magic Mountain at Big Bear Lake boasts:

The Alpine Slide, Southern California’s only authentic, year-round bobsled experience. Take a chair lift ride to the top, then control your speed as you twist and turn down a quarter-mile-long track. Check the website for ages/heights. 

The Soaring Eagle, where you whoosh through the air at incredible speeds.

The Mineshaft Coaster is the first and only mountain coaster in California. On the way up, check out the breathtaking views, then you control your speed through thrilling hairpin turns, dips, tunnels, bridges and 360-degree corkscrews on a mile long track.

There’s also go-karts, an 18-hole mini golf course, and … drumroll please … a double water slide!

Whatever you decide to do, can I go with you? Asking for my inner child. And please have a very happy Father’s Day!

The readers have spoken, and they love the Palm Springs International Airport.

The Points Guy, a travel website and blog, asks its readers every year to vote on their favorite airport, and for the 2021 TPG Awards, Palm Springs came out on top. The Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) is the only commercial service airport in the Coachella Valley, with 11 airlines providing nonstop service to more than 30 destinations across the United States and Canada. It’s also known for its extensive art collection.

In a statement, Mayor Cristy Holstege and Visit Greater Palm Springs President and CEO Scott White said they are “thrilled” by the honor.

“With its open-air walkways and lushly landscaped courtyards that lead within minutes to baggage claims and its breathtaking mountain views, PSP is a surprisingly welcomed and stress-free experience for visitors,” White added.

The Wesley is all about the fun. From giant Jenga and Connect 4 to the splashworthy courtyard pool, guests make memories here that will last forever.

The Wesley is essentially a gated community, ensuring privacy

The Wesley is a mid-century modern micro resort, where the flats are fully-stocked and the pool is always the perfect temperature.

The property, managed by AvantStay, has nine flats, and each one has its own kitchenette, toaster, refrigerator, and microwave, with Flat 10 equipped with a full kitchen, complete with a stove top and oven. The flats range from studio to two-bedroom, two-bath, and most have gas grills and private patios with views of lush gardens.

Thought went into every aspect of the property. There are complimentary bikes and board games for guests to use, a common grill area, and fun activities around the beautiful pool and spa area, including giant Jenga and Connect 4 and corn hole.

“You feel really invited to just relax and unwind when you get there,” AvantStay Customer Experience Specialist Dylan Perese said. “There’s robe to pool appeal — literally you can wander out with your morning coffee and take a dip in the pool. It’s right there and completely available to you. It’s your pool, it’s your pool house.”

Guests rave about the low-key vibe and how private the property is — The Wesley is essentially a gated community, and in order to gain access to the grounds, guests must have a code to put into the lock pad, and another code to enter their room. There isn’t a front desk, which gets guests to their flats faster, but assistance from hotel staff is just a phone call or text away.

The hotel attracts guests from all over the world, as well as locals looking to have a staycation. “We see a lot of overseas guests, and it’s really exciting that they get to experience the magic of Palm Springs,” Perese said. The Wesley also offers buyouts — families can rent all of the flats for a reunion, while corporations can have their own private oasis for team building.

“That’s when people can really relax and unwind and stretch out on their own time,” Perese said. “This is a place for you to create memories.”

The Wesley is what you make it, Perese added, and they are always looking for ways to make the property “more spectacular.”

As promised in my previous blog, I’m back with more fun Palm Springs film facts. I would like to start by saying, just for giggles, I  decided to get ChatGPT involved, to see if it had any more information than just the norm. So I asked, “What movies were shot in Palm Springs?” and it gave me a list including Springtime in the Rockies. When I asked where in Palm Springs, well, it turns out, ChatGPT lies. First it told me that Springtime in the Rockies was filmed entirely in Pennsylvania, and when I called it out for giving me two different returns, it apologized. At least it didn’t say, “I’m only human.”

The ChatGPT disputed truth is that there were a couple of scenes shot in Palm Springs, but no one seems to know where (certainly not ChatGPT). The film is available to rent or buy on Amazon Prime, Apple TV channels, FuboTV, FlixFling, The Roku Channel, and the Epix suite, but being that it was shot in 1937, it will be hard to recognize anything local unless you’re a ghost.

And you know what film wasn’t shot in Palm Springs? At all? The Andy Samberg feature Palm Springs. I know! I’m just as shocked as you are. It was actually shot in L.A. and Santa Clarita, because nothing says Palm Springs like not Palm Springs. Now, onto the 1990s and beyond.

The Player (1992)

This film is Palm Springs adjacent, in Desert Hot Springs, at Two Bunch Palms, a gorgeous retreat that has been favored by Hollywood players for many years. There are apocryphal stories about it once being owned by Al Capone, but Capone didn’t do business this far west. That was fellow mobster Al Wertheimer, capo of Detroit’s Purple Gang — but he didn’t own it either. The reason for the gangster stories is that there is a gun turret, and (they say) some underground “tunnels.” The last bit of info we got was that it was actually the estate of a Ford executive who was worried about the unions coming after him.

I mentioned Wertheimer, who built Colony Palms (there’s an underground room where there was gaming, a.k.a. gambling). It’s said Capone did visit Two Bunch on the occasion, and the property has a Capone room with, I’ve heard, a bullet hole in the wall. But the entire Palm Springs area was still the wild wild west at the time, and everybody had guns. And booze. So, who knows who shot the wall. Available on MAX and the usual suspects for rental.

Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

Elliot Gould’s Vegas home is in a neighborhood called Las Palmas. The 1959 A. Quincy Jones designed property is located at 999 North Patencio Road in Palm Springs. Watch on cable (TBS and TNT) or rent on Prime or Apple.

Mission Impossible III (2006)

Mission Impossible III has Tom Cruise dodging our giant turbines in a high speed helicopter chase. The Windmills, by the way, are a great tour, you should give it a go. (To clarify, the tour is on the ground, in a vehicle, not in the sky in a helicopter – but you can ride in a warbird at the Air Museum, if that’s your speed). Check it out on AMC or Paramount+ subs. Rentals on Apple, Vudu, Redbox.

Into the Wild (2007)

This wonderfully shot film has a grim ending, but the cinematography lovingly captures the beauty and grit of the west’s wilderness. The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is in one scene, but it also takes you to the Salton Sea, Salvation Mountain, Slab City, and East Jesus. This was Kristen Stewart’s first film as an “adult” (her debut was the daughter in Panic Room) and she sings. The following year, Twilight came out (about eight years before she did). Free on PlutoTV, pay at all the other streamers.

A Star is Born (2018)

There were casting calls going out all over the valley for this one. They needed a big crowd, and they got it. That was partially because they “crashed” Stagecoach, the country version of Coachella — same place, different weekends, way different crowd. They also shot at the Palm Springs Convention Center. Local stories about the cast and crew were all lovely.

Oh man. I’m all out of space, and there’s still a bit more to share, including cameos from a couple of our Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels. We might even get into some television shows that were shot here. Who knows? I’m a mystery!

Stay tuned…

NOTE: Now through October 30, Rex, the Cabazon dinosaur, is wearing a new outfit in honor of his pal, Pee Wee Herman, a.k.a. Paul Reubens. Rex was prominently featured in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. Reubens shuffled off this mortal coil on July 30, and has hopefully landed safely in his celestial playhouse having some suds with Cap’n Carl, a.k.a. Phil Hartman. 

For years, the Coyote Inn was where Chris and Barb Miller would go when they needed an escape. Now, it’s home.

The Millers have owned the Coyote Inn since 2008. They fell in love with it as guests, when they would leave their donut business in Utah for a few days of relaxation in Palm Springs. It was “a grind,” Chris says, and when the opportunity to purchase the Coyote Inn came up, they jumped. “The previous owners were looking for a different lifestyle, and we were looking for something different,” Chris says.

Chris and Barb live on the property, and work seven days a week. They do everything and anything that needs to be done, and always have their “game faces on,” Chris says. They love forging relationships with guests, greeting new faces and welcoming back regulars.

“We meet a lot of interesting people,” Chris says. “When people find us, they’re hooked.”

Guests come from all over the world, and enjoy the peace and tranquility that comes along with a property that is adults only. They also love the saltwater pool and hot tub, which is good for the skin. Snowbirds flock to the Coyote Inn during the spring, and book for the next year before their visit is even over.

“People come here to relax,” Chris says. “Our location is ideal; you can walk downtown, but you’re far enough away where you can’t hear it. Some guests don’t even rent a car.”

There’s something about walking through the gate and entering the Coyote Inn’s courtyard that instantly puts guests at ease.

“Once people hit the fountain, they forget about everything,” Chris says. “It’s a great place to unwind.”

Neil Mehta was impressed as soon as he walked onto the grounds of the Hotel California.

The Hotel California is consistently voted as one of the top hotels in not just Palm Springs, but the entire country. That’s just one of the reasons why Neil purchased the 14-room hotel in January 2019.

“It has a really nice intimacy to it,” Neil says. “There are a lot of different areas where you can get away and be by yourself. If you want to have a cup of coffee and stare at the mountains, you can do it in two or three different spots upstairs. But if you want to be surrounded by other guests, you can go to the pool.”

Originally built in 1942, the Hotel California is decorated with Spanish charm. It has a private courtyard, heated pool, spa, poolside cooling misters, fire pits, barbecue patio, and secluded outdoor cigar lounge.

At the same time Neil bought the Hotel California, he also purchased the Desert Riviera Hotel. As it turns out, both hotels once had the same owner.

“That great customer service culture was implemented at the Hotel California and Desert Riviera by the same owner long ago, and they’ve done a great job upholding that standard of service,” he says.

The Hotel California has a loyal following, with guests coming back year after year. Neil is looking forward to interacting with visitors, and is “extremely excited about the prospect of not only continuing the legacy of the prior owners, but also trying to find areas where we can improve and make guests feel even more like family,”

Neil has spent the last 10 years doing real estate development, and also owns a residential real estate company in Orange County. In 2014, he bought his first hotel in Newport Beach, and fell in love with the hospitality industry. Neil feels “lucky and blessed” to now own both the Hotel California and Desert Riviera, and is looking forward to getting settled in town.

“I am a big fan of the city of Palm Springs and of the culture that has always embraced diversity,” he says. “I’m excited to be part of it, to grow our business, and to provide positive experiences for guests.”

A little tequila, a little dance, a little party in your pants. — Kay Kudukis

It’s Cinco de Mayo again, happens every damn year — and we’re very happy about that. Before we get into where to go and what to do, let’s clarify a few misconceptions about the day.

Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day. That date is actually September 16 (someone needs to get on that right away, we always need another reason to drink tequila).

Cinco de Mayo is the celebration of one, count ’em, one battle. And that battle was the Battle of Puebla. The players in the battle: 6,000 French troops vs. 2,000 ragtag, poorly supplied but determined Mexicans. The battle raged from daybreak to early evening, and when the smoke cleared, the French had lost nearly 500 soldiers, while fewer than 100 Mexicans lost their lives. Viva la Puebla!

In 1863, the first Cinco de Mayo celebrations began in southern border states like California, and always ready for a reason to break out the tequila, in the United States it’s been a jammin’ party ever since. That bolded part is important because the only people in Mexico that celebrate the day are the Pueblans. No banks are closed, the mail still comes, no parades, and no parties.  

But thankfully we’re hedonists, and our own worst enemy (have you ever experienced a tequila hangover? Death seems preferable at the time). Here’s a list of all of the local spots for great Mexican food and getting your tequila on in moderation:

El Mirasol — there are two locations in Palm Springs (one at the Los Arboles Hotel), try the jalapeño margarita and the stuffed pepper 

Dinner is served at El Mirasol. Photo by Kim Munkres

Azucar — fancy, downtown, with a rooftop bar (at La Serena Villas)

Las Casuelas Terraza — expect a Mariachi Band, and much more

Las Cazuelas Original — the food is terrific

Felipe’s — great food and margaritas, family owned

JJ’s Mexican Oasis — family owned and delicious Cadillac margaritas

Loco Charlie’s — off of Sunrise near the Albertsons, it’s a “joint” but the food is fabulous (and the drinks are, too)

Tac/Quila — upscale Mexican seafood, and the design is super

La Bonita’s — haven’t been, but I hear it’s good

Maracas — great people watching

El Patio — run by Felipe’s

The poolside view of Azucar. Photo courtesy of La Serena Villas

La Perlita — way off the beaten path, but it’s got some great food and drinks

El Taco Asado — authentic Mexican food and full bar

Blue Coyote Bar and Grill — right downtown

Rio Azul — on Indian Canyon, and I hear it’s terrific

El Patron — best for people watching

Sancho’s — breakfast and lunch, brand spankin’ new

El Mirasol at night. Photo by Kim Munkres

And here are the only two places, right now, that are having full-blown, advertised Cinco de Mayo celebrations:

Cinco De Mayo at Hunters Nightclub

Margo Rey and an All-Star Latin Jazz Band at Jazzville (Cascade Lounge at Agua Caliente Casino Palm Springs)

If you don’t drink, you can alway eat, and all of the above have terrific food. Those who celebrate events with cannabis should jump on the Cannabus for one of their Express Tours. Dispensaries now have beverages for consumption, as well as powders to put in your soda water (never ever put it in an unsuspecting person’s drink or meal, or you might end up in jail like these ladies did. Rude!). Make sure to read the dosage labels, like I didn’t — I ended up riding a light beam into the deepest recesses of my mind. It was fun, but not for everyone.

As always, consume everything responsibly, and grabs some Beano before you go! 

With its tropical courtyard and mature palms, BelleVue Oasis is a hidden paradise in Palm Springs.

A mid-century modern property dating back to the 1950s, BelleVue Oasis officially opened for business in September 2019. Formerly Escape Resort, it is no longer a men’s clothing-optional hotel.

Located in Tahquitz River Estates, the 13-room, 21-and-over hotel has undergone some renovations and updates, including to the bathrooms. It has a retro yet modern feel, with pops of orange and turquoise standing out against the clean white walls and linens. The rooms come with kitchens or kitchenettes, plus furnished patios that let guests enjoy the sunshine.

The lush grounds are what inspired the hotel’s new name, with senior hotel manager Charles Zalepeski saying once you walk onto the property, “it’s kind of shocking, you don’t expect it to be as beautiful and as big as it is. The pool is beautiful, and the mountain views are ridiculous.”

The San Jacinto Mountains are visible across the grounds, but are most spectacular when spotted from the spacious and sparkling pool and invigorating jacuzzi. There are loungers and umbrellas surrounding the pool, offering shade during the day. Once guests are ready to explore the town, they won’t have to go far — places like the Moorten Botanical Garden and Cactarium and Palm Springs Art Museum are just a short walk or drive away.

“I never worry about being driven to drink; I just worry about being driven home.” — W. C. Fields

It’s party season everywhere, but no one parties quite like Palm Springs. The “Say Gay” city is the best of all worlds: gay, straight or bent, it doesn’t matter. As long as you like life with a lot of seasoning, we encourage you to come on out. (Pun intended or not? You decide.)

If you have never been to Palm Springs, you have no idea what you’re missing. When I lived in L.A. and friends wanted to come here for a weekend, it was always a hard pass for me. I was a thirsty person to begin with, why on Earth would I go to the desert? Well, as it turns out, they not only have water here, but I moved here eight years ago and have never been happier. I love living in Palm Springs. And I’ve lived in some cool cities. 

Palm Springs is especially fabulous during season (November through April) and that includes the holidays. If you’ve come to party, we’re ready for you. If you’ve come for a relaxing vacation or getaway, get ready for a shift in attitude and blood pressure.

We’ve got everything the big cities have without the traffic so you can zen at your own pace. But please don’t stare at the snow-capped mountains and daydream during stop lights. That’s annoying, and what the spa is for.

So, check into one of our Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels, and check out everything there is to do in Palm Springs this month. Zero regrets live here.

One and done

Dec. 2: Palm Springs Christmas Tree Lighting at Frances Stevens Park, on the corner of Palm Canyon Drive and Alejo Road. From 4:30 to 6:15 p.m., 5:15 p.m. for the tree lighting. The free festivities will include free hot cocoa and cookies to enjoy along with caroling, children’s crafts, and a visit from Santa. Fun fact: the 22-foot-tall holiday tree is decorated with energy-efficient lights. 

Dec. 7: Rock The Park, Ronstadt Revival: Tribute to a Legend. Enjoy an evening featuring the music of Linda Ronstadt. 7 to 8:30 p.m. Free event. (This park is located right next to the Marilyn statue.)

Dec. 20: Palm Springs Cultural Center’s Holiday Oddities a unique look at Christmases past in Palm Springs and other areasfeaturing short home movies from the 1960s and era-specific ephemera.

Santa and Mrs. Claus come to Palm Springs. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

Ongoing December events

Dec. 2-11: Palm Springs Aerial Tramway — Holiday Choir

Dec. 2 – 18: Palm Canyon Theatre, Palm Springs Getaway: A Musical Romp (with holiday songs)

Dec. 9 – 11: 8th Annual Official Latino Film and Arts Festival at the Palm Springs Art Museum

Something different

MOGO Silent Disco — Dance down Palm Canyon to the curated music in your earphones. You won’t look weird, you’ll have friends with you. Use code “pspsh10” at checkout for a 10 percent discount for our readers!

It’s another MOGO Silent Disco party. Photo courtesy of MOGO Silent Disco

Desert Tasty Tours — A fun walking tour with some history, some drinks, and some food; it’s a great mid-day adventure. To get $5 off when purchasing your tickets, use our promo code: “PSPHotel.” If your tour guide’s name is Kay, that’s me. Say hello!

Palm Springs Historical Society Walking and Biking Tours — So many tours, so little time. I want to go on all of them!

Around the town

Every Thursday: VillageFest and a freebie night at the Palm Springs Art Museum.

Palm Springs Cultural Center — There is a lot going on here: live entertainment on the second floor Monday through Thursday, live theater, blockbuster and indie films, a philharmonic series, and film festivals.

Purple Room — A nightclub like no other in Palm Springs. A throwback to the Rat Pack days, there are even Rat Pack quotes on the walls! Food’s good, entertainment good, and Michael Holmes is reprising his Judy Show with Judy’s Old Fashioned Christmas. In my book, a visit to Palm Springs without seeing The Judy Show is not complete.

Oscar’s — Recurring events like the T-Dance, Bitchiest Brunch, Mimosa Men, and Oscar’s Cabaret. Also check out their special events; if it’s happening, an absolute must-see is Mid-Century Moderns, a jukebox musical from Mark Christopher who wrote the movie 54. I have seen it, and it is great fun.

PS Underground Holiday Havoc, Holiday Jazz, and Ho are just a few of the unique dinner shows produced by Michael Fietsam with meals prepared by Chef Dave.

Jazzville — Every Thursday, enjoy a night of jazz like nowhere else in the Coachella Valley.

Melvyn’s Jam — Every Sunday. This is a very popular event, so come early. Always the best of the best musicians in the Valley. From standards to jazz to pop, you’ll hear it all. Plus, their martinis!

Sammy G’s — Great place to dance every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in the upstairs bar. Nice atmosphere in the restaurant, and the food is good.

P.S. Air — Upstairs from Bouschet (fine wine and spirits, also delicious food), this fun little bar is all dressed up like an airplane, complete with kitschy movies and a drink serving “stewardess.” Also performances by some of the best local entertainment.

Drink up at P.S. Air. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

New Year’s Eve

Drag Me Into 2023 at Oscar’s.

Men only

Dec. 4, 11 and 14: The Dirty Show

Dec. 31: DILF — Men’s jock/gear party, Palm Springs Convention Center. “Dudes, Daddies, Discreet, Dunno…DILF is for ALL MEN! Get geared up, strapped up, and ready.”

That’s all I’ve got for this month, except to leave you with a small gift. Don’t worry that you didn’t get me anything — it’s OK, it’s not much, just something you might want to carry with you into the new year:

“I believe that the privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” — Viola Davis

Namaste, and happy whatever floats your boat.