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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Heading to Palm Springs in Winter

We've started a new tradition where we get away from the cold, rainy weather in Portland and spend a week somewhere warmish. Last year we went to Tucson, and this year we're heading to Palm Springs. 

Though Palm Springs is definitely known for its golf courses – it hosts many tournaments each year – it has much more to offer, especially if you love outdoor activities. The desert location makes it an ideal destination for hiking and biking. The city has a long list of canyons and parks with outdoor trails. San Jacinto Mountain is one of the most popular points of interest in Palm Springs. Excellent hiking is available in the summer, and winter activities, like skiing and snowshoeing, when the mountain gets snow. Ride the aerial tram – the world’s largest rotating tramcar – the 8,500 feet to the top for stunning views of the city and the Coachella Valley and the chance to engage in some fine dining in the clouds.

Photo by Jess Joyce on Unsplash

By now, you know I'm not a hiker or much of an outdoor person at all. My speed is more viewing it from the aerial tram and a restaurant at the top. There's a museum and gift shops up there to explore if you don't plan on hiking, and of course there's the view. The weather can be drastically different up top than from the valley, so dressing warmly and bringing a coat is suggested.

You’d probably expect a place like Palm Springs to have some great museums, and you’d be right. Aviation fans can marvel at America’s largest collection of World War II flying aircraft at the Palm Springs Air Museum. Learn all about your destination at the Coachella Valley History Museum, that also features an early 1900s schoolhouse and home, plus a Sunday farmers' market. There's free admission the first weekend of every month. Visit the Palm Springs Art Museum to view some of the world’s most gripping art. The museum has 28 galleries, two sculpture gardens and more. Second Sundays and parking are free.

Photo by mark tulin on Unsplash

For travelers who love shopping at their destination, Palm Springs offers something for them too. From local artwork and antiques to upscale fashion stores and vintage furniture, you’re sure to go home with some great treasures. The downtown area is full of trendy and specialty shops and is easily walkable. Parking is also free and plentiful. I'll definitely be hitting up the Shag Store to indulge in my love of all things mid-century modern. I'll also be coffee shop hopping, because there are a ton of great ones on the main strip, including one that is dog-themed that donates to a local rescue.

Photo by Cesar Cid on Unsplash

Pretend you’re in Hollywood by exploring the Palm Springs Walk of Stars. Take a walking tour of the famous residents of the city who had contributed in some way to the community. Each of these former occupants have their own star on the Walk with their name and a golden palm tree and these stars can be found on Palm Canyon Drive, Tahquitz Canyon Way and Museum Drive. Go online to find an audio guide for an even more informative tour.

Photo by Bob Osias on Unsplash

I'm looking forward to to just seeing the gorgeous 50s homes and other buildings. I see that famous drag queen Trixie Mattel has a beautiful pink hotel in the city called the Trixie Motel. There's also a former hotel that Liberace purchased and turned into a lavish home. It's now a private residence, but you can still walk by and enjoy the gates and piano mailbox. I'm excited about seeing some new and creative street art as well. The city is full of murals and large art pieces. 

Photo by Jay Wennington on Unsplash

If local cuisine is a passion of yours, many of Palm Springs’ fine dining establishments are chef-owned. You can find food from all over the globe made with fresh and local ingredients. Experience more restaurants offerings during Restaurant Week, where you can eat a three-course meal for a set price. This usually happens during the first week of June. 

I've been to quite a bit of California, but neither of us have been to Palm Springs, so we're excited to check out the sites, the outskirts, and possibly hit up a beach at nearby Salton Sea, a large lake with a wildlife refuge.

If you'll be taking time to travel this winter, where will you be headed?

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