California's legendary retro resort town in the Coachella Valley is the perfect place to escape to.
Palm Springs has a reputation forever associated with a bygone era – a getaway from Hollywood. Crooners like Frank Sinatra and film stars such as Cary Grant called the town home. But while still beloved for its warm, arid climate, great restaurants and resorts, and just 90 minutes from LA, the town has reinvented itself for a new generation who head here for its outdoor pursuits and relaxed vibe.
The town was named for its hot-water springs that the settling Native Americans believed had magical healing powers. The Cahuilla people lived in the desert during the winter and relocated to the cooler mountain canyons here each summer. Visitors can find out more about the Cahuilla people at the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum.
After a few quiet years, Palm Springs has become a laid-back and cool destination once more. It now attracts visitors who want to see the sights and explore the canyons that surround the town, as well as those who want to sip cocktails by the pool while taking in the design and architectural treasures of the past.
There's plenty of different activities to choose from. In summer, you can hike the trails of the Indian Canyons or explore some of the most impressive natural scenery in the country by riding the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway to San Jacinto Peak. In winter, you can attack the ski slopes, build snow forts and go ice fishing at Big Bear Lake. If you don’t have much time, a trip to the Moorten Botanical Garden and Cactarium is worthwhile.
Away from the town's natural delights, art aficionados should make a bee-line for the Palm Springs Art Museum. Every year, architectural buffs flood to the town for the architectural tours, films and symposiums at Modernism Week, which looks back to the 1950s and 1960s when the city was a hub of chic modernism.
The fun most definitely doesn't stop when the sun sets here; many people come for the nightlife and restaurant scene alone, as really, what better way to end the day but by relaxing with a drink in hand at the bar of a retro hotel?