OutTraveler's Favorite Oases In Palm Springs

2.28.2013

By Andrew Belonsky

Though originally built for California's leisure class, Palm Springs has become more accessible in recent years, allowing travelers from all walks of life a chance to revel in the desert breeze.


Rock And Roll And Hike And Stroll Most visitors to Palm Springs are typically there to do one of two things: take in some tunes at Coachella or soak up rays by the pool. But this city is so much more than just rocking and relaxing. If you really want to understand the region, you must head to The Living Desert. Yes, this park and preserve is geared toward families, but the exhibitions on desert plant life, daily visits with on-site giraffes, butterfly garden and easy-to-moderate trails are great for adults traveling alone or in a pack like the desert coyote.

The Palm Springs Air Museum has dozens of vintage planes on hand, including a Boeing-Stearman PT-17 from the 1940s, that gives visitors a view into the region's past as a military hub. For a wide selection of contemporary, Native America, Mesoamerican and modern art, head to thePalm Springs Art Museum, where the permanent collection features works from iconic artists like photographer Edward Ruscha, sculptor Henry Moore and painter Helen Frankenthaler.

In terms of shopping, those looking for vintage wares will want to head to one of the manyAngel View resale stores, proceeds from which go to an organization that aids developmentally disable children and adults.Resale Therapy is home to a wide range of clothing and goods from years gone by, as doesRoute 66 West. For upscale shopping, drive over to the El Paseo shopping district, where you can find well-known stores like Gucci, J. Crew and Burberry.

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And architecture aficionados will without a doubt get off on the various Palm Springs walking tours. If you want to ride through town, hop on a segway with PS Modern Tour, or if you don't mind hoofing it old school, sign up for one of the Historic Society's in-depth tours to get the real meaning of Desert Modernism.
 

No matter who you use, almost all tours will take you by the brightest examples of Palm Springs' modern architecture, properties designed by groundbreaking architect John Lautner. One of his most famous, the Arthur Elrod House in Palm Springs (pictured above), was seen in the 1968 James Bond adventure Diamonds Are Forever.

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Most of the hotels have vibrant bar scenes, but there are plenty of bars and clubs for those hoping for adventure in town. For simple drinks, head over to Streetbar, where nighttime breezes and a bevy of attractive men help start the evening on the right note. Those into leather will want check out the scene at Tool Bar, while those hoping to snatch a cub should have great success at Cub Meat.

Badlands also serves up an uncomplicated bar scene, and adds pool tables and video games to the mix for some added play. And sports are always on the menu at low key Scores.

If you want to hit the dance floor, check outHunters Video Bar, where go-go boys help you keep the beat, or pop into one of Digs Bar's many themed nights. Tuesdays and Saturdays are county western, while Fridays are saturated in a disco beat. Sundays, meanwhile, are all about the wieners at Digs' weekly barbecue.
 

Or maybe you want to revel in some tropical-themed kitsch on Toucans Tiki Lounge's patios before getting on stage for karaoke at SpurLine Video Lounge? The patio at Georgie's Alibi above Azul Tapas Lounge, a spin-off from the popular Florida chain, also offers exceptional views of the mountains, and the fresh air is essential to keeping cool on hot summer nights.

Tags: Palm Springs
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