Scroll To Top
Palm Springs

26 Palm Springs Dos and Don'ts

26 Palm Springs Dos and Don'ts

26 Palm Springs Dos and Don'ts

Get the 411 on one of the world's hottest (literally) gay getaways.

While East Coast gays escape summer weather on Fire Island, California gays vacation in a getaway that feels like it's on fire. While the average temperature of Palm Springs is well over 100 during the summer, undeterred folks still flock there to lie near the desert city's glistening pools, brunch on the shaded sidewalks of Palm Canyon Drive, and enjoy Arenas Road's nightlife. Before packing your tiny bathing suit, heed this advice.

DO apply sunscreen everywhere. The sun is intense in the desert, so cover your ears, hairline, spaces between your toes, happy trail, upper thigh, and everything else that will be exposed.

DON'T drink heavily while lounging by the pool. That's a recipe for an unplanned nap and the loss of your epidermis.

DO swing by the pool at the Ace Hotel & Swim Club in the south end of town. This hipster enclave was a former Howard Johnson motel and is currently the home base for bearded trendsetters and the men (and women) who love them.

DON'T get a room at the Ace if you plan on turning in at 10 p.m. This joint, which offers such attractions as live music and Gay Pride parties in its raucous Amigo Room, is for the young, wild, and loud.

DO endure the heat for an early morning stroll up and down Palm Canyon Drive. The pedestrian-friendly heart of Palm Springs, packed with shops and outdoor restaurants (many of which offer fans and misters), is brimming with carefree gays hunting for coffee and frittatas.

DON'T go for a stroll after 11 a.m. without a parasol. Don't worry about stares and homophobic taunts — this is Palm Springs, after all.

DO squeeze in brunch at Chi Chi, the restaurant at the new Avalon Hotel (formerly the Viceroy). Yerba Mate Salad, anyone?

DON'T gawk at all the gay couples at the town's Trader Joe's. In Palm Springs, it's normal when the straights are in the minority.

DO drop trou at one of the desert's numerous clothing-optional gay resorts, like INNdulge (pictured, with its 24-hour 12-man jacuzzi and heated/chilled pool) or CCBC Resort Hotel (with a saltwater pool and expansive grounds). Come on, hang loose.

DON'T go to P.S.'s naked resorts thinking they will look like a One Direction video. The crowds are generally older, and that's OK. Open your mind (and maybe your legs).

DO stay at one of Palm Springs' 25 gay/lesbian resorts (reportedly, it has one of the largest concentrations of LGBT accommodations in the country) even if you don't plan on exposing your goodies. Enjoy the graphic from the witty folks at Man About World.

DO pay a visit to the new Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center. The museum studies and honors the Desert Modern style, which was developed in Palm Springs in the mid-20th century. Caveat: The museum is closed in August but reopens in September.

DON'T go too crazy at the numerous casinos that line Palm Springs; if you can check yourself, hit the Spa Resort Casino in the heart of downtown and the upscale Agua Caliente Casino (pictured) due east of the city.

DO squeeze in some time to hit the Desert Hills Premium Outlets in nearby Cabazon. We're not talking Jockey and Gap — this place has Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Burberry, Calvin Klein, Fendi, Gucci, Helmut Lang, Prada, Rag & Bone, Ted Baker, and Valentino.

DON'T be fazed by 50- and 60-something men dressing like men half their age (think short mod shorts and skintight polos). If you can still squeeze into the clothes at Top Shop, who's to judge?

DO relive your adolescence with a day at the city's waterpark, Wet n' Wild. The 21-acre oasis, with wave pool and a plethora of water slides, hosted an incredible event at the last White Party (pictured).

DO start any night out with margaritas at the Saguaro Hotel's El Jefe cantina. If you're wearing something on the formfitting side, DON'T get the Encarnacion Nachos or you'll be sucking in your gut for the rest of the evening.

DON'T think you have to sit at home on a weeknight in Palm Springs. Arenas Road always has something going on; why not hit up karaoke at Streetbar, which happens Sundays through Wednesdays?

DO make a pit stop at Koffi, the city's homegrown coffee chain. With three locations throughout the desert, you can take a break from Starbucks.

DON'T feel glued to a car while in the desert. The city has bike lanes and trails — should the weather not be too scorching — as well as a comprehensive bus system if you need a ride to Arenas Road.

DON'T assume only lesbians and straight dudes play golf. The Tahquitz Creek Golf Resort is a great place for beginners, and it offers rentals.

DO prepare to sweat at Palm Springs' ultimate gay dance palace, Hunter's. The dance floor is reliably packed on Friday and Saturday nights — it can sometimes smell a little ripe in there, but maybe you're into that.

DON'T feel you have to stay in Palm Springs proper to have a good time. The Barracks Bar, in nearby Cathedral City, is one of the Coachella Valley's most-loved gay leather bars.

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Neal Broverman