Palm Springs is a very popular vacation destination. So, I have often wondered, “What is it that is so special about this place?” Well, I found out, and honestly, I was truly amazed at all the fantastic things Palm Springs has to offer. The desert’s beauty, topography, climate, architecture, restaurant scene, and a variety of unique accommodations make it a most desirable place to visit.
This valley has been an iconic California destination for decades. Back in the Golden Age of Hollywood, Palm Springs started getting a lot of international attention as famous movie stars would go there for privacy and relaxation. Many bought homes here. It quickly became a glamorous celebrity hideaway. One of the places I was most surprised and impressed with is Sunnylands. This place has a fascinating history. It was built by the wealthy Annenberg family to serve as a winter retreat. The Annenbergs had epic parties and were very close friends with the Nixons and Regans. Sunnylands later became a popular summit space for U.S. Presidents for decades. This estate sits on 200 acres in Rancho Mirage and has a
lush nine-hole golf course that occupies most of that space. There are also 12 acres of public gardens to explore, a cute café, and a wonderful visitor center worth seeing. Mansion tours of this legendary mid-1960s estate are available but regularly sell out months in advance.
Another must-see is the Palm Springs Air Museum. It is home to one of the world’s largest collections of flyable WWII aircraft. In addition to flying in one of these warbirds, you can view related artifacts, artwork, and a huge library featuring American history books. All Americans should see this inspiring museum to remind them of the significance of WWII and its importance in world history. It’s sobering to see pictures and hear stories about the greatest, most costly conflict ever fought, taking the lives of millions of people. PSAM is very informative and educational, and their volunteers are veterans who are uber-knowledgeable and represent all American military branches.
On a different aviation note – we discovered the coolest speakeasy ever. It’s called PS Air Bar and is tucked away in the Bouschet Market and Bistro. This is an aviation-themed speakeasy that makes you feel like you are inside a 737-airliner cabin. It is very cleverly decorated and really makes you feel as if you are on a very fun and entertaining flight. It has mood lighting, food and drinks all served by waitstaff in flight attendant uniforms. Like any speakeasy, you have to know the password. So I’ll let you in on the secret password as we were instructed – it’s Bunnie, Bunnie with an “i,e.”
A fun and educational activity is Living Desert Zoo and Gardens. This zoo is very natural looking as it embraces the aesthetics of the Sonoran Desert. This is a perfect fit as they feature North American and African environments. They have a large population of giraffes you can actually feed. This was quite the experience and a fun memory-maker.
Palm Springs has many great accommodations including luxury resorts and boutique hotels known for their mid-century style and design. But our hotel, the colorful Saguaro was the best! I loved this place and it’s one of the most unique hotels we have ever stayed in. It’s a blast from the past as all the décor is 1960s style, but with full amenities. Every room is unique and full of surprises. Our lime green room with purple shag carpet even had a vintage Twister game. This hotel will catch your eye even if you are just driving by. The exterior is very bright and colorful. Each balcony is painted a different color representative of desert flowers. I think the color palate is beautiful and happy, which is probably why the staff is so friendly and helpful. The Saguaro is a popular place and is always hopping with party groups and a very active pool under a grove of palm trees with a stunning mountain backdrop.
Greater Palm Springs is one of America’s most unusual cities. It is a desert paradise and a great escape to a true lush oasis. Put this place on your bucket list.
Greater Palm Springs Hotels, Restaurants, Things to Do & Events:
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