Palm Springs

The state of California is in the far west of the United States of America (USA) and is one of the largest and most populous in the country. Its nickname is Golden State (each American State has one), which derives from the discovery of gold in the Sacramento River in 1848. In the following months, thousands of people settled themselves there, hoping to become wealthy. This event was one of those that ultimately defined the entire history of the United States and of the state itself (it was ceded by Mexico to the United States, also in 1848).

In southern California, where the desert prevails, we encounter an oasis of luxury called Palm Springs, which has already 2000 years of history approximately. It is found in a never-ending plain, almost fully surrounded by mountains. It has a desert climate, sunshine is a recurring presence almost throughout the year and there is little precipitation, which makes this a very popular place to visit and to live. It is an elegant city, whose streets are almost always straight and with an immense flock of palm trees. To feel the city’s luxurious atmosphere, you can stay in its beautiful Palm Springs vacation homes.

This oasis, fairly close to Hollywood, is a perfect getaway for celebrities like Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe or Leonardo DiCaprio. The names of the streets have adopted the name of many of those famous people, and so there are streets like Frank Sinatra Drive or the Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway. Yes, that was where he spent his honeymoon!

With the discovery and development of Palm Springs, several architects built modern houses, inspired by the city’s desert environment. As we speak, there are 75 edification of the so-called desert modernism. It is stunning.

Visiting this oasis of Californian desert is totally worthy… any time of the year.

What to do

Aerial Tramway and San Jacinto State Park

The main attraction of Palm Springs is the Aerial Tramway, which goes all the way up to Mount San Jacinto. This cable car allows one to experience a placid 4-kilometer journey, which lasts approximately 10 minutes. The landscape during the course is awe-inspiring. The cable car allows you to have a 360º panorama over the Coachella Valley.

Francis Crocker was the engineer who, in 1935, had the idea to build something that would allow one to leave the warm temperatures of Palm Springs behind, and quickly reach the cool climate of the mountains. Therefore, a few years later (in 1963), and after 26 months of construction works, the world’s largest tramway was inaugurated.

But, besides the breathtaking landscape that we can admire along the journey, and the one we get when the car leaves us at 2500 meters of altitude, another strong reason to make this journey is the San Jacinto State Park. This is a park with approximately 5700 hectares, 86 km of trails, a picnic area, camping areas and several spaces to conduct winter activities. This park comprises one of the most famous routes, the Pacific Crest Trail, which extends itself from the U.S.-Mexico border to Canada, meandering along the Pacific coast.

Coachella Valley Preserve

Palm Springs is part of the Coachella Valley, and is the most important city in this protected area that stretches itself throughout 72 km. The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, one of the most important in the world, happens annually in this valley.

From the several attractions of this valley, the Coachella Valley Preserve is the one that stands out, home of a unique lizard in the world. The preserve has more than 6000 hectares and it is located 27 kilometers away from Palm Springs. In addition to the small reptile, the preserve has a magnificent oasis with 1000 palm trees, several walking trails, which are also available as a picnic area.

Joshua Tree National Park

50 minutes away from Palm Springs, there is the Joshua Tree National Park. This desert area has a cactus named Joshua, which is virtually exclusive to this area, and also many other kinds of plants.

The park has almost 324000 hectares and encompasses two deserts, and it is possible to find a vast diversity of plants and animals, besides the most famous and the one that lends its name to the area. It is an outstanding location for walking, climbing, bird watching or cycling.

Indians Canyon

The Indian Canyons are a sacred region to the ancient indigenous peoples of Palm Springs, the Indians of Cahuilla. These people, centuries ago, settled themselves in this location with beautiful palm trees and towering rock formations, abundant water and several plants and animals. It is still possible to watch the ruins of that indigenous society and its way of life.

This region comprises almost 100 kilometers of trails, with diverse levels of difficulty, giving the chance to any visitor to take at least one. The natural beauty and the historical interest are good reasons to justify a visit.

Art Museum

Palm Springs is known as an elegant destination, increasingly sought to spend luxury holidays, play golf and catch sun by the pool, almost throughout the year. But, in this city, we can also find great museums, devoted to themes that are quite different from each other.

The one I emphasize is the Art Museum, opened in 1938 and focused on the desert environment and the natives of the region. Currently, it has been dedicating itself to the indigenous culture and to the contemporary artwork as well. For those who are fond of art, this place cannot be missed. The Annenberg Theater, which is part of the building, holds several music and theater shows.

The Art Museum Palm Desert opened more recently, about 20 kilometers away from Palm Springs.

VillageFest and the Palm Canyon Drive

The Palm Canyon Drive is the main artery of the downtown and one that involves numerous museums, several sorts of restaurants and shops. It is then a clever way to start exploring Palm Springs.

The VillageFest happens on this street every Thursday night, an event that is attended by thousands of people. After the traffic in Palm Canyon Drive is shut down, dozens of stands are assembled on both sides of the street. Food and crafts are sold, and several types of entertainment shows are held at this outstanding street fair.

Buildings of the Desert Modernism (House of Tomorrow)

The city of Palm Springs is the home of the great share of mid-century modern architecture and design. Around ten visionary architects gave rise to the movement which is currently known as Desert Modernism. In 2006, Palm Springs was elected as a culture tourism destination for architecture and, as we speak, there are several organizations exclusively dedicated to this.

To better understand this movement, and its most important buildings, tours are held throughout the year. The building that stands out the most is the House of Tomorrow, built in 1960 by Robert Alexander for his family. But what really made it famous was the fact that Elvis Presley, the King of Rock and Roll, rented it for one year, a period during which he also spent his honeymoon.

 Walk of Stars

The Walk of Stars was created in Palm Springs in 1992, which intends to pay tribute to personalities who lived in the city and, in some way, have contributed to its popularity.

There are stars dedicated to U.S. Presidents, personalities form the entertainment industry to civic action, musicians, among many others.

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