Leave the indoors in your rearview with a day trip to Palm Springs
By Kevin Perry
Our beaming berg averages 269 sunny days per year. That’s 269 chances to cavort, 269 local adventures to be had, and 269 reasons why Palm Springs is a veritable Vitamin D-light.
But don’t just wander in the desert; that’s SO two millennia ago. Use this handy guide as your ticket to great experiences in the great outdoors, Coachella Valley style!
REINVENTING THE WHEEL
Collaboration, innovation, and motivation are the ingredients for a perfect Palm Springs getaway, and they are also the cornerstones of Sunny Cycle. Join this “electric pedal party” that uses battery assist to power your group ride, not to mention the essentials: a flat screen TV, jammin’ sound system, and misters to keep you even cooler than normal!
To ride the latest zeitgeist, hop onto Scoot Palm Springs, a Euro-fabulous Vespa quest for the best. Their knowledgeable guides will provide maps to our hippest hotspots, legendary landmarks, and midcentury dominance. In fact, the storefront of another radical rental house is a mod cause célèbre to behold: Bike Palm Springs offers a rainbow of pastel pedal pushers to add a streak of color to your desert adventure.
But the beaten path is so overrated, so take a page out of Off Road Rentals’ book and dig our dunes firsthand! If your day trip troupe is up to six people, rev on over to ATV Experience for one (or more) of their Viking cruisers, perfect for team building or just getting away from the rat race for a sunset escape.
Now we’re really climbing up the vehicular food chain, next stop: Red Jeep Tours. Stay local with a majestic excursion through Indian Canyons or crack into San Andreas Fault with some fascinating expertise from your personal geo-guide.
If you can’t decide between hiking, biking, or Jeeps-so-striking, why not choose all of the above? Big Wheel Tours is your hometown hookup, thanks to the boundless enthusiasm and contagious energy of owner Evan Trubee. And for some real horsepower, hitch your wagon to Smoke Tree Stables, offering rides by the hour or day, not to mention equine therapy for locals looking for mental wellness tips outside of the constraints of the average human parameters.
THERE’S AWESOMENESS AFOOT
For an even more intimate stroll through the wonders of our local landscape, put one foot in front of the other with PS Walk with Me. Their historical prowess will whisk you back in time and forward to transcendence.
The folks at Distance to Be Traveled celebrate the contours of Coachella with insights for tourists and locals alike. And to excavate the vibrant variations of our ecosystems, strike out with Trail Discovery Hiking Tours. They illuminate the reasons why Southern California became the entertainment capital of the world, doubling as a versatile soundstage filled with mountains, chaparral, canyons, and vistas galore!
To see all of these phenomena gathered in one mystical locale, plant yourself at Moorten Botanical Garden. Their iconic Cactarium presents desert flora that really gets to the point! Cacti that measure up to 20 feet stretch to the heavens at Moorten, and speaking of heavens… the skies are ready for their close-up with the help of Skywatcher Star Tours. Desert nights are out of this world!
And for our sporty locals, get geared up to race (at a leisurely pace) to Escena Golf Club. Leave your workweek in the bunker and blame your subpar game on the distracting views. If you’re more of a spectator, chillax to the max at a Palm Springs Power Baseball game. It’s glove at first sight!
Watching all of that activity can really work up an appetite, so stroll downtown without losing your front row seat to Mother Nature. Las Casuelas Terraza is named for their triumphant terrace, and the aromatic food they serve has been beckoning bystanders for over 60 years. Azucar elevates such signature dishes as mesquite swordfish with rooftop views and robust flavors.
Not to be outdone, seafood succulence meets desert decadence at the dueling destinations of Ruben & Ozzy’s and Fisherman’s Market & Grill. The former puts the joy in oyster preparation while the latter hooks you with hearty Pacific proteins that sail the seas of yumminess.
Just steps away, encounter a Belgian balcony brimming with rich cuisine and wine pairings at Pomme Frite. Cross the street (carefully) and remain in the intoxicating outdoors with the staff of Kaiser Grille, known for wood-fired pizzas that evoke rustic refinement.
Two of Palm Springs most lauded eateries are Spencer’s, nestled in the outdoor splendor of the Historic Tennis Club area of downtown, and Le Vallauris, shimmering with Provençal luster and lusciousness. If your palate prefers Mexican flair to spare, vamanos to the El Patron patio and leave room for cocktails!
Now that we’ve uttered the magic word, raise your glass all the way to the rooftop at Moxie Palm Springs. Their craft concoctions are the perfect pairing for a stellar view of our fair city. From there, you can chart your next move, so make it a big one: the Arenas Business District is packed with breezy beverage options. Transition from the sunny fun of Chill Bar’s wrap-around patio to the dark seduction of Eagle 501, then continue on to the lacquered perch outside Blackbook. Once you cross Arenas Road, you’ll find go-go gorgeous men at Hunters and rugged realness at Streetbar, so get your au naturale flirt on!
UPTOWN AND BEYOND
Haven’t had enough indulgence? We like your stamina! Take it to the next level at Bongo Johnny’s Patio Bar & Grill. Or if bottomless mimosas are your bubbly bag, pop over to Pinocchio in the Desert and thrill to the dance stylings of the best staff in town.
As you merengue your way further north, you will become immersed in the Uptown Design District, where Trio earns its reputation of being Where Palm Springs Eats every day with every patio plate. Mere steps away, Open Table voted Jake’s Palm Springs as one of the 100 best alfresco dining experiences in America due to its cozy courtyard and comfort food to match.
Melding the concept of outdoor dining with intimate hospitality, SoPa is worth seeking out. Located discreetly away from downtown yet conveniently close to your heart, this extension of L’Horizon resort delivers dishes like duck leg confit & boursin ravioli whose immense flavors can’t be contained in an interior space.
Open your heart to these open-air experiences, just around the corner from home. Whether you’re a local, a frequent guest, or a day-tripping devotee, Palm Springs is the capital of Coachella Valley cool.