Uniquely Palm Springs: The Scents

Smells like town spirit

Posted By: Friday, October 18, 2019

By Kevin Perry

Aromas have the power to transport your mind to another place, time, and experience. As a signature scent wafts into your nasal cavity, childhood recollections flood your soul soon thereafter.

Breathe deep and create a new sense-memory landscape here in Palm Springs.

The dry desert air liberates your senses so that you can experience life at full blast. There are no cloying mists of discarded refuse or urban decay to impede your sensory journey. Instead, your passages are free to invite the lilting perfume of a cactus flower or the rustic bravado of a weathered clay outcropping.

Moorten's Botanical Garden sign


And nowhere are these scents harvested more lovingly than at Moorten Botanical Garden. Their Cactarium boasts specimens that grow up to 20 feet tall, emanating majesty that mingles with the lush fragrances of blooming petals and hearty succulents. It’s no wonder Clark Moorten estimates that 50,000 selfies have flourished from his garden’s fertile soil, but if you think it’s a sight to behold, just wait until you smell it.

Mountain views from Escena Golf Course


If cut grass is your cup of tee (misspelling intended), then drive on over to Escena Golf Club. Palm Springs is an international destination for fairway enthusiasts, and Escena is picturesque proof why. The mountains serve as your backdrop, the verdant course rolls out a green carpet of welcoming splendor, and the water hazards shimmer with textures that draw your eye (but hopefully not your ball). And the aromas flittering from their grill & bar add to the tantalizing tapestry of a perfect Palm Springs outing.

Follow your nose even further into the arid breach and explore our desert wonders with the help of a seasoned guide. Best of the Best Tours’ name says it all! Their mastery of Indian Canyon will make you an expert on the 200+ species of plants that you’ll smell along the historic trail. Tighten your laces as you hotfoot up to San Jacinto State Park with Palm Springs Hiking Tours. They actually named one of their experiences “Fresh Mountain Air Tour” so you just know your nostrils are in for a treat!


Group of friends on a Desert Adventures Tour


Rev up your senses with a Red Jeep Tour of our town and its scintillating surroundings. Savor the last gasp of daylight on their sunset excursion, or live on the edge in an exploration of the San Andreas Fault! Ditch the beaten path with the help of Off Road Rentals and/or ATV Experience. Or, for more adventurous options, try Big Wheel Tours. They offer SUV and Jeep luxury, mountain bike rentals, or hiking realness to ditch the engines altogether and commune with nature in her full gusto.

Adventure Hummer Tours add a new bouquet to your already overjoyed aromatic escape: wine! That’s right, buckle up for a tasting on your next trip through flavor country. And speaking of flavor, no sensory vacation to Palm Springs is complete without Desert Tasty Tours. In addition to architectural insights and historical fascination, DTT provides visitors with a smorgasbord of sustenance. Usher your olfactory curiosity down Palm Canyon Drive, sampling their wares for three hours of sensory nirvana.

Patio seating at Pomme Frite Restaurant


And now that your appetite is sufficiently whetted, dig in to the unique scents that our downtown eateries present. Brickworks American Bistro ignites your gastro exploration, piping pizza fantasies into the street via their wood-fired oven. The comforting embrace of a pot roast aesthetic spills from the playful façade of Trio; Belgian decadence swirls and seduces passersby on the Pomme Frite patio; the scent of SoCal seafood cavorts from the sprawling corner locale of Kaiser Grille; and an award-winning wine selection intoxicates your senses as you meander past Zin American Bistro.

Looks like it’s happy hour! Keep the fabulosity flowing with a burst of exotic essence from Bootlegger Tiki. Sniff a rainbow of passion fruit, curacao, yellow chartreuse, vanilla rose, and Appleton rum as they all get muddled into a fragrant mix of your choosing. Welcome to the South Pacific, by way of Palm Springs, where you’ll also experience the marvelous mixology of The Tropicale. Chef Tony Di Lembo once cooked for THE Barbra Streisand, so he’ll temper your beverages with a healthy nosh that’s equally aromatic. Lulu California Bistro is known for their mojitos, so follow the smell of mint and you’ll be refreshed in no time. And Eight4Nine’s craft cocktails offer a grove of citrus sassiness, one delicious snifter at a time.

Some nasal palates enjoy a bit of tobacco with their drinks. If you are among the cigar aficionado populace, you’ll really spark with Tinder Box. Their selection of cigars, pipes, and other accessories will immerse you in a plumage of indulgence.

Why not take a page from Deep Purple and smoke on the water? Bring your hedonistic side out to play at one of our world-renowned clothing optional resorts, where you can wash away your inhibitions in a cloud of suntan lotion, natural scents, and a whiff of endless possibilities.

We sense your sensibilities… and we detect an aura that is purely and passionately Palm Springs.

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