Uniquely Palm Springs: The Sights
Iconic imagery you can only see here
By Kevin Perry
Consult the mental scrapbook in your head. Conjure every destination you have ever experienced and think about how you remember them. The Eiffel Tower represents Paris; the neon iconography of The Strip is pure Las Vegas; The Taj Mahal is a monument of innovation and grandeur for its native India and all those who visit her. The sights you collect in your mind’s eye create a tableau of exploration and excitement.
Now get ready to expand your horizons with a sensory tour of Palm Springs.
Before you even arrive in our iconic hometown, you are greeted by a signature sight: the windmills. Stretching impossibly high above the desert landscape, these pristine white pinwheels hypnotize you into a perfect lull that foreshadows the luxurious leisure you are about to enjoy in town. For a closer look at the hydroelectric wonders, book a spin (pun intended) with Windmill Tours and save room for a complimentary date shake.
For a mills’ eye view of these structures, raise your perspective with a blast of inspiration (and propellant) from Fantasy Balloon Flights. Experience up, up, and a-YAY as you soar over Coachella Valley and take in the full majesty of Palm Springs from above. Trace the contours of downtown with your finger and plot out the night of fun ahead of you; hug the curves of the San Jacinto Mountains in a state of hot air mastery; and watch the earth rise up to greet you as you descend once more to the welcoming allure of our fair city.
Now that you have familiarized yourself with the heavens, witness how they sparkle to effervescent life as the sun catches its nightly slumber. The stargazers at Skywatcher Tours will usher you through the cosmos through the lens of the unobstructed desert skies that blanket Palm Springs.
Settle back down to terra firma once more and consider the sights that make us truly legendary. The flirtatious swoop of our rooftops, the grounded stability of our structures, the swirl of future and past in a mélange of architectural dominance: this is midcentury design at its very best. While the visual options may be overwhelming, we have a bevy of knowledgeable guides to help you navigate this joyous jungle. There’s the MidMod Design Tour, PS Architecture Tours, and the Palm Springs Mod Squad, just to name a fabulous few.
But if you prefer taking in the sights according to your own unconventional conventions, here’s where we put the #unique in #UniquelyPalmSprings. Just say “neigh” to the Big Horse Carriage Company, a quaint throwback to simpler times, or gallop even further out of town with a Covered Wagon Tour of the Coachella Valley.
To provide your own horsepower, summon the pedal power of Bike Palm Springs, a beSPOKE rental company that gears you up with traditional cycles or motorized models that will have your cruising the sights in style! If you prefer to share the fun (or coast while others do the work), lighten up with a Sunny Cycle Electric Pedal Party. This group activity gives riders a generator-assist so there’s no need to toil up hills. More time (and energy) for sightseeing!
As you traverse the fashionable length of downtown, keep your tastes tuned to retro-spectacular. Vintage shops like Mitchells will outfit your home with enviable furnishings and drape your frame in must-see, must-wear garments. Speaking of PS chic, you’ll get your groovy back at The Frippery, boost your bling at Dazzles, and mine for fine at Christopher Anthony Ltd.
Keep your time machine set to stunning with midcentury visions at the Haya Modern Art Gallery, then skew your aesthetic with the experimental offerings of Jorge Mendez. If collectibles are what you crave, animate your soul with the Art of Nat Reed. And the name Just Fabulous says it all; their array of souvenirs and coffee table books provide a bracing reminder of just how visually arresting our hometown really is.
But you don’t even need to step foot in a gallery or shop to appreciate the expressive sights of Palm Springs. Marvel at the murals that pepper our urban canvas, from the dreamy vision of Marilyn Monroe at Lulu’s to the Insta-worthy rainbow angel wings at The Kimpton Rowan resort. That’s where you’ll also find Isabelle, the eye-popping innovation of steel and lighting that ranks among our many gorgeous and intriguing public art installations.
While you’re at the Rowan, take a quick trip to their rooftop bar and gaze once more at the triumphant town below. Palm Springs is a celebration of the senses, and the visions on display will dance into your irises, mingle with your mind, and filter lovingly into your soul.
Your mental scrapbook has just been upgraded.