Palms. They’re not just for “alone time” any more. No, they’re the official symbol of a fabulous vacation destination we fell in love with for the first time a few weeks ago. Oh, the gay shame for not going to Palm Springs, California, sooner.
Well, today is the start of the city’s world-famous White Party and we figured many of our readers might be venturing there today. Or if you plan to go another time, we wanted to share some of the great places we uncovered to eat, relax or just get back to nature (sometimes au natural).
For a superb place to stay, check out Century Palm Springs, a wonderfully luxurious, relaxing, intimate, men’s resort. Read our full review from a couple weeks ago here. We promise, you’ll love this place.
Food, Glorious Food (and Cocktails, Too!)
For such a small town, Palm Springs has plenty of world-class restaurants and all-around great dining spots for every budget. Best of all, PS is so casual, dressing up is never mandatory. For finer dining, Trio is our favorite. Must-haves are the Trio Mac & 5 Cheese and the St. Louis Style Spare Ribs. Yes, ribs. Amazing.
If you want a great show with dinner, Azul Tapas Lounge will have you laughing into your Chicken Cordon Bleu. The divine, lovely, 8-and-a-half-foot-tall Bella da Ball hosts a live music and lip-sync extravaganza every Tuesday (with two-for-one dinner!) that you have to see to believe. She’s our personal fave, but there are shows every night of the week at this charming piano bar.
For excellent Chinese, Wang’s in the Desert is some of the best we’ve had anywhere in the United States. Wang’s Treasure, a stir fry of Sliced Chicken, Beef, Scallops, Shrimp and Mixed Asian Vegetables is a sure-fire, wok-fired hit. And though not very pretty, the Fried Banana Wontons for dessert are also a must.
If you want more casual destinations, a local favorite for amazing cheeseburgers and lemonade is the cash-only Tyler’s Burgers. Seafood doesn’t get much better (just ask Rachael Ray!) than Fisherman’s, where $7.95 at lunch gets you a delicious meal. Great Greek salads, delectable tapas (Sautéed Spicy Lime Drizzled Shrimp!) are faves at the cute sidewalk café, Zini Café Mediterrano in the heart of historic downtown Palm Springs. And on Sunday nights, Toucans Tiki Lounge is the place to be for frosty beverages and one helluva fun drag show, often featuring name-brand queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race!
Back to Nature
Hiking at Indian Canyons, pictured above, is simply stunning. Get there early, though, because even in cool months it gets hot there quickly. In summer, we can only imagine.
But to chill out year round, head for the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, where the temperature at the top of the pine-covered mountain is always at least 30 degrees cooler than in the valley below. Last night, the wind chill was a tit-trembling 4 degrees. Getting to the top is breathtaking, too, thanks to the world’s largest rotating tramcars. Stand in one place, and you’ll get a 360-degree view as you make the near-6000-foot climb. Restaurants, hiking and bars available once you get there, too.
For a different type of nature (or a different type of Desert Wang), head to All Worlds Resort, the only clothing-optional resort in Palm Springs that offers day passes to visitors. This place is cheesy, kinda sleazy and something everyone should experience at least once. The dark room complete with sling, g-holes and 24/7 porn? We’ll leave that one up to you.
If you’ve never been to Palm Springs, or you go there all the time, there’s always something adventurous to do, great to eat or naked-and-saggy to point at. Oh, and if you’re there for White Party this weekend, please tell Charo we said hello.
Want to know more? Need assistance planning your trip or getting expert recommendations? Call the Palm Springs Visitor Center or visit their web site for more information and events.