The arrival of spring takes the Coachella Valley music scene to spectacular heights with the return of the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival (April 12–14, 19–21) and Stagecoach: California’s Country Music Festival (April 26–28), held on the grounds of the scenic Empire Polo Club. You’ll find big name headliners like Ariana Grande, Childish Gambino, Tame Impala, Janelle Monáe, Khalid, Solange, Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, Sam Hunt, Cole Swindell, Cam, and the legendary Lynyrd Skynrd band among the multitude of artists scheduled to perform at Coachella or Stagecoach. Festival art takes center stage as well, with fascinating—often functional—larger than life sculptures and installations from internationally and locally known artists.
Beyond Coachella and Stagecoach, the Garden Jam Music Festival (April 5–6) fuses rock, blue, jazz and country; the family-friendly, spring edition of the Joshua Tree Music Festival (May 16–19) combines yoga and art with an eclectic line-up of 30+ global bands. Looking ahead to summer, Splash House arrives June 7–9 and repeats August 9–11 with a pulsating soundtrack fueling epic pool parties, and Greater Palm Springs makes the ideal base in which to explore Idyllwild Art’s 25th anniversary Jazz in the Pines (August 10-12).
In the meantime, Desert X wraps up April 21 so don’t miss your chance to experience this celebrated art biennial. Whether travellers are visiting for a day, a weekend or longer spending, here is the list for where to appreciate music, art, nature, savor, play and sleep in the nine cities of Greater Palm Springs.
For more information please visit, visitgreaterpalmsprings.com.
Desert Hot Springs
APPRECIATE ART: Step back in time at Cabot Yerxa’s Hopi-inspired Pueblo Museum. Greater Palm Springs has a rich Native American history still thriving today. This museum, built in 1941, is filled with Native American art and artifacts. Visitors can see how artist Cabot Yerxa built the pueblo himself, using objects and materials he collected across the desert. cabotsmuseum.org
SAVOR: South of the Border fires up the palate with authentic Mexican food. Locals and visitors alike frequent this casual Mexican restaurant where service is quick and friendly. South of the Border is known for its savory tamales, chili rellenos, shredded beef enchiladas, and super tasty margaritas.
SLEEP: Slip into a detoxifying mud bath at Two Bunch Palms. Recline in a tub filled with ground clay, peat moss and enriching minerals for a healing spa experience like no other. Relax in the hot mineral water Grotto and participate in various wellness programs and classes like yoga, sound baths, portrait painting, nature walks, and more. Spread over 72 secluded acres, America’s first-carbon neutral resort also features an outstanding restaurant, Essense, serving up healthy offerings and tranquil views. The resort is offering a “Workcation” special through December 31, 2019. www.twobunchpalms.com
APPRECIATE ART: Discover the Treasures of the Palm Springs Art Museum. Combining contemporary pieces with indigenous art—and everything in between—the Palm Springs Art Museum is a great place to peruse a variety of art. Compelling exhibitions now on display include Unsettled, with must-see contemporary works from 75 artists (through April 30, 2019), and Lines in the Sand featuring the museum’s collection of Cahuilla and Native American art (through August 11, 2019). The museum is free on Thursday nights, the same night as the Palm Springs VillageFest: a free, open-air market with a wide variety of local artisan makers. psmuseum.org
OUT IN NATURE: Board the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway to explore an alpine wonderland. The onset of warmer months marks the perfect time to embark on a full- or half-day adventure aboard the world’s largest rotating tramcars. The breathtaking 10-minute journey carries riders to the 8,516-foot Mountain Station and Mt. San Jacinto State Park. Activities within and outside the mountain visitor center include a natural history museum, observation decks, two restaurants, documentary theaters, and 54 miles of hiking trails. pstramway.com
SLEEP: Catch zzz’s in a unique historic inn or boutique hotel. From a Moroccan-inspired mansion that played host to dashing 20th century screen idols to a Mediterranean estate that was Albert Einstein’s favorite hideaway, Palm Springs boasts one of the most unique collections of historic hotels in the country—with mid-century modern gems too. Recently renovated properties include Villa Royale with its intimate Del Rey bar and restaurant, and the iconic Melvyn’s Restaurant and Ingleside Inn. You’ll find a complete list of historic inns at visitgreaterpalmsprings.com/stay/boutique-hotels-inns/
APPRECIATE ART: See a world-class performance in CV Rep’s new home. This past March 13th marked the Coachella Valley Repertory’s highly anticipated premiere performance into its new venue, the CVRep Playhouse, formerly the site of an IMAX theater. The newly renovated playhouse boasts seating for 208 patrons, a 2,700-square-foot stage, spacious dressing rooms, and state-of-the-art set and A/V systems. Good People from Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Lindsay-Abaire takes the stage May 1–19. CVRep also offers conservatory classes—some open for drop-in sessions—in writing, acting, improv, scene study, cabaret performance, and more. cvrep.org
SAVOR: German, Argentinian and Italian cuisines shine at Bonta. Spätzle, sausage, Argentinian skirt steak and spaghetti—Bontá Restaurant & Bar located next to CVRep Playhouse offers delectable pre-theater dining with a decidedly international twist. The spacious restaurant is a local’s favorite, and only steps away from the state-of-the-art 4D Mary Pickford Theatre too. Bontá’s Proprietor and Chef Hector Salvatierra will also plan menus and whip up signature dishes like Spanish paella for in-home chef parties. bontarestaurant.com
SLEEP: Staybridge Suites Palm Springs Cathedral City: A convenient, 15-minute drive to downtown Palm Springs and also central to Palm Desert, this new Staybridge Suites is a great place to stay for pleasure or business with amenities that include a sparkling swimming pool with mountain views, fitness center, complimentary hot breakfast buffet, Mon.–Wed. social reception with complimentary beer, wine and light bites, and a hotel shuttle with service within a six-mile radius and to Palm Springs International Airport. ihg.com/staybridge/hotels/us/en/cathedral-city
OUT IN NATURE: Planets and galaxies on view at Rancho Mirage Observatory: Gaze at the stars and learn about the galaxy at the Rancho Mirage Observatory. It’s free to enter (tours are Tuesday to Saturday at 9am and 3pm) and features a state-of-the-art telescope, rotating rooftop dome with the ability to open, and outdoor observation deck. Planet viewing is done at Stargazing parties and must be booked in advance. ranchomiragelibrary.org/observatory
APPRECIATE ART: Tour world famous Sunnylands Center and Gardens. In 1963, Ambassador Walter and Mrs. Annenberg commissioned the construction of Sunnylands as their winter home; the rest is literally history. Today, visitors can tour the historic A. Quincy Jones-designed mid-century modern estate. Among scores of treasures in the Sunnylands collection: more than 3,000 letters from 11 presidents dating from Dwight D. Eisenhower to Barack Obama. The Sunnylands campus also encompasses a contemporary 17,000-square-foot visitors center, nine acres of gardens, 1.25 miles of walking paths, and offers yoga, Tai Chi, outdoor movies screening, and other events on its spacious lawn. But Sunnylands’ relevance in the world of global politics can’t be understated. U.S. Presidents have hosted numerous meetings with foreign leaders earning Sunnylands the nickname of the’Western White House’. sunnylands.org
SLEEP: Relax in the luxury of The Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage: Perched on a hillside bestowing unparalleled views of the city lights at night, The Ritz-Carlton integrates natural elements into both its setting and myriad of luxury amenities. While the resort spa features indigenous products, State Fare Bar & Kitchen sources ingredients from local farms and purveyors. Between two pools, yoga, bliss-inducing spa rituals, and cliffside fine dining in The Edge Steakhouse, you may never want to leave the property. ritzcarlton.com
OUT IN NATURE: Embark on a private safari adventure at The Living Desert.Fun for the entire family, the 1,200-acre Living Desert Zoo & Gardens is dedicated to conservation and education, and home to giraffes, zebras, camels, mountain lions, and much more. Get an enthralling overview of the park on a two-hour private safari shuttle led by a personal guide. A Living Desert highlight: the state-of-the-art animal hospital providing top-quality care for the zoo’s residents. (Season hours through May 31: 9 am–5 pm with last admission at 4pm. Summer hours: June 1–Sept. 30: 8 am to 1:30 pm with last admission at 1 pm). livingdesert.org
SLEEP: Kick off your California dreams – and your shoes – at Hotel Paseo: Between the vintage airstream in the grass-filled central courtyard, local art hanging in the halls and a ‘New American’ restaurant AC3 serving new twists on classic dishes like Lobster B.L.T. and S’Mores, Palm Deserts’ first hotel in 30 years is a California dream. Complimentary sunrise yoga and a fresh coffee shop in the lobby make this a great base for laidback luxury. hotelpaseo.com
OUT IN NATURE: Indian Wells Golf Resort launches glow-in-the-dark golf: End a day of exploring with a round of ‘Shots in the Night’ aka glow-in-the-dark-golf. The Indian Wells Golf Resort, surrounded by neat rows of palm trees and sweeping mountains, is arguably one of the most beautiful places to play a round of golf. Open Thursdays–Saturday nights through May 18. indianwellsgolfresort.com
PLAY: Unwind in three destination spas devoted to wellness: A picturesque hospitality campus with four outstanding resorts and the Indian Wells Golf Resort within walking distance distinguishes the Indian Wells visitor experience. So do three exceptional spas—The Well Spa at Miramonte Indian Wells Resort & Spa, Agua Serene Spa at Hyatt Indian Wells Resort & Spa, and Spa Esmeralda at Renaissance Indian Wells Resort & Spa. Each spa offers a comprehensive menu of spa, body and skin treatments, tranquil water features, and quiet areas in which to completely zone out and get centered. visitgreaterpalmsprings.com
SLEEP: The California desert meets the magic of Morocco at Sands Hotel and Spa: Designed by Martyn Lawrence Bullard, the Instagrammable Sands Hotel and Spa is a beautiful boutique property, comprising of 46 individually-styled rooms, marble-laden spa, outdoor swimming pool and Pink Cabana restaurant. Try the Moroccan Mint High Tea service paired with unlimited champagne, and sweet and savory delicacies. sandshotelandspa.com
PLAY: Shop, wine and dine in Old Town La Quinta. Evoking the charm of a European village, Old Town La Quinta is one of the Coachella Valley’s favorite entertainment destinations. Relax with a latte at Old Town Coffee Company or enjoy an award-winning craft beer at La Quinta Brewing Company taproom. Peruse the latest fashions and gift items in specialty boutiques and enjoy casual dining indoor and al fresco at five restaurants. Stop by the new Landmark Lounge, an upscale lounge and bar with a popular happy hour and live music Thursdays–Sundays. oldtownlaquinta.com
APPRECIATE ART: Visit La Quinta Museum for a look at fascinating art and artifacts. Art and history converge at this enriching cultural institution, which also offers a calendar brimming with interactive programs and events. In addition to permanent installations showcasing Cahuilla Indian and La Quinta history, and the spectacular wall mural by André Blanché, the museum features fascinating rotating exhibitions, such as the current Postcards from Mecca photography exhibit that runs through May 15, 2019.
SLEEP: La Quinta Resort and Club: Spread over 45 acres and boasting 41 swimming pools, seven restaurants and a number of luxurious casitas, the La Quinta Resort and Club offers everything guests need for a lavish escape. The landmark 1926 resort enjoys a colorful Hollywood history. laquintaresort.com
APPRECIATE MUSIC: Groove to the diverse talent onstage at Big Rock Pub. Whether it’s Big Rockin’ Country Tuesdays (with dance instruction to boot), acoustic Sunday Brunch, the music of Motown, classic rock, or special event parties, Big Rock Pub features one of the best and eclectic performance calendars in town. The “Big Rock Experience” includes great food and one of the finest collections of art and rock memorabilia around. Many of the autographed guitars are for sale, with all profits going to Desert Cancer Foundation. thebigrockpub.com
APPRECIATE MUSIC: Indio’s music scene delivers karaoke, tribute bands and more. Beyond Coachella, Stagecoach and Big Rock Pub, more Indio entertainment venues keep the beat going year round: karoake nights at Neil’s Lounge and Tack Room Tavern, tribute bands and A-list performers at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, and the Empire Polo Club’s cool, dimly-lit Date Shed Nightclub, a popular venue for live music and dancing.
SAVOR: Chow down at the #1 eatery on Yelp’s top 100 places to eat: TKB Bakery. TKB Bakery in Indio topped Yelp’s list of top 100 places to eat in 2018. The bakery (TKB stands for ‘The Kids Business’) was started more than 20 years ago by a trio of local siblings. The sandwiches they started making to make some extra money for Christmas has now turned into the top spot in the USA to eat! tkbbakery.com
APPRECIATE ART: Coachella Walls displays captivating socially conscious art: Launched in 2014, the Coachella Walls is a mural project by local artists, showcasing art that reflects Greater Palm Springs’ agrarian roots and the city of Coachella’s community. Visitors can take a self-guided walking tour tin Pueblo Viejo of the city spot all of the murals. Add to these the new, permanent Desert X 2019installation on a water tank, Visit Us in the Shape of Clouds, created by local artist and Coachella native Armando Lerma. visitgreaterpalmsprings.com
SAVOR: Indulge your palate with a taqueria tour in the city of Coachella. When the idea of home-style Mexican cuisine stirs your taste buds, Coachella comes through with more than 25 Mexican restaurants, taquerias, and bakeries. Sample the signature Birria de Chivo at El Tranvia, savor the salsas with a kick at Taqueria & Birrieria Guadalajara, and the yummy fish tacos at Mariscos El Patron. Wrap up your culinary adventure with a refreshing passion fruit and pepino shaved ice at Sabores Handcrafted Ice Cream shop.
PLAY: Burning rubber encouraged at BMW Performance Driving School. Just south of the city of Coachella, in Thermal, BMW has a state-of-the-art facility where guests can get behind the wheel of performance-standard BMWs and Mini Coopers. Follow your own course or opt for a professional driver to take you through navigating the curves. bmwperformancecenter.com