MUST SEE, DO
» Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
Whisking you to another world as it revolves through 360 degrees, the tram climbs more than two miles to the mountain station at 8,516 feet elevation. Go for the sensational ride, or to escape the summer heat and hike the pleasantly cool pine forest. In winter the mountain is usually swathed in snow—perfect for exploring on cross-country skis or snowshoes. The mountain station’s gourmet restaurant tempts you to linger for a candlelit dinner overlooking the sparkling lights of the valley far below.
» Palm Springs Modern
The city claims one of the most important concentrations of mid-20th-century Modernist architecture in the world. For a fascinating insight into how Palm Springs became Modernism’s place in the sun, explore with expert guide Robert Imber, who will explain the inspiration for such icons as the Steel Houses, the “House of Tomorrow” and the Romchampinspired Bank of America building. He may even take you inside one or two celebrity homes.
» Palm Springs Art Museum
Acclaimed as one of California’s top regional art venues, the museum houses a stunning collection spanning pre-columbian and Native American art to works by classic western American masters, plein air art on a desert theme, and contemporary California artists. Much of the artwork was donated by local residents such as author Sidney Sheldon and actor Kirk Douglas. It occupies a striking Modernist building with a sunken sculpture garden.
» Joshua Tree National Park
Spanning 1,240 square miles, this park protects one of the most spectacularly scenic of desert regions and is named for the peculiarly-shaped Joshua trees, which grow here in abundance. Fantastical rock formations draw climbers, and a spiderweb of hiking and mountain bike trails lace the park. Be sure to call in at the Visitor Center and Keys West, a lookout with panoramic views over Coachella Valley, with the San Andreas Fault clearly visible below.
» Living Desert
Despite the sizzling heat and lack of water, wildlife abounds in the desert. Most desert denizens hide by day, especially in summer. To see them, head to Living Desert Zoo & Park, which displays fauna from arid environments around the world. Local critters include desert tortoise, mountain lion and bighorn sheep, while exotic wildlife include oryx, giraffes and Mexican wolves. More than four miles of interpretive trails weave through the surrounding wilderness.
› livingdesert.org 2018