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2 Jan 2018
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Things to do

Palm Springs is known for many things so bring your suntan lotion, flip flops, short sleeve t- shirts and shorts and you’ll fit right in. Seriously, the things Palm Springs are known for include the beautiful views, fantastic restaurants, world class golf and tennis, international festivals, and a roaring revitalization of the entire Coachella Valley.

If you are a Palm Springs vet, or what we call “snowbirds”, then you probably know exactly what to do and where to go although there might be some new things to do and explore. If you have yet to venture into this famous area you’ll be surprised at how much fun you can fit into your winter and never leave the 45-mile stretch of the valley. Either way, here are some exciting ways to spend your winters in the greater Palm Springs!

Beautiful Views

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway: This is the only way to get spectacular 360-degree views of Chino Canyon in the world's largest rotating tramcars. As a local, here's a hint if twirling around as you ascend 5,873 feet (1,790 m) up into the San Jacinto Park isn't your thing, stand in the middle and you’ll stay stationary and still take in the spectacular views. After a 10 minute ride, there’s trails, observation decks to view the valley floor, restaurants, documentary theater, and a documentary museum.

Kimpton Rowan High Bar and Rooftop Pool: Something new for Palm Springs! Gone is the old Desert Fashion Plaza and in its place is a swank cluster of restaurants, shopping and the tallest building in Palm Springs. You can take in the panorama views of the Coachella Valley, particularly from the High Bar and Rooftop Pool and also the top-floor 4 Saints restaurant. The drinks were a little pricey but well worth the views!

South Lykken Trail: Sometimes you don't need to spend money to see spectacular views of this valley. Sometimes just a very early morning (because it gets hot even in the winter), hiking gear, water, and tenacity for the perfect views. It’s a 3.5 mile round trip hike of moderate difficulty but there's areas that you can take a respite, with a beginning elevation of 560′, and an elevation gain of about 900′. This trail is a wonderful way to view Palm Springs, Mt. San Jacinto, and the the rest of the Coachella Valley. 

Mission Creek Preserve Trail: One of the best kept secrets of Desert Hot Springs. The area is owned by the Wildlands Conservancy and the Preserve gives access to the Pacific Crest Trail and the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area. It's open to the public free of charge seven days a week from dawn until dusk. There is a parking lot located outside the locked gate to Mission Creek Preserve. The Trail is an easy hike which is about a 3.5 miles round-trip to a stone house. There's also four stone casitas have been converted to shade structures perfect for picnicking. The best time to go is October through April and it's especially pretty when we get rain and the wildflowers are in bloom. The views to the west of Mt. Gorgonio are amazing. 

Fantastic Restaurants

Whether it’s fine dining or casual, in the Coachella Valley you can find it all. New restaurants are opening and are getting excellent reviews. In the mood for comfort food and are in the Palm Desert area with Oranj Palm Vacation Rentals? Wilma & Frieda’s Cafe has an excellent brunch with their signature griddled meatloaf and eggs or banana caramel french toast. Also recently open in Palm Desert is Dom Sushi.  Whether it’s the spicy garlic edamame or the house speciality Domo Arigato is amazing. If you're in one of our Oranj Palm Vacation Rentals in La Quinta, one of the newest restaurants is You Grill Korean BBQ. Yes, the name says it all. They just opened, so they're working out the kinks. It’s an All-you-can-eat Korean place pairing traditional side dishes with meats cooked on tabletop grills. As I’m writing this blog, Yelp just named the Indio TKB (The Kids Business) Bakery & Deli as the top 100 places to eat! It’s not new, in fact it was started over 20 years by three siblings who wanted extra money for Christmas and started making mouth-watering classic deli sandwiches. It's far from everything but well worth the drive! If you're in Cathedral City, Lala's Waffles Crepes & Shakes is new and everything is fresh and made with delicious love.  Homemade crepes and waffles. Yum! When in Palm Springs, one of the new hotspots is Evzin, a Mediterranean lunch and dinner spot in the Caliente Tropics. It has a lot of wonderful vegetarian selections and their wines are well balanced. Speaking of vegan, vegetarian, or if you just want tasty food, Tanya's Kitchen in Palm Springs is new and delicious! The pastrami sandwich is one of my favorites! It's piled high with slices of seitan, sauerkraut, vegan cheese, and 1000 island dressing.  Amazing! I could go on about the new restaurants around town but it's overwhelming with the choices!

World Class Golf and Tennis

With about 110 golf courses in the Coachella Valley there's a lot of choices. You might be in an Oranj Palm Vacation Home that might have a golf course or tennis courts on the property. Check your folder for prices, times, etc. There are places that you can call for discount golf packages in the valley. Some of the courses around the valley were designed by Arnold Palmer, Pete Dye, Jack Nicklaus, John Fought, and Greg Norman and you can't match the mountain backdrops. Take Indian Wells Golf Resort in Indian Wells, even if you don't play golf, the views from the Vue Grille & Bar are spectacular! The Quarry at La Quinta was rated number 10 by Golf Digest for ‘The Best Golf Courses in California’ for  2017-2018! Even the PGA and LPGA Tours stop in this golf oasis for annual tournaments as well as tournaments for charities. One of my charity favorite golf tournaments is the Frank Sinatra Celebrity Invitational. Last year they renamed it and now it's called the Barbara and Frank Sinatra Classic. It will be played at Bighorn Golf Club in December in Palm Desert. It’s really different from how I remember it from years ago. New venue and different format. Instead of celebrities it will feature amateur golfers. I didn't go last year but I’ll have to check it out this year. The CareerBuilder Challenge will be back for 2019 in January and even if you're not a golf aficionado, it is pure fun!  The Patrick Warburton Celebrity Golf at The Classic Club in Palm Desert is set for March 1, 2018. It’s an annual event for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. For more info: The Patrick Warburton Celebrity Golf Tournament  The ANA Inspiration Golf Tournament 2018 for the LPGA Tour is set for Monday, Mar 26, 2018 through Sunday, Apr 01, 2018 at the Mission Hills Country Club for more info click here.  I always like 1st annuals. So on March 31, 2018, the VFW Post 1534 1st Annual Golf Tournament is going to be held at the Tahquitz Creek Golf Resort. For more info: VFW 1st Annual Golf . For more info on other charity golf tournaments click here.


Tennis anyone?

If you love tennis, the crown jewel of tennis tournaments in the Valley is the BNP Paribas Tennis Open 2018 held on March 8 through March 18 at the Indian Wells Tennis Gardens. It draws nearly a half-million people to the Palm Springs area. Entry is free for the first two days of qualifying rounds, and crowds are pretty sparse. These days are great to see the players and view the great 54 acres grounds. You can watch some of the participants on the practice courts through the slats of a chain-link fence for a glimpse of some of tennis’s greatest champions. For the tickets on sale for the other days. If you want to play tennis, there's several leagues around the Valley. One if them is the Coachella Valley League Tennis. Their USTA Leagues play from January to mid April, SCTA Tri-Level Doubles play from late April to the end of May and SCTA Fall Doubles starts in mid-October and runs through mid December. If you want to play tennis on your own, the best kept secret in the Valley is Rancho Mirage Community Park (formerly known as White Water Park). There's nothing better than brand new courts! It’s completely renovated outdoor space featuring a modern amphitheater, ball courts & play & fitness areas. Here's more info: Rancho Mirage Community Park


One of the great finds I found this year was the 1st Annual Rancho Mirage Wine & Food Festival. There were around 200 incredible wines and 15 different cuisines from Rancho Mirage's very best chefs. Award winning wineries  from Napa, Sonoma, Paso Robles, Santa Barbara, Lodi, Washington State, The Santa Lucia Highlands, and Temecula. This year it was held at the Rancho Mirage Community Park on February 17th and I talked to the organizers and they will definitely be back next year. I’ll keep you posted on the time and date for 2019.

Modernism Week: Year after year it gets bigger and better every year! Held on 

February 15, 2018 - February 25, 2018 in various locations. Take the double decker bus that highlights architecturally significant mid-century and modern buildings around town. This festival is an exciting celebration of mid-century architecture, modern design, art, fashion and culture. For more information about this exciting 11 day event: Modernism Week.

72nd Annual Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival: 10 days of family fun on February 16, 2018 - February 25, 2018! It celebrates one the the Valley's favorite crop...Dates! I think there’s something for everyone and some things that you never thought existed in the desert. Like Llamas, Dairy Goats, Poultry; Camel & Ostrich Races. There's also WGAS Motorsports Monster Trucks, concerts, contests, games, food, rides, and a carnival. Whew! Here's more info: Date Festival.

McCormick's Palm Springs Classic Car Auction: February 23, 2018 - February 25, 2018 at the Palm Springs Convention Center. Over 600 classic cars and Friday is free so you can droll over all the shiny cars. Saturday & Sunday $15 per day, $25 for both days.

Native American Film Festival: One of the emerging film festivals in the country! This festival takes place on March 1, 2018 - March 3, 2018 featuring the best in films by, about, and starring Native Americans and other Indigenous peoples from around the world. The new home of the Native American Film Festival is the Mary Pickford Theater: 36850 Pickfair St, Cathedral City, CA 92234.

La Quinta Arts Festival: Voted THE #1 Fine Art & Craft Festival in the Nation in 2018! The dates are March 1, 2018 through March 4, 2018.  It's held on the grounds of the La Quinta Civic Center Campus which I should of put this locale in the 'Beautiful Views’ category. It hosts 220 of the foremost contemporary artists in the nation, this four-day event includes stunning art, performance art, music, upscale food, beer and wine.

El Paseo Fashion Week: Okay, it’s not exactly a festival but it is the largest consumer fashion show on the West Coast, held at The Gardens on El Paseo in Palm Desert, March 17, 2018 through March 24, 2018. It features emerging and renowned designers to showcase their work. After all, Michael Costello got his start in Palm Springs before going on to Project Runway and then designing for Beyonce and other stars. He’ll be here this year!

Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival: Again held at The Gardens on El Paseo in Palm Desert, March 23, 2018 through March 25, 2018.  60 premium wine and liquor tastings along with 40 fine dining restaurants and food tasting booths, celebrity chefs on three stages. A James Beard Gourmet Four-Course Luncheon prepared by celebrity chefs kicks off the weekend.

Whew! I’m not sure about you but just recapping how to spend your winter in Palm Springs has me both overwhelmed and excited at the time same time! Believe it or not, I just touched on SOME of the cool things to do! Of course there's the International Film Festival, American Documentary Film Festival, Festival Lights Parade, and Indio International Tamale Festival, which all kicks off the winter here in the Coachella Valley. Enjoy your stay at Oranj Palm Vacation Homes and indulge in what the Valley has to offer!