“For Golden Age celebrities, it was a hideaway from Hollywood, a beachless secret of California, cupped by mountains on one side and beset by the hallucinations of Joshua Tree National Park on the other.
Palm Springs is still that poolside desert town. But now it’s also a snowbird capital, an LGBTQ+ stomping ground, and SoCal’s low-slung, low(ish)-profile hot spot.
For travelers, winter makes a great drop-in season, between December and April. The vibe is laid-back, almost granola. Nightfall chills streets hugged by bougainvillea. Polynesian-inspired masks peep over sunset-colored cocktails in the town’s trademark cave-dark tiki bars. In the foothills, an aerial tramway floats up craggy slopes, deposits tourists, then hauls them singing and swaying back down to this twinkling 45,000-person outpost two hours east of Los Angeles. It’s an excuse to relax at a resort, to brush up against an existential imposition of natural beauty, and to bounce from mod-art museum to kitsch purveyor…”