Welcome to Palm Springs, CA
Many millions of years ago, the Southern Desert was the bottom of a vast sea. By 10 million years ago, the waters had receded and the climate was hospitable to prehistoric mastodons, zebras, and camels. The first human inhabitants of record were the Agua Caliente, part of the Cahuilla people, who settled in and around the Coachella Valley about 1,000 years ago. Lake Cahuilla dried up about 300 years ago, but by then the Agua Caliente had discovered the area's hot springs and were making use of their healing properties during winter visits to the desert. The springs became a tourist attraction in 1871, when the tribe built a bathhouse (on a site near the current Spa Resort Casino in Palm Springs) to serve passengers on a pioneer stage highway. The Agua Caliente still own about 32,000 acres of desert, 6,700 of which lie within the city limits of Palm Springs. Explore
Things You Can't Miss
Glide 2½ miles up the sheer Chino Canyon. Hike — or snowshoe — through the wilderness at the top, or dine at one of two restaurants.
Image Credit: Ian Dagnall/Alamy
Window-shopping and people-watching will fill an afternoon in the El Paseo Shopping District, with its array of big-name designers, art galleries and boutiques.
Image Credit: Richard Broadwell/Alamy
The Palm Springs Air Museum houses one the world’s largest collections of World War II aircraft. Get up close to the vintage beauties.
Image Credit: Stephen Saks/Alamy
Hark back to the days of the Rat Pack on a three-hour driving tour of the stunning mid-century homes of such stars as Frank Sinatra.
Image Credit: Hemis/Alamy
At the Living Desert zoo and gardens, take in a palm oasis, a sage and cactus garden, Gila monsters and bighorn sheep. Bring water and a hat; it’s hot!
Image Credit: Alamy
You have to have at least one Rat Pack experience, so head to Melvyn’s, where Sinatra ate. His favorite dish? Steak Diane.
Image Credit: Ingleside Inn
Desert too hot for a hike or bike tour? Take a great Jeep tour instead with Desert Adventures. A three-hour ride through surreal scenery.
Image Credit: age fotostock/Getty Images
A lot of hotels in Palm Springs have become nighttime hangouts. If you don’t like the noise, make sure to stay far away from the pool and bar.
Image Credit: Getty Images
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Must Reads Before You Go
Sampling the local cuisine can be an adventure in some countries, but if you aren't up for scorpion or tarantula, there are some delicious alternatives.
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