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PALM SPRINGS – More than Shopping and Golf
By Ray Chatelin
(For Travel Writers' Tales)

PALM SPRINGS -Travelers heading south for a week or more, are generally there for one reason - to escape the rain, snow and cold that grips our part of the world between November and March.

And there's no doubt that the Palm Springs area is a wonderful place to relax, especially if golf is one of your pursuits. After all, it's one of America's premier golf destinations with some 110 courses contained within the 45 mi (72 km) stretch of the Coachella Valley that houses the Greater Palm Springs region.

Indian Wells Golf Resort Hole 14-WEB

With a permanent population of about 350,000 that means there's a golf course for 3,182 people making it one of the most favorable golf courses-to-population ratios in the world. Scotland, for example, has 543 courses for five million people or one for every 9,208 people.

Even with tourists flooding the place in winter – thereby doubling the population – there's still plenty of chances to grab a tee-time. And if you book for after 1pm, there's usually a deep discount.

If golf isn't your thing, there's tennis, hiking, cycling, shopping at discount malls, jeeps tours deep into the desert, a tram ride up San Jacinto Mountain, hanging out by the pool enjoying what mother nature has provided, and arts and entertainment.

View From San Jacinto Mountain-WEB

Most think of Palm Spring as a single entity. But, it is actually a succession of communities that stretch along the valley with Palm Springs, Desert Hot Springs, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indio, La Quinta, Coachella, Indian Wells, and Thermal tied together like mountain climbers tethered to a single rope.

For newbies, it can seem an imposing sprawl of walled desert retreats with security guards at every gate. But, while it's a seamless passage with only a sign or marker indicating that you've passed from one community to another, each of these communities has its own character and feel.

Palm Springs itself is the original community and is the heart of the region, having a downtown area. There you'll find exclusive shopping along El Paseo Drive on the Palm Springs/Palm Desert border line plus a series of intimate restaurants and art galleries that make El Paseo a major art marketplace. Along Palm Canyon Drive in the heart of the community you get a feel of what old Palm Springs was like back in its heyday of the 1950-60s.

Paseo Drive-WEB

But there's more to the region than golf, tennis, shopping and swimming pools. As pleasant as those activities might be, the valley offers an abundance of other activities often missed.

Two of the major draws in March are the BNP Paribas Tennis Open, the largest ATP and WTA professional tennis tournament in the world at Indian Wells; and the ANA Inspiration Women's Professional Golf Association tournament at Rancho Mirage - both attracting the best players in their sport from around the world.

PNP Paribas Tennis Tournament-WEB

But there is also an incredibly rich variety of cultural activities that take place in Greater Palm Springs. In fact, each of the communities have their own arts festivals and throughout the year there are more major classical and popular performances here than you'll find in most large cities. Only Las Vegas comes close to equalling the number of big-name performances found in the Palm Springs area.

This current season has already seen Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, Roger Waters, The Who and Neil Young performing at The Empire Polo Club in Indio in October.

Coachella Music Festival

The Palm Canyon Theater has a series of Broadway shows including Evita, You Can't Take It with You, and Sweet Charity this winter. The Annenberg Theater at the Palm Springs Art Museum features Broadway and jazz singers. Performers include: Cheyenne Jackson, Jane Monheit, the duo of Liz Callaway and Jason Graae, and Norm Lew.

Other music performers this winter at the McCallum Theater include the Vienna Boys Choir, violinists Itzhak Perlman and Joshua Bell, Olivia Newton-John, pianist Jeffrey Siegel, Vanessa Williams plus Broadway shows that include Annie, Mama Mia, Chicago, Last of the Red-Hot Lovers, and many other headline performers and performances that includes Randy Backman in March.

Being close to Los Angeles has its advantages. Palm Springs becomes a smaller version of Sundance, Utah with the annual Palm Springs International Film Festival in January. And if you're around in the heat of August, the Palm Springs International Short Film Festival is held at the historic Plaza Theatre.

Palm Springs, after all, is not just about chipping and putting.


Travel Writers' Tales is an independent newspaper syndicate that offers professionally written travel articles to newspaper editors and publishers. To check out more, visit


Greater Palm Springs Tourist Bureau -

McCallum Theater-

Empire Polo Club -

Palm Canyon Theater -

Annenberg Theater -

Palm Springs International Film Society -

Photo Credits

#1 – Indian Wells Golf Resort – Greater Palm Springs Tourist Bureau

#2 - View From San Jacinto Mountain – Toshi

#3 – Paseo Drive – Greater Palm Springs Tourist Bureau

#4 – Coachella Music Festival - Greater Palm Springs Tourist Bureau

$5 - PNP Paribas Tennis Tournament – Greater Palm Springs Tourist Bureau

Travel Writers' Tales is an independent travel article syndicate that offers professionally written travel articles to newspaper editors and publishers. To check out more, visit


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