By Bill Malcolm*
Palm Springs is a favorite destination of mine. I have lots of friends there and there is always something new to do. This trip was no exception. Hiking in two new natural areas. A cabaret show at Oscar’s. Swimming with the USMS Masters at the Palm Springs Swim Center. A bagel at Townie Bagels and a baguette at Peninsula Pastries. And a cocktail at PSP Air Bar were among the highlights.



Palm Springs MountainImage Credit: Visit Greater Palm Springs

Enjoy the Villagefest Thursday night downtown. They block off the street, and it becomes a huge farmers market and art show.

Hit the PS Air Bar for an airline themed evening. On Sunday nights, they have a piano bar in the front. Shop at the Revivals store in the same complex.

Hike in the new Prescott Preserve, formerly a golf course.

Take a hike at the South Lykken Trailhead in Oswit Canyon. Enjoy the cacti and wildflowers. We saw 3 big horn sheep in the meadow. Check out the Oswit Land Trust website for more information.

Go shopping on Sunny Dunes just off South Palm Canyon drive where you will find vintage stores, the Tool Shed leather bar, the new Club 541, antique stores, and a cactus and succulent gift shop (as well as Townie Bagels). Then walk or bike along the new trail along the river just south of Sunny Dunes Road. They even have the plants marked. All are steps from the Motel 6 Downtown.



Palm Springs Toucans Tiki LoungeImage Credit: Toucans Tiki Lounge

Catch a show or go to the Sunday T Dance at Oscar’s. They also have a drag brunch both Saturday and Sunday called “The Bitchiest Brunch.”  I saw the fabulous trio Brandon & James with Effie, on a Thursday night.

Toucans Tiki Lounge has a popular drag show Monday night. Pick up some new underwear or adult novelty items at the Not So Innocent store next door.

The Tool Shed has a Sunday beer best and BBQ. They also have an underwear night on Thursday’s.

Hunters Palm Springs on Arenas Road has a fun happy hour. (This is the same owner as the one in Wilton Manors, Florida.) You will find 10 other bars nearby.

Fasten your seat belts for the Karaoke Thursday night at PSP Air Bar. The airline themed speakeasy is inside Bouschet. Sit in an old First Class American airlines seat (or an old coach Southwest Airlines seat) while the captain pours you a drink at the PS Air Bar. Then enjoy a show at the Revolution Stage Company next door.



Palm-springs-1Image Credit: Creative Commons

Grab your morning bagel and coffee at Townie Bagels at 650 East Sunny Dunes. Get there early or expect a line. They open at 6:30 a.m. 

Enjoy a café Americano and pastry at Ristretto For Coffee Lovers Palm Springs, Try the Café Americano.

Enjoy a French baguette or pastry at the Peninsula Pastries in the Sun Plaza. They are only open Thursday to Sunday starting at 8:30 a.m. Get there early to avoid the line. All baked goods use French flour. Like Townie Bagels, they are quite popular. Next door is the Palm Greens Café for a healthy lunch.

Nature’s Health Food and Café has fresh juices like carrot juice and vegetarian items like the eggplant wrap. You can sit outside on their patio with your to-go food.

Pick up fruit, yogurt or a pre-made sandwich at Grocery Outlet, Bargain Market in downtown Palm Springs.

Get some wine for a nightcap at Bev Mo.

Try the new Sonny’s restaurant on Arenas Road in the bar area.



Palm Springs AirportImage Credit: Palm Springs Airport

I took United through Denver on the way out and through their Houston hub on the way back. I had Economy Plus so I got a no charge carry-on. 

We diverted to Grand Junction due to thunderstorms on the way out, but I still made my connection. United is a very professional airline. They have a great app. They have the newest fleets and, on the way, back I was on their Airbuses instead of the 737s. (Yes, I am concerned after the recent incidents).

Palm Springs is a cute, small airport with a huge outdoor area. It’s the nicest airport I have ever been to. However, pack something to eat as they have few food options at the moment.

Hop on the #2 SunLine Bus across the street from the airport to go downtown. It’s a two block walk and costs $1. A rental car is not needed if you stay downtown. (The lines for the rental cars can be long and they are packed with fees and surcharges.) I used UBER when not taking the SunLine. (

Leave your bike helmet at home. The city does not have a shared bike system and is not pedestrian friendly outside of the downtown area despite being flat and having a warm climate.



Greater Palm SpringsImage Credit: Visit Greater Palm Springs

I stayed at the very handy and very affordable Motel 6 Downtown. It is across the street from the Sun Plaza which consists of many shops and restaurants, is  a short walk to the bars on Arenas Road, is around the corner from Townie Bagels and the Tool Shed Bar, and more. Rooms are cleaned daily without asking – unheard of with most motels and hotels. The internet is good. Free coffee every morning at 6 am. Get a quiet room on the 3rd floor facing east.

Most hotels in Palm Springs now have resort fees. Often, they are lumped under “taxes and fees.” My favorite (not) was the mandatory “community impact fee” at the Hotel Zoso. It is for a mandatory contribution to a charity. Happily, I have yet to see hotels add a “pillow fee” or “key fee.”

Palm Springs has many lodging options including VRBO and specialty resorts. Palm Springs has lots of them. Men will like the new Twin Palms Resort as well as their sister property, The Descanso Resort. Both are excellent. Service is top notch. Lunch catered everyday. And more.
Check Trip Advisor for other options. 



GED is the local magazine. RAGE Monthly out of San Diego also covers Palm Springs.
The weekly is the Coachella Valley Independent which covers upcoming events, restaurants, hikes, local politics and more.

Palm Springs also has a gay radio station. Pick up a copy of their KGay Desert Guide or view them at (106.5 on the FM dial).

You won’t run out of fun things to do in Palm Springs and summer is their value season.
There is nowhere else where you can enjoy the desert sun surrounded to the west and north by snow capped mountains. And you won’t find a gayer city anywhere.


*Bill Malcolm is an award winning travel writer (Florida Press Association, 2023 travel writing, 2nd runner up for columns in Embrace Magazine. His syndicated travel column in run by select LGBTQ publications throughout North America. You can find him on Facebook and read his columns at the travel blog section of the IGLTA website. He received no compensation of any kind for this column. 4/1/24 707p
Featured Image Credit: Visit Greater Palm Springs