1. Legendary Waters. There is no place in the world like Desert Hot Springs, where nearly 30 spa resorts tap into an underground aquifer brimming with natural hot mineral waters. Take your cue from the Native American tribes who discovered the restorative magic of this region centuries ago. And while Desert Hot Springs (www.vistdeserthotsprings.com) and The Spa Hotel (www.sparesortcasino.com) in downtown Palm Springs are known for their waters, you’ll come across many fabulous resort destinationspas, wellness and fitness centers, day spas, and medical spas throughout the Palm Springs region. Each February these unique properties open their doors for the Desert Hot Spring Spa Tours.
2. Arts & Culture. Art lovers seeking sculpture, photography, jewelry, and more can choose from stellar annual events like La Quinta Arts Festival, Southwest Arts Festival, Indian Wells Arts Festival, Desert Arts Festival, Rancho Mirage Art Affaire, and the Palm Springs Fine Art Fair. There is also Art Under the Umbrellas in Old Town La Quinta, First Wednesday Art Walk in the Back Street Art District, Gallery Walks on El Paseo Shopping, Art Place Art Walks, Villagefest Palm Springs, and countless galleries along El Paseo and North Palm Canyon Drives. For some of the most unique collections in the desert, enjoy Palm Springs Art Museum, Cabot’s Indian Pueblo Museum, and Palm Springs Air Museum. The Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Desert features the Faye Sarkowsky Sculpture Garden.
3. Groove to All Things Mod. Greater Palm Springs is the place to be for mid-century modern style and design, where carefully restored homes, hotels, and commercial properties designed by masters like Albert Frey, Richard Neutra, John Lautner, and William Cody are plentiful. Each year, visitors worldwide converge for Palm Springs Modernism Week (www.modernismweek.com), a eleven-day celebration of vintage architectural heritage – including home tours, book signings, films, art shows, and parties — drawing legions of dealers and collectors. The Uptown Design District features shops that the showcases the unique Palm Springs vibe with clothing, furniture, art work and more. For a self-guided tour of Palm Springs’ modern architectural highlights, purchase a full-color fold-out map ($5) at the Palm Springs Art Museum (www.psmuseum.org).
4. Love Tennis! Every March, more than 330,000 fans converge at the second largest tennis stadium in the world for the BNP Paribas Open (www.iwtg.net), where the world’s best men and women tennisplayers go racquet-to-racquet during two weeks of thrilling competition. Attendees also enjoy attractions, dining, live music and entertainment, designer fashion show, player autograph signings,children’s activities, star sightings, shopping, and much, more. Whether you’re a seasoned tennis player or novice, you’ll find several state-of-the-art courts at hotels, parks and clubs throughout the desert, including private and group lessons to hone your serve or backhand.
5. Play Like a Pro! This phenomenal destination boasts more than 115 championship golf courses, where everyone from seasoned pros to U.S. presidents have played on award-winning greens designed by golf industry greats like Arnold Palmer, Pete Dye, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and others. They're also home to world-class signature tournaments where you can walk the field with the pros at the Humana Challenge (www.humanachallenge.com), Frank Sinatra Celebrity Invitational (www.franksinatragolf.org), and Kraft Nabisco Championship (www.kncgolf.com). For fun, Palm Desert’s annual one-of-a-kind Golf Cart Parade – complete with marching bands and decorated golf carts – is a must for all ages.
6. The Sport of Kings. A winter visit to Palm Springs would not be complete without seeing a live polo match, a thrilling equestrian sport once reserved only for royalty. Pack a picnic basket and head over to Empire Polo Club (www.empirepoloevents.com) or Eldorado Polo Club to watch world-class athletes compete in a breathtaking outdoor setting. Polo on Friday nights and Sunday afternoons is free. From January through March enjoy the HITS Desert Circuit Horse Show at the 230-acre HITS Desert Horse Park in Thermal. Local and nearby stables also offer a variety of guided public and private trail rides.
7. Epicurean Excursions. The region’s rich agricultural bounty is abundant and culinary standards are high. From sophisticated fine dining establishments helmed by award-winning chefs to casual bistros and ethnic-inspired eateries, you’ll find consistently excellent food, extensive wine menus, and genuine hospitality. For a grand taste of the desert, visit in June during the annual Palm Springs Desert Resorts Restaurant Week (www.palmspringsrestaurantweek.com) and indulge in prix fixe menus at many of the area’s top restaurants. Take a cue from the locals and shop at one of several Farmers’ Markets, offering a variety of fresh produce, herbs, breads, and flowers. Take a culinary excursion down El Paseo Shopping Avenue or Downtown Palm Springs with Desert Tasty Tours. (www.deserttastytours.com)
8. Entertainment. From famous crooners like Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby to today’s Fergie and Red Hot Chili Peppers, the desert’s entertainment scene is dazzling in its diversity. You’ll find touringBroadway musicals and plays, world-renowned opera and dance, intimate comedy and jazz cabarets, and vibrant casino showrooms with top headliners. In spring, fans from around the world converge at Empire Polo Club for the Coachella Music and Arts Festival, the 21st century’s answer to Woodstock. One week later the desert turns country, when the hugely popular Stagecoach Music Festival rides into town at the same venue.
9. Their Greatest Fault. Climb aboard a Jeep or Hummer for an extraordinary tour through our most infamous attraction – the San Andreas Fault. This great fracture in the earth’s crust has created the twisted, steep-walled canyons and wonderful geologic surprises you’ll encounter along the way. Expert guides will explain the forces of nature that formed this amazing landscape while you get an up close and personal view of the famous fault line. Or take a self-guided tour on the Coachella Valley Preserve, encompassing three desert fields and more than 1,500 palm trees!
10. Monumental. Board one of the world’s largest rotating tramcars at the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway (www.pstramway.com) and enjoy a breathtaking 10-minute journey to the 8,516-foot Mountain Station of the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument. Atop, you’ll find two restaurants, a gift shop, a natural history museum and 54 miles of trails! The Monument Visitor Center on Highway 74 in Palm Desert offers trail maps, a bookstore and gift shop, and guided hikes, from easy to strenuous. You can also access the Monument at other points via jeep, Hummer, and horseback riding tours
Goddess Tip: There’s no need to leave your favorite canine companion at home when planning a visit to this desert oasis. In pet-friendly Palm Springs, they treat pooches with the courtesy and breeding they deserve – after all, they’re part of the family! Several Palm Springs area resorts accept dogs of all sizes and even offer special pet packages complete with bedding, food and treats. Mild weather also makes Palm Springs a haven for dining with your dog on restaurant patios. There are dog-friendly trails for hiking and several dog parks located throughout Greater Palm Springs, too.