Palm Springs, California: Myths Debunked

by | Apr 28, 2020

View from a house in Palm Springs
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Last updated on March 14th, 2023

Have you been to Palm Springs?

By Kathy Condon, Guest writer

You know you have said this, “How I wish I could go to Palm Springs?” The better question is, “Why haven’t I planned a trip to Palm Springs? This desert community has an international airport. It is only 120 miles from Los Angeles by car and a 4.5-hour drive from Las Vegas or a 3.5-hour drive from Phoenix.

Let’s clear up some perceived thoughts about this now thriving town.

1. Palm Springs is just for older, retired people

Upon your arrival in Palm Springs, you will quickly see the streets filled with all ages of vacationers. There was a time it was considered a retirement town. Now it is regarded as a hip place to spend your vacation. People of all ages come from San Diego and Los Angeles regularly for weekend getaways to enjoy a slower pace, even in the summer months.

2. It is way too expensive for me

Our Greater Palm Springs Tourism and Convention Center did a survey and discovered this belief was prevalent with the recipients who took the time to register their answers. The reality is that once you get your hotel or Airbnb reservations set, you will find food and entertainment costs less than you probably pay at home.

  1. There are many free concerts and lectures.
  2. Most of the hiking trails have no costs associated with the entrance to their trailheads.
  3. The Palm Springs Art Museum has free admission on Thursday night and the second Sunday of the month.
  4. Music venues abound, and they typically have no cover charge.
  5. Happy Hours often start at 11:00 a.m. and go through the day. You can expect plentiful servings of food, which can easily serve as your main meals.
  6. People watching is superb. Any time you want to stop and rest on one of the many downtown benches while eating our famous Brandi or date shakes, it can entertain you for hours.
  7. Downtown is 10 minutes from the International Airport, so no real need to have a car. This community is safe, so no need to worry about walking the streets when you are travelling alone.
Sculpture outside the Palm Springs Museum

3. Palm Springs closes down in the summer

This used to be the case, but not anymore. Europeans schedule their vacations in the summer months and often head to the beaches. Now with the beaches overcrowded they are looking for places where it is warm. No beaches here, however, there are a plethora of swimming pools.

If you have a car or rent one, you can head up the mountain to Idyllwild, where the temperatures will be at least 15 degrees cooler. A short 45 minutes from the Valley floor, you will find yourself in this charming artistic community. There are numerous quaint stores and organic food restaurants abound.

4. Shopping is expensive for there are only designer stores

You can go down Valley to Palm Desert and shop for designer clothes on El Paseo. However, for the most part, small business people operate specialty stores. It is a great time to find sales on summer clothes. You can find the prerequisite Palm Springs t-shirt for your grandchild to the long sundress you will use extensively on our summer days.

Myths do abound about Palm Springs. Some of them are throwbacks before this town started to come alive in the last five years. Recently, a flight attendant visited Palm Springs for three days. On the way to the airport, she said, “I don’t understand why people would go to Las Vegas when there is everything here. Even casinos if that is what they want. All I know is that I will be back; there is so much more to explore.”

Kathy Condon is a travel writer and blogger. She is an eight-year resident of Palm Springs and the Founder of the Palm Springs Insider Guide. Her book It Doesn’t Hurt to Ask: It’s All About Communication was named Best Book Finalist By USA Book News Contact: [email protected] 760-902-3094

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  1. Molly Silva

    This is truly one of the best articles about Palm Springs I’ve read. I’ve been there many times and everything in this article is true. I really like the fact the person writing the article is from Palm Springs.

  2. Nadine Conger

    Delightful. How refreshing to get information I can trust from a real Palm Springs resident!

  3. Pennie

    Kathy Condon has become the premier Palm Springs/Coachella Valley go to local person. Her insatiable curiosity has led her to people and places ….and adventures unknown or not fully experienced by most. This article so well showcases her deep knowledge and understanding of this most unique community aptly named Palm Springs. Always a fun and interesting read at the pen of Kathy Condon.

  4. Francesca Amari

    I’m always so thrilled to meet first-time visitors when they have discovered how wonderful Palm Springs is and how much is going on! And conversely, to chat to returning visitors each time they visit! I love how people fall in love with this area – the nature, the beauty and the myriad of things to do!! Thanks for the great article! #PalmSpringsisaSliceofHeaven


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