Palm Springs, CA

Discovering Palm Springs, California

Traveling with Alice

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Palm Springs, California, located in the beautiful Riverside County, is about a two-hour drive (ca. 100 miles east) from Los Angeles's city.

It's a city rich in history renowned for the many outdoor activities available, museums, events, and of course, the hot springs.

The history

Palm Springs' history goes back to at least 5,000 years ago, so old are the Cahuilla's remains archeologists have found in the Tahquitz Canyon.

Even the name of the city has a long story. First, the Cahuilla Indian used to call Palm Springs "Sec-he," which means boiling water. Later, the Spanish who arrived translated the name in "Agua Caliente," meaning hot water.

But that's not the end of it. Still, the Spanish explorer also named the area "La Palma de la Mano de Dios" or "The Palm of God's hand" referred to the presence of the native California fan palm Washigtonia filifera.

The city grew fast thanks to the Agua Caliente Hot Mineral Springs' presence and the railway's arrival in the 1900s.

Since the 1880s, Palm Springs started hosting bathhouses and hotels, and by 1950, it became a getaway resort for the rich and famous.

The 2010 United States Census reported that Palm Springs had a population of 44,552. The number jumps to nearly 75,000 people in the wintertime, with around 27,000 people living in second vacation homes.

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Palm Springs overview

Palm Springs has a warm, dry climate thanks to its ideal location on the western edge of the Coachella Valley (at 487 feet above sea level), surrounded by the Santa Rosa Mountains on the south, the San Jacinto Mountains on the west, and the Little San Bernadino Mountains to the north.

Palm Springs city offers its residents an almost endless number of activities, including golf courses, tennis courts, an Olympic-sized pool, a water park, and all sorts of trails.

The city also has a baseball stadium, a comprehensive city library, and museums.

The shopping district is on Palm Canyon Drive. Here tourists can find vintage boutiques, interior design shops and enjoy the many restaurants, offering the chance to dine outdoor.

What to do in Palm Springs

Golf

One of the activities Palm Springs is famous for is golf.

Over 30 different golf courses are available throughout its vast acreage. The city houses the PGA West Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course and the PGA's Tour Qualifying School, One of Golf Magazines top 100 golf courses you can ever take.

But that's not the only golf course you can play in Palm Springs. You can play the PGA West TCP Stadium Course, Silver Rock Resort (designed by Arnold Palmer), the Palm Desert Resort Country Club, and the Desert Princess Country Club.

Palm Springs is so renowned when it comes to golf that it's not rare to meet some of the most prestigious golfers in the world playing around in its golf courses like Jack Nicklaus.

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Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

But Palm Springs isn't just golf. You can also take a ride on the breathtaking Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.

The 1963 tramway is a suspended cable car with a 15-minute ride across the valley each way. It will take you up Chino Canyon at 8,500 feet to the Mountain Station, with its observation decks where you can admire the entirety of the Coachella Valley below, two restaurants, and historical displays.

From there, 50 miles of hiking trails run throughout the Santa Rosa and the San Jacinto Mountains National Monument's pine forests, including a pathway to Mount San Jacinto's summit (11 miles round trip).

Remember to bring warm clothes since the temperatures will be dropping going up.

The Living Desert Zoo Gardens and The Moorten Botanical Garden

Visitors looking to experience Palm Springs' nature must visit the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, where they can observe plants from the Sonoran Desert and animals from North American and African environments, like coyotes, wolves, mountain lions, zebras, giraffes, hyenas, leopards, and gazelle.

The Moorten Botanical Garden is another excellent spot for those willing to admire the desert vegetation. What started in the 1930s as a family-owned garden hosts nowadays over 3,000 specimens of desert plants from around the world.

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Palm Springs, a city for everyone

There are so many activities to do in Palm Springs, from a day trip to the Coachella Valley desert or the one-hour away Joshua Tree National Park to the visit to the Palm Springs Air Museum with its collection of still working military aircraft.

Palm Springs offers something for everyone, from breathtaking views to sports and, of course, relaxing hot springs resorts, a must-try when visiting the city.

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