Palm Springs Gay Travel Guide

N ature ruled supreme in Palm Springs until the 1950s when Hollywood's celebrities turned the desert town into a home-away-from-home. It's still a relaxed, sun-drenched escape for Angelinos of all stripes, but its liberal spirit has made it a popular LGBT destination, analogous to Provincetown and Fire Island.

  • Getting There

    Fly Alaska Airlines non-stop to Palm Springs from Portland, Seattle, Sacramento, and San Francisco, or connect from dozens of other cities in the Northwest.

  • Palm Springs Art Museum

    Arts & Culture

    Although known primarily for its mid-century architecture, the new Palm Desert branch of the Palm Springs Art Museum has curated a superb collection of contemporary sculpture, including pieces by Donald Judd, Betty Gold, and Jesús Bautista Moroles.

  • Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

    Off the Beaten Path

    For unbeatable panoramas, take a ride on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. It's not cheap, but at 6,000 feet you'll be glad you made the trip. Take your hiking boots—there's 14,000 acres of pristine trails at the top.

  • Palm Springs Modern Design

    Not to Be Missed

    When you're not sitting poolside with a cooling drink in hand, you should be taking in this city's extraordinary architectural heritage. Many of the homes are private, or—like Frank Sinatra's Twin Palms estate—rented out, but PS Modern Tours offers a three-hour excursion to explore the city's landmarks of modernist design.

  • Get in the Mood

    Read: Palm Springs Confidential, a gossipy who's who in Palm Springs history, including insights into closeted 50s and 60s-era stars of screen, like Rock Hudson and Anthony Perkins, who turned Palm Springs into a sanctuary where they could live their lives beyond prying eyes.

  • Insider Tips

    If you've time, take a day to visit Joshua Tree National Park, and visit the aptly-named Skull Rock, accessible via the west entrance visitor center.

  • Gay Trivia

    Just outside Palm Springs, at 50800 Seminole Drive, stand the Cabazon Dinosaurs, two legendary roadside sculptures featured in the 1985 movie Pee-wee's Big Adventure.

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