by Joan Allison | photo courtesy of Barberstock
I recently got an opportunity to travel to Palm Springs for the National Gay and Lesbian Journalist Association conference. Aside from the excellent information I got there, it was a chance to be a tourist in Palm Springs for a spectacular few days. The city is known for its large population of LGBTQ
persons, so I thought it well worth being this issue’s travel feature. This town has so many things going for it, I’ve had to give you an uber-pared down version of information just to get you started, and I’ve thrown in a few of my own travel tips that should make your travel a little easier.
Population 47,000 with an above average percentage being LGBT
With its long history as a place where celebrities have found privacy, LGBT persons found it a welcome retreat, too. The city is ranked first in the state and third in the nation among cities with the most same- sex couples per 1,000 households, according to an analysis of U.S. census data by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law.
Palm Springs (PSP) is our first choice. It can be more expensive to fly into, but there is no traffic to navigate! Air Canada, Alaska, Allegiant, American, Delta, Flair, Frontier, JetBlue, Sun Country, United and Westjet
Ontario, California (ONT)
A little closer to Palm Springs than LAX and without the traffic headaches to get from there to Palm Springs. Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, China Airlines, Delta, Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest, United, Volaris
Los Angeles (LAX)
Fly into LAX and then drive to Palm Springs and you get to see L.A. and its suburbs…for MILES. Just beware that the 130-ish mile distance from LAX to Palm Springs could take more than three hours by car. Upside is that LAX serves basically all airlines.
Palm Springs boasts the largest collection of gay men’s resorts (clothing optional) in the world! There are a few that favor lesbians, though, and some are for no one in particular. Here’s a site devoted to LGBT persons that includes accommodations. visitgaypalmsprings.com/stay
DEALS AND DISCOUNTS
The low season is May through November probably because the temps can hit triple digits during these months. You’ve probably heard, ‘it’s a dry heat’ which should make it better, right? Sort of. But with almost no natural shade, you’ll get what’s on the thermometer and more. Just decide carefully. From December to March, temps are in the 70s and 80s…much milder. Here are two sites that feature deals on just about everything:
The current city council is comprised entirely of LGBT persons
Read the complete story here: latimes.com/politics/la-me-palm-springs-lgbt-council-20171115-story.html
Celebrity Home Tours
The Rat Pack-era celebrities lived in Old Las Palmas; other celebs were in the Movie Colony which is closeby. Take a tour or get a celebrity homes map and drive through the area yourself.
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
Enjoy 2.5 miles along the cliffs of Chino Canyon to an elevation of more than 8,000 ft. all while the tram cars slowly rotate! pstramway.com
Pride is in early November in Palm Springs. pspride.org
‘The Dinah’ queer girl party and music fest
Need we say more? April 3-7, 2019. thedinah.com
Coachella and Stagecoach music festivals
Both are in April, 2019 in neighboring city, Indio; valleymusictravel.com
Joshua Tree National Park
It’s famous trees are best described as Dr. Seuss-esque; the park is one hour east of Palm Springs by car. nps.gov/jotr/index.htm
See stars at night like you’ve never seen before by going anywhere that’s away from lights. We recommend Joshua Tree!
Hot air balloon rides
Cloudless skies + low humidity = miles of stunning vistas. visitcalifornia.com/attraction/hot-air-balloon-tours-palm-springs
Celebrity Spotting in Los Angeles
Best Gay Clubs & Bars
Go to: tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g32847-Activities-c20-t103
FYI, Expedia named Palm Springs one of 2018’s “Most Exciting LGBT Destinations of the World.”
Go to: tripadvisor.com/Restaurants-g32847
FYI, Tropical Restaurant & Lounge (owned by a married gay couple) made 2018’s “Top Big 100 Nights Out” list by Open Table.