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Desert X, the free interactive art exhibit that “broke the internet” in 2017 has returned to California this year with a vengeance! The Greater Palm Springs area, the epicentre of all things cool, has been overtaken by more than a dozen new installations. Whether visitors can only stop briefly to see one installation - and take 100 photos - or plans to spend a few days to soak in the California desert culture, this list is the ultimate guide for where to appreciate art, get out in nature, savour, and play in Greater Palm Springs.
APPRECIATE ART: Lose yourself at the Palm Springs Art Museum. Combining contemporary pieces with indigenous art – and everything in between – the Palm Springs Art Museum is a great place to peruse, admire and question a variety of art. The museum is free on Thursday nights, the same night as the Palm Springs VillageFest: a free, open-air market started by Cher’s Sonny Bono where you can meet local artisan makers.
OUT IN NATURE: Do go chasing waterfalls at Indian Canyons. The tall mountains surrounding Palm Springs collect moisture during the colder months that trickles downhill into waterfalls and streams that meander through palm trees. You can cross the stream dozens of times as you hike to the end, or book a palm hike on horseback.
OUT IN NATURE: Feed giraffes at the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens: Fun for all the family, The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens is home to giraffes, zebras, mountain lions and more. The attraction is dedicated to conservation and educating visitors.
APPRECIATE ART: Step back in time at Cabot Yerxa’s Hopi-inspired Pueblo Museum. Greater Palm Springs has a rich Native American history still thriving today. This museum, built in 1941, is filled with Native American art and artefacts. Visitors can see how artist Cabot Yerxa built the pueblo himself, using objects and materials he collected across the desert.
SAVOR: Domo Sushi is a feast for the eyes with striking plating (and sake). Master sushi chef Jin Young, who was a runner-up on Food Network’s Iron Chef series in 1998, transport diners to Japan through awe-inspiring dishes focused on traditional flavours, precision slicing, and elegant plating.
APPRECIATE ART: Coachella Walls: Launched in 2014, the Coachella Walls is a mural project by local artists, showcasing art that reflects Greater Palm Springs’ agrarian roots and the city of Coachella’s community. Visitors can take a self-guided walking tour to spot all of the murals.
PLAY: Burning rubber encouraged at BMW Performance Driving School. Just south of the city of Coachella, in Thermal, BMW has a state-of-the-art facility where guests can get behind the wheel of performance-standard BMWs and Mini Coopers. Follow your own course or opt for a professional driver to take you through navigating the curves.
OUT IN NATURE: Indian Wells Golf Resort launches glow-in-the-dark golf: End a day of exploring with a round of ‘Shots in the Night’ aka glow-in-the-dark-golf. The Indian Wells Golf Resort, surrounded by neat rows of palm trees and sweeping mountains, is arguably one of the most beautiful places to play a round of golf.
APPRECIATE ART: Take a movie break at Mary Pickford Theatre: After a day of roaming in search of DX19 installations, sit back and relax in a state-of-the-art 4D cinema at Mary Pickford. After a movie hang around downtown Cat City for Peruvian food at Pollo Doky’s or ‘eclectic American’ at Justin’s.
SAVOR: Chow down at the #1 eatery on Yelp’s top 100 places to eat: TKB Bakery. TKB Bakery in Indio topped Yelp’s list of top 100 places to eat in 2018. The bakery (TKB stands for ‘The Kids Business’) was started more than 20 years ago by a trio of local siblings. The sandwiches they started making to make some extra money for Christmas has now turned into the top spot in the USA to eat!
PLAY: See Coachella Valley from the skies with Fantasy Balloon Flights. Take to the skies and see the beauty of the Coachella Valley from above with a hot air balloon ride.
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