4 Reasons to Visit Palm Springs in Winter
How to sun it up in the mild winter of Palm Springs.
So, it’s not exactly a land of blizzards and avalanches, but Palm Spring gets a little tepid in winter. It’s actually perfect, because you can wander between its famous palm trees near your Plum Guide home in the afternoon with a light-weight jacket or long-sleeved t-shirt and jeans, and feel just right. As evening falls, it gets a little nippy and refreshing, but again, a Palm Springs winter isn't a real winter, so it’s a great place to escape the cold. In the lead-up to Christmas, you’ll find the place ablaze in lights. Then, the otherwise gloomy months of January and February are fairly mild and sunny here, meaning you can spend your winter cycling through the parks, hiking along nature trails and escaping to the mountains. That said, there are also myriad indoor activities, such as fun museums, exclusive restaurants and shopping opportunities, as well as an upscale film festival packed with famous faces.
Dine in style
Palm Springs is replete with some of the best restaurants in the region. Treat yourself to something classy at one of the fine-dining establishments for which the city is renowned. If it’s not too cold, you can sit outside at the rustic Miro’s Restaurant, which serves up Mediterranean dishes and feels like an old European eatery lost in time. Le Vallauris is a great French restaurant, and Copleys on Palm Canyon makes for a great American flavour in the gorge. For something a little more low key with your family, try the pancakes at Elmer’s Restaurant, tuck into something tasty at La Perlita Mexican Food and pick up a slice at Bill’s Pizza.
Go to the zoo
The Living Desert Zoo is a cross between a botanical garden and an interactive zoo. Bring your little ones to get up close and personal with the elephants, making the most of the likely mild, sunny weather. You might even get to feed the giraffes and pet the kraals. Wander through the botanic gardens and study the intriguing desert flora, from the coyote melon and the coastal agave to the Baja fairy duster and the Calico hedgehog. Don’t get caught on a spike, as there are many here. By the way, you’re wondering what on earth a kraal is, right? Some sort of cattle-like creature that you can pet in the zoo. The zoo stands beside the Dead Indian Creek, not far from the golf courses at the Ironwood Country Club and Bighorn Golf Club, so if you do get to escape your family, they’d make for the perfect refuges.
Become a vulture for culture
It’s unlikely, but it might just rain during your Palm Springs winter break. That said, we don’t want to call these galleries and museums rainy day activities, because it implies that they’re only valued as a back-up option. Do we really want to inhabit a world in which cultural attractions are only ever seen as a Plan B? ‘It was raining, so we saw the Mona Lisa. It was alright.’
So, let’s get cultural. Explore the exhibits of the Palm Springs Art Museum, which showcases all manner of photography, desert landscape paintings and Native American textiles, as well as some pretty cool glasswork. Then, head to South Palm Canyon and North Indian Canyon Drive for some of their exclusive galleries. You are now officially a culture vulture.
Let it snow
OK, so we have been praising the mild temperatures and sunny weather of a Palm Springs winter so far. But, what if you’re someone who actually enjoys the dreaded freeze of winter? Well, you can attend the Christmas celebrations in December. It won’t get too frosty, but at least you’ll feel like you’re part of something festive. Wander down El Paseo to see the palm trees bedecked in lights, and attend the Palm Springs Festival of Lights Parade. Right, you’ve been sufficiently festive – but did you know you might be able to get a White Christmas in Palm Springs? Ride the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway up to the peak of the Mount San Jacinto. We’d say ‘don’t look down’, but the spectacular views are sort of the whole point, so do look down. Since the summit is 8,000 feet (2,400 metres) above the rest of the city, you’ll notice a sharp drop in temperature… and maybe even some snow.