Frequently Asked Questions
About Palm Springs
Where can I get maps of Palm Springs?
You’re looking for maps? We’ve got ‘em! Come on in. We have maps of Uptown, Downtown, South Palm Springs, restaurants, the Coachella Valley, bike routes, The Buzz Trolley route, and more.
Why are there empty lots scattered throughout the City?
In 1877, as an incentive to complete a railroad to the Pacific Ocean, the United States government gave Southern Pacific Railroad title to the odd-numbered parcels of land for ten miles on either side of the tracks running through the Southern California desert around Palm Springs. The even-numbered parcels of land were given to the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, yet federal law prohibited them from leasing or selling the land to derive income from it. In 1884, Judge John Guthrie McCallum of San Francisco arrived in Palm Springs with his family. He sought a healthy environment for his tubercular son. The first permanent non-Indian settler, McCallum purchased land from Southern Pacific and built an elaborate aqueduct. His work to bring water to the Coachella Valley foreshadowed the area’s current importance as a rich agricultural region. Another early resident, Dr. Welwood Murray, built the first hotel, The Palm Springs Hotel, in 1886.
Palm Springs continued attracting more visitors and residents. Congress passed the Mission Indian Relief Act in 1891, authorizing the Secretary of the Interior to make individual allotments from reservation lands. However, it would be another 50 years before the Agua Caliente, taking their case to the U.S. Supreme Court, would win the legal rights to have allotments approved. Today, many of the even-numbered parcels remain in their natural state as allotted but not leased.
What is the rock wall on the mountainside above the O’Donnell Golf Course?
An early Palm Springs settler, Thomas O’Donnell, built a home on the hillside nearly above the golf course he built, which was the first one in Palm Springs. It can be viewed from downtown Palm Springs, and is the beautiful home that sits above the Palm Springs Museum of Art. He and his family wintered at this home for many years. The promontory rock wall to the north of the O’Donnell House was to be his burial site and had been constructed as a make-work project during the Depression to give jobs to locals. Tom had paid $2.50 a day for anyone in need of work to stack stone in order to construct its massive walls. Inside these walls is a crypt in which he had intended to be buried. Too late, he found that California law forbids burial on private land.
After fifteen years of winters in his hillside home, Tom’s heart condition precluded his use of the stairs in his home. It was decided then to build a smaller one-story home on the golf course so that he might continue to be a part of the game by looking on as others played. It was in that residence, now the Club House of the O’Donnell Golf Course, that Tom suffered a fatal heart attack at the age of seventy-five.
What are all the names on the street signs about?
The City of Palm Springs established a program in December 2008 to identify the officially-recognized neighborhood organizations throughout the City by attaching “blade” signs with the name of the neighborhood organization onto existing street signs.
This program was developed by the Palm Springs Neighborhood Involvement Committee (now known as ONE-PS), which brings together people who are working to improve the livability and character of their neighborhood.It is thought that the establishment of this neighborhood identification “blade” sign program will help foster a sense of pride in one’s neighborhood as well as a sense of belonging.The neighborhood organizations associated with the City’s Office of Neighborhood Involvement purchase and mount the “blade” signs following City specifications.
What is happening with all the downtown construction?
Downtown Palm Springs is undergoing an exciting redevelopment! This new “city center” will add hotels, restaurants, entertainment venues, public spaces, shopping, and more. For details, please visit:
Is the “Marilyn” statue returning?
Forever Marilyn is a giant 26-foot tall statue of Marilyn Monroe designed by artist J. Seward Johnson. While his other sculptures are life-size, few of them are as massive as the three-story Marilyn. The sculpture is a representation of one of the most famous images of Marilyn, taken from the 1955 film The Seven Year Itch.
The 34,000-pound sculpture, which cost about $40,000 to transport, was trucked from Chicago to Palm Springs in pieces and arrived in Palm Springs on May 14, 2012. Because of its incredible size and shape, it took several days to re-assemble the pieces (with the help of a few cranes!) of Marilyn.
Marilyn was given a farewell sendoff during Palm Springs’s VillageFest on March 27, 2014, to be displayed at an exhibition honoring artist Johnson in New Jersey. The Palm Springs Hospitality Association, the group credited with bringing Marilyn to Palm Springs, is hoping to negotiate her permanent return to the city that loves her.
What happened to The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies show and the Plaza Theater?
After a 24-year run, the Fabulous Palm Springs Follies — one of the longest running dance and musical revues in the United States – played its last-ever show on May 18, 2014. With its lavish celebration of the music, dance and comedy of the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s, the Fabulous Palm Springs Follies was something of a show-biz legend: since it opened in 1991, almost 4 million people viewed the show. Perhaps one of the most notable things about the show is the age of its cast: They ranged from 55 to 83 years of age.
Opening on December 12, 1936, The Plaza Theatre became a venue for a number of world premieres, including the musicals My Fair Lady and Music Man. The Plaza was a popular theater during the 1940s for famous stars to do their broadcasting. Jack Benny, Bob Hope, and Amos ‘n’ Andy all did radio shows from the Plaza, bringing national attention to Palm Springs.
The Plaza Theatre remained active for many years, finally becoming dormant in 1989. It was at this time that television producer Riff Markowitz (The Hitchhiker) decided to renovate the cinema and create a “Broadway-caliber celebration of the music, dance, and comedy of the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s with a cast old enough to have lived it!”
The City of Palm Springs owns The Plaza Theater. It is in the process of formulating plans for its next amazing incarnation.
What are the average temperatures in Palm Springs?
Does Palm Springs close down in the summer?
The short answer: No.
The longer answer: Nooooooooooooooo!
In the “old days,” Palm Springs was a September-through-May town. But that was “then.” Today, Palm Springs is a year-‘round resort destination. Summer months provide many fun activities for residents and visitors alike: 3 Film Festivals, Restaurant Week, Splashhouse Pool and Music Festival, and much more. Visit www.VisitPalmSprings.com and www.VisitGreaterPalmSprings.com for lots more information.
About the Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce
How do I find out about the Chamber? I’d like to know what you do and how to join.
The goal of the Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce is to help you grow your business since “your success is our business.” Our mission is to aggressively promote business in Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley by providing effective networking venues, educational programs, community projects, and legislative advocacy. We strive to assist you in engaging with your community, connecting with other businesses, and advancing your business.
To learn more about the Chamber and what we offer our Members, to join, view our Business Directory, sign up for our Newsletter, attend a Mixer or a Lead$ Lunch, look at our City Guide, peruse our Calendar of Events, and much more, please visit www.pschamber.org. We’d also like to chat with you personally by phone at 760-325-1577. Or, just drop on by. We’re located in downtown Palm Springs at 190 W. Amado Road at Belardo Road.
Are you the Visitors Center?
No, we are not an actual Visitors Center, but we pretend that we are! We represent our Members and enjoy displaying their maps, business cards, rack cards, flyers, magazines, and other publications in our lobby for visitors to take with them. To access our Members’ websites, visit www.pschamber.org and click on View Our Business Directory. It’s that easy!
Where are the “real” Palm Springs Visitors Centers and what are their websites?
There are two Visitors Centers in Palm Springs: the main one is at the corner of North Palm Canyon Dr. and Tram Road. A satellite center is in the newly-restored, historic Welwood Murray Library in downtown Palm Springs, at the corner of S. Palm Canyon Drive and E. Tahquitz Canyon Way. Their website is www.VisitPalmSprings.com. You may also go to www.VisitGreaterPalmSprings.com to see what is happening in the rest of the Coachella Valley.
Wide World Web
Are there any good websites that show what is going on in Palm Springs?
There are MANY great websites that can answer the question, “What’s happening in Palm Springs right now?” Here is a sampling:
Things To Do
What is there to do in Palm Springs?
There is more to do than can be done in one visit! You’ll have to return again and again and again…
Here is a sampling of Attractions, Arts, and Special Events.
What fun things can I do during my visit?
There are numerous things to do in our village. Here are a few of those; please visit our Business Directory for a full list of all the attractions our Members have to offer. Go to www.pschamber.org. Click on View Our Business Directory, then click on Attractions and other categories, such as Golf, Entertainment, Casinos, Spas, and so on.
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
Open 7 days with departures about every 30 minutes.
General admission is $23.95, with discounts for seniors and children.
At the Mountain Station, you’ll find a restaurant, cafeteria, bar, hiking trails, viewing platforms, historical displays and films, and more.
1 Tram Way at Highway 111 (N. Palm Canyon Drive), www.pstramway.com, 760-325-1391
Spa Resort Casino
Gaming, nightlife, dining
401 E. Amado Rd. in downtown Palm Springs, www.sparesortcasino.com, 888-999-1995
Things for Kids and Teens
Palm Springs and Greater Palm Springs offer a wealth of fun possibilities for families with kids and teens. Explore the choices at www.VisitPalmSprings.com; click on the Discover and Play tabs.
I love anything having to do with the arts. What do you have to offer?
What do you like? We have it, from the homes of famous people to international film festivals; from art museums to concerts and music festivals. Here are but a few:
Homes of the Stars
Palm Springs has been an enclave for Hollywood’s brightest stars for generations. The Hollywood studios often mandated that their actors remain within 100 miles during production. Palm Springs was a perfect fit. The stars built hideaways in areas such as The Movie Colony, Movie Colony East, and Old Las Palmas. The homes loved by celebrities long gone as well as those who are still shining brightly can be found on maps available at the Visitors Center as well as at several businesses in town. Guided tours in air conditioned luxury are available and may be found under Tours and Sightseeing Tours on our website at www.pschamber.org; click on View Our Business Directory.
Walk of the Stars
Hollywood isn’t the only place honoring its celebrities and dignitaries with stars on its sidewalks! Our downtown can boast of the Palm Springs Walk of Stars with over 380 inlaid stars dedicated to local VIPs, past and present. Information can be found at www.palmspringswalkofstars.com.
Film Festivals & Theaters
The City of Palm Springs is a premier film festival destination, hosting six the Palm Springs International Film Festival, Native Filmfest, American Documentary Film Festival, Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival, Palm Springs International ShortFest, and Cinema Diverse. To learn more, visit www.VisitPalmSprings.com and do a Search for Film Festivals.
If you are in the mood for “art house” movies, you will want to check out the Camelot Theater (www.camelottheatres.com), which is also a big supporter of our Film Festivals.
Many people ask about The Plaza Theater, which was home for decades to “The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies.” Since The Follies turned off its stage lights for the final time, the City-owned theater has awaited its new incarnation. Whatever it is, it will be “fabulous”!
Palm Springs Art Museums
There are actually 3 Palm Springs Art Museums!
The main art museum is in downtown Palm Springs. It also hosts the amazing Annenberg Theater.
A second art museum is in Palm Desert, about a 20 minute drive from Palm Springs.
The third museum is also in downtown Palm Springs, and focuses on Architecture and Design.
All three museums provide free admission at various times.
Information about all three museums can be found at www.psmuseum.org.
Palm Springs and its environs is host to numerous music festivals throughout the year. Among these is Coachella Music Festival, Stagecoach Country Music Festival, Tachevah-a Palm Springs Block Party, and Splash House-a Palm Springs Pool Party.
Additionally, concerts abound throughout the valley in such venues as The McCallum, the Annenberg, Spa Resort, The Show, and many, many others.
Access information about these events by visiting www.VisitPalmSprings.com; Search for Concerts and Music Festivals.
Parades, car shows, and looking at MCM houses are on my to-do list. What do you have?
Parades, car shows, and looking at MCM houses are on my to-do list. What do you have?
We have events that will fill every bucket list. Whether you are visiting for a weekend or a season, you’ll want to check these out:
Mid-Century Modern (MCM) Events
Palm Springs is world-famous for our Modernism Week each year due to having one of the largest concentrations of mid-century modern architecture in the country. Thousands of design buffs and architecture fans head to Palm Springs, California for Modernism Week. Events include architecture tours, films and lectures, art exhibitions, swanky parties and a new interior design tour of mid-century modern homes.
Additionally, self-guided maps are available at the Visitors Center as well as in shops around our village. Commercial tours in air conditioned luxury are available; information is at www.pschamber.org; click on View our Business Directory; click on Tours and Sightseeing Tours
Every Thursday evening, Palm Canyon Drive in downtown Palm Springs becomes VillageFest, a shopping and entertainment festival boasting a wide assemblage of artists, entertainers, and purveyors of fresh fruit and veggies, flowers, jewelry, snacks, and sweets. Shops, restaurants, clubs, and entertainment venues located in the downtown district also remain open late into the night for your shopping pleasure. Hours are 6:00 to 10:00 PM (7:00 to 10:00 PM in summer). Visit www.villagefest.org for more information.
Palm Springs has a diverse and universal appeal. With a large gay population, it has an exciting lineup of
ever-expanding gay and/or gay-oriented events. To learn more about the annual White Party, Palm Springs Pride, Cinema Diverse, Club Skirts presents The Dinah! and more, visit www.VisitGayPalmSprings.com.
Palm Springs does love a parade! Grab your beach chair and find a spot along Palm Canyon Drive to watch some, or all, of our annual parades. You can also reserve a table in a restaurant along the route to view the festivities while dining. Information about our Veterans Day Parade, Festival of Lights Parade, Palm Springs Pride Parade, Black History Parade, Parade of Planes, and Palm Springs High School Homecoming Parade, among others, please visit www.VisitPalmSprings.com; do a Search for Parades.
Palm Springs transforms into a beautiful holiday village during this festive season. Some must-do events include our annual “Walk of the Inns,” Festival of Lights Parade, and the “Robolights” display in Movie Colony East near downtown. For information, visit www.VisitPalmSprings.com; do a Search for each of these events.
There are a number of car shows in the greater Palm Springs area. Chief among them is McCormick’s Classic Car Auction, which is held downtown twice yearly. Visit www.classic-carauction.com for more information.
Food and Facilities
Hotels, Motels, and Boutique Hotels
What accommodations are near downtown? What hotels have conference rooms? What high-end hotels are in Palm Springs? What accommodations are kid friendly? May my pet stay with me at my hotel? Which hotels are gay-friendly?
These are great questions. The answers are Most; Many; A lot; Several; It depends; Most.
The most expeditious manner to find answers is to visit the Chamber’s Business Directory. Go to www.pschamber.org. Click on View Our Business Directory, then click on Accommodations. You can peruse the listings and access the websites from there. You can also phone the Chamber for assistance. The number is 760-325-1577. Another great resource is www.VisitPalmSprings.com; do a Search for the category you’d like to explore.
Does Palm Springs have vacation rentals for long-term use?
Yes, Palm Springs has over 1,500 vacation rentals! You can find agencies that represent the homeowners by visiting our website, www.pschamber.org; click on View Our Business Directory, then click on Accommodations, Vacation Rentals, and the Real Estate listings.
What can you tell me about Palm Springs’s restaurants?
There are A LOT of them! Palm Springs has over 200 restaurants and supper clubs for your dining pleasure. You can find something at every price point to satisfy every palate. Many are dog-friendly, too. You can find a broad list at www.pschamber.org; click on View Our Business Directory, then click on Restaurants & Catering. Another great resource is www.VisitPalmSprings.com; do a Search for Restaurants, or even be more specific, such as Dog-friendly Restaurants.
How’s the nightlife in Palm Springs?
To put it succinctly: amazing! There are clubs, bars, restaurants and hotels with live performers, street fairs, casinos, and much more. When the sun goes down behind Mt. San Jacinto, the lights of downtown shine brightly on entertainment for folks of all ages and lifestyles to enjoy. You can find a list at www.pschamber.org; click on View Our Business Directory, then click on Bars & Nightclubs, Restaurants & Catering, Casinos, and Accommodations. Another great resource is www.VisitPalmSprings.com; do a Search for the category of entertainment you desire, such as Nightclubs.
How do I get to and from Palm Springs?
Palm Springs is located on a major east/west freeway system, a rail system, a bus system, and we have an International Airport. About the only way you can’t get to us is by boat. But give us time and we’ll probably figure that one out.
Here are websites to visit to make your transportation arrangements:
Palm Springs International Airport: www.palmspringsca.gov/index.aspx?page=271
Train and bus: www.palmspringsca.gov/index.aspx?page=839
Car rentals: www.palmspringsca.gov/index.aspx?page=288
You can find a list of private transportation companies at www.pschamber.org; click on View Our Business Directory, then click on Transportation, Aviation Services, Shuttle Services, Taxis, and Concierge Services.
How do I get around while visiting Palm Springs?
Palm Springs is a very walk-able town. Additionally, we are fortunate to have a variety of transportation systems to get you from place to place.
Come ride the Downtown Trolley, which we call “The Buzz”! It is a FREE trolley that runs throughout the downtown area, north to the Riviera Hotel, and east to Smoke Tree. It operates Thursdays through Sundays from 11:00 in the morning to 1:00 in the wee hours of the morning! Visit www.buzzps.com.
Our City Bus is called “SunBus” for obvious reasons! Its extensive route can be accessed at www.sunline.org.
Bicycles, Hiking, Electric Vehicle Charging Stations
Palm Springs prides itself on being a “Sustainable City.” We have an extensive system of bike paths, hiking trails, and many charging stations for electric vehicles. Information may be obtained by visiting “Your Sustainable City” on the City’s website: www.palmspringsca.gov/index.aspx?page=580 and at www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/palmsprings/santarosa/trailheadsb.html.
To find a place to park that RV, visit our website at www.pschamber.org; click on View Our Business Directory, then click on RV Parks.
In what types of sports may I participate during my stay?
Palm Springs, with its 350+ days of yearly sunshine, offers a variety of sports for your athletic pleasure. We are often called the “golf capital of the world” since there is a golf course on every corner, it seems. Many prestigious golf- and tennis tournaments are held in our valley. Gyms abound. Horseback riding can be found within the City limits. Hiking trails and biking routes are plentiful. Palm Springs even has its own baseball team! Information to help fulfill your need for athletic pursuits may be found on the following sites:
www.pschamber.org; click on View Our Business Directory, then click on Golf, Fitness Centers, Health & Wellness, Horse Stables, and Attractions.
Area sports: www.palmspringssport.com/city/palm-springs
City website for outdoor activities: www.palmspringsca.gov/index.aspx?page=580
I love to shop! What’s the shopping like?
In a word: plentiful!
Palm Springs has a plethora of quaint shops in the downtown village as well as larger businesses in the surrounding neighborhoods. Our downtown is divided into three zones: The Uptown Design District, Downtown, and South Palm Springs (SOPS). We also have the Backstreet Art District and our distinctive VillageFest, which is held every Thursday evening year ‘round! You can also enjoy a Farmers’ Market and Open Air Market. Visit www.VisitPalmSprings.com and click on the Shop tab for more information.
You will also want to check out www.pschamber.org; click on View Our Business Directory, then scan all the categories listed and click on those that pertain to what you‘re looking for…