Palm Springs Gay Vacation Guide – Romantic Weekend in Palm Springs
Planning an LGBTQ getaway to this desert haven of mid-century modern design, relaxing resorts, and gorgeous natural scenery
It’s one of the world’s definitive LGBTQ playgrounds, rife with cheeky (pun intended) clothing-optional resorts, raucous circuit parties, and sceney gay bars. Palm Springs is a party town, but it’s also a romantic desert oasis surrounded by natural wonders. It’s appealing whether your honeymoon style is laze-by-the-pool or blaze-a-trail-in-the-wilderness, plus there’s the striking midcentury-modern architecture and plenty of human eye candy. Although Palm Springs boasts a wealth of fancy crash pads, it also fits all budgets, and the weather is perfect for weddings most of the year (avoid the hot summer months).
Relaxation is the name of the game here. Kick back on the lanai and plan for some leisurely alfresco meals, starting with a farm-to-table brunch at Cheeky’s, and continuing with dinner at some place with an inviting patio. Favorites with the gay community include Tropicale, with its neon lighting and gurgling fountain; Trio, a hot spot in the Uptown Design District serving creative comfort fare; and Wang’s in the Desert for pan-Asian fare and fun people-watching. For nighttime revelry, hit the pulsing gay bars downtown on Arenas Road—Hunters and Chill Bar are especially lively.
Long popular with Hollywood glitterati, Palm Springs hosts countless glamorous annual events, including the Palm Springs Gay & Lesbian Film Festival in September, lesbian-favored Dinah Shore/Women’s Weekend in early spring, and the guy-centric Palm Springs White Party a few weeks later. You can also visit some homes formerly owned by industry royalty on architectural tours offered by the Modern Tour company. (The city’s Modernism Week is held over 10 days in late February). Design fans should also stop by the Architecture Design Center, and the excellent Palm Springs Art Museum.
Outdoor adventures also await, including rides on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, which slowly rotates on its ascent to an 8,500-foot section of the San Jacinto Mountains, where you can hike for miles and dine with a view at Peaks Restaurant—they even host weddings up at the top. Hikers should also check out Indian Canyons and its stunning waterfall and ancient rock art. If you have a full day, make the hour-long drive to Joshua Tree National Park, a 1,235-square-mile tract of mesmerizing rock formations and eye-popping flora, including the distinctive trees for which it’s named.
Palm Springs has more than 20 male clothing-optional gay resorts and one women’s hideaway, Queen of Hearts. A few of these can host small weddings, but you can also choose among dozens of posh mainstream resorts, all of which are exceedingly gay-welcoming. The retro-fabulous Riviera Palm Springs is where the Rat Pack partied in the ‘50s—it has two big pools and an alluring outdoor wedding space. Having just refurbished its event space, the colorful Saguaro Palm Springs is another great option, with gorgeous wedding spaces, too. The nearby Ace Palm Springs is favored by hipsters and millennials and has a playful bent. And brand-new Arrive, which has 32 rooms and an exceptional American restaurant, Reservoir, is also terrific.
Featured image courtesy Visit Palm Springs