With the Palm Springs area’s year-round sunshine, luxurious spas, chef-driven restaurants, and see-and-be-seen pool parties, it's no wonder that Hollywood A-listers and weekend warriors make the desert a getaway. Stretching south and east of the city along Highway 111, the desert resort towns—Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, La Quinta, and Indio, along with Desert Hot Springs to the north—teem with resorts, golf courses, and shopping centers. Yucca Valley, Joshua Tree, and other artistic communities lie farther north and northeast. To the south, the wildflowers of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park herald the arrival of spring.
The Palm Springs area has long been a playground for the celebrity elite. In the 1920s Al Capone opened the Two Bunch Palms Hotel in Desert Hot Springs (with multiple tunnels to help him avoid the police); Marilyn Monroe was discovered poolside in the late 1940s at a downtown Palm Springs tennis club; Elvis and Priscilla Presley honeymooned here—the list goes on.
Over the years the desert arts scene has blossomed as spectacularly as the wildflowers of Anza-Borrego. Downtown Palm Springs is laden with urban-chic contemporary artwork (check out the Backstreet Arts District), but the surrounding rural areas are also artist enclaves: Yucca Valley, Joshua Tree, Pioneertown, and Twentynine Palms all have noteworthy galleries, art installations, and natural scenic views. Each April attention centers on Indio, where the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, California’s largest outdoor concert, culls droves of Angelenos, and music lovers from all over the world.