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Palm Springs has certainly kept up with modern times in the entertainment industry as well. The Palm Springs International Film Festival just completed its 26th year and now serves as the movie business kickoff for the new year, since it commences as soon as the holiday season is over. The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, held a few miles southeast of Palm Springs in the city of Indio, has become the nation’s largest annual outdoor series of pop music concerts, and the same can be said for Stagecoach, its country music counterpart that takes place two weeks later.
The most famous landmark in Palm Springs is not a building or statue but rather the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, which climbs nearly 8,500 feet up Mount San Jacinto. At the summit you can enjoy a lavish meal at Peaks Restaurant or engage in some strenuous hiking. No matter what season it is,
you are advised to bring a warm jacket because it gets very chilly up there. If you like hiking without the high altitude, the Indian Canyons trail just a few miles south on Route 111 is a good alternative.
Palm Springs has no shortage of lodgings, and they run the gamut from budget to very high end. The Triada is a recently opened boutique hotel that is part of Marriott’s Autograph line. Located in Palm Springs’ Movie Colony section named because it’s where many Hollywood stars made their second homes and walking distance from the heart of the city, The Triada features Spanish hacienda architecture. You’ll feel like a movie star here, as all the rooms are spacious villas. And there are two outdoor pools: one a traditional heated chlorine pool and the other filled with cold salt water.
The one drawback is air service. Virgin America has a flight from JFK to Palm Springs and back that operates only on Saturdays. JetBlue has frequent service from JFK to Los Angeles, Long Beach and San Diego which are all about two to two and a half hours away. My suggestion is to fly in and out of San Diego and spend time there in the neighborhood of La Jolla, staying at either the Grande Colonial Hotel or the Hyatt Regency, and sandwich in a trip to Palm Springs. Hotel rates here tend to be cheaper during the week than on weekends.