Cool Things to do in Palm Desert (and Surrounding Area) — Part One

For the past three years, my husband and I have taken part in a six-week home exchange in Palm Desert each autumn. We love the balance of familiar routines nestled among new discoveries that we somehow missed during previous visits. Here are a few highlights from this year’s Week One. All offer free admission. Purchases are not required.

Backstreet Art District First Wednesday Art Walk

2600 S. Cherokee Way, Palm Springs.

Palm Desert

The first Wednesday evening of each month, the community of artists at Backstreet Art District invite the public to drop in, meet the artists, browse around and view their diverse works. When we attended, we were also treated to Random Acts of Poetry. Each studio offered complimentary wine and appetizers, which enhanced the relaxed, community feel. It’s an unique and inspiring way to spend an evening. We’ll definitely be back!

Thursday Evening Concerts at Palm Desert Civic Center Park

Palm Desert

Civic Center Park, northeast corner of Fred Waring Drive and San Pablo Avenue.

Free concerts in the park are offered each Wednesday evening in May and October. That’s Kathy (SmartLiving365) and me in the photo above. The night that we attended, we each packed a small picnic and chilled out to the music of Santanaways (Santana Tribute Band).

The remaining Thursday night line up for October 2018 is as follows:
October 11: The Dreamboats (Vintage Rock ‘n Roll)
October 18: Twisted Pine (Folk/Alternative)
October 25: Hot Club of Cowtown (Hot Jazz/Western Swing)
If you’re in the area, I highly recommend it.
Read more at Concerts at Palm Desert Civic Center Park.

Take a leisurely drive out to Cabazon

Palm Desert

Cabazon is 33 miles from Palm Desert (17 miles from Palm Springs). It is often known for Desert Hills Premium Outlet Stores. With specials reaching as high as 75% off the regular price of top quality brands, it’s well worth the drive. While you’re there, consider dropping into Morongo’s Casino for a look around, a bite to eat or an evening of shows and entertainment. When we were there, we took advantage of the ‘All You Can Eat Spaghetti, Meatballs and Garlic Bread’ for $9.99. If you prefer, there are plenty of food options at Desert Hills Outlet Stores, including the very popular Thai Food Kiosk featured above.

College of the Desert, Street Fair

Palm Desert
43500 Monterey Avenue, Palm Desert.

Here, outdoor vendors sell a wide variety of items including artwork, clothing, glasses, food…even parts for your kitchen sink! It’s open year round, on Saturdays and Sundays, from 7 am – 2 pm (closes at noon during the summer months). This is an awesome place to start a weekend morning. We usually head straight to the iced cappuccinos and leisurely begin our browsing from there. It is also a great place to take company who visit. We seldom walk away empty-handed and have not yet been disappointed.

During our first seven days of this Palm Desert trip, we also spent much time reading and relaxing beside the pool. I made it to five yoga classes, three aerobic classes and five sessions at the gym (while Richard golfed). Staying in Sun City, a gated community that includes a large variety of recreational facilities and offerings, is a huge perk. The use of the gym, pool, and clubhouse was included in our stay. Aerobic and yoga classes were each offered at $25.00 per month for unlimited classes or $5.00 per class. This was great incentive for me to get off my butt and join in!

Palm Desert
Backyard Selfie

Of course, hanging out with good friends is best of all. Be sure to bring some along, meet some here, or make new ones during your stay. The above photo shows good friends we first met during our visit two years ago.

Stay tuned next week for more on Palm Desert. In the meantime, if you are familiar with the area and have any tips, please share.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

101 Replies to “Cool Things to do in Palm Desert (and Surrounding Area) — Part One”

      1. Hi, Antoinette – When I clicked on your WordPress account listed beside your username, it reminded me that site was no longer operating. I did then go into your other website. Just wanted to double check that you were aware of this.

        Like

  1. Sounds wonderful, Donna! This is my kind of leisure week. My hand is up from “We usually head straight to the iced cappuccinos…”, and all other activities from there, except golf πŸ™‚ Happy Thanksgiving!

    Like

      1. So the turkey is gone but we’re delaying getting our pumpkin pie, just to extend our Thanksgiving a little bit longer. I look forward to your Part 2 post. #MLSTL

        Like

  2. I can’t even tell you how jealous I am this morning. The weather forecaster predicted our first killing frost for tonight. Brrrrr…..And, BTW, you look great! We need to travel there! ~ Lynn

    Like

    1. HI, Lynn – It’s wonderful to hear from you. I’ve missed you! Thank you for your kind words. If you get the chance, definitely come out this way. It’s a perfect area to explore, or just to relax and soak up the sunshine! I hope that all is well with you.

      Like

      1. We’ve just both been really busy, and I refused to feel guilt because of my blog. That said, we leave tomorrow for a trip to Washington DC. Part architecture, part sight-seeing. I’m sure we’ll have fun together – just not as warm as you guys! ~ Lynn

        Like

    1. Thanks so much for commenting. There are endless activities and events to explore in this area. Blogging about them gives me a wonderful excuse to check many of them out…and to be sure that I have captured them in my photos! πŸ™‚

      Like

      1. I love this! So many times we have driven by a coffee shop, workout studio, etc. and said “we need to check that place out”, but life gets busy and we forget about it, until the next time we drive by and say the same thing!!πŸ˜‰ When I decide to use it in my blog, then I make the time to go!

        Like

  3. What a wonderful idea on getting some ‘real’ time in a place you love with this house exchange. I’ve never been to Palm Desert, but visited Palm Springs once for a weekend and really enjoyed the area.

    Like

    1. Hi, Pam – Richard and I have participated in home exchanges for over fifteen-years. We have had wonderful experiences, seen diverse areas that we otherwise would not have seen…and met some very fabulous people. Thanks so much for commenting.

      Like

      1. Hi, Pam – We personally have not had any bad experiences with our past Home Exchanges either way. We have always used the same company (HomeExchange.com). We have built up good communication (Skype/email/phone) with our exchange party ahead of time and did not confirm until we were comfortable. We have also asked this question to every person whom we’ve exchanged with. So far, their answers have all been the same as ours.

        Like

    1. Hi, Janis – What that picture does not show is just how ‘hard-core’ Richard truly is. The pool is not heated. There is zero chance that you will find me in there!! I’ve been trying to scout out some events that I believe you and Paul might like. If you have some hints for me, I would be happy to check them out. Looking forward to seeing you soon!

      Like

  4. That’s a beautiful area, and one I wish I had explored more when I lived in the state. I have a family member who lives in Temecula, which is sort of out that way. But I never really got to explore Palm Desert. Enjoy your stay!

    Like

    1. Hi, Marty – When I visited Palm Desert two years ago, I met Janis (RetirementallyChallenged) in Temecula because it was half way between our two locations. There is another blogger (LuAnn) who I just began following who also lives in Temecula. Prior to coming to Palm Desert, I had not heard of Temecula before. I love how travel continually expands our horizons!

      Like

  5. I’ve never been to Palm Springs but I’ve heard nothing but good things about it and the surrounding area. It sounds like you are off to a great visit – including spending time with Kathy! You’re looking mighty relaxed and happy πŸ™‚

    Like

    1. Hi, Joanne – Thanks so much for commenting. Palm Desert is a VERY relaxing area with lots to do. Being able to spend time with Kathy and Janis is a huge perk. In terms of average age of residents, it even has our Vancouver Island town beat. When I joined an aerobics class last week, someone asked whose granddaughter I was. πŸ™‚

      Like

    1. Thanks so much, Suzanne. It’s funny – we had considered not coming this year because we have been here so often before. On our first day here, we were so glad that we agreed to this third year of the exchange, and wondered what we had been thinking!!

      Like

      1. Hi, Anabel – Hurrah! I am so glad that your comment worked. Did you do anything differently? Different device? Different browser? I am still trying to piece together a pattern of the 11 commenters who have experienced difficulty, so that I can bring this to WordPress.
        BTW – Sorry to hear about the rain. That is exactly what we have left behind on Vancouver Island!

        Like

  6. You know how to enjoy time away from home, Donna! After I saw the photo of the spaghetti and meatballs, I made some for our dinner tonight. It wasn’t Palm Springs, but it was 75 degrees and sunny today in Maine with a chance of meatballs. Yum! Tomorrow it turns colder. Do you have a guest room?

    Like

    1. Hi, Molly – Food photos can get me every time! When we first walked into Morongo’s Casino last Saturday, they had a large photo of a mouthwatering, extra large plate of spaghetti (with the $9.99 All You Can Eat price tag beside it).. Even though I don’t remember being hungry when I walked in, I suddenly become famished!
      We do have a Guest Room here and it is available for the next two weeks! πŸ™‚

      Like

  7. What a brilliant idea to do a long term home exchange and really dig deep into a place. Seems like you make the most of it, and it’s become a home from home πŸ™‚

    Like

    1. Hi, Johanna – Your comment is very insightful. My husband and I originally did not believe that we would like returning to the same place each year (only because there is so much of the world that we want to see). But already, the advantages of having a ‘home away from home” have been abundant. We are very comfortable with the owners, know the routines, quickly jumped into activities that we love and already have great friends here. It’s been a win-win-win! Thank you for commenting.

      Like

    1. Hi, Christie – My husband and I have been participating in Home Exchanges for over 15 years. We first became involved in this when we were living in Beijing. So far, we have been to Maroochydore (Aust), Prague, Paris, South of France, Bangkok, Phoenix, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Vancouver (several times, including many exchanges with the same home), Ladner, Victoria and Palm Springs (our third time in the same home). Each experience has been unique from the others but all have been positive. Today we received an exchange offer from Dubois, WY. We are currently considering it.

      Like

  8. Donna I’m a little bit jealous – what a wonderful way to spend six weeks without it costing an arm and a leg. I also love that you get so many cultural fun activities thrown in + all the perks of that gated community! Win/Win!! I also recognized Kathy in that photo – another perk of the visit πŸ™‚
    #MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM πŸ™‚

    Like

  9. Some great activities to do in the area, Donna, and what a nice way to spend your Thanksgiving! You are quite the fitness buff, which is great! I remember last year walking around in the neighborhood with you and Janis, and that first walk to dinner to the restaurant so close to your house. Happy the SOCal weather is cooperating a little with your stay! Love the pics of you and the one of Richard in the pool (I have photos of the pool and those steps) πŸ™‚

    Like

  10. It looks like you’re right back on track, where you left off last year. πŸ™‚ It’s nice to see Kathy’s face in one of your photos.

    What a fun way to spend your first week. I can’t believe how active you’ve been already as well – at least one session of something a day! Those art walks are awesome, aren’t they? I’ve seen them pop up in many cities, but, as a traveler, you really have to luck out being there at the right time of the month, or stay long enough, like we did in San Diego, where I managed to catch the monthly art walk in Liberty Station twice. Free wine and appetizers are always appealing.

    Like

  11. Hi, Liesbet – It’s great to hear from you. Richard and I have considered ourselves very lucky to be able to fit so many fun things into our first week. We have company staying with us for the end of October and November, so we thought we should get in stuff that we really wanted to do now so that we didn’t miss it. Tonight we went out with Kathy and Thom again to an outdoor concert (a Canadian band). Very fun! Where are you now?

    Like

  12. Lots of cool things to do, The all you can eat meatballs and spaghetti sounds a fab bargain treat although I have a couple of friends who could dent their profits. We should do more pop up outdoor concerts here but the weather is a bit too unpredictable, this weekend has been very windy 🌬.

    Like

  13. Hello Donna

    Sounds like a great time in Palm Dessert. Where do you find the energy to do all that yoga, aerobics and time in the gym? That would put me under. The price is well worth it.

    I’m looking forward to reading your future posts during your visit.

    Have fun
    Laura

    Like

    1. Hi, Laura – Thanks so much for commenting. For me, the secret to sticking with fitness classes and a gym routine is to get out of bed and go immediately. That way, I end up at the gym or yoga studio before my mind has had the chance to fully wake up and talk me out of it! πŸ™‚

      Like

  14. Oh look at that sky!! What a great idea to do home exchanges πŸ™‚ It looks to a be a nice place to wander around, nice to be able to keep up with yoga and golf then back to the inviting pool, wonderful πŸ™‚

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s