Culture + Style

How to Play Like a Hollywood Hotshot in Palm Springs

Signs advertise the Palm Springs International Film Festival. (Photo: Richard Broadwell / Alamy)

Palm Springs has been a playground for Hollywood’s elite since the Rat Pack’s heyday, when Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. made the oasis their stomping ground. Today, the glitterati still flock here for a taste of the desert high life. But you don’t need a star on the Walk of Fame to play like a Hollywood hotshot. Discover the best Palm Springs has to offer.

Palm Springs
Enjoy the desert high life on a Palm Springs vacation. (Photo: Getty Images)

Seek Out Stars at a Palm Springs Film Festival

Palm Springs plays host to four film festivals throughout the year. Visit the town when one is in full swing and up your chances at seeing Hollywood’s biggest stars. The most prestigious festival is the Palm Springs International Film Festival, held every January.

Escape the general admission crowds and rub elbows with the likes of Kate Winslet and George Clooney by becoming a Premier Member of the Palm Springs International Film Society. Even if you don’t attend the member-only events throughout the year, you receive a complimentary ticket to the festival’s opening and closing night screenings and black-tie receptions.

Indulge in Palm Springs Dining

Palm Springs restaurants have to meet the expectations of well-traveled and monied visitors. Typically, this means you’re guaranteed to find delectable food — often with a Hollywood backstory. Copley’s is a charming restaurant housed in Cary Grant’s former mid-century-style home.

Chef Andrew Copley cooks New American cuisine influenced by the tropics. Sign up for one of the twice-monthly happy hour cooking classes, held on the open-air patio overlooking the mountains. As you kick back with a glass of wine, it’s easy to imagine you’re waiting for one of the Silver Screen’s classic heartthrobs to join you. Of course, if he doesn’t appear, there’s always the restaurant’s famous basil ice cream to soothe your heartache.

Crank Up the Adrenaline in Joshua Tree

Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua trees line a dirt road in Joshua Tree National Park. (Photo: Kelly vanDellen / Alamy)

Even the stars like to play outside. For a blood pumping experience in the high desert — that guarantees you explore in high style — book a tour of Joshua Tree National Park with Adventure Hummer Tours. Get comfy in an air-conditioned Hummer, and hang on to the handles as you traverse an old goldmine trail through rock formations still untouched by hordes of tourists. Guides take you into Berdoo Canyon, where you can walk along a footbridge spanning the famous San Andreas Fault. The tour also includes special access to Thousand Palms, the world’s third-largest desert oasis, and a 30-minute eco tour through the nature preserve.

Want to stretch your muscles? Joshua Tree National Park has more than 400 climbing formations, some suited for pros, others fine for novices. Fellow enthusiasts meet at the Climbers Coffee, held every Friday and Saturday morning (except in the summer) at Hidden Valley Campground. The park’s climbing ranger will be on hand, so don’t be shy about asking for insider tips. Bring your own mug and a sense of adventure.

Treat Yourself to a Caviar Facial

To cap off your trip to Palm Springs, pamper yourself with a caviar facial at JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort in nearby Desert Springs. Indulge the senses as your therapist applies antioxidant-rich caviar to your face, which helps hydrate and smooth the skin. You’ll be ready for your close-up in no time.