~ Fun Things to do in the Desert ~
I The Desert !

World Class Dining

World Class Polo

World Class Shopping

World Class Art

World Class Golf

World Class Tennis

Snapshots of Events
in The Desert

 






















































































































 

 

 

 

 

 






Sonny plays fine piano at the Firecliff







































Tennis, anyone? How 'bout a round of golf? Or biking on the many scenic bike paths around town? Or get your exercise shopping in Old Town La Quinta or along El Paseo in Palm Desert or in the Westfield Mall...

After that, then there are plenty of enticing places to refresh yourself! Here's an ever-growing list:

 

Dining in the Desert~

One of the best things about the desert is the wide array of excellent restaurants to choose from! My faves on the list below are designated with a red asterisk *! This list is still "under construction" so you might also want to click on this link for a more complete dining guide, as well as for more information on golf, entertainment, events and other fun things to do in the desert.

La Quinta

Amore 760-777-1315 Romantic Italian cuisine in a trendy, modern space.

Arnold Palmer's 760-771-4653 Good food, but mostly known for its happening nightlife at the bar, with live music, dancing and lots of people-watching!

Beer Hunter 760-760-6337 Great place to go to watch all kinds of sports on their myriad of TVs and chow down on good solid food along with your favorite brew. Kid friendly. Serves food until late at night..

Chapelli's 760-564-9835 Popular local Italian restaurant in the La Quinta shopping mall next to Ralph's.

Cliff House* 760-360-5991 Dramatic lodge-like setting, indoors and out. Excellent food and service. Great happy hour.

Devane's Old Town 760-771-5330 Located in Old Town La Quinta, this friendly family restaurant (actor William Devane's a family member) features Western American fare and popular Italian specialities. Great for a casual elegant evening!

Desert Sage 760-564-8744 Upscale dining in an elegant setting.

Fisherman's Market 760-776-6533 Casual dining. If you are a seafood lover, you will love this place!

Hog's Breath Inn 760-564-5556 Clint Eastwood's outpost. He has another restaurant by the same name in Carmel, California. It's a great place for a formal dinner or some pub grub in Old Town La Quinta.

Homestead Restaurant 760-771-3331 Wonderful country inn setting with a courtyard with an outdoor fountain and firepit. Great menu with a blend of comfort foods and more gourment dishes as well. Behind Old Town La Quinta.

LG's Steakhouse 760-771-9911 An upscale steakhouse at Point Happy.

La Casita 760-777-0203 Good Mexican food!

Las Casuelas Quinta 760-777-7715 One of the many popular Las Casuelas Mexican restaurants throughout the Coachella Valley. Beautifully decorated in Mexican style.

La Quinta Resort 800-589-3828 Great food, great location.

Louise's Pantry 760-771-3330 A down home kind of a place just right for a hearty breakfast or lunch.

Lavender Bistro 760-564-5353 Stylish, elegant dining spot "uses only the freshest, finest ingredients". Happy hour from 5 - 7pm. Located on the backside of Old Town La Quinta.

Red Robin 760-777-1111 A 50's style diner with a wide variety of diner cuisine from burgers to salads to ice cream sundaes and much more. Kid friendly.

Sandbar, The 760-564-3660 A back-East, nostalgic kind of a place with a fabulous cabaret-style, class act piano player and singer along with great food and excellent service makes this place a winner.

Soul of China 760-564-7544 If you like Chinese cuisine this is a great place to indulge in some.In the La Quinta shopping mall with Ralph's etc., on Washington Street.

Stuft Pizza 760-777-9989 Located in Old Town La Quinta on Ave. Bermudas at Calle Tampico, this elegant, versatile is much more than what its name suggests! Generous portions, good food & wine!

Viva Cantina & Grill 760-777-6625 Located in Old Town La Quinta, owned by Josh Devane, this is a welcome addition. Stylish Mexican-themed restaurant and margarita bar. Salud!

Palm Desert
Armando's Bar & Grill 760-346-0744*
A very popular Mexican restaurant and a busy bar scene right on El Paseo.

Bellini Ristorante 760-341-2626 Elegant Italian cuisine in very romantic setting.

Cafe Des Beaux-Arts 760-346-0669 For a Parisian cafe experience on El Paseo.

California Pizza Kitchen 760-776-0536 A popular chain restaurant with tasty fare.

Castelli's 760-773-3365 East Coast-style elegant Italian restaurant with excellent food and piano bar.

China Wok 760-772-2291

City Wok 760-341-1511

Chop House 760-779-9888 Great place for steaks and such!

Cucina Pasta 760-346-9712

Cuistot* 760-340-1000 This restaurant is one of the most beautiful in the whole of Coachella Valley! A large French country inn with sophisticated accents, French cuisine and excellent service!

Daily Grill* 760-779-9911 Whether you want breakfast, lunch, dinner or just a drink, this place offers a New York-style experience! You can choose to sit indoors or outside.

Elephant Bar 760-340-0456

Firecliff *760-773-6565 This is a classy place to have dinner either at a table inside or out on the terrace, and you can eat at the bar with a special bar menu as well, while listening to the talented and very charming Sonny play the piano. Chuck, the bartender and waiter, is the ultimate in providing friendly, excellent service.

Islands 760-346-4007 A fun place to have burgers and such in a tropical island atmosphere.

Jillian's* 760-776-8242 A very romantic and elegant place to dine, either inside or under the stars.

LG's Steakhouse760- 779-9799 A well-known steakhouse with big cuts!

Le Peon 760-610-5320 A classy French-inspired restaurant on the second floor of a beautiful new contemporary building on El Paseo, with piano and bar.

McGowan's 760-346-6032 Irish pub and restaurant.

Mama Gina's 760-568-9898 An upscale Italian restaurant on El Paseo.

Mortons Steakhouse 760-340-6865 Famous for its steaks!

Musashi 760-340-9780 A popular Japanese restaurant for a variety of Japanese specialities including sushi.

Native Foods Vegitarian 760-836-9396 A place to enjoy healthy fare, located practically next to Bikram Yoga, another magnet for the health-conscious.

Outback Steakhouse 760-779-9068

Pacifica* 760-674-8666 A popular, upscale seafood restaurant.

Palmie 760-342-3200 A popular French restaurant.

Papa Dan's Pizza 760-568-3267 A popular, casual Italian restaurant with all your Italian favorites.

Sammy's 760-836-0500

Sherman's Deli 760-345-6282

Sullivan's Steakhouse & Bar 760-341-3560
Tommy Bahamas Restaurant* 760-836-0188

Tony Roma's BBQ 760-773-1711

Wolfgang's Bistro 760-360-7775

lndio
Fantasy Springs Resort & Casino* This stylish resort & casino offers a wide variety of venues. It's got the 12th floor Cocktail Lounge which offers great views of the sparkling lights of the desert cities and the highway, high above it all. You almost feel as if you are in a hip LA lounge, with the city lights, the hip, understated decor and jazzy mood music. Outside in the Rockyard, almost every Saturday night, there is a different tribute band, conjuring up rock n roll greats, from the Rolling Stones to Metallica to Aerosmith to AC/DC and more. ALL FREE! Sometimes there are ACTUAL rock n roll legends who perform, also, FOR FREE. Amazing but true! Legends such as Dave Mason, Rick Derringer and more. Under the twinkling stars and swaying palm trees. Drinks served. What more could you want? There's the casino of course. And some big time concerts and events, such as the Moody Blues, with their psychedelic light show, tripping back in time, and the famous dancing white horses, the Lipizzans! It's all at Fantasy Springs Resort and Spa, with plenty of free parking! There's also restaurants, spa treatments, a huge pool and spa, golf and shopping. Going east towards Indio on Hwy. 10, take the Golf Links exit going north and you'll see the signs. 84-245 Indio Springs Pkwy, Indio.; Phone: 800-827-2946; www.fantasyspringsresort.com

Tack Room Tavern This is a great place to go after watching a few polo matches. Down home kind of place where cowboys mix with millionaires and other equestrian enthusiasts. Good food, good drink! Feels like a country pub! 81900 Ave 51, Indio, Ca 760-347-9985; www/tackroomtavern.com

Jackalope Ranch* A hot spot that has been an instant hit from the start! Part of the group of popular restaurants ( Kaiser Grille, Palm Springs, Chop House, one in Palm Springs and one in Palm Desert, Hog's Breath in La Quinta) owned by the Kaiser Family, this gorgeous, sprawling restaurant offers "progressive southwest BBQ and steaks" and excellent live music at night. You have many choices of dining experiences, whether it's in the formal dining room, or the spacious bar area or lush outside area with a big waterfall as the backdrop. Valet parking is offered. It's an upscale but casual experience. No expense has been spared in decorating this grand new restaurant which opened in late spring of 2009. The service staff is very friendly and accommodating. Prices are reasonable. Love those BBQ ribs! But they offer much more than just BBQ. Well worth repeat visits. Phone: 760-342-1999; 80400 Hwy 111, Indio, just past the Home Depot; www.restaurantsofpalmsprings.com

Palm Springs ~ More to come!! (Also Rancho Mirage and Cathedral City lists to come!)

Desert Fox Bar ~ A stylish, intimate bar in downtown Palm Springs, at 224 N. Palm Canyon Dr. (X-st is Andreas), with Free Unlimited Parking behind it, just past the Andreas Hotel's parking lot on Indian Canyon Drive. Full bar, hip music, nice people, cool atmosphere. Open Sunday thru Thurs. from 11 am til midnight, and Fri. and Sat. open til 2am. Phone: 760-325-9555 www.desertfoxbar.com

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World Class Polo at two polo clubs, the Empire Polo Club and the El Dorado Polo Club, in Indio!
The season begins in November and ends in March.
Tally ho!




Bring your picnic basket and blanket or chairs and enjoy watching the polo matches in the sun (remember to bring a hat!) Feel free to bring your dog(s)!
The Empire Polo Club is located on Monroe between 50 and 52 Avenues. El Dorado Polo Club is on Madison Avenue between 50 and 52 Avenues. The website for Empire Polo Club is www.empirepolo.com.

If you still feel like partying after the game, there's always the Tack Room Tavern, on Monroe Street, between 50 and 52 Avenues, right next to the Empire Polo fields, for some tasty vittles and brew, and now just a stroll away from the Tack Room, is the new venue for hip music with a nightclub vibe on the weekends, the Date Shed.


There are many equestrian events in the Coachella Valley and just outside of the valley as well. The HITS (Horses In The Sun) circuit features a grand equestrian event in Thermal, just east of Indio, in the spring. Check out their website (below) for more details.

That's me (above) with a gorgeous Friesian horse,
which is my favorite breed these days.

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HITS: Horses In The Sun

in Thermal, just east of Indio

Every year, during February and March, world class riders and amateurs from around the world convene here to compete in all kinds of equestrian competitons. Here are some photos I took at some of the jumping competitions in Feb. 2010.
What a great way to spend the day! It's free, too!






The website for HITS is: http://www.hitsshows.com/

*****

World Class Shopping on El Paseo Drive in beautiful Palm Desert... It's the "Rodeo Drive" of the desert.
You'll find many tres chic boutiques and major stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Ralph Lauren, Gucci and many others, as well as many intriguing art galleries and fabulous jewelry stores. When you want to take a break from all that shopping, you can refresh yourself at the many cafes and restaurants including Tommy Bahamas (which also has a great clothing and home decor store), The Daily Grill and the ever popular Armandos, and many more. The above photo was taken in February, when you can see snow on the mountain tops!


El Paseo, Palm Desert

Pictured below is the Indian Wells shopping center on Highway 111, where you'll find Ralph's Grocery SuperMarket, along with beauty salons, including TK Nails for excellent manicures/pedicures at very reasonable prices, Compliments boutique for fun and flirty fashions, a kitchenware store, deli, restaurants and more. This photo was also taken in February. Spring comes very early to the desert. In fact, all of winter here usually feels like more like spring!


Pear blossoms and palms in Indian Wells Shopping Center

World Class Art

We have a vibrant art scene here in the desert. In "Season" which is roughly from October or November until April, there are the fabulous "Art Walks" in Palm Desert. There's the one that is on the first Thursday of every month on El Paseo, where it is great fun to weave in and out of all the world class galleries, such as Heather James, Melissa Morgan and Imago to name a few of the many, meeting old friends and new, sampling some cheese and some wine along the way.


Left: Robert Dunahay, best known for his outstanding paintings of various palm trees stands in front of one of his new paintings, at his show at Melissa Morgan Fine Art gallery on El Paseo (Right) on an Art Walk on a Thursday evening

Pop artist Mandad, sitting with one of his signature works of art
at Melissa Morgan Fine Art

Of course Palm Springs has many art events, especially at the Palm Springs Art Museum, which is a gem of a museum. Avant garde and pop art are featured at the mod M Modern Gallery, where they host some of the most lively parties at their artists' receptions.


"Picture Perfect", a painting by local artist D.J. Hall who also maintains a home in Venice, CA. Her lush, sun-kissed paintings capture the essence of living here in the desert. Her paintings are featured in the Palm Springs Art Museum, and some may be available for purchase at the Imago Gallery, behind the Daily Grill Restaurant on El Paseo. You can't miss the impressive two story modern building with the gigantic colorful glass sculpture by famed American artist Dale Chihuly hanging dramatically behind the walls of glass.

World Class Golf

We have over 120 golf courses here in the Coachella Valley, with a mix of private, semi-private and public courses -- something for everyone.

World Class Tennis

The Pacific Life Open which is held in the Indian Wells Tennis Gardens is the 6th largest tennis event in the world, with world class players battling it out on its blue courts. There are many tennis clubs and courts scattered around the valley for those who want to play.


This is one of the tennis courses which are part of the Indian Wells Tennis Gardens where you can take tennis lessons if you want!

Snapshots of Events
in The Desert

Fundraising Event for the Palm Springs Art Museum at the Elrod House, designed by avant-garde architect John Lautner, and featured in the James Bond movie "Diamonds Are Forever"

One of the most popular places to go on the weekends is to the COD or College of the Desert for the sprawling open air market place where you can find everything from home decor items, fine art, clothing, shoes, jewelry, food items, silk plants, you name it, all at excellent prices!


World Class Fashion

Fashion Week, sponsored by the glamorous Palm Springs Life magazine, is eagerly anticipated every spring and takes place in a big tent on El Paseo. Every year,a world class fashion designer is chosen to be feted, and his or her designs are displayed on leggy models strutting down the catwalk runway. Many auxilliary events take place during the week, where fashion, friends, fun, food and wine happily combine for a memorable experience each year.

Here are some photos from Fashion Week 2010~


Inspired by Middle Eastern Belly Dancers

A Runway Bride!

An Inspired Member of the Audience

The After Party at The Parker

A party-goer as Lady Gaga?

A group shot of the after party fashion show ~ Hat fashion!

Partyer in a fab Little Black Dress


And it's me in front of the Fashion Week tent with a brushed steel pink poodle sculpture by local artists Karen and Tony Barone
HINT: Don't miss Fashion Week! It's so much fun!!

We have the Palm Springs International Film Festival annually in January! Every year it seems to attract more attendees, celebrities and media exposure. It's a great opportunity to see films from around the world that you may not be able to see anywhere else.

Jason Reitman, one of the honorees of this year's festival, proclaimed: "There's a quiet in Palm Springs that I really enjoy and when I'm out there I find myself able to focus on writing better than I have anywhere else in the world."

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We have a lively social life here in The Desert, especially during the Season, between November and May! Come join us!

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Get into Nature ~
GREAT HIKES to take here in our beautiful desert:

Please be careful! Only hike during the cooler season, from November to April, and bring lots of water! Try to always hike with a companion. Also, it's a good idea to wear a hat, sunscreen and to dress in layers.

Excellent book to get about hiking here:

"120 Great Hikes in and near Palm Springs"
by Philip Ferranti, with Hank Koenig

Most Popular Hike: The Bump And Grind Trail on the Palm Desert/Rancho Mirage border, behind the mall with Pier One Imports, etc., near Painter's Path Street:


(Above: This is a view of the private Pocupine Creek Golf Course that was owned by the Blixseths but is now in foreclosure-- a sign of the times.)


Spring Flowers

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Most Dramatic Hikes:

Joshua Tree State Park

There's a person sitting in one of those caves. Can you see him?





and

Painted Canyon in Mecca


Above: Ladders Canyon Loop, Painted Canyon



Most Spiritual Hike for a Christian: These were taken on Christmas Day, 2008. It's off Highway 74, behind the Presbyterian and Episcopalian Churches.





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Best Hike for Viewing Wildlife: The Living Desert, an open air sort of "zoo" that features animals that thrive in hot and desert climates, including many from Africa. One of my favorite areas of The Living Desert is the area that features the actual habitat of the native local Big Horn Sheep. It's fenced to keep the humans out of their habitat! You get to see the families of Big Horn Sheep UP CLOSE and it's really exciting! They also have a great exhibit of bobcats, one of my personal favorites - it's not their natural habitat, but close to it. There are also hiking trails that extend well past the zoo area.



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Best Hike / Field Trip to Bird-Watch: All around the Salton Sea.


Birds of all kinds from many, many miles away stop off to relax at the Salton Sea on their way to where ever they are heading. Here are some pelicans,seagulls and coots.

Glamis ~ An Adventure in the Sand Dunes!

If you want to get wild on the dunes, Glamis is THE place to do it! You can rent quads or bikes for $75 an hour or something like $175 for the day, and away you go-- zooming around the sand dunes! It's located just southeast of the Salton Sea.



 

For articles I write almost daily about living here in the desert as well as my sojourns near and far, accompanied with my photos, please check out my blog:

Wendy's Desert Living and Beyond.


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