Palm Desert: The capital of cool

The mood is mod and the art is amazing. And you don't even need a car to enjoy it
David Lansing

I've just suffered through two-plus hours of Inland Empire gridlock so that I can unwind in the desert, and I plan to ditch my car for the weekend (if not, alas, forever). Which is why I've come to Palm Desert. Not only does it do the whole midcentury modern thing perfectly, but of all California's desert resorts, it's also probably the most pedestrian- and bike-friendly.

I'm ready to enjoy the glittery shopping and dining street El Paseo, galleries, a collection of California landscape paintings at the Living Desert museum, and the Eric Johnson Memorial Gardens (named after the "desert landscape guru of the Coachella Valley," who was also a former garden editor for Sunset).

Then again, I might just park myself beside the salt-water pool at my hotel and spend the rest of the afternoon meditating on the cerulean water.

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