Palm Springs

Coachella Valley travel planner

Palm Springs is about two hours east of Los Angeles via I-10. Direct flights from many Western cities are available into Palm Springs International Airport. In town, expect warm winter days and cool nights this month; in the mountains there's usually snow.

For additional information on the city of Palm Springs or for an architectural guide to the Palm Springs area, contact the Palm Springs Visitor Information and Reservation Center (2781 N. Palm Canyon Dr.; 800/347-7746 or www.palm-springs.org).

For information on all Coachella Valley cities, contact the Palm Springs Desert Resorts Convention and Visitors Authority (800/967-3767 or www.palmspringsusa.com).

Area code is 760 unless noted.

Attractions

Coachella Valley Preserve. Covering about 17,000 acres, the preserve protects delicate sand dune environments as well as palm oases in the San Andreas Fault zone. Several trails begin from the visitor center. Thousand Palms Canyon Rd., off Ramon Rd. east of I-10; 343-2733 or 343-4031.

"Earth in Motion" Expedition. Three-and-a-half- to four-hour geologist-led tours explore the San Andreas Fault zone. $69. 862-5540.

El Paseo, Palm Desert. One of the major retail streets of the Coachella Valley, with a good selection of art galleries. Between Portola Ave. and Ocotillo Dr.

Indian Canyons. An extensive trail network through these lush palm oases extends into the surrounding mountains. Murray and Andreas Canyons offer quick, easy hikes; Palm Canyon is the most spectacular spot and has the most hiking options. Tours are available. $6. At the end of S. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs; 325-3400.

Living Desert. Learn about the local environment, and desert areas around the world, at this 1,200-acre wildlife and botanical park. $8.50. 47-900 Portola, Palm Desert; 346-5694.

Montana St. Martin Gallery. The former Albert Frey-designed Tramway gas station is now a gallery specializing in modern sculpture for the garden. 2901 N. Palm Canyon, Palm Springs; 323-7183.

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. Rotating tram cars carry passengers from a desert canyon to 8,516 feet in the San Jacinto Mountains. Through April 15, snowshoe and ski rentals are available; other months offer excellent hiking. $19.65. Off State 111 at the end of Tramway Rd., at the western edge of Palm Springs; (888) 515-8726.

Palm Springs Desert Museum. An excellent, diverse museum covering the arts as well as local human and natural history. The museum's conference on modern architecture (Feb 24-25) will include seminars, lectures, and tours of homes normally closed to the public. Also on display (through Mar 21) are works from the Anderson Graphic Arts Collection, which features nearly 200 contemporary prints and more. Closed Mon; $7.50. 101 Museum Dr., Palm Springs; 325-0189.

Palm Springs VillageFest. One of the city's most popular events, with crafts, fresh produce, and live entertainment. 6-10 every Thu. N. Palm Canyon, between Amado and Baristo Roads; 320-3781.

Tahquitz Canyon. Newly opened after being closed to the public for 30 years, the canyon features an interpretive center and ranger-led 2-mile hikes up to a seasonal waterfall. $10. From downtown Palm Springs, follow Palm Canyon Dr. south, turn right on Mesquite Ave., and follow to end; 325-3400.

Dining

Billy Reed's. Casual local mainstay with great breakfasts and memorable desserts. 1800 N. Palm Canyon, Palm Springs; 325-1946.

Jillian's. Built around a courtyard, Jillian's offers eclectic dining with Mediterranean influences. Closed Sun. 74-155 El Paseo, Palm Desert; 776-8242.

Kaiser Grille. Cal-Med cuisine with excellent pastas and grilled dishes, in the heart of the village. 205 S. Palm Canyon, Palm Springs; 323-1003.

Le Vallauris. First-rate French and Mediterranean cuisine served in a romantic setting, a short walk from downtown. 385 W. Tahquitz Canyon Way, Palm Springs; 325-5059.

Muriel's Supper Club. Live entertainment, dancing, and a retro theme make this an ideal place for a night on the town. 210 S. Palm Canyon, Palm Springs; 325-8839.

Shame on the Moon. Eternally busy spot with contemporary, creative approaches to traditional favorites such as flank steak and pork chops. 69950 Frank Sinatra Dr., Rancho Mirage; 324-5515.

Lodging

Hope Springs. Vintage '50s motel reborn as stylish inn, with three mineral pools. From $150. 68075 Club Circle Dr., Desert Hot Springs; 329-4003 or www.hopespringsresort.com.

Korakia Pensione. Twenty-two-room inn filled with unique furnishings from around the world. From $119. 257 S. Patencio Rd., Palm Springs; 864-6411.

La Quinta Resort & Club. Classic full-service desert resort with 750 casitas and casita-style rooms, plus a full-service spa, tennis center, and golf courses. From $340. 49-499 Eisenhower Dr., La Quinta; (800) 598-3828 or www.laquintaresort.com.

L'Horizon Garden Hotel. Low-slung postwar hideaway with a resort atmosphere. From $125. 1050 E. Palm Canyon, Palm Springs; (800) 377-7855 or www.palmsprings.com/hotels/lhorizon.

Two Bunch Palms Resort & Spa. Low-key resort popular with celebrities for its excellent spa treatments and privacy. From $175. 67-425 Two Bunch Palms Trail, Desert Hot Springs; (800) 472-4334 or www.twobunchpalms.com.

Willows Historic Palm Springs Inn. Private, elegant, and small (just eight rooms), the Willows is worth a splurge. From $295. 412 W. Tahquitz Canyon, Palm Springs; 320-0771 or www.thewillowspalmsprings.com.