David Zaitz

Coachella Valley travel planner

Sunset

Palm Springs is about two hours east of Los Angeles viaI-10. Direct flights from many Western cities are available intoPalm Springs International Airport. In town, expect warm winterdays and cool nights this month; in the mountains there's usuallysnow.

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

For information on all Coachella Valley cities, contact the PalmSprings 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, thepreserve protects delicate sand dune environments as well as palmoases in the San Andreas Fault zone. Several trails begin from thevisitor center. Thousand Palms Canyon Rd., off Ramon Rd. east of I-10; 343-2733or 343-4031.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Palm Springs VillageFest. One of the city's most popularevents, 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 thepublic for 30 years, the canyon features an interpretive center andranger-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 breakfastsand memorable desserts. 1800 N. Palm Canyon, Palm Springs; 325-1946.

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

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

Le Vallauris. First-rate French and Mediterranean cuisineserved 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 aretro 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 steakand pork chops. 69950 Frank Sinatra Dr., Rancho Mirage; 324-5515.

Lodging

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

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

La Quinta Resort & Club. Classic full-service desertresort with 750 casitas and casita-style rooms, plus a full-servicespa, 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 aresort 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 popularwith 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, andsmall (just eight rooms), the Willows is worth a splurge. From $295. 412 W. Tahquitz Canyon, Palm Springs; 320-0771 or www.thewillowspalmsprings.com.

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