Palm Springs gears up for a busy fall

  • by Ed Walsh, BAR Contributor
  • Wednesday September 6, 2023
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Michael Green is co-owner of the Triangle Inn in Palm Springs and executive director of the city's LGBTQ film festival. Photo: Ed Walsh
Michael Green is co-owner of the Triangle Inn in Palm Springs and executive director of the city's LGBTQ film festival. Photo: Ed Walsh

Palm Springs has dried out and cleaned up after Tropical Storm Hilary last month and is gearing up for a busy fall. A number of events designed to bring more visitors to the desert city are coming up including The Dinah, Cinema Diverse, Leather Pride, Pride, and Halloween.

The Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend, better known as The Dinah, kicks off the season September 20-24. The lesbian-centric gathering that includes pool and dance parties is one of the most popular events of its kind in the world. The Margaritaville Resort and Spa is "Dinah Central." It's already sold out but there are still a few rooms left at the event's overflow hotel, the Hilton Doubletree. But if that hotel fills up, September is generally a slow month in Palm Springs, so you probably won't have much trouble finding another hotel nearby at a reasonable room rate.

The 16th annual LGBTQ film Festival, Cinema Diverse, partially overlaps with The Dinah, September 21-24 and September 28-October 1. For a film schedule and to buy passes check out

PS Leather Pride is held the weekend before Halloween, October 26-28. Hotel ZoSo is the host hotel, conveniently located adjacent to the Arenas District, where the biggest concentration of gay bars and nightclubs are situated.

Palm Springs' Halloween block party will be held this year on Sunday, October 29, from 4 to 10 p.m. Admission to the party is free but there is a suggested donation of $10, with the proceeds going to LGBTQ charities. A $75 VIP pass that includes an open bar can be purchased online at

The 37th annual Palm Springs Pride is November 3-5. Broadway star Idina Menzel headlines the stage in the Arenas District block party on Saturday, November 4, and on Sunday, November 5, the parade steps off in downtown Palm Springs at 10 a.m.

Gay resorts

Palm Springs has a dozen gay resorts, more than any other place on the planet. All are marketed toward gay men and all are clothing-optional, with 24-hour pool and hot tub access, so you can take advantage of a warm fall nighttime swim without having to worry about sunburn. Most have free continental breakfasts, all have free parking and some even throw in a free lunch. Five of the 12 gay resorts still don't charge the dreaded resort fee so be sure to check out the bottom line when you are comparing prices.

The newest of the gay resorts, Twin Palms Resort, will be celebrating its first anniversary in November. Twin Palms is a modern, stunning luxury resort. The hotel includes an expanded continental breakfast and a free lunch. It also has bicycles free for guests and has a free wine happy hour. A 24-hour canteen offers free drinks and snacks.

The Twin Palms' sister properties, Descanso and Santiago, are also known for a similar high level of service and luxury. They also provide a free breakfast and lunch and a 24-hour canteen with free snacks and soft drinks. Descanso is centrally located just north of downtown, and Santiago is just south of downtown with a huge pool and hot tub. Twin Palms, Descanso, and Santiago all charge a resort fee of $16 a day. Rates at the three hotels start around $250.

The Triangle Inn is on the same block as Santiago and deservedly has a very loyal following. Michael Green and his husband, Stephen Boyd, are known for their service in the LGBTQ community. Green is the executive director of the Palm Springs Cultural Association, which runs Palm Springs LGBTQ film festival, Cinema Diverse. The Triangle Inn was built in 1958 by Hugh Kaptur, who was one of Palm Springs' most acclaimed mid-century modern architects. Both architecture and landscaping buffs will find plenty to love about this picture-perfect resort. Rates start at around $175 and it has no resort fee.

The Canyon Club Hotel is the only gay resort in downtown Palm Springs and has the cheapest rates, starting at $119, with no resort fee. It's not a luxury property, but it has a huge backyard with a koi pond and a hedge maze. It is open every day for day passes for $15. Renovations are underway at this property to bring it back to its past glory.

The biggest concentration of gay resorts is in the Warm Sands neighborhood about a half mile east of downtown. El Mirasol Villas is a historic property built by Howard Hughes in 1947 and eventually turned into a gay hotel in 1975 and is the oldest gay resort in the city. Rates start at $159, with no resort fee.

All Worlds Resort is next to El Mirasol and is the only of the resorts in Warm Sands that offers day passes. It is in the property that was formerly Inn Exile. Expect to pay extra fees tacked on to your room rate starting at about $20 a day, to its rates that start at about $350.

Vista Grande is a fabulous gay resort that includes three pools, a huge hot tub, waterfall, and a steam room. They also throw in a free breakfast and lunch. It has a resort fee starting around $8 a day. Its sister property, Atrium, is kitty corner from the main resort and has its own pool. Rates start about $239.

The Hacienda at Warm Sands is next to Vista Grande and is known for pampering its guests. It even has a pillow menu. The luxury resort also includes a free breakfast and lunch. The property boasts two pools and a hot tub with a mountain view. It has a resort fee starting around $30 daily but that includes all tips to staff. Hacienda's rates start around $430.

InnDulge is just across the street from Hacienda and deservedly stays busy even during the slower summer months. It has a great happy hour with free drinks and snacks every early evening. Free pizza is included with the cocktail hour on Thursday evenings. Rates start at around $250 with no resort fee.

The Desert Paradise Resort is another first-class property that includes steam and dry saunas and a continental breakfast. It is a kitty-corner from the Hacienda. Rates start at about $179 with no resort fee.

The Cathedral City Boys Club, better known as CCBC, is the only of the gay resorts in Cathedral City, the city just south of Palm Springs. The expansive property, 3.5 acres, hosts a number of special events and is open all the time for day passes. CCBC no longer serves a continental breakfast and has the steepest resort fee of any of the gay resorts at $35 a day. Rates start at about $275, or $310 if you include the resort fee.

Palm Springs newest spa, The Spa at Séc-he, is one of the most upscale in the country. Photo: Ed Walsh  

Palm Springs' newest spa, The Spa at Séc-he, opened in April in downtown Palm Springs and is one of the most modern, upscale spas in the country. You can bathe in the hot springs waters for which Palm Springs is named. Those waters are considered sacred by the Agua Caliente tribe, which owns the property. A day pass costs $145, but if you schedule a massage or other individual spa service, you can enjoy all the benefits of a day pass without an added cost.

For a great guide to nightlife options when you are in town, check out the excellent Gay Desert Guide online at

Most of Palm Springs' nightlife is centered in the Arenas District, in downtown Palm Springs, on E. Arenas Rd. just east of Indian Canyon Drive. That is where you will find the popular bars and clubs like Hunters, Chill, Quadz Palm Springs, Dicks on Arenas, BlackBook, and StreetBar.

The newest bar in the Arenas District is the retro speakeasy bar called The Evening Citizen. Its entrance is hidden on the backside of the building where Stacey's used to be.

A couple of gay nightlife options outside of Arenas include Toucans, which is on the north side of the city, and Tool Shed, located on the south edge of the Warm Sands neighborhood. The Tool Shed is making its huge outdoor patio that it started during the COVID pandemic permanent. The patio is slated to open in late October, in time for Leather Pride.

Nightlife options in Cathedral City include The Barracks, The Runway (at CCBC), One Eleven Bar (formerly Studio One 11), The Roost Lounge, and the AMP Sports Lounge.

Reforma is a huge LGBTQ-friendly restaurant and nightclub in the heart of downtown Palm Springs. You will often see a line wrapped around the block on weekends. The restaurant has an intimate feel and serves up top-notch gourmet grub in a dark and dramatic intimate setting.

If you want to get a great sampling of locally made art and crafts, and sample some of the best eats and entertainment in the desert, check out the city's Village Fest street fair every Thursday evening from 7 to 10 p.m.

By the way, the Palm Springs Art Museum is free every Thursday night from 5 to 8 p.m. so you can combine it with a visit to the street fair. Through February 2024, the museum includes the special exhibits "Contemporary African Art" and the stunning collection of glass sculptures "Meditations in Glass."

For more information, check out the city's official website at

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