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Things to see and do in and around Palm Springs

food, tour, hollywood

I recently indulged in a quick overnight trip to the Palm Springs area, and was reminded just how many fun things there are to do in the desert.  I am already wanting to go back, but I think I’ll wait until the Coachella crowds are gone.  This year the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival runs two consecutive weekends, April 11-13 and April 18 & 20.

Let’s start with the real reason for my visit:  The Forever Marilyn statue by Seward Johnson, which been looming 26-feet over Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs since summer of 2012.    Wearing the white halter dress and strappy sandals as seen in her famous pose from “The Seven Year Itch”, the statue was put in place in time to honor the 50th year of Marilyn Monroe’s untimely passing in August 1962.  Her visit was extended several times but she is being disassembled on April 1 to make the drive to a 42-acre park in New Jersey.  But for another week anyway, visitors can say hello and have a few special moments with Miss Monroe.  I was impressed by how respectful everyone was, with a line forming to give everyone personal time to pose for pictures.

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Just across the street from Marilyn at 130 North Palm Canyon Drive you can enjoy a refreshing pineapple Dole Whip from Lappert’s Ice Cream shop, or try a fun ice-cream flavor like avocado or guava cheesecake.

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In case you thought Clint Eastwood’s famous Hog’s Breath Inn was located only in Carmel, California guess again.  I discovered there is a second location in Old Town La Quinta!  Nicknamed The Desert Hog, it’s quite a hot spot for Happy Hour.  And of course lots of fun photos to peruse in the lobby.

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Perhaps you enjoy taking in the scenery (and being seen) at local hotels.  Well, the desert area has plenty of cool, hipster hotels including The Riviera, The Saguaro, The Parker Palm Springs and the newest, formerly Hotel Zoso, now The Hard Rock Hotel on Indian Canyon Drive.

Tickets for tours of Sunnylands, the former Walter and Leonore Annenberg Estate on Bob Hope Drive in Rancho Mirage, book up months in advance.  However, the Visitor’s Center is a great place to start your look into this fascinating couple and the world-class estate that they built.  The Visitor’s Center is amazing on its own, with 15 acres of manicured lawns and gardens surrounding a beautiful building where you can see exhibits and watch a short, entertaining movie about the history of Sunnylands.

The Palm Springs Follies is currently running their Farewell Season as this legendary show comes to an end in May after 23 seasons of entertaining crowds at the historic Plaza Theatre.

Even on the drive home, there are several fun attractions you may want to consider.  In addition to shopping at the Desert Hills Premium Outlets, you may want to stop and pose for pictures with Dinny the Dinosaur or treat yourself to a world famous Date Shake or fruit & nut samples at Hadley’s Fruit Orchard.  All three of these attractions are about 30 minutes west of Palm Springs and can be found off the Interstate 10 Cabazon Exit along Seminole Drive.

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Whatever your interests are, there are plenty of fun activities to keep you and your family busy in the Palm Springs area!