Locals in Palm Springs like to take full advantage of ample outdoor activities in the city’s 350 days of sunshine and the city has no shortage of things to do in the great and sunny outdoors.
Locals love a hike. It’s a great way to stay in shape and be out in nature without having to stray too far from home. One of the most accessible hikes is downtown, just behind the Palm Springs Art Museum. The Museum Trail offers spectacular views of downtown Palm Springs and meanders by stunning rock formations. Another popular trail, the South Lykken Trail begins just south of downtown and is also popular with locals who appreciate being able to take in a good workout without belonging to a gym. In hot weather, plan on hiking early in the morning while it’s still cool.
The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is one of the city's most popular tourist attractions but it is also popular with locals who visit frequently using an annual pass. The tramway was originally built in the early 1960s with locals in mind. It was an easy and fast getaway from the summer heat and in winter you can cross country ski or bring a snow saucer or sled for fun in a virtual winter wonderland.
Gyms do a big business among LGBT locals. One of the best as well as the gayest gym in the city is the gay owned and operated WorkOut Gym, which relocated in the spring of 2017 to the Racquet Club Center, the shopping center on the north end of town, a couple of blocks north of Toucan’s, where it used to be. While the gym is almost all gay male, it all-welcoming. World Gym is the city’s biggest health club and is centrally located in the shopping center on Sunrise and Vista Chino, across the street from the Desert AIDS Project. EOS Fitness, formerly Gold’s, is just south of the Palm Springs airport and is open 24 hours a day. While not as gay as World’s or WorkOut Gym, where else can night owls work out at 1 a.m.? All the gyms offer day and weekly passes. WorkOut Gym offers the cheapest passes overall and if you are staying at the Vista Grande, InnDulge or Bearfoot Inn, you can use the gym for free.
Locals love to shop and there is plenty to choose from in Palm Springs. The largest store catering to LGBTs is GayMart, in the heart of the gay Arenas Road district in downtown, just East of Indian Canyon Road. Gay men have long been on the cutting edge of style and GayMart caters to that taste with summer and pool wear as well as condoms, lube and other stuff designed to spice it up and keep it safe. Bear Wear Etc. is a few steps down from GayMart and as you might have guessed, specializes in leather, swim and casual clothes with the bear and leather community in mind. Mischief Cards and Gifts, on the other side of Arenas Road, includes gay and adult-themed cards and gifts.
Across town, along Sunny Dunes Road, is the gay general store, Q Trading Co, where you can find a big selection of gay-themed gifts, books and erotica. Next door is the leather-themed Off Ramp Leathers which keeps the city’s large leather community well-equipped.
On the north end of town, you will find the fabulous Just Fabulous store, which is part of the equally fabulous Corridor Shops on N Palm Canyon at Alejo Road. Just Fabulous has a stylish collection of home decor, art, books, cards and gifts.
Bargain shoppers have plenty to choose from in Palm Springs. One of the best thrift stores in town is the Revivals Resale Mart in downtown Palm Springs, in the shopping center on S Palm Canyon Drive just before Sunny Dunes Road. The store is staffed by volunteers and all the proceeds go to the Desert AIDS project. Revivals has a great LGBT community feel that you won't see in many other second-hand store.
If antiques are your thing, the Sunny Dunes Vintage Row is ground zero for antiques in the city. Lots of folks retire to the desert and when they move on their treasures often wind up in the hands of local dealers. Little Shop of Treasures is a popular antique collective on Sunny Dunes Road, next to Q Trading and the other antique shops are across the street. Individual dealers generally rent space in a section of the shop allowing sales to go on if they aren't around. The Sunny Dunes Antique Mall is the largest collective on the strip showing off wares of more than two dozen dealers.
For a mainstream bargain shopping experience, the Desert Hills Premium Outlets is the place. It's in the town of Cabazon and about 25 minutes north of downtown. The outlet mall attracts a lot of tourists from Asia who want the latest American fashion at bargain prices.
The Palm Springs Public Library 300 S Sunrise Way includes a large selection of LGBT books and DVDs. It is well loved by locals, but visitors are welcome. If you are not a city resident, you can get a free library card with a California Driver’s License. If you are from out of state, you can buy a one-month library card for $10 or $30 for a year. You can borrow that perfect vacation book or DVD. Many hotels have DVD players in the room. If you are interested in LGBT history in Palm Springs, check out the David Wallace book “A City Comes Out” or the documentary “Desert Migration,” which chronicles the migration of HIV positive gay men to Palm Springs before the advent of HIV protease inhibitors in 1996.
If your hotel’s pool is not hard-core enough for you, mix it up with the locals at The Palm Springs Swim Center, just across the park from the library. Regulars visit with an annual pass but one-time visits for non-residents are $5.