Palm Springs, California
Palm Springs: Gay Since Back in the Day

Gay Since Back in the Day

The coming out of Palm Springs, California

The city’s LGBT history began to emerge when Hollywood movie stars came to the desert to escape the tabloids. Stars could drive to the desert without fear of photographers snapping away at their private lives. Since the 1920s, Palm Springs has been a playground for Hollywood, both straight and gay, and getting away to the desert was only a two-hour drive. It was only a matter of time before these celebs would make their way to Palm Springs. With second homes already well-visited, it was natural for Hollywood’s stars and powerbrokers to settle down in the desert.

Waves of support

Walking down Palm Canyon Drive today, it’s hard not to notice rainbow flags hanging in businesses and see men or women lovingly together. Palm Springs has worked tirelessly to ensure that it remains a desert oasis for everyone. And with the largest collection of gay resorts in the world, Palm Springs attracts LGBT visitors with boutique experiences that capitalize on making the most of fun in the sun. These, as well as all the fabulous “everyone-welcome” hotels, resorts and accommodations, ensure that there’s no shortage of where to stay while visiting.

Palm Springs attracts LGBT visitors with boutique experiences that capitalize on making the most of fun in the sun.

Palm Springs is now the place to be seen, especially at events throughout the year such as “Cinema Diverse”, the Palm Springs film festival, which just celebrated its 10-year anniversary. Another event contributing to the appeal is the Greater Palm Springs Pride, celebrated in November, after the desert sun cools down and months after most of the prides around the nation and world have come and gone.

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Ways to play

For those looking to party any night of the week, the East Arenas Road vicinity has an impressive list of bars and clubs such as Hunters, the largest nightclub on the block which includes a main bar, patio lounge and dedicated dance space that opens on the weekends. Streetbar Palm Springs, also known as “Streetbar Named Desire”, is the oldest bar on Arenas Road with an enormous chandelier always decorated for the holidays…not to be missed. QuadZ is the block’s video bar featuring its show tunes nights, and Score is Arenas Road’s unabashed dive bar, opening at 6:00 a.m. for early drinkers…I mean risers. Blackbook Bar and Kitchen is the street’s youngest sibling, with killer nachos served on cookie sheets, while Chill Bar Palm Springs is a local hangout with a large outdoor deck to sit with friends and people watch.

When visiting Palm Springs, you'll be surrounded by many LGBT-owned businesses. One example is Eight4Nine Restaurant & Lounge located in the Uptown Design District, which is evident by its incredibly white modern décor with bright pink accents throughout. Trio Restaurant is a local favorite since it opened with vibrant colors, creative lighting, an art collection and a menu that’s highly ranked on Trip Advisor, Open Table, Zagat and many more.

For a coffee experience as unique as the Palm Springs style, visit one of the four Koffi locations, with the latest just opened in a mid-1970s historic property, designed by master architect Hugh Kaptur. Or enjoy Townie Bagels, making fresh bagels the old fashioned way, and once you’re in and have taken a whiff of that baked intoxicating scent, you’ll know why they are so popular…pass the cream cheese, please.

The city has come a long way from its initial start as a Hollywood hideaway. Late last year, Palm Springs, California, ushered in America’s first all-LGBT city council. After the momentous occasion occurred, there was no huge announcement or proclamation. The real victory was that voters cared more about the issues and the candidates’ platforms. Palm Springs today represents a beautifully diverse desert paradise, celebrating and honoring its history and bringing with it a reputation of an open and welcoming city to all.

Find more ways to express yourself in Palm Springs.