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A Rainbow of Options
Your LGBTQ+ Guide to Palm Springs

By Kevin Perry

Community is a concept that transcends gatherings and geographical boundaries. It is a sense of belonging that pulses through our extended gay family, drawing us together and inspiring us to seek out acceptance and adventure.

Welcome to Palm Springs - Purple

Ever since its inception as Hollywood’s Playground, this desert oasis has been synonymous with discretion and liberation. Movie stars could be exactly who they wanted to be, away from the ravenous glare of the watching world. Passion has room to flourish out here; the Palm Springs landscape unfurls with open vistas, open minds, and open hearts.

The Best Nightlife,
Bar None

The gay scene has been raucously re-imagined in the Inland Empire, embracing the camaraderie of safe spaces while simultaneously expanding them into the splendor of the great outdoors. Social distance has never felt so intimate as you sip brunch beverages at Oscar’s Café or Bongo Johnny’s. Feast on the mountain and urban views on either side of you and savor the possibilities of the gay-day that lies ahead.

As your gaze travels south, Palm Canyon Drive curves seductively into seclusion, where you will discover Tool Shed. The owners recently invested approximately $20,000 to upgrade their exteriors with durable furniture, tents, and fire pits, adding rugged accoutrements to the bar’s already masculine appeal. The renovation celebrates our desire to embrace queer culture while respecting each other’s collective boundaries. As your LGBTQ experience ramps up, soar north to Toucans Tiki Lounge and enjoy a late afternoon cocktail.

Black Book
Oscar’s Patio

Venture onward to the epicenter of the Palm Springs social scene: Arenas Road. That’s where you will find BlackBook serving gourmet pub food with a tantalizing view of the cuddly clientele at Bear Wear. 

Across the road, Hunters nightclub pours happy hour elation that will shatter your inhibitions without breaking your bank account. Next door, the Streetbar patio is your premier destination for gay solidarity. Everyone has a life story (or two); you will meet instant BFFs who are eager to recount their anecdotes over libations and laughs.

Perk up your ears and get serenaded by the show tunes spilling joyously from the other side of Arenas. Quadz has translated their video bar prowess into an outdoor lounge tour de force. Shimmy your way to the adjacent lot, where two powerhouse pubs share a sprawling swath of real estate. Veer left for the gritty Levi and leather realness of Eagle 501 or swerve right for drag queen shenanigans and a hip, queer atmosphere at Chill Bar.

Eat (and Entertain) Like a Kween

Speaking of drag queens, they are tucking in to serve up some attitude and gratitude. Roly China Fusion has established a fab collab with local legend Tommi Rose to bring you a program called Drag & Dine. Order luscious meals and world-class entertainment as a fierce performer shows up at your front door with a heaping helping of shantay. 

Palm Springs is the capital of gay-owned sustenance, shimmering with bright orange pride at Trio. Their hearty fare will soak up signature cocktails that keep your fabulosity thriving.

Purple Room

Get the celebrity treatment at Tropicale – literally! Owner Tony Di Lembo was the personal chef of one Barbra Streisand, so you will be dining in the afterglow of a true queer icon. Now that stardom is coursing through your veins and satiating your belly, groove next door for some post-meal entertainment at Copa Nightclub.

Or if you prefer your dinner theater served up raunchy and irreverent, color yourself tickled pink at the Purple Room. Judy Garland comes to life in a singing slurring celebration of excess, courtesy of master impressionist Michael Holmes. He doesn’t just bend gender; he ties it up and makes it beg for mercy!

A Gay Resort Wonderland

Now that you have painted the town ROYGBIV, it’s time to rest your beautiful bones. Palm Springs boasts the most alluring array of LGBTQ resorts in America, so you can choose between flirty, serene, and everything in between.

For a clothing-optional excursion in the heart of the Uptown Design District, consider the naturist appeal of Canyon Club. Their gregarious garden initiates you into the wildlife of gay Palm Springs. You could also find your inner roar across the street at Bearfoot Inn, an unassuming yet inviting hotel catering to beefy bathing beauties and the men who love them.

The Warm Sands neighborhood is a smorgasbord of gaycation attractions. From the boutique intimacy of Desert Paradise to the cabana esteem of INNdulge to the architectural majesty of the Hugh Kaptur designed Triangle Inn, these resorts crave to be explored. Right across the street from Triangle Inn is the quaint Santiago Resort, a comfortable, relaxing and sensual resort you will not want to leave. If you are looking for something more upscale, well awarded Hacienda at Warm Sands is more than a resort, it’s an experience.

Triangle Inn
Relax By the Pool

If you are interested in checking out your fellow man, check out Vista Grande and All Worlds in Warm Sands.

Find your happy place at nearby El Mirasol, one of the oldest gay resorts built on the grounds of a former Howard Hughes property. Flex your playful side at Tortuga del Sol, emblazoned with a festive color scheme that immediately puts you in a party mood. Or venture just south of Warm Sands to enjoy La Dolce Vita, the only resort in town that includes a spa exclusively for gay men. Strip away your cares and your clothes at one of Palm Springs’ many clothing-optional enclaves.

Dress to Thrill

As you awake in your chosen LGBTQ nirvana, you encounter a new dawn of shopping possibilities. To strut your stuff to the max, you need a midcentury makeover that suits your signature flair. Is it going to be a dom daddy day, or will resort refinement reign supreme?

If leather is your pleasure, saddle up to Rough Trade Gear or Off Ramp Leathers. The latter is adjacent to Q Trading Company, a gift shop that encourages you to commemorate your visit to our visceral vacation destination.

At the other end of the style spectrum, get colorful at Division men’s wear, right next to Palm Springs Piercing Company. Your skillfully adorned, scantily clad body is now ready to pair with the perfect top, which you will find at Seaplane Shirts. With a color palette that spans the stratosphere and the depths of the ocean, the fashion tableau of Palm Springs truly re-imagines the rainbow.

As you plan your next sojourn to our homo hamlet, keep in mind that there are no wrong turns, so long as you avoid the straight and narrow. We can’t wait to see you!

Click here for more ideas on the perfect LGBT getaway to Palm Springs

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