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Explore the Sunny Dunes Gayborhood

A Gay in the Life

By Kevin Perry

Proximity is underrated. For many LGBTQ+ individuals, finding hotspots and cool hangouts often requires travel, research and effort, none of which contribute to a relaxing getaway.

The wonderful benefit of Palm Springs is how it brings inclusion to your front door, no matter where you hang your super-fashionable hat.

The Sunny Dunes neighborhood, for example, provides ample attractions for a laid back gaycation. Let’s take a deep dive into the establishments that factor into 24 hours in your life of leisure.

Start the gay off right with a hearty nosh at Townie Bagels. Their couture carbs are crafted with love and lots of hard work. The signature bagels, for example, are formed fresh each night, then boiled the following morning to create a delectable texture before they sizzle to perfection. Also, be sure to inquire about Townie’s sourdough selection: olive if you’re feeling Mediterranean and country if you’re in a rustic mood.

Townie Bagels palm springs

Now that you’re satiated and caffeinated, put that fierce fuel to great use: shopping! Antique Galleries of Palm Springs is just around the corner, so step back in time for some midcentury finds. From home décor to vintage keepsakes, AGPS sprawls across 12,000 square feet of browsing grandeur. You won’t feel cramped, but you will be cradled in collectibles. Speaking of cradling, you’ll definitely want a hug from the store’s head greeter: Barley the chocolate lab. He wears a rainbow bandana around his collar, so you can’t miss him!

Antique Galleries of Palm Springs

Before you experience the bar scene, you’ll want to look your sharpest, so stroll (confidently) over to nearby Sunny Dunes Barber Shop. They are friendly without being frilly, offering services that range from buzzcuts to beard trims to facial waxing and traditional ‘dos. Strike up a conversation with your stylist to find out which of them shares a birthplace with queer icon Judy Garland. Even if you guess wrong, you’re in the right place. The barber shop in its present location has been a part of the Palm Springs community for over 50 years and was formerly Joe’s Barber Shop.

Sunny Dunes Barber Shop

As the sun nestles in for a late afternoon nap behind the San Jacinto Mountains, a sense of naughtiness pervades the gayborhood. Don’t fight it; ignite it! Explore your wild side at Gear Leather & Fetish.  Just next door you can celebrate the love in your life with a gift from Q Trading Company. They have books, cards for every occasion, and tastes of every persuasion, so put the Q in your LGBTQ+ excursion.

Q Trading Company palm springs

OK, you’ve held out long enough. It’s time for the main event. The jewel in Sunny Dunes’ queer crown just got glitzier, because Tool Shed is expanding with a vengeance. Their recent $20,000 renovation opened the back door (pause for innuendo) and created a playground of cocktail prowess. The entire parking lot is now dominated by clientele lounging in an outdoor enclave as welcoming as it is spacious. Truly, this is the future of gay gatherings, circa the here and now.

Tool Shed is synonymous with decadence, so don’t hold back. Drink in the hedonism, not to mention a healthy selection of adult beverages, before strutting back to your amazingly convenient gay resort. The Sunny Dunes area features three clothing optional choices within walking distance.

Santiago is stylish without being snobby and flirtatious without being aggressive. Strike the perfect balance between exclusive and inclusive with amenities like an in-suite fireplace and bicycles for guests. The saline pool is framed by day beds, cool misters and hot Misters (if you catch our drift). Show off in the outdoor shower or feast on privacy in one of the wonderfully designed rooms.

santiago pool palm springs
If architecture is your thing, check out (and check into) Triangle Inn. Built by Hugh Kaptur back in 1958, this resort has maintained its throwback esteem while updating its vibe to fit the gays of today. The bold glass structures overlook placid greenery encircling the grounds, where the men are scantily clad, if clad at all. Indeed, clothing is optional at Triangle Inn, but a good time is virtually guaranteed.

Triangle Inn palm springs

The bad news: it seems like your first 24 hours in Sunny Dunes has almost expired. The great news: you can rest up royally and begin another day in this inviting, invigorating, incredible locale. After all, the ultimate draw of Palm Springs is more, more, more – more relaxation, more culinary sensations, and more gay-friendly than any other destination. Sunny Dunes will come out tomorrow… will you?

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