Palm Springs Walk of the Inns, Festival of Lights
Aren’t I lucky that two of my very favorite desert holiday happenings just happen to happen in Palm Springs—a sweet candy cane’s throw from my place in Rancho Mirage—within weeks of each other? And to top it all off, they’re both free! In an attempt to seduce you to join me for these twin evening outings, I’ll describe each to you—not in order of preference (how could I choose?) but chronologically.
One of my most beloved traditions each December is the Festival of Lights, one of the Palm Springs Valley’s signature holiday event. This year’s incarnation—the 21st annual—will be held on Saturday, December 1, and be presented not only by the City of Palm Springs but by P.S. Resorts and the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. The parade will kick off at 5:45 p.m. on Palm Canyon Drive and Ramon Road, concluding at Tamarisk. The powers-that-be are expecting more than 90,000 spectators to visit Downtown Palm Springs to witness magnificent marching bands and sparkling holiday-themed floats bejeweled with thousands upon thousands of kaleidoscopic lights. For me, one of the highlights of this affair is always the gigantic Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade-style holiday balloons held aloft by various community residents.
A little less than two weeks later, it’s the Walk of the Inns, a self-guided walking tour of some of the best and brightest boutique hotels and historic bed & breakfasts Palm Springs has to offer. This year, on the evening of Thursday, December 13, a dozen or so select gems of the hospitality industry will open their doors for public tours. On the itinerary will be 100-year-old adobes, 1920s standouts, midcentury knockouts, and Mediterranean-inspired villas. Participating guesthouses include Casa Cody, Old Ranch Inn, Orbit Inn, Calla Lilly Inn, and many others. While most people on the tour spend just a few minutes exploring each property, I often find myself unable to leave Korakia Pensione, a Moroccan marvel that Forbes Traveler named one of the “Sexiest Hotels in America.” By the way, “korakia” means “crow” in Greek, and I could crow all day and night about this place. Be sure to see it, even if there’s a long line to get in. Trust me, it’s worth it.
The Walk of the Inns goes from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m., with the starting point being the Palm Springs Art Museum, which hands out free maps and flashlights for the occasion. I sincerely hope you and your loved ones had a great Thanksgiving, and I hope to see you as we kick off the rest of the holidays with these two exceptional events.