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Big Wheel Tours Palm Springs

CHECK OUT THE BIG ONE

It’s one of the best known, and most menacing geological features in North America.  The San Andreas Fault is the oft-blamed continental rift responsible for plenty of earthquakes in California.  While the science of this tear in the earth’s crust is fascinating, did you know you can actually get up close with this amazing force of nature, just a few miles away from Palm Springs?

Visiting the San Andreas Fault line

Visiting the San Andreas Fault is easy. All it takes is a decent car. 4WD is not necessary unless you want to get to a few difficult places, and most of those are just a short hike from a public road. In some places like the Morongo Indian Reservation or the San Bernardino Mountains, you are not permitted entry or there simply are no public roads (but you can back pack in or day hike). Otherwise, access is a breeze. Many sections of the fault are in National Parks, National Forests or on BLM land. With hundreds of miles of mostly quiet, scenic roads, you’ll see dramatic land forms, horribly twisted rock, and lots of wildlife and flowers.

Finding the fault is relatively easy. Seeing the fault is another matter. The SAF has not had a major ground-rupturing earthquake since 1906. Learn more from the USGS here. Much of the “giant crack in the ground” people imagine has been erased. The surface trace of the fault is subtle. What one has to look for are the land forms the plate motion has created. This is why we recommend taking a guided tour.  Guides familiar with the fault know the best areas to view it from.  Most tours are 2-4 hours and many include lunch.  Pricing varies from $139-$169 per person.

Below are a few of the more popular tours available:

Big Wheel Tours

https://bwbtours.com/tours/

760.548.0500

Come see where earthquakes are born! You will see first hand what geologists have called “the most tortured landscape on earth” as you visit the backcountry trails of a Bureau of Land Management Wilderness zone.
Clients will also get an up close look at the Coachella Valley’s $500 million+ agriculture industry on the drive to and from the backcountry. Sheer canyon walls, fascinating geology, and abundant native desert plant and animal life are highlights of this tour. This is the most colorful portion of the San Andreas Fault in all of California. The spectrum of layers and colors will dazzle you. We try to cater the hiking and nature walking to each group. If clients want to hike more, we will. If clients want to keep it a strictly driving tour we will.

Desert Adventures Red Jeep Tours

https://red-jeep.com/

760-324-5337

Extraordinary scenery abounds as your Big Red Jeep winds its way through the labyrinth of geological cuts and canyons of the San Andreas Fault Zone as your naturalist guide entertains you with stories about the plants, animals, geology, and history of the California desert. On this exciting 4WD adventure to our private Metate Ranch preserve on the San Andreas Fault you will: Experience the twisted and tortured landscape of an active earthquake fault system as your guide describes the geology of the area and you explore the skeleton of the earth. Walk between the steep walls of deep canyons created by the powerful forces of plate tectonics, water, wind, and time. Explore a natural palm oasis where crystal clear water bubbles up from the underground aquifer. Learn about the culture and lifestyle of the Cahuilla Indians and how they used the desert’s plants for food, medicine, tools, weapons, shelter, and more. Learn about the plants and animals of the California desert. Discover the fascinating history of the Coachella Valley. Enjoy spectacular views as your guide describes the geologic forces and local history that shaped the Coachella Valley.

Private Tours – Private tours are sold by the vehicle. Each Jeep holds up to 7 guests.

Adventure Hummer Tours

https://www.adventurehummer.com/

760-285-0876

Start your 3-hour tour by making your way to the meeting point in Palm Desert, or request hotel pickup in Palm Springs. Jump in the open-air Hummer and enjoy the dry desert wind in your face.
After arriving at the San Andreas Fault, walk right over it on a bridge that spans the ravine. Your expert guide will regale you with amazing geological facts about the fault and speak of its interesting history. Some of the oldest canyons in the planet are here. Gawk at the strange rock formations and keep an eye out for bighorn sheep, particularly when the tour moves on to Berdoo Canyon, also known as the Big Game Corridor.
Visit Thousand Palms Oasis, the third-largest oasis in the world. Expect to be dazzled by the sight, as you take a 30-minute eco walk here. Learn the fascinating history of the local Cahuilla Indians and visit the cabin of the first settler who resided in the area.
For more information, check out these sites:

 

 

It’s one of the best known, and most menacing geological features in North America.  The San Andreas Fault is the oft-blamed continental rift responsible for plenty of earthquakes in California.  While the... Read More »


Art in the Desert

ART IN THE HIGH DESERT

Art is often viewed in isolated settings:  museums or the walls of our homes and offices. But if viewed within the context of the creative process, there is potential for a deeper understanding.  This is precisely what the yearly, self-guided Hwy 62 Open Studio Art Tours allows viewers to do.

Now in its 17th year, the Hwy 62 Open Studio Art Tours, is a one-of-a-kind experience for art lovers to self-guide through 90 plus studios.  There you can meet directly with over 150 artists, speaking about their work and creative endeavors’ in the intimacy of their private studios.  And you’ll have the opportunity to purchase works directly from the artist that created them.

Presented over two weekends, the studio tour is often referred to as a “desert treasure hunt!” The “East End Weekend” covers studios in TwentyNine Palms, Wonder Valley, and East Joshua Tree.  The “West End Weekend” tour covers studios in Morongo Valley, Yucca Valley, Pioneertown, Landers and West Joshua Tree.

Catalogs and maps for the Hwy 62 Art Tours are available at area galleries, Chambers of Commerce, the TwentyNine Palms Visitor Center, and the MBCAC.  You’ll want to be sure to bring water and be prepared to drive on desert dirt roads to some studios.

The annual Hwy 62 Open Studio Art Tours is sponsored by the Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council (MBCAC).

And while you’re exploring, be sure to check out the Hi-Desert Cultural Center’s new Yucca Valley Visual & Performing Arts Center presenting Desert Icons – a collection of works from 36 esteemed and renowned Hi-Desert artists spanning many mediums and a broad spectrum – from direct representation, to abstraction, and everything in-between.  Desert Icons closes October 21st.

More information can be found on the Palm Springs Life Blog and High Desert Test Sites.

Check out this Hwy 62 Art Tours Video and Follow them on Instagram.

 

 

 

 

Art is often viewed in isolated settings:  museums or the walls of our homes and offices. But if viewed within the context of the creative process, there is potential for a deeper... Read More »


Palm Springs Modernism Week

FALL MODERNISM WEEK

Mid Century Art and Architecture fans take note: one of Palm Springs’ most popular winter events has expanded to include an October preview week.  Without the crowds and long lines, Fall Modernism Week is the perfect time to see some of those architectural gems Palm Springs is famous for.  Check out the stellar lineup of events and attractions here.

Modernism Week Fall Preview 2018 will feature a selection of the most popular events from the February festival, including the Palm Springs Modernism Show & Sale, architectural walking tours, festive cocktail parties, home tours, stimulating lectures, the not-to-be-missed Premier Double Decker Architectural Bus Tours, tours of Sunnylands, and more! Returning this year is the popular Palm Springs Modernism Show & Sale – Fall Edition Preview Reception, an exclusive sneak peek of the Modernism Show & Sale before it opens to the public. Attendees will be the first to shop from the 40 world-class exhibitors. This special event is a benefit for Modernism Week, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Fall Preview Events are added frequently and there are always events accessible up to and during the weekend.

Visit https://tickets.modernismweek.com/e/fall-preview for a full list of events and to purchase tickets.

Mid Century Art and Architecture fans take note: one of Palm Springs’ most popular winter events has expanded to include an October preview week.  Without the crowds and long lines, Fall Modernism... Read More »


Best Drinks in Palm Springs

SHAKEN OR STIRRED?

Cocktail culture has long been a Palm Springs trademark but the current craft cocktail wave is taking it to a whole new level.  Will you choose a Mountaineer, a Bad Hombre or a Black Manhattan?  Each of these creations are current concoctions made by some hot new talent behind the bars of some great Palm Springs’ establishments.  Check out our very subjective list of the five best bars offering truly amazing craft cocktails.

Seymour’s

A part of Palm Spring’s iconic F10 Creative group (Cheekies, Birba, Mr Lyons and now owners of Toucan’s!) Seymour’s is an intimate speakeasy located alongside Mr. Lyons. The décor harkens back to an older era with vintage furnishings and plush chairs. While their mixologists excel at the classics their original cocktails are anything but old style. Stop by and check out the Chamo Car (Chamomile Infused Cognac, Fresh Lemon Juice & Black Pepper Honey) or the Wait…what? Avocado? (Fords Gin, Lime Juice, Simple Syrup, Avocado & Mint).

http://www.seymoursps.com/


Mini Bar at The Parker

True to its name, Mini Bar is a small, tucked away spot in the lobby of the Parker Hotel. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a unique cocktail and the eclectic surroundings of the Parker.  Be sure and try the Saffron Sky (Clase Azul Blanco, Grilled Pineapple, Campari, Lime, & Saffron Bitters).

https://www.parkerpalmsprings.com/food-and-drink

 

Workshop Kitchen + Bar

One of the first bars in Palm Springs to have true mixologists, Workshop is not to be missed. Walk through the architecturally award winning restaurant to find the bar. Their signature cocktails change seasonally but the bartenders are very accommodating. If one of the four Classics (like the French 75 or the Brown Derby) or the four Originals (Ancho Libre is our favorite) doesn’t fit your style – just throw them a theme and they will whip up a new creation.

https://workshoppalmsprings.com/

 

Truss and Twine

You can’t go wrong at this centrally located Uptown/Design District cocktail bar. Our waiter Johnny was quick with suggestions – and always on the mark. Cocktails are categorized by time period (including Gimlets from the “Golden Age” and a Surfer on Acid from the “Dark Ages,” otherwise known as the end of the 20th century) along with some interesting originals like the Game Changer mixed up with gin, onion brine, and celery bitters.

https://trussandtwine.com/

 

Paul Bar

Just opening this Summer, Paul Bar is sure to become a mainstay. What appears to be a hole in the wall will surprise you. Enter into what feels like a speakeasy in Manhattan of yester year, featuring a beautiful “old timey” bar and buttoned up mixologists ready to awaken your spirit senses.  The bar is always under the supervision of Paul – a New York transplant with a lot of talent and a lot to say. From the bourbon based Frozen Sidecar to the herbaceous and gin based Horticultural we found all the cocktails refreshing and satisfying. Now it’s time for you to find yours!

http://paulbarps.com/home/

Cocktail culture has long been a Palm Springs trademark but the current craft cocktail wave is taking it to a whole new level.  Will you choose a Mountaineer, a Bad Hombre or... Read More »


Splash House Palm Springs

SPLASH HOUSE 2

Palm Springs celebrates summer twice a year with one of the hottest pool and music festivals anywhere. Splash House 2, a second amazing weekend of international artists, poolside fashion, sounds and community, makes its way here August 10 – 12. Shuttles run non-stop between all three poolside stages for concerts and after hours parties. Six years old this summer, Splash House is swimming strong.

Palm Springs celebrates summer twice a year with one of the hottest pool and music festivals anywhere. Splash House 2, a second amazing weekend of international artists, poolside fashion, sounds and community,... Read More »


Idyllwild Jazz Festival

IDYLLWILD: JAZZ IN THE PINES

At over 5000 feet in elevation, “Mile High Idyllwild” is a favorite day trip for many Santiago guests.  One of our favorite reasons to go is the upcoming Jazz in the Pines festival with over two dozen daytime performances by jazz, R&B and blues artists.  Scheduled for August 10th and 11th, this year is the festival’s 25th anniversary.  It’s a very cool getaway during the desert summer.

Visit the Festival’s site for more info and tickets http://www.jazzinthepines.com/

At over 5000 feet in elevation, "Mile High Idyllwild" is a favorite day trip for many Santiago guests.  One of our favorite reasons to go is the upcoming Jazz in the Pines... Read More »


Palm Springs Tramway

BEST TOP IN PALM SPRINGS

It’s the world’s largest, takes 10 minutes to ride and gives a whole new meaning to being on top.  This is our favorite summer escape in Palm Springs – hop on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway and travel up Chino Canyon to a very cool elevation of 8,500 feet. There you’ll find restaurants, observation decks, 50 miles of hiking trails and temperatures 30 degrees cooler than the desert valley floor!

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway takes you up Chino Canyon to Mt. San Jacinto State Park and an elevation of 8,516 feet.  There you’ll find restaurants, observation decks, a natural history museum, two documentary theaters, gift shop, 50 miles of hiking trails and temperatures 30 degrees cooler than the desert floor!

Opened in 1963, this is the largest rotating aerial tramway in the world.  You’ll be thrilled with the canyon views from the 10 minute tram ride.  At the Mountain Station top, you can stroll the groomed paths through the alpine like forest or hike to the top of Mt. San Jacinto for another 2,600 elevation gain.

Temperatures range 25-35 degrees cooler year round and in the summer that means average temperatures in the 70s and 80s – perfect for hiking or just relaxing in a much cooler climate than the valley floor.

The locally owned and managed Peaks Restaurant is a great place to relax and rejuvenate after a hike or as a dinner destination.

Summer Hours:

Monday through Thursday:10AM to 8:45PM

Weekends: 8AM to10:30PM

Helpful Links to Help you plan your Tramway adventure…

San Jacinto Peak from the Tramway – https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/california/san-jacinto-peak-from-the-tramway

Peaks Restaurant and Pines Café – https://www.pstramway.com/dining/

Palm Springs Tramway tickets – https://www.pstramway.com/tickets/

Hiking at the top of the Tram – https://www.pstramway.com/hiking/

It’s the world’s largest, takes 10 minutes to ride and gives a whole new meaning to being on top.  This is our favorite summer escape in Palm Springs – hop on the... Read More »


Palm Springs Best Happy Hours

OUR FAVORITE HAPPY HOURS

Who doesn’t love a Happy Hour?  After a full day of pool and sun, there’s no better way to move into the evening than joining the crowd at one of Palm Springs’ many Happy Hours!  We’ve put together the definitive list (at least to us) of the top ten Happy Hours you’re not gonna want to miss.

Palm Springs is known for its awesome Happy Hour menus and drink specials.  Several, like Mr. Lyons, Tropicale, and Lulu’s, are very well known.  Here are a few of our favorites you may not have heard of.

PaulBar

Happy Hour from 4PM-7:15 every day!

Very new to the Palm Springs scene, PaulBar has a fantastic, old school feel with big comfy booths and a massive wooden bar, all orchestrated by who else but Paul!  The Happy Hour focus is on drink and craft cocktail specials with small plates ranging from $6-10.

http://paulbarps.com

 

Truss & Twine

Happy Hour 4-6PM every day!

A small intimate bar with a mixed crowd known for their amazing craft cocktails and creative bar food.  Happy Hour menu includes small plates ranging from $6-$10, along with daily wine and cocktail specials.

https://trussandtwine.com

 

Moxie

Happy Hour 4-7PM every day!

This lively place is a great spot to people watch from the 2nd floor patio overlooking downtown on Palm Canyon Drive.  Drink specials are $5/$6 and bar bites start at only $2!

http://www.moxiepalmsprings.com/

 

Draughtsman

Happy Hour 3-6PM Monday through Friday

A large open space with great energy, Draughtsman has daily beer, wine and cocktail specials, as well as new Happy Hour food plates.  A huge assortment of beer, and rustic comfort food are their specialty.  Your favorite team is always playing on one of the many video screens behind the bar.

https://draughtsmanpalmsprings.com/

 

Shanghai Red’s Oyster Bar

Happy Hour 8PM –Close on weeknights, 9PM – close on weekends

Reduced prices on small plates, oysters, and amazing fish tacos recently featured on the Food Network!

https://www.fishermans.com/restaurants-in-palm-springs

 

El Jefe at The Saguaro Hotel

Every Tuesday and Thursday. $5 Margaritas and $4 tacos all night long!

It is definitely a happening spot on these evenings, and they do not take reservations.

Open until 10PM.

https://thesaguaro.com/palmsprings/#eat-drink

 

Wabi Sabi

4-6 Tokyo Tasting Tuesday (RSVP Suggested, which can be done online)

This is something a little different. Every Tuesday Wabi Sabi holds a private sake tasting.  Very inexpensive and sure to expand your knowledge of sake!

https://www.wabisabijapanliving.com/

Who doesn’t love a Happy Hour?  After a full day of pool and sun, there’s no better way to move into the evening than joining the crowd at one of Palm Springs’... Read More »


LIFESTYLES OF THE RICH AND FAMOUS

For decades, Palm Springs has been a hide-away for the rich and famous.  Drawn by the sun and close proximity to Hollywood, many interesting, fabulous people have built homes and estates here.  Many of these homes are considered true architectural gems of the city.  Below are some of the great walking tours available to the public.

The Palm Springs Historical Society offers one of the largest selections of walking tours.  All of the pre-scheduled tours are $20/per person and most last about two hours.  The tours are packed full of history.   You’ll stroll through beautiful neighborhoods of Palm Springs, including the Movie Colony and the breathtaking homes of Old Las Palmas.  Reservations are recommended, especially during peak season.  You can see a list of tours on their website.
www.pshistoricalsociety.org

Another interesting tour is sponsored by the Architecture and Design Center.

“The Docent Guided Walking Tours – The Architects and Visionaries Who Built Palm Springs” is a 90 minute tour for $25/per person.  The price of the tour also includes admission to both the Palm Springs Art Museum and the Architecture and Design Center.
www.psmuseum.org/architecture-design-center/tours

If interiors are your thing, then we recommend the “The Modern Tour”.  It’s a two and half tour of several home interiors, including ones owned by Frank Sinatra, William Holden, Elvis Presley, Elizabeth Taylor, Peter Lawford and more.  The cost is $175/person but it’s a once in a lifetime chance to see how some big time Hollywood stars lived in Palm Springs.
www.themoderntour.com

For decades, Palm Springs has been a hide-away for the rich and famous.  Drawn by the sun and close proximity to Hollywood, many interesting, fabulous people have built homes and estates here. ... Read More »


LATE NIGHT EATS

Over the past few years, the restaurant scene has changed dramatically in Palm Springs.  One of the most exciting changes is the number of restaurants that don’t close up shop at 9PM!!  For years the late night selection was pretty much iHop (great pancakes!)  Now there are some fantastic choices for folks that aren’t quite ready for that 6:00pm reservation.  We thought it would be great to highlight a few of the more notable places open later than the rest…

Birba

Open until 10:30PM week nights, 11:30PM weekends

Delicious Italian food, with great share plates and flat breads.  Try to save room for a homemade dessert!

http://www.birbaps.com/new/birba-home.html

Ruben & Ozzy’s Oyster Bar

Open until 11:00PM

This place used to be a well-kept secret for locals, even though it is right downtown.  Not a secret anymore! The word is out that this little place is serving some great food.  And there’s an awesome “after 9PM” happy hour menu.  Highlights are the seafood pastas, fish tacos, and any of the baked oyster dishes.

www.rubenandozzysoysterbar.com/

Smokin’ Burgers

Open until midnight!

Definitely a local favorite for grabbing a big juicy burger!  There are several great in-house combos, or you can build your own.  And if you’re a fan of crispy delicious tater tots, they can be ordered instead of fries!  YUM!

www.smokinburgerslounge.com

Black Book

Serves food until 1:00AM

Don’t let the bar scene fool you.  This place serves a surprisingly good upscale bar-food menu.  The chicken sandwich is juicy and delicious.  The hamburger is a city wide favorite.  And the nachos could possibly change your life! If you decide to order some fries, don’t worry one order is enough to share for the table.

www.blackbookbar.com

Sandfish Sushi

Palm Springs’ newest sushi restaurant is a very welcome addition to the food scene.  Upscale sushi…and whiskey bar.  They have some incredibly interesting menu selections that are creative and surprising as well as traditional rolls and nigiri. The dining area is small but there’s an awesome patio for those warm late nights when you’re hungry!

www.sandfishps.com

Kings Highway

Open until 11PM

King’s Highway is the roadside diner at Ace Hotel & Swim Club.  Formerly a Denny’s, this is now a funky hipster spot with a delicious and creative menu.  The dining room is filled with comfortable booths that are perfect for a late night bite.

www.kingshighwaydiner.com

 

Over the past few years, the restaurant scene has changed dramatically in Palm Springs.  One of the most exciting changes is the number of restaurants that don’t close up shop at 9PM!! ... Read More »