America's Coolest Desert Towns

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Photo Courtesy of Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism

The country’s top desert towns are reshaping the American West with cutting-edge art and great outdoor adventures.

Palm Springs, California

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Palm Springs may as well be the quintessential American desert town: palm-lined pools, Midcentury Modernist architecture, ruddy San Jacinto Mountains framing a distant view. The city first came roaring to national prominence during the Hollywood Golden Age, when stars like Bob Hope and Frank Sinatra built their sleek vacation mansions out in these hills. The low-slung profiles and clean lines of these so-called Desert Modernist structures evoke the expansive vistas you’ll find in the surrounding landscape, which you can explore by horseback, on a dune buggy, or from above on the two-and-a-half-mile Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.

Stay: Opened last fall in the former El Rancho Lodge, the 20-room Sparrows Hotel—on this year’s T+L It List—exudes a different aesthetic: a rustic-chic ranch setting with lots of wood paneling and a poolside bar inside a refurbished barn. Rates from $175.

America's Coolest Desert Towns

Palm Springs, California

Palm Springs may as well be the quintessential American desert town: palm-lined pools, Midcentury Modernist architecture, ruddy San Jacinto Mountains framing a distant view. The city first came roaring to national prominence during the Hollywood Golden Age, when stars like Bob Hope and Frank Sinatra built their sleek vacation mansions out in these hills. The low-slung profiles and clean lines of these so-called Desert Modernist structures evoke the expansive vistas you’ll find in the surrounding landscape, which you can explore by horseback, on a dune buggy, or from above on the two-and-a-half-mile Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.

Stay: Opened last fall in the former El Rancho Lodge, the 20-room Sparrows Hotel—on this year’s T+L It List—exudes a different aesthetic: a rustic-chic ranch setting with lots of wood paneling and a poolside bar inside a refurbished barn. Rates from $175.

Photo Courtesy of Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism
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