Head South for the Winter–and Keep Going Until You Hit Palm Springs

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again—we LOVE Palm Springs! Whether it is for a quick boys trip or a nice romantic getaway, Palm Springs has you covered. One of the great advantages of living so close to one of the best gay hubs in the U.S. is that if you decide last minute to get out of town the desert is less than two hours away! It’s the perfect holigay!

There is so much to do in Palm Springs that no matter the time of year, you will get a much needed escape and you’ll be planning your next trip before you even leave.

On a recent trip to Palm Springs, I was pleasantly surprised how much the destination had to offer even if you are only there for one night. We planned a quick trip to watch one of our favorite drag icons–the skinny legend—Trixie Mattel and we ended up getting much more than we expected out of our adventure to Palm Springs during the winter.

STAY – Riviera Palm Springs

If you’re looking for a great place to stay for a quick overnight trip to Palm Springs, the Riviera is where it’s at! This luxurious resort is located right in the heart of Palm Springs and has so much to offer. The pool is beautiful, but if you want to beat the winter cold—the spa will hit the spot. The rooms at the Riviera are large, comfortable, and will make it hard to want to leave the hotel. The chic midcentury modern motif makes the Riviera the perfect desert oasis.

If you want to splurge a little and get a nice place, I definitely recommend the Riviera. Otherwise, an Airbnb might be the way to go if you don’t mind staying a little further away from the action.

EXPERIENCE – Trixie Mattel | Outlandish Performance Events

The main reason for heading to Palm Springs on a whim was to catch one of Palm Springs’ Outlandish Performance Events featuring Trixie Mattel, winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 3. The events take place at the historic Camelot Theatre at the Palm Springs Cultural Center and are part of a season of LGBTQ+ acts that are a perfect excuse to get to Palm Springs.

Trixie’s final show of her tour Now With Moving Parts was just short of 2 hours and featured a mix of her folk music, comedy, and an extended traditional drag routine that was giving the audience LIFE! With 3 costume changes, Trixie definitely showcased why she deserves to be in the Drag Race Hall of Fame.



Outlandish is a series produced by Matt Farber, the founder of Logo. This season’s performances included John Water, Miss Richfield, Pam Ann, Randy Rainbow, and Baloney! San Francisco’s All Male Revue.

For more information on Outlandish Performance Events, visit: outlandishps.com

EAT – Rick’s Restaurant and Bakery

One of my favorite things to do when I travel is to wake up and find a great spot where I can sit down with a nice cup of coffee and a good breakfast soaking in the day. We stumbled upon Rick’s after some quick Yelp reviews and when we arrived we saw there were crowds of people arriving. That’s always a great sign!

Rick’s is your typical diner, but what sets it apart from any other joint is that it has the biggest cinnamon rolls in Palm Springs…and possibly California…and possibly the U.S. I don’t know, I’m not an expert on cinnamon rolls. These cinnamon rolls are gigantic! Bigger than my hand and towering with a thick layer of gooey frosting—and they still serve it with a side of butter. It’s definitely shareable, but if you love your carbs…don’t share.

Their breakfasts are traditional and come in large portions, but try finishing them after you’ve already wrecked that cinnamon roll.

If you’re looking for a simple, easy place to grab a bite before you head back on the road or head to the Palm Springs Museum—check out Rick’s—and take the cinnamon roll challenge!

Check out Rick’s Restaurant and Bakery if you’re in Palm Springs!


Something really special about Palm Springs that many people may not know is that the city is a major attraction during the holiday season. Not only is the main strip on Palm Canyon Drive lit up in holiday spirit, but there is a major attraction that welcomes thousands of visitors per year to a residential area of Palm Springs. If you haven’t experienced Robolights, you HAVE to. Obviously it only happens during the holiday season, so if you’re planning a trip to the desert, why not forego your usual summer escapade and make the trip in December to check out one of the best holiday light displays you will ever see.



Since 1986, Palm Springs resident and installation artist Kenny Irwin has been transforming his 4-acre property into a surreal winter wonderland. The light display features larger-than-life robots that welcome you into their dreamlike holiday world with eccentricities and surprises around every corner. The light display is available every night during the holiday season from 4:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., including holidays and rainy days. You are immediately transported into a foreign planet where mannequins, werewolves, repurposed materials, toilets, and over 8.4 million lights make your visit unforgettable.



Artist Kenny Irwin says:

Though ROBOLIGHTS is an extraordinary experience for people of all ages and back grounds to inspire imagination and creativity in people it also to encourage respect for the limited resources of our world in the form of sustainability that you see in the art made out of recycled items. At ROBOLIGHTS, You are taken into a parallel universe walking through immensely long zig zagging pathways that leads up to hundreds of giant robots, aliens & huge displays everywhere, space ships, rocket sleds and art created out of apx thousand tons of stuff including donated junk from over the last few decades that has come from family, neighbors, friends etc. Junk that would have otherwise ended up in a land fill but has been transformed into art everyone can enjoy.

If you go:

The house is located at 1077 E Granvia Valmonte, Palm Springs, California

There is a $5 suggested donation

Park at Ruth Hardy Park just 2 blocks from the house and take the 7-10 minute walk. Bundle up ‘cuz it gets cold and possibly bring a flashlight since there are very few street lights in this area.

Give yourself a good 2 hours to walk around and explore as much as you can. There are so many awesome visuals and interactive installations that your curiosity will make want to stay all night!

You can TEXT 1-760-774-0318 to make an appointment to see art inside year round in case you can’t make it during the holidays—lights probably won’t be on, but there is SO MUCH TO LOOK AT!

DRINK/DANCE – Toucans Tiki Lounge

One of the best spots to party in Palm Springs is Toucans Tiki Lounge where you will find crowds of locals mixed with out-of-towners drinking and dancing the night away. Toucans is at the beginning of the Palm Canyon Drive strip as if welcoming you to the heart of the gay Southern California desert. Toucans is every bit a tiki lounge with its giant tiki torches and tropical aesthetic. People dance under the cabana dance floor surrounded by go-go boys or hang out in the outside patio with their famous tiki hurricanes. Some nights a week Toucans hosts drag performances while other nights they host bear night, Latin night, and other dance parties. If you’re in Palm Springs, Toucans is a great stop on your night out while on gay holiday.

So if you’re looking for something to do during the winter months, don’t hesitate to head to the desert and make your holiday a Palm Springs holiday.

If you have travel ideas, places we should visit, or work for a PR company and are looking for writers to visit, please reach out to customerservice@instinctmagazine.com and address your comments to the Managing Editor.


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