Aficionados champion the perfect synthesis of style and setting as the reason for the area's relentless revival. The resort town is blessed with much the same recipe for success as South Beach, minus the ocean. "Our modernism breaks down the barrier of inside and out, with thin walls and lots of glass," says Tony Merchell, vice president of the city's Historic Site Foundation. "Palm Springs modernism doesn't cocoon you from the desert. It lives with it. And swings with it."

get out
there's more to palm springs than eames chairs and martinis at melvyn's. try the great outdoors:

• occupying agua caliente tropics resort tribal lands, the andreas, murray, palm, and tahquitz canyons buffer town and mountaintop. hike the others solo, but to see tahquitz, the most sacred of the canyons, requires a guided tour. in 1937, tahquitz falls posed as shangri-la in frank capra's film lost horizon. three decades later, the tribe closed the canyon in order to oust hippie squatters who were polluting the pristine reserve. the canyon has recently reopened, however, with a modernist-inspired visitors center by local architects lance o'donnell and anna escalante. varnished rocks, moonflowers, and fragrant lavender border the route to the oasis, where its idyllic waterfall seems to flow from nowhere.

• even the most ardent sun-worshipper appreciates a cool- down. and a trip up the palm springs aerial tram guarantees one. the tram whisks riders 8,500 feet above the valley floor to the san jacinto mountains for awesome hikes among pine forests that insulate snowdrifts until may. go trail running, have a snowball fight, or simply peer down into sudden desert and marvel at its terra-cotta calm.