• grab a picnic in town from sherman's deli and drive an hour north to joshua tree national park, where the mojave and colorado deserts meet. detour into the remote preserve to gawk at valleys of improbable joshua trees that more closely resemble dr. seuss drawings than yucca relations. sculptural rock clusters call to all kinds of climbers. trails abound, as do scenic desert drives. -

palm springs black book

ballantines and ballantines
movie colony
, (800) 780-3464,
www.ballantineshotels.com. from $149.

caliente tropics resort, (866) 468-9595, www.calientetropics.com. from $100.

estrella, (800) 237-3687,
www.estrellapalmsprings.com. from $135.

hope springs resort, (760) 329-4003,
www.hopespringsresort.com. from $150.

mojave, (800) 391-1104,
www.hotelmojave.com. from $195.

orbit in oasis and orbit
in hideaway
, (877) 996-7248,
www.orbitin.com. from $159.

canyon bistro, (760) 322-8664. inventive french-american fare on a pleasant patio.

el mirasol, (760) 323-0721.
rich moles and fiery salsa distinguish this storefront loved by locals.

the falls prime steakhouse, (760) 416-8664. enormous steaks and a lively martini bar.

johannes cosmopolitan cuisine, (760) 778-0017. austrian-born chef johannes bacher recently expanded his sunny, yummy spot.

st. james at the vineyard, (760) 320-8041. global fare, exuberant decor, and a popular bar.

the bamboo lounge, (760) 325-1281. classic cocktailing in bamboo-trimmed club with stools reserved for former regulars clark gable and spencer tracy.