The first thing that comes to my mind, at least, when you think of Palm Springs is something straight out of the Rat Pack; you almost expect Sammy and Frankie to come down Palm Canyon Drive, strolling in a haze of alcohol, cologne, and machismo. The reality, on this Friday night, is something more prosaic; lots of families, but still relatively quiet. theVet made the observation that all these touristy towns start to look similar after awhile — you could swap State Street in Santa Barbara for Palm Canyon here, and no one would bat an eye.
That said, it’s still fascinating here, in a place that tries to appeal to all ages. Do you remember roughly ten years back, before the whole “What happens in Vegas …” tagline, they promoted Las Vegas as being for families too? That didn’t last too long, and Vegas remains unrepentantly for adults; Palm Springs has similar issues, I suspect, in not being able to shed its tennis-clubs-and-golf-courses image. After all, if that’s what motivates you, it’s one of the destinations you’ll always make time for. But if you yearn for a bigger demographic than that — that is, a younger demographic, and no, ironic hipsters aren’t big enough to sustain the next generation (when they’re not too busy congratulating themselves on just how ironic they are, that is) — then there’s got to be something unique about this place that must sustain interest.
It’s the laid-back attitude that needs to be emphasized; there’s nothing quite like going to a theme park and feeling that you need to hit every ride, every attraction, to make that luster wear off. With the high hills rising just west of the town, night falls early and abruptly — so you end up hurrying back to your room for a quiet evening in, knowing you’ve got tomorrow to plan and conquer. It’s a different sort of pace for Southern California, and one that’s all too sadly missing lately.