HomeTravelWelcome to Cathedral City: Palm Springs’ avant-garde neighbour

Welcome to Cathedral City: Palm Springs’ avant-garde neighbour

Over the last century, California’s artsy desert playground Cathedral City has proved something of a magnet for artists – so much so, in fact, that more than 70 professionals now call this place their home. Palm Springs’ avant-garde neighbour is laidback in every essence of the phrase, and while it shares the name with a popular British cheese brand, it is certainly not to be muddled; its name takes after a US army engineer, who in 1850 described its vast canyons as resembling “the interior of a grand cathedral”.

Today, Cathedral City has more arts studios, golf courses and homely restaurants than you’ll have time to experience in just one day, but with this guide you’ll be able to give it your best shot… even if your swing needs some practice.


Join the First Friday Art Walk

This is a free, self-guided walking tour of the Perez Road Art District that takes place between October and June, when the Coachella Valley heat is more bearable. You’ll join like-minded art lovers on a casual tour of 15 working studios in the neighbourhood, mingle with local artists, and have the chance to purchase paintings, ceramics, sculptures and more.

Welcome to downtown Cathedral City


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Practise your golf swing

With three courses in Cathedral City – Cimarron Golf Resort, Desert Princess Country Club and Cathedral Canyon Golf Club – there really is no excuse not to get out on the green. Those staying longer in the valley could consider a weekly pass at Cimarron, while various non-member tee times are available at Desert Princess. Cathedral Canyon’s golf lessons, for both adults and juniors, should shake off those pre-swing nerves, too. With the kids? Head to zany entertainment park Boomers, for mini-golf and more.

Watch a movie in style

It’s not every day you get to watch a movie in such a gorgeous building. Named after the renowned silent-movie actor, the Mary Pickford Theatre is a fine example of the Spanish Colonial architecture found throughout the Coachella Valley. New releases are shown here with DBOX technology – a fun motion system where your seat moves in tune with the thrills and spills of the action.

Create your own bespoke sandals

Nothing screams desert chic more than making your own pair of sandals. In a three-hour workshop with local footwear designer Debra Hovel, you’ll make your own summer footwear. First you choose a base, then select a design from the mounds of fabric, spanning leopard-print to tan. You can even make fancy tassels to go on the front if you desire. This really is a unique experience for fashion lovers.

Enjoy a workshop with a local footwear designer

(Richard Franks)


Bubba’s Bones & Brews

If it’s burgers and wings you’re after, you’ve come to the right place. From the popular Mac Daddy burger to all the smoked brisket you could wish for, Bubba’s is Cathedral City’s one-stop shop for all things beer and BBQ. Grab those napkins – it’s about to get messy.

Sol y Sombra

One of Cathedral City’s newest restaurants – and already one of its most popular – Sol y Sombra has found a home in the new Paloma resort. Expect a tapas-style menu with a desert twist, as Spanish-influenced dishes entwine with the Coachella Valley’s agricultural roots: dates, grapefruit and chillies. It’s a wise idea to round up your pals for the signature paella, and even wiser to order a few spicy margaritas.

Cat City is California’s artsy playground

(Visit Greater Palm Springs)


Arguably the best Italian restaurant in Greater Palm Springs, Trilussa offers traditional dishes, family favourites and a decent vegan selection at very reasonable prices. Trilussa is known for its three-tier bolognese lasagne and veal parmesan (eggplant option available), and the best tiramisu in the valley – but do book ahead as the locals love this place. Fully booked? Try your luck at the bar during happy hour (daily, 4-7pm).

Don & Sweet Sue’s Cafe

This place is all about the breakfast: French toast, waffles, pancakes and eggs feature heavily. Food lovers travel from all over the desert to sample this cafe’s homestyle cooking; it’s a Cathedral City icon since 1994, and one with a heartwarming backstory, too.


Luchador Brewing Company

There are 15 rotating craft taps at the bar in this dog-friendly brewery and pop-up taqueria on East Palm Canyon Drive. With so much choice, the hazy IPAs, Mexican-style lagers and stouts are best sipped from tasting flights – but growler jugs are available to take away your favourite.

The Roost Lounge

A welcoming gay bar and cocktail lounge where regular comedy, drag and karaoke events take centre stage. Roost remains at the heart of Cathedral City through its Roost Foundation, set up to support charities and school programmes within the local community. Rock up for the $5 (£4) happy hour, and stay to support good causes.


Palm Springs Candy Company

This place has been dishing out luxury hand-dipped chocolates for more than 75 years. Its offering has since expanded to include peanut brittle, marshmallows, fresh truffles, and toffee corn. Leave space after dinner.


You’ll find everything from odd desert trinkets to rare mid-century furniture at boujee antique store Spaces, in the Perez Art & Design District. While you won’t have space in your suitcase for a knoll sofa or a vintage ottoman, there’s definitely room for some locally made pottery or a vintage poster.


The Paloma

The Paloma’s 1920s adobe bungalows and chic poolside abodes pop with colour at every turn. Sprawling across some 2.5 acres of palm and cactus-dappled land, Cathedral City’s newest kid on the block is a Spanish-modernist-inspired resort with a tapas restaurant, playful pool, and dramatic mountainous backdrop. Those Cali trees follow you into the rooms, too – walls are adorned with blow-up art nodding to the resort’s arid surroundings – while an impressive mini-bar comes well stocked with local beers and snacks. But the best part of all comes on those clear early mornings: set an early alarm, brew a coffee, and sit outside your bungalow as the morning sun drifts between the tall palms.

Getting there

Virgin Atlantic and British Airways both operate daily direct flights from London Heathrow to Los Angeles international airport, from where it’s around a two-hour drive to Cathedral City.

More information

Visit visitgreaterpalmsprings.com.

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