Travel Guide to California

La Quinta

La Quinta’s desert landscapes offer outdoor adventures and vibrant public art with a dash of Hollywood history

by christopher p. baker

At the foot of the Santa Rosa Mountains, sun-washed La Quinta offers year-round fun in temperatures averaging 75 degrees. Amid native smoke trees and purple sand verbena flowers, this desert city draws hikers and bikers, families and art lovers, shoppers and foodies. 

Play Outside

As a world golf capital, the city boasts 25 courses with velvety greens winding around glassy lakes reflecting shadowy mountains. Hit the links at the premier courses of the La Quinta Resort and Club, PGA West, and Talus La Quinta or at the many public golf courses.

La Quinta has jumped on the pickleball craze, adding more public courts. At the 12-acre Fritz Burns Park, eight public pickle-ball courts are open daily from dawn until 10 p.m.

Popular with local and visiting cyclists, this resort destination recently refreshed miles of bike lanes with visually appealing lime green reflective paint for safety. Around town, bikers can ride for miles on breath-takingly beautiful bike paths on flat terrain. Outside town, mountain bikers can tackle off-road desert and mountain trails. Bring your own bike or rent a cruiser at Village Peddler. If you want to go farther and faster, rent an e-bike from Pedego Electric Bikes. 

Lace up your hiking boots and hit La Quinta’s scenic trails, alive with desert flora and impressive mountain views. Suitable for all skill levels, trek past palm trees on compacted trails or tackle a steep, rugged mountain route. Whether hiking or biking, head to the Fred Wolff Nature Preserve, a natural desert park and wildlife habitat with trails winding past palo verde trees and creosote bushes. Carry lots of water and watch out for critters, such as the native Gambel’s quail.

The La Quinta Cove hiking trails offer organized group hikes in partnership with Friends of the Desert Mountains from October to April. Join a nighttime Star Party in the Mountains sky tour and study the night sky through telescopes and binoculars. For info on biking, hiking and 15 city parks, download the Bike, Trails and Parks Map on PlayInLaQuinta.com or find one at City Hall.

A Public Art Oasis

In this vibrant art community, the famous murals are worth a drive around town. Download an Art Map at PlayInLaQuinta.com.

Inspired by the desert, native wildlife, and local history, view murals such as “Portal of Poppies” by Larry Cush at Desert Club Drive and Calle Tampico or a Terri Hayes sculpture, “Fish Traps with Bear,” at Bear Creek Trail.

The city’s newest mural, “Birdsong,” reflects the legacy of the Desert Cahuilla Indians; view it on Avenida Montezuma on a building next to the La Quinta Art Museum. Find more murals at the La Quinta Library and at Art @ Fifth, a public art exhibit displaying over 100 unique pieces, from sculpture to mosaics.

Billed as the nation’s top fine art and craft showcase, the La Quinta Arts Celebration welcomes artists from around the world each March. View original works in ten different categories, including digital, glass and 3D mixed media.

Or make your own art. Create a cool gift to bring home at Art Major, a hands-on art studio for kids and adults at Plaza La Quinta.

An Enchanting Historic District

Inspired by Carmel, CA, wander the Spanish-style cobblestone streets of Old Town La Quinta for its creative vibe and architectural charm. Explore upmarket boutiques and art galleries for jewelry, golf apparel or gifts. Afterwards, find a café for dining local-style, alfresco under drapes of bougainvillea.

On Sundays from October through May, experience Coachella Valley’s agricultural abundance at Old Town’s certified farmers’ market. Pick out locally-grown fruit, honey or flowers as well as chef-prepared dishes and artisanal goods. Arrive early for morning yoga on the lawn, hosted by Gather, a local studio.

La Quinta’s Hollywood History

Explore local history at the La Quinta Museum with Andre Blanche’s 32-foot-long mural depicting the town’s rich history. In the Local History Gallery, learn about the earliest residents, the Desert Cahuilla Indians, one of the few Native American tribes who dug wells.

Next, head to the 1926 La Quinta Hotel to explore old Hollywood history. At this Tinseltown haunt, Clark Gable, Greta Garbo and Shirley Temple escaped to play under the desert sun. Today known as the luxe La Quinta Resort and Club, this resort literally gave the city its name upon its 1982 incorporation.

Around town, lodgings range from short- and long-term vacation homes, chain hotels and gorgeous resorts; many are pet friendly, including the upscale Chateau at Lake La Quinta. Or go Hollywood in a luxury suite at the La Quinta Resort and Club.

Hike. Bike. Shop. Golf.

City of La Quinta PlayInLaQuinta.com



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