Over the next two weekends, Coachella Valley in Indio, California, will be overtaken by tens of thousands of festival goers, attending the annual, iconic Coachella Music & Arts Festival. But there’s much more than just music waiting for you in this idyllic desert getaway. Here’s just five things you should do while in the valley, other than attending the festivals…
Go for a drive around the surrounding Coachella Valley desert and landscape
The natural aura of the Valley is breathtaking. From expansive mountain ranges that circle the area, to mini dust tornadoes in the open flats, to booming and clear blue skies and to open back country roads that soon lead you to the green pastures of manicured golf courses; the Coachella area is unpredictable yet always exciting.
If the desert isn’t the only iconic landscape you’re after, around an hour away from Palm Springs in the mountains of Oak Glen – “California’s apple country”, lies Riley’s Farm. Over 760 acres, the expansive property is home to an 18th century colonial recreation in its restaurants, bakery, tavern and tea rooms. It’s location is unique to giving you first hand accounts on The Revolutionary and Civil Wars’, Gold Rush history and Colonial farm life experiences.
Beginning at the end of summer and continuing through Autumn to October, their U-Pick policy allows anyone to stop by and roam the orchards to pick anything from apples, pears, strawberries, pumpkins, blackberries and raspberries for a relatively cheap price per pound. Visit www.rileysfarm.com for more information.
Visit the TKB Bakery & Deli
TKB has the locals of Indio and the nation (they’re rated the 5th best restaurant on Yelp!) raving with over 30 different sandwich combinations on their menu. It boasts the likes of classics such as the BLT (US$7.99) and Chicken Salad (US$8.99) to the alluring and amusing Melina’s Hotness Pt.2 (hot pastrami, chipotle sauce, pickles, Swiss cheese on a jalapeno foccacia bread – US$10.99) and The Trump (turkey, salami, bacon, avocado, pepperjack cheese, potato chips, chipotle sauce and everything on foccaccia – US$11.99). They also have a bakery that serves treats from pastries to muffins.
Visit their website by clicking here.
Palm Springs legends at the Ocotillo Lodge
Many classic rumors surround this hotel and bar that offers bungalow and apartment style accomodation. It appears to have been an oasis in the desert for many celebrities in the 1960’s and 70’s. Palm Springs/Indio/Coachella was, and still is, a decent removal from the prying eyes of the public in Los Angeles, hence their love of the area. The Ocotillo is most commonly linked with stories of The Rat Pack drinking and crooning the night away surrounded by women around the pool.
Their presence might be why one of the most persistent myths is about Frank Sinatra. The story goes; an electrician was hired by Ocotillo Lodge and he opened up a room that had been sealed for 30 plus years and when he opened it up he found Frank’s old piano and other possessions and memorabilia. If that doesn’t make you want to stop by, perhaps the rumor of a rendezvous between a certain President and Miss Monroe till tickle your fancy.
Head up the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
It’s hard to believe that, in the middle of the hot desert, a mountain range exists that is often covered in snow. Situated 8,516 feet above the valley floor, along Chino Canyon and in the Mt. San Jacinto State Park, the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway will take you to a world far, far removed from that of the music festival and its surrounding climate.
During the ten minute journey, the temperature will drop some anywhere between 30 and 50 degrees (Fahrenheit) as you are taken to a picturesque location featuring two restaurants, observation decks, a natural history museum, two documentary theatres, a gift shop and over 50 miles of hiking trails. No trip is complete without a voyage up the tram to this beautiful location. And look out for some special Easter events across the first weekend of the festival.
For more details head to their official website.
Contributions to this article by Lachlan Mitchell and Larry Heath.