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CALIFORNIA

Eat. Sleep. Play. Cheap.

Palm Springs, once a playground for Hollywood, is back in the swing of things, but now there are deals to be found on hip hotels, cool cafes and the great outdoors.

January 15, 2012|Rosemary McClure

1. Hike the hills

Palm Springs' mountains and rocky ridges offer hiking conditions ranging from easy to strenuous. Check out Ten Best Day Hikes in Palm Springs at www.visitpalmsprings.com/overview/play/hiking-in-palm-springs/13681.

2. Wheel around town

Tackle miles of bike trails that meander through historic districts and downtown Palm Springs. Many hotels offer free bike use, or bring your own. Pick up a map at the Visitors Center, 2901 N. Palm Canyon Drive, (800) 347-7746.

3. Take a do-it-yourself tour

Architecture buffs aren't the only ones who enjoy Palm Springs' famous Midcentury Modern homes and buildings. Get a Modern Palm Springs map at the Visitors Center (see above).

4. Count the stars

Hollywood may have started the tradition, but Palm Springs built on it with its own Walk of Stars on the sidewalks of downtown Palm Canyon Drive.

5. See the classics

Check out a different kind of superstar at McCormick's Classic Car Showroom, the home of Palm Springs' quarterly classic car auction. (The next event is Feb. 24-26; call [760] 320-3290.) But you can see a range of classics for free any day at the consignment showroom, which is always full of privately owned classic vehicles. 244 N. Indian Canyon Drive. www.classic-carauction.com.

6. Stroll and shop

Window shoppers can spend an afternoon exploring Palm Canyon Drive, visiting galleries, home furnishing shops, consignment stores and fashion boutiques. www.visitpalmsprings.com/shop.

7. Visit the museum

On most days, adults pay $12.50 to visit the Palm Springs Art Museum, where exhibits include contemporary and western art, Cahuilla basketry and a sculpture garden. Free admission 4-8 p.m. Thursdays and the second Sunday of every month. 101 Museum Drive, (760) 322-4800, www.psmuseum.org.

8. Check out Villagefest

Thursday also is the time to visit Villagefest, a street fair with musicians, food and a farmers market. It all happens 6-10 p.m. on Palm Canyon Drive, between Amado and Baristo roads.

9. Chill out at an oasis

Take a short stroll or a longer trek at the serene 13,000-acre Coachella Valley Preserve. Just outside of town, the preserve features dunes, springs and Washington palms. Ramon Road to Thousands Palms Road. (760) 343-1234, www.coachellavalleypreserve.org.

10. Get out in the wild

Mule deer, desert bighorn sheep and bobcats are among the wildlife found at 31,000-acre Big Morongo Canyon Preserve and Covington Park. The wildlife sanctuary, in the Little San Bernardino Mountains near Morongo Valley, ranges from 600 to 3,000 feet. You'll find a picnic area and hiking trails. Call for hours and directions. (760) 363-7190, www.bigmorongo.org.

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travel@latimes.com

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