Am I in Heaven or Just Flying Out of Palm Springs?

The Sunsplashed Airport in the Desert Soars Above the Pack—Even in the Pandemic

If you’re heading to heaven, you really should fly out of Palm Springs.

I offer that line not as a jab at the advanced average age of the Coachella Valley’s retiree-heavy population. Rather, it’s a testament to the warmth and wonder I felt while waiting for a recent flight at Palm Springs International Airport.

Pandemic-era air travel in California is typically a miserable combination of unhappy passengers and unreliable service—except in Palm Springs. There, flying still feels like a miracle.

The airport is small, with fewer than two dozen gates, and easy to …

If Only California Were More Like Palm Springs | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

If Only California Were More Like Palm Springs

The Citadel of Modernism Shows How the Golden State Can Look Backward to Move Forward 

Palm Springs isn’t just a great place to spend a weekend. It’s one of our last and most fervent defenders of what California really is—not what it pretends to be.

That’s …

‘We All Have an Irvine’ | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

‘We All Have an Irvine’

California’s Future Looks Grim, but a Genre-Bending Movie and a Master-Planned Community Offer Unexpected Inspiration

In the best scene of any California pandemic-era entertainment to date, a middle-aged man named Roy (played by J.K. Simmons) sits in his Irvine backyard and advises Nyles (Andy Samberg) …

From Bethlehem to Palm Springs, Christmas Belongs in the Desert

During the Holiday Season, Southern California’s Coachella Valley Becomes a Place of Rebirth

If you’re looking for the quintessential Christmas experience, there’s only one place you should go: the Southern California desert.

The Coachella Valley is the Golden State’s very own Yuletide capital—which …

O Canada, Please Colonize the Coachella Valley

Snowbirds Have Saved SoCal's Desert Economy. Why Not Just Deed Them the Land?

Let’s give the Coachella Valley to Canada.

After all, Canadians already run the place in winter.

Over the past 40 years, snowbirds from the True North have grown into a winter fixture …