We went down to Palm Springs last weekend for a quick trip with friends and it was SO nice to get out of the rain and enjoy some seriously sunny, warm weather. I’d never been to Palm Springs before and I was excited to check out all the cute spots and so I of course took to Instagram to discover some ‘grammable locations.
Imagine my delight when I realized there was a freaking massive art installation in the desert happening throughout Coachella Valley while we’d be in Palm Springs! You may have seen Desert X popping up on your feed too, and it lasts through April 21st, 2019.
Desert X has partnered with select artists from all over the world for these installations, many of which are a commentary on the desert area itself, as well as socioeconomic, historical, or architectural aspects of the valley. Apparently, the first Desert X was in 2017, and they’ve brought back new installations this year.
Navigating these installations throughout the desert can be a little confusing, so here are my tips on how to plan for and get the most out of Desert X!
Desert X Palm Springs 2019
- Download the Desert X app. Download the app before your trip so you can plan your visit! The app lists all of the installations, with some info about the artists and inspiration behind each installation. The app also drops a pin for you on Maps so you can see exactly where each installation is, and navigate there.
- Plan ahead. Pick the installations you’re most interested in seeing and map out your route beforehand. Some of the photos on the app are vague or of the artist’s other works, so you may have to do a little more research (via Instagram and Google) to see what the installations actually look like. If you’re planning outfits to shoot with (like me ?) this research will be helpful. There are also 20 something installations spread throughout the valley, and we only had time to stop at about five of them, so this research ahead of time helped us pick the ones that looked the most fun to see and take photos with.
- If possible, visit on a weekday. We visited Desert X on a Monday and there were only a few people around. At some of them we even had the installations all to ourselves for a bit! In contrast, a girlfriend of mine said she visited during the weekend and there were tons of people around, so you had to wait a while to get a photo. Although I’m sure during Coachella, it won’t make a difference if you visit during a weekday or a weekend and the installations will be busy.
- You’re not going to “get” all of it. That’s ok. Read the background info on the app, and if you don’t get it, move on. ?
- Download the AR app ahead of time. If you’re going to go to Revolutions, be sure to download the augmented reality app beforehand. You won’t have service when you get out there. There’s a link in the Desert X app under Revolutions’ description.
- Be sure to bring: Water, sunscreen (it’s the desert, people and it’s hot as balls), and cute outfits that complement the art. I wore a tie-dye purple and pink romper for Superflex, a rainbow dress for Lover’s Rainbow (any bright colors would be really cute), and a simple jean shorts/bodysuit outfit with snakeskin booties for Specter. I also brought comfortable shoes that I didn’t mind walking in desert sand in because you do have to walk a few minutes to some of the art installations, and then I changed into different shoes for my photos.
Some of the really popular (fun/photo-worthy) ones are:
- Dive-In (pink Superflex installation that probably wins the award for most ‘grammed)
- Specter (orange box)
- Lover’s Rainbow (because duh, rainbows are fun)
- Western Flag (this one was not functioning when we were there, but hopefully it’s up and running again)
- Jackrabbit, Cottontail & Spirits of the Desert (I thought these billboards were really cool, but there’s not really anywhere to pull over so it was more like a quick drive-by on the freeway)
- Going Nowhere Pavilion
- Ghost Palm
- Mosquito (this one was a bit too far south for us to make it out to, but it looks really cool)
Those are all the deets on Desert X! It’s pretty fun to explore these installations in the desert with only a dropped pin on Maps as your guide and it kinda felt like a scavenger hunt. If you’ll be in Palm Springs before April 21st, be sure to check it out!
Be sure to check out my other Palm Springs content here.
Elise Armitage is an entrepreneur and founder of What The Fab, a travel + lifestyle blog based in California. At the beginning of 2019, Elise left her corporate job at Google to chase her dreams: being an entrepreneur and helping women find fabulous in the everyday. Since then, she’s launched her SEO course Six-Figure SEO, where she teaches bloggers how to create a passive revenue stream from their website using SEO. Featured in publications like Forbes, Elle, HerMoney, and Real Simple, Elise is a firm believer that you can be of both substance and style.