Travel Picks: Top 10 desert city destinations

Fri Apr 29, 2011 11:35am EDT
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NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Beaches are heating up but for real heat without the cooling influence of the sea, head for the desert or a city near one. Online travel advisers Cheapflights ( offers its top 10 desert city destinations. Reuters does not endorse this list:

1. Las Vegas, Nevada

Love it or loathe it, Las Vegas is the leviathan of desert destinations. It's a city of mega hotels: Mandalay Bay, New York-New York, The Mirage, Luxor, Bellagio, and Paris -- all waiting to fulfill your fantasies. Shows, world-class shopping, and some of the best restaurants anywhere are here too. It long ago ceased to be a mere magnet for North Americans. Europeans flock here too with British Airways and Virgin Atlantic each offering nonstop London flights to Las Vegas.

2. Four Corners

It's the anti-Vegas. Remote and resplendent, pilots like to point it out from 35,000 feet. It's Four Corners - where Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado kiss. Back down to earth the view is more intimate. It's steeped in Navajo culture: arts, handcrafts, and ceremony. It's also home to a great getaway-from-it-all resort called Amangiri. You get there via a winding road descending into a valley. And as you descend, leave the real world behind.

3. Palm Springs, California

It's the startling contrast of vivid golf greens amidst sandy surroundings that signals Palm Springs. Glitterati and plain folk gather under the same blue sky to explore, kick back, and recharge. Embraced by the ethereal San Jacinto Mountains are galleries, boutique shops, and authentic culture. This extraordinary land is ancestral home of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. The prime perch to take it all in is from the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.

4. Santa Fe, New Mexico

Nowhere in North America do the arts, antiquity, and the high desert blend so effortlessly as in Santa Fe. Sited in the foothills of the Rockies, in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, galleries and museums exhibit traditional and contemporary works   Continued...

<p>A view of the 'Welcome To Fabulous Las Vegas' neon sign is seen before Earth Hour in Las Vegas, Nevada, March 27, 2010. REUTERS/Richard Brian</p>