16 reasons that will make you want to visit Palm Springs
Stop California dreaming and go explore Palm Springs, a desert playground nestled at the base of the majestic San Jacinto Mountains, and the ancestral home of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians.
Are you heading to Palm Springs for the city’s annual Modernism Week (this year from February 12th to 22nd) which will mark its 10 year anniversary, or are you just planning your next luxury escape? Here’s our guide to all things Palm Springs.
In recent years Palm Springs has been burgeoning. One hundred miles east of Los Angeles, with year-round sunshine, blue skies and stunning natural beauty. The city is famed for its Hollywood legacy, Native American heritage and a plethora of mid-century modern architecture. This desert oasis boasts a wealth of adventurous hiking trails and historical canyon tours, as well as chic boutiques, world-renowned golf courses – and attracts a diverse crowd – from rock ‘n’ rollers, Hollywood history buffs to Facebook millionaires.
Book yourself in to the Riviera Palm Springs
The Riviera Palm Springs hotel boasts chic suites that come with garden, mountain or pool views. If you really want to treat yourself reserve the two-storey presidential suite, this uber-chic contemporary abode comes with the wow-factor. Enjoy views of the outdoor pool from the suite’s patio while relaxing next to a cozy outdoor fire pit.
Have breakfast at Pinnochio’s in the desert
This laid-back, outdoor diner in beautiful downtown Palm Springs is well-known for its bottomless champagne at just $3.95! And the breakfast isn’t bad either. The three-egg omelette is made for champions – munch on sides such as sala, potatoes or coleslaw. Pinnochio‘s is a quirky and fun place to dine, staff are friendly and the food is delicious.
Take a ride on Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
Begin your adventure aboard the world’s largest rotating tramcar. Depart on a 10-minute ride at 2,643 ft Valley Station and rise to the mountain station at 8,516 ft high and take in the pristine wilderness of the Mt. San Jacinto State Park. Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is a great way to see Palm Springs from above.
Strut down in Uptown Design District
Explore the ‘hippest half-mile’ of Palm Springs, running along North Palm Canyon Drive between Aljeo Road and Vista Chino Drive. You’ll be spoilt for choice here with quirky shops to high-end interior design boutiques and hip restaurants. This is a great place to buy stylish interior design pieces.
Lunch at Trio Restaurant
Attracting a diverse crowd including ‘ladies who lunch’, Trio is a favourite with locals and the country club set. Decor is vibrant with splashes of colour, creative lighting and a notable art collection. We ordered the stacked veggie burger that came with fries. The colossal burger was stuffed with roasted Portobello, eggplant, roasted red pepper, caramelised onion, basil pesto and gooey goat cheese.
Brush up on your architecture at Palm Springs Architecture and Design Centre
This 1960s former bank building has been beautifully restored to its original state. Originally known as the Santa Fe Savings Bank, it is now called the Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture Design Center, Edwards Harris Pavilion and houses the museum’s growing collection of architecture and design-related pieces. Opened in November 2014, the modern building is the hub of the museum’s exploration of architecture and design, and complements more than 55,000 permanent objects, including works by Picasso, Matisse, Henry Moore and more.
Dinner at Workshop Kitchen + Bar
The edgy and minimalist designed Dinner at Workshop Kitchen + Bar is located in the Class 1 Historic El Paseo building from 1926. Menu’s are seasonal with produce being sourced locally, chef Michael Beckman who trained at Lameloise, a three-Michelin star restaurant in France brings his European tastes and flavours to Palm Springs. Make time to quaff the delectable cocktails on offer: we loved the French 75 – which is made of sparkling wine, gin, local lemon juice – and is the bomb!
Hop on Palm Springs trolley bus – the Buzz
This new, fast and fun service is a great way to discover the city and it’s completely free! Running every Thursday through Sunday from 11 am to 1 am, the Buzz runs a continuous loop from North Palm Springs near Riviera Palm Springs hotel with multiple stops along uptown and downtown to South Palm Springs at Saguaro Hotel.
Enjoy an al fresco Breakfast at Café Europe
Need somewhere to rest that sore head from the night before? Enjoy an al fresco breakfast away from your hotel at Cafe Europa a hip café/bistro in the ever popular, natural setting in ‘The Corridor’ boasting wow-factor views of the San Jacinto Mountains. Serving natural and organic products sourced locally, it’s a favourite haunt with celebs when visiting Coachella Festival.
Modern & Celebrity tour with Robert Imber
What better way to see Palm Springs desert architecture and celebrity homes than local tour guide Robert Imber. This three-hour tour will take you on a mini adventure around the city, where you’ll get to see the homes of stars like Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Elizabeth Taylor and Judy Garland. Some of the homes can be rented, from talkshow host turned actor Merv Griffin’s 10-bedroom luxury home to architect William Cody’s 1955 four-bed abode.
Shop til you drop at Desert Hills Premium Outlet Centre
Located only 20-minutes outside of Palm Springs, Desert Hill Outlet is a designer mall outlet that is the perfect place for a shopping spree and to pick up some bargains at more than 180 high-end brands such as Alexander McQueen, Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Helmut Lang, Jimmy Choo and more. Need extra luggage space after your splurge? Don’t fret, there’s a Samsonite and Tumi store on hand.
Enjoy live music and dinner at The Purple Room
This legendary venue known as The Purple Room is where Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin once hung out. Dating back to the 1960s, it’s considered one of the original rat pack hangouts, the stylish venue boasts DJs and live singers six nights a week. We enjoyed a great evening meal here, specialities include the surf & turf (fillet, lobster) served with tarragon butter sauce, sautéed greens and potatoes.
Horse riding in the Indian Canyons
There is no better way to see the countryside than on horseback. Set on tribal land, the Indian Canyon is a must-see attraction. Here you can enjoy a picturesque horseback ride through the historic Indian Canyons with family owned and operated Smoke Tree Stables. The firm offers various trails; we opted for the two-hour ride through the Agua Calinete Indian Reservation where we unleashed our inner Annie Oakley. This place is a fantastic way to experience the native palms, streams and beautiful scenery – the 10-gallon hat is obligatory (if you ask us!).
Rock it out at the legendary Hardrock Hotel
A newcomer on Palm Springs’ hotel scene, the edgy Hardrock Hotel boasts a famous collection of music memorabilia lining the walls of its stylish lobby, including autographed guitars, costumes from world tours, rare photographs, original contracts and more from almost every genre of music – from Frank Sinatra and Elvis to Lady Gaga and Justin Timberlake.
Take in the culture at Villagefest
Make sure you visit this quaint outdoor street festival in the heart of downtown Palm Springs on Palm Canyon Drive. Villagefest is held every Thursday evening, browse more than 200 stalls featuring arts, crafts, food and entertainment. It’s a great place to pick up some local and unique gifts.
Munch on Cotija Corn at Kings Highway
This is gluttony on all the right levels – divine and heavenly – grilled Indio corn, chili-lime crema with tortilla chips. You’ll probably want seconds (we did). You’ll find this mouth-watering dish at the trendy but laid-back Ace Hotel. Wash it down with a date shake!
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