If you think Palm Springs is just for old people and golfing then you are sorely mistaken. Home to some of the best boutique hotels and architecture, and just a short flight away from Vancouver, this is a place I love visiting every year. Whether you’re heading down for Coachella or just planning a sweet little getaway, I’ve compiled a list of all my favourite spots around town. In addition to a number of great restaurants and places to grab drinks with friends, I’ve also included a list of places to stay, things to do, and places to shop. Scroll down to read my reviews and recommendations and get your vacation planned ASAP.
- The Parker – Recently renovated and decorated by designer Jonathan Adler, this boutique hotel is the epitome of Palm Springs. Yellow and White striped awnings and umbrellas line the pool filled with ridiculously good-looking people. Another thing really cool about this hotel? Gene Autry, the singing cowboy once lived here and you can now stay at his residence. Also, The Parker’s spa is called the PSYC—Palm Springs Yacht Club. (Why, you ask? I have no idea, but it sounds cool).
- The Ace – Now, who doesn’t love a good Ace Hotel? The Palm Springs location does not disappoint as it looks like it’s been modelled after Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom. They even took over an old Denny’s to create their own campground-inspired diner called the King’s Highway and they have a swim club you can get daily access to. Bonus: This place is kid and pet friendly.
- The Avalon – A lovely gem of a place situated at the base of the San Jacinto Mountains. The optional private villas and decadent spa makes this is a really great hideaway to get off the grid and treat yourself. Another bonus: Interiors are done by coveted interior designer Kelly Wearstler. I would recommend this spot for a swaggy girl-onlys weekend.
- Hiking – The Bump n’ Grind Trail – Palm Springs is surrounded by mountains and you can even spot a little snow at the top come winter. While there are are a number of trails for all levels, Bump n’ Grind is relatively easy to get to and its an moderate trail that you can do at your own leisure. And, if you’re in need of some electrolytes after you can head over to Whole Foods, which is conveniently across the street.
- Architecture Tour – There are so many beautiful homes and architectural monuments in Palm Springs worth checking out. From the likes of Leonardo Di Caprio’s vacation home to Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe’s homes.
- Palm Springs Art Museum – It’s no surprise Palm Springs has a pretty awesome art museum filled with modern and contemporary artwork.
- Palm Springs Aerial Tramway – Built back in 1963, the tram is a 10-minute ride, in which the tramcar actually rotates so you can get every single breath-taking view of Chino Canyon. At the top you’ll find a restaurant, cafe and lounge, so make yourself at home. I would recommend going around sunset for the best photo-op.
- Spa Day – If you’re on vacation, you should defiently carve out a little you time and treat yourself. With a number of lux spas around the area, I would recommend the PSYC at the Parker or the Estrella Spa at the Avalon.
Eat & Drink
- Norma’s – Situated at the Parker Hotel, this is one of two top brunch recommendations in Palm Springs. You can’t go wrong with the nutella pancakes and fresh homemade donut holes.
- King’s Highway – As I mentioned above, this is a Denny’s takeover brought to you by the Ace Hotel. Come here for a fuss-free lunch or breakfast with friends. It’s a good one for those mornings when you’re a little worse for wear.
- Cheeky’s – The second top brunch recommendation is right in the heart of downtown Palm Springs and it’s a good one for weekend brunch. The menu changes each week, but they always serve up a number of freshly squeezed juices and a series of really great mashups: Think the Elvis French Toast served with banana, bacon and almond butter or the Squash and Heirloom Tomato scramble on avocado toast.
- Workshop – Come here for a night out with friends because their cocktail menu is pretty on point. I’m also obsessed with the minimalist decor. If you’re with a group of people, order the Pisco Punch and for dinner I would recommend the Dive Scallops and Duck Fat Fries to share (or not).
- Birba – Brought to you by the people next door at Cheeky’s, Birba is like the friendly next door neighbourhood joint you would go to for dinner rather than breakfast. Go here for some good pizza and cocktails. Be sure to try the Little Miss Sunshine to drink and the San Daniele Pizza and Zucchini Spaghetti to eat.
- Bootlegger Tiki Bar – A fun speakeasy located in downtown Palm Springs to grab drinks after dinner. Brought to you by the people who made Earnest coffee (right next door), many of the drinks are rum-based so if you don’t like rum, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
- Earnest Coffee – I felt like including a good coffee shop, because it’s important to find your coffee place no matter where you are travelling to. I like to sit on their patio and scroll through magazines while I sip on an iced latte. They serve Stumptown coffee, straight of Portland Oregon, another place that I’ll be making a neighbourhood guide for soon!
- Trina Turk – This store is will bring out your inner Palm Springs, whether you like it or not (When in Rome, amirite?). It carries all your usually clothing, shoes and accessories by the designer plus a number of third party brands in the likes of coffee table books, Jonathan Adler home decor accessories, Missoni towels, and more.
- The Fine Art of Design – A vintage clothing shop in downtown Palm Springs definitely worth checking out. This one is known for their hard-to-find designer pieces, so fingers crossed you’ll get your hands on a silk Saint Laurent dress from the ’70s.
- Vintage Oasis – Another place to find unique mid-century modern decor items to take home, go here to pick up a sunburst chandelier or a kitty neon sign that seams to be lurking on the walls of every shop and restaurant these days.
- Desert Hills Premium Outlets – Now, I’m not much of an outlet person, but I have to admit this is one of the best outlet malls I’ve ever been to. From designers like Saint Laurent, Gucci, Helmut Lang, Marni, and Maje, you’re sure to get a good steal.
Hope you all had fun at Coachella. Let me know in the comments below what your Palm Springs favourites are.