North America

Palm Springs, California

The oasis in the desert offers you a relaxed, non-pretentious vacation you will want to return to again and again.

After passing along some travel tips to a friend recently, I only just realized I never wrote a stand alone post on Palm Springs – a place I frequent often. So here we go!

Set at the foot of several mountain ranges, this modern and vibrant city is just a two-hour drive from Los Angeles, and has always been a welcome getaway from Angelenos, Canadian snowbirds, and yes, Frank Sinatra & various stars of old hollywood. It’s restful – no big scene (though it certainly offers an eclectic food and drinks scene, and endless outdoor activities), so you don’t ‘have’ to be anywhere but poolside sipping a cocktail in a caftan – and is known for its hot springs, stylish hotels, golf courses, spas and midcentury-modern architecture. Its core shopping district along Palm Canyon Drive features vintage boutiques, interior design shops and restaurants, while the surrounding Coachella Valley offers hiking, biking and horseback riding trails.

WEATHER

Keep in mind that while the weather is scorching in the summer months (and I do mean scorching, around 115 degrees), the winter is chilly so don’t expect hot weather year round – this is the desert after all.

AREA

Palm Springs is only one part of a big collective area, though it holds most of the action/scene. In addition to Palm Springs, other cities of the area include Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage, Indian Wells, La Quinta, Indio, Cathedral City and Desert Hot Springs, sometimes referred to collectively as the Coachella Valley, The California Desert, or The Palm Springs Metro area.

Strolling Palm Springs

 

GETTING THERE

Palm Springs is only a two hour drive from Los Angeles (mostly more these days, with traffic), but it’s also a quick flight from just about anywhere. The airport is small and centrally located, so it’s a low key transportation affair.

STAY

There are a wide variety of options here, from luxury hotels to charming B&B’s, to my personal favorite – home rentals. The reason I love the latter is that with the relaxed vibe of the

Home Rentals –  There are so many wonderful options to rent houses with like Airbnb, VRBOOne Fine Stay, and more, many of which are managed by local companies, so check is running the rental for the best experience. For families, groups, or people planning the stay a week or more, I would highly recommend this option.

Hotels – There are some very large resorts outside of Palm Springs central, but in town I would recommend The Parker (one of my faves), Ace Hotel & Swim Club (I am not a fan of the rooms – or noise – but the scene is lively), Arrive, Ritz Carlton Rancho Mirage, Kimpton Rowan

Boutique – Sparrows Lodge, Korakia Pensione, La Masion Hotel, Avalon HotelLa Serena Villas and Del Marcos Hotel (neighbors, same owner)

EAT

Breakfast – Farm, Elmer’s Restaurant, Cheeky’s are all good options, but there are endless options for brekkie

Dinner – Jake’s, Farm, Copley’s, Rooster and the pig, Mister Parker’s (at the Parker), Kings Highway (diner at the Ace)…lots of tasty Mexican choices around too depending on what you are looking for

Snacks – Grab an acai bowl/green juice at Fruit Wonders, or a cute twist on a hot dog at Frankinbun

*If you want Vegan/Healthy options, I always enjoy Palm Greens Cafe for everything from wraps to shakes, and I am not even vegan!

SEE

Go hike/golf/play tennis, hit the spa, Palm Springs Aerial Tramway for a great view, Palm Springs Modern Tours to check out architecture, Palm Springs Art Museum for contemporary art and….

SHOP

Shop at Desert Hills Premium Outlets – I never miss it – or stroll the many unique stores on the main strip, especially the many Antique & Design shops. I really like Thick as Theives, Frippery, and Gallerie too.

NEARBY

Be sure to visit Joshua Tree National Park and Pioneer Town while you are in the area

My visit to Pioneertown

 

Author: Carrie Mitchell

Carrie A. Mitchell is the founder of L’Aventure Travel, the host of the Suitcase Sojourn Podcast, and author of the children’s travel book “To Be We”. Carrie is a global travel and hospitality expert who works with publications, brands and entertainment outlets on a number of travel related projects, from marketing consulting to editorial coverage to hosting & producing content for the web, TV and podcasts. She is always seeking to learn from people and places around the world, and share through her cultural exploration (40+ countries and counting)