The Ultimate Guide To Palm Springs

By far the #1 question I get asked is: what should I do while in Palm Springs?  My little town has become quite the destination in the past few years thanks to Coachella (you can catch my survival guide HERE), cool new hotels, an up & coming culinary scene, and of course, the 350+ days of sunshine!  Since I find myself drafting an email for each of you who ask where to eat, what to do, and where to stay I felt that a post on my favorite spots was a total must.  If you are planning a trip to this desert oasis I call home and would like more custom recommendations please feel free to let me know, I always love talking about Palm Springs 🙂

Stay:

*All Images are my own

First things first, where to stay.  There are plenty of chic hotels in town and you are hard pressed to go wrong with most.  If you missed my post on the top 5 coolest hotels in PS you can see it HERE.  In case these 5 don’t tickle your fancy here are a few more options:

The Saguaro is a technicolor dream!  Pink, yellow, purple, green, blue…there is certainly no shortage of color or a great time.  Each weekend brings a new pool party with the most amazing people watching in town.  The drinks are served in watermelon sippy cups for grown ups, the floatie game is on point, and the tacos at El Jefe are the perfect post pool nosh.

If the Hollywood Regency vibe is more your scene head to The Avalon Hotel (formerly the Viceroy).  The rooms have a glam, Hollywood feel and their restaurant, Chi Chi, offers a South American take on tasty cocktails and poolside bites.  Not to be missed?  A massage at Estrella, the on property spa.

The Riviera has recently undergone a major transformation from Vegas glam to Palm Springs chic.  The hotel is massive (over 400 rooms) and features multiple pools, cabanas, a full service spa, and pretty amazing boutique shopping in their lobby shop.

Colony Palms is another of my faves for it’s lush grounds, Moroccan vibes, chill pool, and of course, the wallpaper goodness inside of Purple Palm, their in house restaurant.

La Serena Villas is the newest edition to Palm Springs and offers guest a tranquil (adult only) retreat with 18 stunningly beautiful room.  Relax poolside, grab a bike to explore the town, or simply lounge the day away on your private patio.

If AirBNB is more your speed be sure to check out The Amado and The Junipero, both designed by a very talented photographer (and friend), Jaime Kowal.  Check out my Amado roundup HERE.

Eat:

*All Images are my own

I recently heard a reality star say that there is no such thing as a “foodie”.  I beg to differ.  For all my fellow foodies here is a roundup of my favorite spots:

Alicante – I love a great tapas restaurant and Alicante hits the nail on the head.  Try the Fried Egg Mushroom Bruschetta with Truffles and a glass of the Rosé on the patio.  They also offer a great happy hour.

Truss & Twine opened it’s doors this past Spring and has been busy serving up craft cocktails, beer, wine, and innovative small plates from the same team behind the ever popular, Workshop.

King’s Highway – Another neighborhood spot, this former diner is located in the Ace Hotel and features creative options like Ricotta Flatbread with Honey and Cherries, local Date Shakes, and of course, Stumptown Coffee.  Check out Monday nights for Bingo with local celeb, Bella de Ball.

Native Foods – A great lunch option for Vegan friendly fare like Buffalo “Chicken” Wraps, Sweet Potato Fries, and Bahn Mi’s.

Rooster & The Pig – Hands down my favorite spot in town.  The Vietnamese restaurant is located in a strip mall on Indian Canyon and is only open 5pm – 9pm every day except Tuesday.  They don’t accept reservations so pack your patience but trust me when I tell you, it’s worth the wait.

Birba – Another of my go-to spots, Birba (which means rascal in Italian) offers farm to table pizza, pasta, and Italian inspired dishes under the stars and tucked behind a large ficus wall.  Reservations are HIGHLY recommended but there is limited seating at the bar and the firepits.

Cheeky’s – The sister breakfast spot to Birba brings farm to table goodness to brunch.  Another spot that does not accept reservations and is known for the long line in front on any given weekend be sure to plan ahead.  A must try: the Bloody Mary in a boot!

Workshop Kitchen & Bar – The space alone makes this one to see but don’t worry, the food is equally as impressive as the design.  Start your meal with a Palm Springer cocktail and don’t forget the Duck Fat Fries.

Farm – This hidden gem is tucked away in La Plaza, downtown near the Hard Rock Hotel.  The Spanish Breakfast with Eggs & Polenta is my go to, along with French Press and a Bloody Mary.

Ice Cream & Shop(pe) – Let’s be honest, we all scream for ice cream and owner, Athalie, has crafted some pretty unique offerings.  Some personal faves include the champagne sorbet, blackberry cabernet, and sweet corn.  I also love me a pretzel cone, just saying.

Shop:

*All Images are my own

If vintage is your thing you’ve come to the right place!

The Frippery, Mitchell’s, and The Fine Art of Design all offer vintage that is too good to be true.  If the bold, disco vibes of the 70s and early 80s is your speed, Mitchell’s is your spot.  The Frippery features an array of colorful & floral frocks from the 60s and 70s while The Fine Art of Design has an eye for couture pieces from the 50s – the 80s (and don’t forget to check out the hat box collection!)

If vintage furniture & accessories is more your speed don’t worry, there is plenty of that too!

Dazzles – A yummy collection of vintage baubles (of the jewelry variety) that would make Iris jealous.  Dazzles also has one of a kind glass, ice buckets, and home furnishings.  Typically open 12pm – 5pm Thursday thru Monday.

Iconic Atomic – Mid Century Modern meets Tiki Chic at this new vintage spot in the Uptown Design District.

Warren Modern – Located in the Sunny Dunes antique area Warren has the best assortment of mid century ice buckets and unique furniture carefully restored.  One of our 3 bar carts came from Warren.

Antique Galleries of Palm Springs – Offering everything from glassware, furniture, clothes, vinyl, and Swiss Army bikes (yup) I love getting lost at the Antique Galleries with a cup of coffee and plenty of time.

If new is more your speed be sure to check out:

Trina Turk – California cool men’s & women’s clothing, shoes, accessories & home furnishings.  The Palm Springs location is the Flagship store for the brand and you might just run into Trina herself!

Elizabeth & Prince – A local boutique with locations in La Quinta, El Paseo, and now open in the Uptown District of Palm Springs.  Stock up on basics from brands like Xirena and Enza Costa, unique jewelry from Beth Orduna and ILD, or desert chic dresses from Ulla Johnson, Heidi Merrick, and Antik Batik.  The new Palm Springs shop also carries cool essentials for guys including brands like James Perse, Gitman Bros, and Stamped.

West Elm – A new addition to the Palm Springs shopping scene, West Elm just opened their doors on September 1st and their pieces are the perfect compliment to all the vintage the city has to offer.  Be sure to check out a few of my favorites HERE.

Daydreamer LA – The cutest, softest tees you’ll ever find.

Play:

*All Images are my own

Palm Springs Aerial Tram – In case escaping the heat is what the Doctor ordered plan a trip up the tram where temps can be up to 30 degrees cooler.  The view from the tram car up & down alone are worth the trip plus there are miles of hiking trails at the top.

The Living Desert – A perfect activity if you are traveling with little ones.  The Living Desert zoo is located in Palm Desert and offers camel rides, giraffe feedings, and numerous events through the year, including Brews at the Zoo.

Moorten Botanical Garden – Take a walk through a maze of succulents from all over the world and pick up a few to take home.

That Pink Door – No trip to Palm Springs is complete without a photo in front of the infamous pink door located in the Indian Canyons neighborhood.  I could give you the address but finding it is half the fun! PS: Don’t forget to #ThatPinkDoor on Instagram!

Mid Century Home Tour – One of my favorite weekend activities is taking a self guided tour of the drool worthy real estate in town.  Most hotels offer complimentary bikes to guests or rent them at Bike Palm Springs and set off in search of real estate gold.  My personal favorite neighborhoods include Indian Canyons, Vista Las Palmas, Racquet Club, and Old Las Palmas (where Leo DiCaprio has a house). If you want to see more on Mid Century Palm Springs architecture check out fellow blogger, Kelly Golightly for a glimpse at these gems with her #PSILoveYourHouse world.

Joshua Tree – A 40 minute drive from Palm Springs sits Joshua Tree, a cool little town with plenty to offer including Joshua Tree National Park.  Stay tuned for a separate travel guide coming soon!

Don’t forget about the much needed R&R…go relax by the pool!

Caffeinate:

*All Images are my own

Ernest Coffee – Another project from the team behind The Amado & The Junipero.  Stumptown coffee and pleny of delicious pastries.

Customs Coffee – The new kid in town located at The Arrive hotel and brewing Joshua Tree Coffee.

Koffi – Two locations in Palm Springs, in the Uptown District and near the Ace.  This local coffee spot has the best breakfast options including a double egg/double cheese bagel sandwich that is pure perfection if last night got the best of you.

Drink:

*All Images are my own

Bootlegger Tiki – My personal favorite at this speakeasy Tiki Bar located at the site of Don the Beachcomber is the Pod Thai.

Bar – Backyard with corn hole, bocce ball, and ping pong plus plenty of whisky with a dash of hipster cool.  Try the Trinidad Sour or a classic Old Fashion, you won’t be disappointed.

Dead or Alive – If craft beer and wine is more your jam check out this small, dark, neighborhood bar.  Nightly food offerings range from Rooster & the Pig Bahn Mi to Ice Cream & Shop(pe) Hard Root Beer Floats.

The Amigo Room – Inside the Ace Hotel with both indoor & outdoor seating.  Monday night is Trivia Night & Tuesday night is Karaoke.

Happy Palm Spring-ing!

XO, Niki

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10 thoughts on “The Ultimate Guide To Palm Springs

  1. Nicole – I literally reference this blog every time I’m planning a Palm Springs trip! Planning on taking my Mom for a Mother’s Day getaway, but we can’t go until June when my season is over. We must get together when we are there!

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