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 🙂

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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 newly opened Kimpton Rowan downtown offers guests the only rooftop pool experience in the desert.  Guests can enjoy cabanas or daybeds with the most incredible views of the San Jacintos while sipping on unique cocktails.

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 plus they have large cabanas, perfect for a big group of friends.  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.

If small, intimate and hip is what you crave book a chic room at The Arrive in North Palm Springs.  With only 32 rooms and a fantastic pool scene this is the perfect escape from reality.

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.

Villa Royale is a must stay for anyone craving a 21 and over experience and plenty of Insta worthy photo ops.  The property underwent a MASSIVE renovation in 2018 and has been re-imagined as a Moroccan meets Italian Villa vibe with just a hint of Mid Century feels.  Plus there restaurant, Del Rey, is a perfect spot for light bites and indulgent libations.

If AirBNB is more your speed be sure to check out The Amado designed by a very talented photographer (and friend), Jaime Kowal.  Check out my Amado roundup HERERelax Palm Springs also offers 50 unique homes in Palm Springs including gorgeous mid century modern gems and hidden estates.

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:

Truss & Twine opened it’s doors in 2016 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.

Kreem – Speaking of ice cream, Bianca over at Kreem in South Palm Springs has done a beautiful job creating a chic ice cream parlour/coffee bar complete with her own homemade almond milk.  I personally lover her ever changing selection of vegan ice cream with flavors like Ube (with vegan tapioca based marshmallows), Chai, and Chocolate Cookie.

4 Saints opened it’s doors in Fall of 2017 with an innovative menu, thoughtful craft cocktails (the Highway 111 is my favorite), and stunning views of the San Jacinto Mountains from it’s rooftop location.

Juniper Table – This casual dining spot on the lobby level of The Rowan in Palm Springs has quickly become a favorite of mine.  The vibe is definitely  more “fast casual” so be prepared to place your order at the counter and grab a seat to enjoy your meal.  If you happen to be in town for one of their monthly “Beer Dinners” be sure to reserve a seat as Chef Aric’s creativity will leave you raving!

Other favorites and newcomers include Mr. Lyon’s for a throwback style steak dinner, Tac/Quila and El Patron for tacos and margaritas, Wexler’s Deli at the Arrive Hotel serves up classic Jewish Deli faves like potato pancakes and matzo ball soup, and Sandfish Sushi & Whiskey for…you guessed it, sushi and whiskey!  If a game day spot with great food and yummy drinks is what you are searching for stop by Draughtsman on North Palm Canyon for the Ahi Nachos and an Oculus cocktail.

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.

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 and don’t forget about one of a kind footwear like Golden Goose and Maryam Nassir Zadeh.  The new Palm Springs shop also carries cool essentials for guys including brands like James Perse, Gitman Bros, and Stamped.

West Elm – A newer addition to the Palm Springs shopping scene, West Elm’s 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.  And while you are popping into West Elm be sure to stroll down Palm Canyon and check out other new additions like Sephora, H&M, Free People, Blonde, Lolli & Pops, Johnny Was, and Mac.

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

H2O Closet is a modern apothecary with locations in Uptown Palm Springs and Old Town La Quinta.  Shoppers will find natural skin care, Maison Louis Marie fragrency, and yummy candles.

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.

If baseball is your thing then be sure to take in either a Winter League or Palm Springs Power game.  These teams put on a great show for kids and adults while offering specials like $1 night and after game fireworks.

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.  They serve up Stumptown coffee and pleny of delicious pastries.  Pro Tip: check out the specials board for unique options like a Pistachio Rose Latte made with almond milk.

Cartel Coffee – The new kid in town located at The Arrive hotel and brewing strong coffee with plenty of dairy free options including oat milk!

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.

Paul Bar – This hidden gem is certainly off the beaten path (located in a small strip mall on Vista Chino and Gene Autry) but worth the trip!  Think of a chic New York City bar with fabulous cocktails and beautiful wines.  Don’t Miss: The Dirty Martini with Bleu Cheese Olives.

Seymour’s – This speakeasy is tucked in a dark corner inside of Mr. Lyon’s Steakhouse.  If you are not careful you could easily miss this gem…and you DON’T want to do that!  The TV over the bar plays black & white movies and the bartenders mix up drinks in Prohibition Style glasses.  On balmy evenings slip outside to the chic patio to relax and indulge.

Dead or Alive – If craft beer and wine is more your jam check out this small, dark, neighborhood bar.  Nightly food offerings range from Broadstreet Oysters and Lobster Rolls to Cubano Sandwiches from the team at The Heyday.

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

12 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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