Travel Guide: Palm Springs, Ca

"Palm Springs has an iconic style all its own. Whether you are exploring the celebrity studded neighborhoods, admiring Midcentury architecture, or staying at a historic boutique hotel, you never know who will be sunbathing on the chaise lounge next to you. Palm Springs became famous for being a weekend escape for Hollywood's elite and it still is to this day." - Roxann Papapetru

Travel and  Location Tips 

Our Local Expert, Roxann Papapetru, has live in Palm Springs for about 7 years. Up until recently she worked as a concierge in some of Palm Springs' most elite boutique hotels.  Her favorite part about living in the desert is the landscape. The cool turquoise pools under the many palm trees set against the mountainous backdrop never seems to get old to her. She loves living in a place where she can lay at the poolside in the middle of winter.

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According to Roxann there are two main types of people that come to Palm Springs: Snow Birds and Heat Seekers. Snow Birds come in the winter to escape harsh cold weather of home and Heat Seekers crave the hot dry weather and come during summer. The town's peak season is the winter, when the weather is more temperate. Late October to May is ideal for hiking, film, and architecture festivals. This good weather brings a colorful, energetic, and spontaneous energy to the normally retirement-friendly town. If you don't mind the heat and brave their 120 degree summer days, plan to stay poolside, indoors, and enjoy late dinners. There are less activities and restaurants open during the the off seasons but there are some perks to the off season like lower hotel rates, smaller crowds, and no need to pack a sweater. 

 To DRINK

  • Ernest Coffee

    An independent coffee shop serving Stumptown from 6am to 7pm everyday of the week. This great spot holds a duel identity as a coffee shop and  a speakeasy- the Bootleggar Tiki. When the bar opens, Ernest Coffee transitions into a wine bar. 
  • Customs Coffee

    A local shop dedicated to their neighbors and proudly brew Joshua Tree Coffee Company. Customs is attached to Arrive Hotel and open to those not staying in one of their rooms. 
  • Koffi

    The North Palm Springs location is by far the best! It is within the Corridor, a square with winding paths, trickling fountains, interesting architecture, fun sculptures, and open lawns. It is dog friendly and there are plenty of places to sit under a shady tree. 
  • Bootlegger Tiki 

    A Speakeasy that is attached to Ernest Coffee! They are open every day of the week for happy hour starting at 4pm. They share an outdoor patio with stunning mountain views.
  • Eight 4 Nine 

    A swanky restaurant and lounge featuring a backlit onyx bar. Its is decorated in crisp white and built for comfort. The each of the rooms feature original fine art pieces and their own color scheme. 

 

To EAT

  • FISHERMAn's Market & Grill

    As you can probably guess, this great spot specializes in seafood. The Fisherman's is dedicated to serving the freshest fish with the most unique flavors. I had the fish Tacos and they were to die for! 
  • SHANGHAI Red's 

    Is a bar and grill inside of the Fisherman's Market. This open-air courtyard comes alive every day at 4pm and has live music on the weekends thats starts at 8pm. They too serve extremely fresh seafood and appetizers. 
  • The Farm

    A country-chic restaurant that serves locally sourced produce. Its french and garden inspired atmosphere has a secluded and intimate feel right in the heart of uptown. 
  • Great Shakes

    A fun family owned desert spot that makes gourmet shakes, malts and floats. Many of their ingredients are made in house, even the tiny donuts that come on the straws of their shakes. 

To DO

  • Palm Springs Aerial Tram

    The tramway runs 2.5 miles up over the breathtaking cliffs of Chino Canyon and the incredible views of the valley. It only takes ten minutes to reach the wilderness station of Mt. San Jacinto State Park. 8,516 feet up there are many activities for visitors like observation desks, a natural history museum, documentary theater, restaurants and over 50 miles of hiking trails. There is often snow on the ground so be sure to bring a jacket! 
  • FLIPPERY VINTAGE 

    A vintage boutique dedicated to representing desert lifestyle. Their collection includes mod, resort, bohemian, and a little rock n roll perfect for laying by the pool or stargazing in Joshua Tree. 
  •  Hike to Tahquitz Canyon Falls

    Tucked into the folds of Tahquitz Cayon is a 50 foot waterfall and stream that runs year round. It is an easy 2 mile hike, there and back, and  is nicely shaded once you get near the water. There is a $12 entrance fee and the last hikers are allowed out at 3:30pm. (The photos in this gallery were taken about four years ago just a couple months  after my husband and I started dating. hah Enjoy baby us!) 
  • Hike North Lykken Trail

    It is a moderately strenuous hike, but the views of Palm Springs and Tahquiz Canyon make it worth it! The trail ends at picnic tables perfect for lunch. If you are wanting an easier hike back, follow Palm Springs Museum Trail down to the museum and walk the streets back to your car. You could even take a nice break by looking at some great art while being refreshed by the museum air conditioning. 
  • Lounge at a boutique hotel 

    Palm Springs is a goldmine when is comes to boutique hotels. Arrive Hotels, Avalon, and Colony Palm are but a few. If you aren't planning to stay the night but want to spend some time by the pool you have a couple options. You can purchase a pool day pass, or you could get a spa treatment that comes with pool access. Most hotels have treatments that are about the same price as just a pool pass. 

To SEE

  • Mid Century architecture 

    Palm Springs has the largest concentrated area of mid-century modern architecture! There are tours you can pay for but we explored on our own and drove around Indian Canyons and Las Palmas Neighborhoods!   
  • Celebrity Homes

    There are tons of celebrity homes in Palm Springs and many tours to go along with it. If this is something that interests you, you may want to research which homes you want to see and find them on your own. The tours can't take you inside any of the gates or homes, so it might be worth it to save a couple bucks and do it yourself! The link in the title should give you a good start if you decided to go this route. 
  • Galleries

    The Palm Springs Museum of Art is a great place to start. The 150,000 square feet contains major collections of moderns and contemporary art, glass, photography, architecture and design, Native American works, and Western art. Another great gallery is  the Shag Gallery featuring art of Josh Agle.  
  • Botanical Gardens 

    A Historical Landmark that has been open since 1938. It features desert environment and plant life,  with tours, wildlife, and nursery.