Palm Springs is Hollywood #2. It’s a desert oasis escape for the city dwellers who are looking for a getaway, but still desire good food, shopping, recreation and relaxation. It’s also on the way to one of the most famous music festivals, Coachella in the Coachella Valley. About an hour outside of Los Angeles, Palm Springs has an influx of visitors year round, but the peak season is between January and May when the heat is actually bearable. If you do find yourself in Palm Springs, you’ll find that there is much to do in the desert town.
The most popular Palm Springs feature is the strip. There are lots of shops, pubs, restaurants and lounges that are filled with tourists as well as locals that are generally very outgoing and social. Where or not you’re looking to mingle, a night out in the town can be one that your belly will quite enjoy. Palm Springs has it’s share of chain brand eateries like California Pizza Kitchen and Yogurt Land, but their local culinary establishments are ones that people keep coming back for.
Where to Eat
LuLu is smack in the middle of the strip and is hard to miss with the two levels of “cool” California decor and it offers a lively atmosphere. The menu options ranges from Italian to gourmet burgers to seasonal seafood, so there really is something for everyone. The prices are fair per dish, but they do offer a steal with a 3-course prix fixe dinner for $20 or lunch for $15 (t
he menu) the includes an appetizer, main dish and dessert.
Pinocchio in the Desert has the liveliest a.m. crowd and much of it probably has to do with the bottomless mimosas for less than $4. The restaurant gets packed for the short time that they’re open for breakfast and lunch, but besides the mimosas they’re also popular for their crab cakes, lox platters, french toast, eggs and Marilyn Monroe themed breakfast and lunch.
Bill’s Pizza is incomparable. I believe they have the best thin crust pizza I have ever tried in my entire life. They offer a slew of toppings and they also have beer from micro brews including from Humboldt County’s Eel Brewing Co. (also a personal favorite!) Bill’s Pizza offers a casual atmosphere and is a five minute walk off the strip. When you find yourself at Bill’s, try Carol’s White Pizza and The Godfather!
Where to Stay
Palm Springs is flowing with places that visitors can rent or check in. There are hundreds of VRBO’s, timeshares and hotels available and depending on the size of your group, length of stay and activities you want to do, you have affordable and/or luxury accommodations available.
Spa Casino is a few blocks off the Palm Springs strip and is run by the Cahuilla tribe. It is a beautiful hotel with designer rooms and the fact that the casino is located separate from the hotel makes it a perfect location for families or couples who are just going to relax or enjoy the strip. If you do want to head to the casino, it’s just across the street and because it is run by a tribe there are slot machines as well as card games. The Spa Resort offers a mineral pool in addition to a standard swimming pool, a poolside lounge, a gym and sauna. The rooms are large, modern and allergen free. Guests can request a “PURE” room which have sanitized central heating and air conditioners treated with tea tree oil. Rates for guest rooms begin at $79 per night.
The Palm Springs Hyatt is the perfect location for anyone who wants to be right in the center of all of the attractions and also stay in a suite. Each room at this location is a suite with separate living room areas, but if you want you can upgrade to a suite with a cabana or cabana. Rates for suites begin at $95 per night during the off peak season.
The Riviera is an iconic hotel in Palm Springs thanks to the many Hollywood appearances it’s made since the 1920s. It has had several makeovers since then, continuing its hot spot reputation through years of revampization. It has some of the best spas with treatments including The Black Diamond Facial or a Cactus Body Wrap. The Riviera has very elegant rooms with contemporary looks designed with class. Rates for rooms begin at $150 per night.
Vacation Rentals By Owner
I never quite understand it, but I do appreciate the modern, but retro style that many of the VRBOs in Palm Springs are furnished in. Most of the vacation rentals are available for a minimum of two nights and start around $300 per night depending on the season. If you want to go with a group people who prefer a bit of privacy, then this is a great option. You can barbeque, lay poolside or stay indoors and relax.
Vacation Rental Sites
Things to Do While in Palm Springs
The Aerial Tramway is an invitation to miles and miles of trails in the snowy winter and hot summer, but due to extreme conditions, camping and hiking in the San Jacinto Park is closed off. Instead, hikers can visit Long Valley. The Tramway is a euphoric experience that also offers dining mid air. A ride on the tramway is $26, but for $36 riders can have the dinner included in the experience. If you plan to visit during the winter, you can cross country ski using rental equipment available or bring your own gear.
The Palm Springs Air Museum is the place to be for any aircraft enthusiast. They have tours of their exhibits available, but even if you peruse on your own you will definitely be excited to see all of the historic planes that include a Douglas C-47 Dakota, a Boeing Stearman PT-17 Kaydet and several more.
For the outdoorsy, Palm Springs is in close driving distance to some remarkable trails. The best time to visit them is in the spring to avoid the scorching heat of the summer. To get to Indian Canyons, take South Palm Canyon from Highway 111 and drive about two miles to the Indian Canyons tollgate.
The Cabazon Outlets are just outside of Palm Springs and offer some of the best discounted outlet shopping. Stores range from outdoor stores, home goods, high fashion and sportswear. Stores include Colombia, Michael Kors, Saks Fifth, Adidas and much more. There are also diners you eat at if you need a break from shopping, but you will definitely save money by shopping at some of your favorite outlet stores.
Popular Events in Palm Springs
Palm Springs is a unique desert spot that brings people from all over the world to Southern California. It’s a small town with a bit of a big city flair. There is constantly something to do whether you’re hiding from the sun and kicking back in a spa or going on a desert trail.
Share with us some of your favorite Palm Springs activities!