Just a couple of weeks ago a dear friend of mine invited me to join her on a trip to Palm Springs, California. I happily agreed as I have never been and discovering new destinations has become a passion of mine. Join us as we show you our Palm Springs getaway to this delightful spot nestled in sunshine and palm trees.
Palm Springs (population 45,000) is situated in the Sonoran Desert of southern California and its known for its hot springs, stylish hotels, golf courses, tennis and spas. But what comes to mind for me are its many fine examples of mid century-modern architecture. Shopping along Palm Canyon Drive features vintage boutiques, interior design shops and restaurants. The surrounding Coachella Valley offers hiking, biking and horseback riding trails. Palm Desert (population 51,000) is in California’s Coachella Valley, near Palm Springs. It’s home to country clubs, golf courses and shops. In the center, The Shops on El Paseo feature designer boutiques, plus restaurants and art galleries. The Living Desert Zoo & Gardens shelters desert-dwelling wildlife, focusing on three areas: Africa, Australia and North America. We loved seeing the best of both cities.
I’ll break this down into how to get there, where to stay, eat and what to do. In general, I would say this is a quick weekend getaway. The weather is full of sunshine and mild temps this time of year. With temperatures rising to 120 degrees in the summertime, it’s probably best to go in fall, winter and spring. Scroll to the bottom of the post for details.
Where to stay
Since we had never been to Palm Springs, Palm Desert or the surrounding area, we chose to stay at The Colony Palms Hotel and Bungalows in Palm Springs. It’s a small boutique property and does not allow children under the age of 18. The hotel has 57 rooms spread out over 3 acres. There are special touches like they add your nameplate to your door during your stay. The Colony Club restaurant is divine and offers breakfast, lunch and dinner inside or you can sit outside next to the pool. There’s also a spa on property. It was established in 1936.
Things to do
The Palm Springs Art Museum is definitely worth a visit. It’s closed Monday – Wednesday so be sure to visit their website for visiting hours and exhibits. Accredited by the American Association of Museums, the Palm Springs Art Museum has 28 galleries, two sculpture gardens, four classrooms, resource centers, five storage vaults, an 85-seat lecture hall, a 433-seat theater, a 1,000-square-foot store, and a popular local bistro. They also have the Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center, Edwards Harris Pavilion and the Faye Sarkowsky Sculpture Garden in Palm Desert.
We were specifically there for a VIP tour and visit to The Living Desert Zoo and Garden. Their exhibits are beautifully entrenched in the Palm Desert topography and feature animals from Africa, Australia and North America. The Rhino Savannah has two black rhinos named Nia and Jaali. We got to meet Jaali (pictured above) in a personal encounter with zoo keepers. Be sure to check out their Live Cam to see if you can spot them. The zoo also features hiking trails.
Head to El Paseo for world class shopping and fabulous restaurants. We loved sitting outside at Porta Via for lunch and watching all the interesting people and cars go by. The shopping and restaurants are in Palm Desert and well worth an afternoon outing.
Where to eat
We loved having dinner at FARM. Dinner is a prix fixe menu for $67 per person and is served Friday thru Tuesday nights. Closed Wednesday and Thursday for dinner. They are also open for breakfast and lunch on a regular menu. I suggest getting your reservations as soon as your trip is booked.
My outfit is linked and can be found HERE. All sizes are always noted in the post.
We enjoyed daily breakfast, cocktails and one dinner at The Colony Club because it was both delicious and easy. We highly recommend getting reservations here if you are not staying on property.
What to pack and wear
This Finley shirt dress was perfect for this trip. Initially, I brought it to wear to the zoo but our zoo visit happened on St. Patrick’s Day so I switched to the green tennis dress.
I’m in love with this beautiful maxi dress. Click HERE to shop this exact look, I guess I thought people would be dressed in more styles like they would in Palm Beach. Palm Springs is a bit more boho chic and laid back. Anything goes really.
FLY: American Airlines has several flights a day from DFW to Palm Springs direct. It’s an easy trip. You can rent cars at the airport or use UBER to get around. If you want to go between Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Joshua Tree, La Quinta and other surrounding areas, I suggest renting a car.
STAY: We chose The Colony Palms Hotel and Bungalows and it was perfect for our stay. We had friends staying over at The Parker Palm Springs and they loved it. Taylor and Jeff have visited Palm Springs and they stayed at Holiday House and they said it was very chic. Other suggestions: Waldorf Astoria, The Ritz Carlton Hotel, resorts in the Palm Desert area probably have more for families to do.
EAT: A lot of these recommendations came from my Instagram followers so I thought I would pass them along. Edge for dinner at The Ritz Carlton Hotel (great for sunset), happy hour at The Cliff House in La Quinta (get there early), Sandfish, Arnold Palmer restaurant, Norma’s at The Parker Hotel, Copley’s for dinner, Jake’s for lunch, Adobe Grill at the Waldorf Astoria, Spencer’s, Cheeky’s for breakfast, Wilma and Frieda’s (we had lunch there), Lavender Bistro for dinner.
TO DO: Joshua Tree National Park is about 40 miles from Palm Springs and is great for hiking and sightseeing. Hiking, shopping, tennis, golf, spa’s, museums, architectural tours, tour of famous homes (Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, Dean Martin, Kirk Douglas, Elvis Presley, Elizabeth Taylor and more), relaxing by the pool, shopping at El Paseo. There is also a fantastic outlet mall north of Palm Springs – Desert Hills Premium Outlets. The Palm Springs International Film Festival is well known and always attracts A list stars in January.
Whew! It was a great trip and we loved experiencing Palm Springs for the first time. Have you been? Please leave your suggestions in the comments below.
xoxo – Tanya
If you want more travel content, be sure to check out this post about a spa destination by clicking HERE.
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Tags: california, Palm Springs, travel essentials, travel guide, USA