Living in Los Angeles not only means a copious amount of sunshine and unlimited beach trips, it also gives you access to many of the vibrant cities nearby like San Diego, Santa Barbara, Laguna Beach, San Francisco and Monterrey. A weekend road trip is the perfect opportunity to explore a new place without months of planning or the airport hassle.
Last weekend a group of friends and I went on a mini getaway to Palm Springs. We left on Friday afternoon and were in Palm Desert in under two hours – you’ll know you’re nearby when you see the cool windmills rising from the desert floor.
Palm Springs has a small-town feel that makes it a cinch to get around – just be sure you own or rent a car! Crowded areas or long lines are non-existent (unless you’re here during Coachella season) and the locals are super friendly.
Here’s my insider guide on what to eat, see and do in Hollywood’s Playground…
Kimpton Rowan Hotel
This new hotel is in the heart of Downtown Palm Springs and has a rooftop terrace with stunning views of the desert.
You either come here to relax or party, there’s no in between. However, I guarantee you’ll love this colorful and vibrant hotel.
This was the first time my friends and I visited Sands Hotel and we immediately fell in the love with the entire place. This hidden oasis has a boutique-feel with a gorgeous interior.
Airbnb also offer a TON of unique homes – just be sure to book early! Check out our Airbnb in Palm Desert…
Begin at noon and work your way down from your first hotel choice. I suggest grabbing lunch at hotel #1, enjoying drinks at hotel #2, relaxing at hotel #3 and then having dinner at hotel #4.
Here is an example:
Lunch @ Norma’s (located inside The Parker)
Drinks @ The Pink Cabana (Located inside The Sands Hotel)
Relaxing @ L’Horizon Spa & Resort
Dinner @ Purple Palm Restaurant (Located inside The Colony)
DIY home tour
Palm Springs offers various house tours, however we decided to create our own tour instead. We randomly stumbled upon The Movie Colony neighborhood where we were able to take a peek at some really beautiful homes. The area gets its name from the classic movie stars who once resided in this part of town – think Cary Grant, Kirk Douglas and Natalie Wood.
The Living Desert
Not your average zoo, the Living Desert is unique because you’ll be able to see animals that are commonly found in the desert regions around the world such as caracals, camels, jaguars and warthogs.
Palm Springs aerial tramway
Known as the world’s largest rotating tram car, the Palm Springs Tramway is an activity everyone can enjoy, unless you’re afraid of heights that is. Witness the beauty of Palm Springs from 8,516 feet above the ground and then enjoy a delicious meal at the top of the mountain.
Don’t visit Palm Springs WITHOUT trying one of the many milkshakes at Great Shakes. My favorites are the Oreo one with caramel swirl and strawberry vanilla with added malt. Each shake also comes with a mini donut – win!
This is my favorite brunch spot, with a new menu each week. Try the freshly squeezed blood orange juice, the bacon flight (yep) and the cheddar scones.
If you feel like cooling off and relaxing a bit, go to Koffi for delicious frozen coffess.
The Pink Cabana
You’ll be blown away by the drinks offered at this incredible bar. Don’t leave this trendy spot without ordering Pushing Buttons or the Cabana Colada. One sip and you’ll be hooked!
Okay, so you’ll only need to spend a few minutes here, however this iconic roadside attraction is ideal for anyone looking to snap some silly and eccentric pictures in front of a T-Rex or Brachiosaurus.
Moorten Botanical Garden
Step into the land of cacti and other desert plants at this family-owned arboretum. There are over 3,000 varieties of plants, including some rare ones found nowhere else. Guests are also welcome to stop by the nursery and take a pot or two back home.