Palm Springs is a hipper Las Vegas, a more restrained and stylish resort destination that’s perfect for a weekend getaway. Whether you’re lounging poolside at a mid-century resort, partying at a ladies’ weekend, or relaxing at a couples’ spa getaway, Palm Springs has got your weekend wonderland squared away.
Fly into Palm Springs airport. Or, if you’re driving from LA, hop in the car Thursday night to avoid rush hour and start the weekend early. Spend the afternoon visiting the Palm Springs Art Museum and riding the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway to the top, where you can take in the refreshing view of the valley below.
Back on the desert floor check in to a stylish mid-century hotel, such as the Del Marcos Hotel or the Desert Hills and enjoy some time poolside. For dinner, dine on Pacific Rim plates at retro throwback Tropicale Restaurant and Coral Seas Lounge. At night, opt for tropical drinks at Bootlegger Tiki, retro-chic cocktails at Melvyn’s, or stay put on the buzzing patio bar at Coral Seas.
After a breakfast with Bloody Marys at Cheeky’s, head to the Uptown Design District for vintage shopping. Browse the wares at The Shops at Thirteen Forty-Five, where the stunning architecture matches the vintage and accessories inside, then pick up some Bakelite adornments at Dazzles.
One of the best sights in Palm Springs is the area’s stunning mid-century architecture. Pick up a driving tour map at the Palm Springs Visitor Center, itself housed in the Albert Frey-designed Tramway Gas Station, and discover the works of Donald Wexler, William F. Cody, and Richard Neutra, among others. For a sneak peek inside, sign up for a tour of Elvis’s Honeymoon Hideaway or historic Sunnylands, which has hosted everyone from British royalty to Hollywood icons.
Around dinnertime, enjoy the steamed, grilled, or fried seafood at Shanghai Red’s Bar & Grill (you’ll want the Anthony Bourdainlauded fish tacos), then take in a drag show before dancing the night away at Toucan’s Tiki Lounge or mingling with the cool kids at the Ace Hotel’s pool party.
Continue the Saturday party vibe with brunch at Pinocchio in the Desert where the bottomless mimosas draw a packed patio crowd. For more calm with your morning, head to Palm Springs mainstay Spencer’s for upscale resort dining.
Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley are surrounded by epic desert beauty. Nowhere is this more evident than with a hike through Indian Canyons. The Lower Palm Canyon Trail visits the world’s largest fan palm oasis, while Tahquitz Canyon offers a short but scenic stroll to a rare desert waterfall.
After your hike, work out the kinks of mind and body with a massage at one of Palm Springs’ many day spas before packing your bags for the flight or long drive back to reality.
Best Pool Scenes
Looking for a buzzing pool scene? The following are a few of Palm Springs’ best. Some of these hotel pools are only open to guests, while others allow day-use visitors for events.
- Ace Hotel & Swim Club: Dive into one of Palm Springs’ biggest pool scenes at one of this hotel’s weekend events.
- Hard Rock Palm Springs: With a poolside cocktail bar, cabanas, and day beds, this pool can turn into a party at any time.
- Saguaro: It’s notorious for its lively pool scene.
- The Parker Hotel: Choose from three outdoor pools: one with drink service, one for families, and one for adults only.
- Sparrows Lodge: Rejuvenate in the guest-only pool or party at the bar in the communal barn.
Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Palm Springs & Joshua Tree.