A Local's Guide to Palm Springs Exploring Palm Springs (and Coachella Valley)
I have spent decades escaping to Palm Springs, and love to explore the entire area. Set at the foot of several mountain ranges, this modern and vibrant city is just a two-hour drive from Los Angeles, Palm Springs (and Coachella Valley) have always felt like a welcome oasis to generations including Old Hollywood. In addition to Palm Springs, other cities in the area include Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage, Indian Wells, La Quinta, Indio, Cathedral City and Desert Hot Springs, sometimes referred to collectively as the Coachella Valley, The California Desert or The Palm Springs Metro area. Let's explore.
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Where to stay in Palm Springs
Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs Hotel
Sleek property in downtown Palm Springs with chic rooms that offer views of the San Jacinto Mountains.
$50 hotel credit.
The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage
Experience luxury and desert serenity at The Ritz-Carlton, where upscale accommodations, breathtaking mountain views, and world-class amenities create an exceptional stay in Rancho Mirage, California.
Daily Breakfast for 2
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Food & beverage credit.
Once a popular resort getaway for the Hollywood elite, Sparrows Lodge is Palm Springs’ only ranch-style boutique hotel and has been beautifully restored with a modern rustic vibe.
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Things to do in Palm Springs
Palm Springs manages to have both a relaxed and yet glamorous vibe that is completely restful and in a rush for no one. It’s about days playing in the sun and quiet evenings with good food and sound desert sleeps. Its known for its fabulous weather, hot springs, stylish hotels, abundant golf courses and tennis courts, spas and midcentury-modern architecture, film and music festivals, tennis tournament, wellness retreats and so much more, like its core shopping district along Palm Canyon Drive, featuring vintage boutiques, interior design shops and restaurants. The surrounding Coachella Valley offers hiking, biking and horseback riding trails. Also just 45 miles from Joshua Tree National Park or Pioneertown and 1 hour from the mountain town of Idyllwild. Palm Springs has wonderful regular markets and events - Thursday Night Markets, PS Vintage Market, PS Farmers Markets, Vintage Car Shows, PS Film Festival and more. It also boasts wonderful vintage shopping and art museums - Iike the Palm Springs Art Museum - obviously the Coachella Music Festival, the Indian Wells Open / BNP Paribas Open, Modernism Week and has the Agua Caliente Casinos in Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage or Cathedral City. Palm Desert also has a regular street fair and farmers market.
Joshua Tree National Park
Places to eat & drink in Palm Springs
These are all good options, but there are endless options for brekkie and a lot of good coffee shops (Ernest Coffee, Cartel Coffee, Café La Jefa and Koffi - many that brew the local Joshua Tree Coffee Company goods). Good classic diner breakfasts at Sherman’s or Kings Highway at Ace hotels too, and fantastic pastries at French-owned Peninsula Pastries or bagels at Townie Bagels.
Mister Parker’s (at the Parker)
There are SO many tasty Mexican food choices around too, depending on what you are looking for. Also, if you love the burgers at Tyler’s but it’s just open for lunch, and for all things healthy, check out Palm Greens Cafe.
This list is LONG, but I do enjoy Bootlegger Tiki a lot. Other good picks:
Need to Know
For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Dan Howarth’s guide, Things to Do in Palm Springs: Mid-Century Heaven.
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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to California.