Looking for a stress-free escape? Turns out spending a long weekend in the desert is the perfect cure for those post-summer blues. Beyond the haze of the Inland Empire and past Joshua Tree National Park lies Palm Springs, a most welcome mirage (with daily flights to New York City should you prefer to fly).
After gaining traction as a popular resort town during the 1950s, Palm Springs has remained a hotspot for people hunting for serious R&R. With a slew of boutique hotels and luxury rental accommodations to choose from, Palm Springs is well worth a visit. From architecture tours to unique hiking trails, here are a few of our favorite things to see and do, along with places to stay and eat along the way.
Stay: Palm Springs boasts an array of diverse accommodations, ranging in price and amenities. For something charming choose the Parker Palm Springs. Designed by Jonathan Adler, the Parker pays homage to mid-century modern design via considerate placement of stunning decorative accessories throughout, and boasts three swimming pools plus a truly exceptional spa. For something more modest, go retro and stay at The Ace Hotel and Swim Club. More of a rugged desert escape, the Ace Hotel and Swim Club serves up serious motel vibes – perfect for hipsters and creative types alike. For a pop of color choose The Saguaro, if only for its iconic rainbow facade and multicolored hammocks scattered around the pool. A quick visit to the Sands Hotel & Spa in Indian Wells will leave you refreshed and inspired, thanks to Martyn Lawrence Bullard’s careful renovation of this 1950s treasure.
Explore: Although temperatures often rise well above 100 degrees, Palm Springs’ infamous dry heat makes it feel cooler. In terms of things to do, why not climb over 8,000 feet on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway to the top of the San Jacinto Mountains and take in the view of the city below? Hiking enthusiasts will want to explore the numerous trails and national parks surrounding Palm Springs, including Painted Canyon where a unique interaction of light and color ‘paints’ the rocks. Thrill seekers should head to Joshua Tree National Park for endless rock climbing opportunities or to. Alternatively, you can hire a guide and venture off the beaten track to learn more about the park’s unique geography.
Art and architecture lovers should plan ahead to reserve highly coveted tours of notable mid-century modern masterpieces including the Hope Residence by John Lautner and the Kaufmann House by Richard Neutra. Visit Palm Springs in February to enjoy the city’s annual Modernism Week, which offers attendees the rare chance to tour multiple highly-coveted properties and interiors at once. Modernism Week also plays host to several evening events, including the Modernism Show & Sale which features 20th and 21st century art, objects and furniture from dozens of leading decorative and fine art dealers. Those visiting for the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in April will do well to remember Palm Springs serves as a welcome oasis and place to stay.
Caffeine Fix: Luckily there’s no drought of great coffee in the desert. With various locations dotted around Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley, Koffi Coffee offers locals and visitors a destination for premium roasts set in cute (read: very Instagrammable) settings.
Shop: Although Palm Springs isn’t known for its retail, Desert Hills Premium Outlets shouldn’t be missed. With brands including Tom Ford, Saint Laurent and Gucci all offering serious savings, the outlet has quickly become a well-known mecca for shopaholics and luxury brand enthusiasts.
Dine: For some seriously good comfort food try Norma’s at The Parker Palm Springs, if only for the French Toast (which is infused with what can only be described as ‘chocolate decadence’). Celebrating something special? Make dinner plans downtown at Workshop Kitchen + Bar, the James Beard award-winning restaurant which focuses on shareable farm-to-table plates and exceptionally crafted cocktails. Craving something sweet? Treat yourself to a Date Shake (a milkshake blended with fresh, local dates), the unofficial beverage of Palm Springs and widely available wherever you go.
A long weekend in the desert is the perfect cure for those post-summer blues