April 08, 2019

Everything You Need to See and Do in Palm Springs

Palm Springs California

Palm Springs Palm Trees CA
Palm Springs California

Palm Springs has a solid reputation as THE spot for bloggers, influencers, and photographers, and it's clear why. The scenery is next-level gorgeous, the houses are #goals, and there's more than enough sunshine to go around. Not to mention its cool history as a hideaway for Hollywood royalty.

But you definitely don't have to be packing a DSLR camera or a card-carrying "Influencer" to enjoy this colorful town. Palm Springs is a welcoming place for everyone!






My husband and I finally got to visit Palm Springs in December after drooling over Pinterest and Instagram photos for what seems like forever. I must tell you- From the moment I stepped off the plane my jaw dropped and stayed on the ground pretty much the whole time. The sight of those desert mountains and palm trees reaching up towards the blue sky completely captivated me.

It's such a unique and beautiful place that I had to put together a quick guide for anyone looking to visit this pretty little desert town. So here we go!

Where to Stay


The Ace Hotel


I have to admit, I'm a prime target for the curated/ vintage vibes this place is putting out. We only briefly stopped in for a meal at their on-site restaurant, King's Highway. But it was love at first glance, and I could tell this was THE spot to be.

There's a bar with a distinctly divey, grungy feel that reminded me of Brooklyn. The pool scene is a hipster's paradise. And OMG there's a coffee bar basically in the lobby, which was open in the afternoon when we went for brunch. Total blessing for late-starters like myself.


Airbnb


There's so many amazing hotel options in Palm Springs. However, you can also get a cute little mid-century house for around the same price! Just do some clicking around, there are some amazing options.

CLICK HERE TO GET $40 OFF YOUR AIRBNB STAY

The Saguaro


This is the hotel that we actually stayed at, and I have mixed feelings about it to tell the absolute truth. The good news is I LOVED the vibe, which is similar to the Ace Hotel. The aesthetic is on point- it's obviously one of the most photographed hotels in Palm Springs for good reason. The pool was to die for, plus they had lots of interesting things to do like horseshoes and bocce.

Also, evidently they have Groupon deals, which we should've looked into before we booked!


The Saguaro Palm Springs CA
The Saguaro Palm SpringsAce Hotel Palm Springs pool



Where to Eat

Tip: the key word in this town is reservations.

As a New Yorker, dining is a very casual occurrence, and you can pretty much walk into any restaurant without a problem (except for busy brunch spots and super fancy places.) It's not even that unusual for people to eat out for every single meal of the day!

In Palm Springs, however, eating out seems to be an event. Everywhere we went, we were asked if we had a reservation (we didn't.) We never had a problem getting a table, but sometimes there was a substantial wait. I'd suggest reserving ahead of time, especially during busier seasons when there are more visitors (spring and fall.)

533 Viet Fusion


I thought this would be a run-of-the-mill Asian place, but it was actually my favorite meal of the trip! Up until 2015 it was indeed a regular pho restaurant in a strip mall. At that time, a renowned chef took it over, started experimenting with the menu, and taking the food to new levels. It's been racking up good reviews since then, but still seems to be under the radar in the blogger's best-of lists. Check it out before it completely blows up!!

El Jefe


This was our very first stop in Palm Springs, as our plane came in at 10am, we were bone-tired from getting up at 3am, and just needed somewhere to wait it out until our room was ready. Morning margaritas never tasted so sweet, and this is DEFINITELY the place to have them.

We ate here a LOT during our stay, since it's right inside the Saguaro. Everything on the menu was satisfying and tasty, including their breakfast/ brunch options, but I was particularly taken with the shrimp tacos. The interior of the restaurant is dive bar-chic.

Jake's


A Palm Springs standby, you will see it in many blog posts and lists. There's good reason for that! The host squeezed us in on a busy Saturday when we had no reservation, and the service was friendly thereafter! We came for brunch, and the challah French toast rivaled some of the best that I've had.

The only thing is, we were a little bit surprised at the prices - which we felt were even more expensive than NYC. We didn't know that was possible, lol! Here, and in Palm Springs in general, I'd budget a good amount for food if you plan on eating out for most of your meals.

Cheeky's


This is a lovely little brunch spot beloved by locals and tourists alike. What brought me here was the famous flight of bacon... in which you can try different flavors! They change with the season and we enjoyed bacon flavored with flavors like apple cinnamon, eggnog, jalepeno. We got two flights and split them between 4 people. Let's just say, we were not disappointed.

We did have to wait 45-ish minutes for our table, but luckily Birba was right next door, which is basically an outdoor patio that serves drinks. Lattes and Bloody Marys make the wait pretty easy.   

King's Highway


Can you tell I love Ace Hotel? This place was actually an old Denny's converted into a restaurant. It still has that modern retro charm, and the food was very diner-ish as well (but in the best way possible.)

Sherman's Deli


An old school Jewish deli with a menu that reminded me of the best delis in New York? Sold! Even our waitress had a ton of character... she called us "hon" and said things like "be back in a flash!" while dropping off our ketchup and coffee. I would def come on an empty stomach, or make sure your hotel has ample refrigerator room for leftovers... the portions are insane.

El Jefe Palm Springs CA
Cheeky's bacon flight Palm Springs
Jake' french toast Palm Springs
King's Highway Ace Hotel Palm Springs California
Sherman's Deli Palm Springs


Things to do


Lounge Poolside


This was my surprise favorite thing to do during this trip! I've never been a "pool person" before. I'd describe myself as much more of a beach bum, since I grew up going to beaches every summer. But I quickly learned why it's such a big thing on the west coast. There's nothing quite like the feeling of sipping margs at 2pm while listening to a perfectly curated playlist, surrounded by cool people. This is the dream, and you will be living it in Palm Springs.

I honestly wish we'd spent more time at the pool, as I'm discovering that I'm much more of a slow traveler. I like more time chilling out and less time zipping around trying to see everything possible. If this sounds like you too, then the pool is where you need to be!
Saguaro Palm Springs Pool
The Saguaro Palm Springs


Drive Around in a Convertible 

This was one thing we HAD to do in Palm Springs. It was actually pretty cold for most of our trip, but we were determined to see this one through. And you know what? I'm glad we did.  It felt pretty awesome to be driving around the palm-tree lined roads with the wind in our hair and sun in our faces.

Palm Springs California Convertible

Drive through Indian Canyon neighborhood


If you're looking for architectural #goals dream fuel, you need to come here. In this neighborhood, you'll be rubbernecking at every house trying to get inspiration for the color of your doorway back at home.

Tip: Start on Sierra Way, and just drive around at your leisure. You'll find several famous Doors of Instagram... including That Pink Door, The Yellow Door, The Orange Door, and The Lions.

One thing I do NOT recommend, unfortunately, is taking a picture of That Pink Door. Believe me, I wanted that shot as bad as you! But when I googled beforehand, I discovered that the owners no longer want people taking photos of it, and even put a sign outside their house telling people not to take pictures.  I'll do a lot for the gram, but respecting people's privacy is more important.

Cheer up though. There's more than enough amazing houses in the area, and even ones who are dying to steal #thatpinkdoor's thunder- like this one which is practically right next door. It was decorated with pineapple pool floaties when we were there.

Door tour Palm Springs California



Palm Springs Aerial Tramway


This tramway is one of the highest in the world, and is considered a feat of engineering. When we bought tickets, daytime slots were sold out but I'm almost glad. So as it was dark, we didn't see the mountains all around us speeding by at a fast pace. We did see however, the city of Palm Springs become a glimmer, as we climbed 10,000 feet in 10 minutes.

At the top you can eat, there's a little museum, and gift shops. You can go outside and check out the woods. Or simply sight see.

Palm Springs California night


Moorten Botanical Garden


I saw at least 3 other bloggers getting their shots here during the 10 minutes we were inside the cactorium. However, that doesn't mean you can't too! Get your gram worthy shots in the cactorium. We were lucky enough to also stumble on a woman giving a tour. Even though the place is small, there's still so much to learn about all the different types of cactii. So interesting!

Moorten Botanical Garden Palm Springs


Moorten Botanical Garden Palm Springs California

Day Trips


Joshua Tree


I was dying... DYING to see Joshua Tree. I've been obsessed with it for years and still can't believe I finally got to go. It is truly magical, and there's nothing like it in the entire world.

Just one word of advice... just because it's California doesn't mean that it can't still be cold! Haha. it was 30-35 degrees when we went. Literally below freezing. Don't believe the picture below, I was freezing my butt off!

We actually ended up getting in during the government shutdown, so didn't have to pay. But be advised that it's usually about $25 per car to get in. You can drive through the entire park in your car, and there are countless areas to pull off, take photos explore trails, and even camp (you need special permits for that.)

Joshua Tree CA California
Joshua Tree desert sunset California




Idyllwild


Definitely make time in your schedule to see this magical little mountain town. It's got a different kind of California vibe... more woodsy pines than sunshine and palm trees. There's lots of nature, parks, and outdoors activities to do here, as well as a cute area with little shops and restaurants to explore.

California woods



I hope you enjoyed this guide & that you enjoy your next trip to Palm Springs!!


Avocado toast Palm Springs
Palm Springs CA
Birba Palm Springs California
Palm Springs CA




♥♥♥ Follow me on Instagram!  @chantillysongs
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2 comments

  1. Love how you edited the shots Chantilly! Makes me miss that apple cinnamon bacon...! xo kj

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank youu!!!! ❤️❤️ I'm definitely missing that bacon as well as you guys.

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