I am excited to share my Palm Springs travel guide with you all because it is taking me back into a warm weather mindset. Something I’m missing these days! Just the other we got back from a long weekend on the West Coast. Whenever traveling across the country from NYC, Matt and I always try and maximize our time away, which often results in taking a red eye home. While that may sound a bit painful (you just have to push through that one day), it really allows you to maximize a long weekend and feel like you had a substantial amount of time away. For this trip in particular, we left on Friday evening and returned home early Tuesday morning (Monday night red-eye). One thing to note, a few months a year, JetBlue offers a direct flight from NYC right into Palm Springs. This was such a life saver only having to drive 8 minutes to our hotel instead of an hour+ if we flew into LA.
For this post, I thought it would be easiest to list out details of what we did day by day incase you are planning a trip and need a few ideas on how to map out your time. I know a bunch of you were looking forward to this blog post because you have plans to head here, so let me know if you have any specific questions I may have missed! Just leave them in the comments below.
Also, I would highly recommend renting a car, it was so nice being able to get up and go, especially when we were exploring Joshua Tree! We picked it up and dropped it off right there at the airport making everything simple and easy. When we headed out for the night we would Uber and I am not being sarcastic when I say literally every Uber ride is about $6!
WHERE WE STAYED: The Riviera Palm Springs
There was no big reason why we choose this spot over others except for a few recommendations from friends, the other couple we were traveling with was able to get a great rate, and lastly we didn’t want to spend a ton of money on the hotel since we would be out and about. It is also dog friendly if you are traveling with your pet!
What I love the most about Palm Springs in general is from the moment you arrive you are transported back into the 70’s. While you totally get to experience this vibe driving around, all of the hotels encompass this feel as well. You will see in my pictures below just how retro the hotels and Palm Springs is!
NIGHT ONE (Friday):
Like I mentioned above, we took an evening flight from NYC which got us into Palm Springs around 8:30pm. We dropped our stuff off at the hotel, did a quick change and headed to grab a bite to eat at Birba which was HIGHLY recommended. To be honest, we all were so disappointed with our experience here and I truly am not one to complain because I worked as a waitress for many years of my life. I am not sure if it was because we were sitting close to when the kitchen closed, but we were so rushed by our server and he even forgot to put in our main dish and didn’t do anything about it and when we asked for it he said the chef left. I would definitely like to come back here and try it again next time I am in Palm Springs because almost everyone I talked to said we had to eat here. The restaurant itself is an open air concept and had twinkle lights and fire pits everywhere which is right up my alley! I think we were just a bit unlucky with our timing.
Afterwards, we were all pretty exhausted so we headed back to the hotel and grabbed a nightcap at the bar. We wanted to get to bed not too late because we had an early wake-up call the next morning.
DAY ONE (Saturday):
Our internal clocks woke us up bright and early even before our alarms, but it was amazing catching sunrise out our window over the mountains. We had a jam packed day and wanted to get on the road early to grab a bite to eat at Cheeky’s before heading to Joshua Tree National Park. We heard the line at Cheeky’s can get long (and that was correct), so we arrived 15 minutes before they opened (8am opening) and put our name on the list. This was by far one of the yummiest breakfasts I have had in awhile and a local favorite! Do yourself a favor and get the bacon flight and thank me later 🙂
With full bellies, we got back on the road and headed to Joshua Tree which was about an hour drive. One very IMPORTANT thing to note, Joshua Tree is about 15-20 degrees cooler than Palm Springs so pack wisely and wear lots of layers. Since we didn’t have a ton of time in Palm Springs, we decided to do two smaller hikes (about 1 mile each), Barker Dam and Hidden Valley (incredible). Driving through the park to the different trails was absolutely amazing. We started the day at the Keys View lookout point (the wind was insane, fyi) and then headed to the trails.
On our way home, we stopped at Pioneer Town to walk around and then grab a post hike beer and bite at Pappy & Harriet’s. While we missed the live music, this place was poppin’ and had some of the yummiest BBQ! This was another spot that you all said to check and and I am glad we did.
We were just about back to our hotel as the sun was setting, so we decided to grab a drink and check out the sunset from the hotel across the street, ARRIVE. They had a beautiful pool and hot tub, as well as fire pits with chairs, which is where we hung out. We didn’t have the time, but someone said their food is wonderful, so just thought I would spread the word.
That night we had a late dinner at Workshop Kitchen which was incredible! They specialize in seasonal new-American cooking and had the best decor inside and out. This spot is perfect for big groups or a simple date spot and their roasted brussels sprouts were out of this world. After dinner we hopped around to a few bars before calling it a night!
DAY TWO (Sunday):
After a day on the go we were very much looking forward to a day of pool hopping and relaxation. We started the day with a delicious brunch at Kings Highway Diner which is within the Ace Hotel. The nachos and watermelon margaritas are a must! We had brought our suits so decided to do a quick change after we ate and lay by the pool. What I loved about Palm Springs is every hotel welcomes you to eat, hang at the pool, etc. even if you aren’t staying there. We had so much fun hanging around here for the majority of the day and then went to check out the Saguaro for one last dip and sunset.
Afterwards, we headed back to our hotel to enjoy a little bit of hot tub time before dinner since the sun went in and it was beginning to cool off. For dinner, we had reservations at Copley’s which was the “fancier” dinner spot of the trip. I enjoyed the outdoor atmosphere and the Hawaiian ahi tacos and wedge salad that we started with were delicious.
DAY THREE (Monday):
After a day of relaxing we were ready to pack in everything else we wanted to see and do before out flight late that night. We grabbed a cup of coffee and muffin from Koffi to hold us over until brunch and then headed to drive around and look at a few houses in a well known area. You likely have heard about the house with the pink door (#thatpinkdoor – 1100 E Sierra Way), so we set out to find it. While driving around the neighborhood we came across so many adorable homes I couldn’t stop snapping. As it was getting closer to 10am, we started making out way to the tram (so we would be there right when it opened). Since it was Monday we were told that the line wouldn’t be too bad, but on the weekends you may be waiting for 2-3 hours. So if you are visiting and want to go up the tram, try and do it during the week if possible.
Once we were finished with the tram, we really wanted to check out Moorten Botanical Garden. You all know how much I love succulents so this stop was high on my list. There is a $5 entrance fee, but once you are in, it is fun to walk around and check out everything and snap a cute shot in their greenhouse. If I didn’t have to get on a plane I would have bought one of each succulent they had for sale!
We then headed back to our hotel to enjoy the last few hours of sunshine. We decided to keep things low key and just order a bite to eat to enjoy poolside. We were able to snag a late checkout (4pm) which was great for really being able to take our time and enjoy the last day. After the pool we showered, packed up, checked out and hopped in the car to check out the Parker hotel.
To no surprise, this was 100% my favorite hotel. It was like walking into a bohemian oasis and the property had so many hidden nooks and crannies. While we couldn’t grab a drink by the pool because we weren’t staying there, we were able to go to the wine bar and grab a glass of rose and sneak off to the outdoor fire pit. The sun set and it was the perfect way to wrap up our trip with the sky filled with stars and moon shining bright. We grabbed one last bite to eat at the Mexican restaurant that is part of the Saguaro hotel as we had heard good things. It hit the spot before getting onto our flight.
When we arrived back in NYC we were welcomed with a light snow flurry making us really wish we were back in Palm Springs. This was such a fun and easy trip, I am excited to eventually get back there and enjoy it some more!
< view from the tram – it was snowy at the top and 85 degrees at the bottom! >