Update: This post includes recommendations from my original trip in January 2019 and updates from my most recent trip in January 2022.
As of January 2022, mask mandates were in place and vaccine cards were required in every Palm Springs establishment.
There is nothing like a getaway right when the winter blues are about to kick in. Amirite? In January of 2019, I went to Palm Springs (PSP) to visit my friend from college, Brett. And before you ask, no, we are literally just friends. Brett and I actually met in college, through my older brother, at a bar named Courtside. We spent many nights closing down the bar as the lights turned on and Michael Jackson’s “Will You Be There” from Free Willy song blared in the background.
We’ve grown up a bit over the years, but we still love nothing more than to spend long weekends “bee-boppin around town” with no set agenda. My trip to Palm Springs was just that.
Stay tuned for Palm Springs 2.0 in the near future because as of today, October 8th 2021, Southwest Airlines is officially flying into PSP. Not to mention after a year of no travel, I have the itch to book a flight! [2022 Update: I’m already looking to book a flight back for PSP 3.0]
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Where to eat and drink:
If you’re a foodie like me, or if you enjoy finding spots off the beaten path, this blog post is just for you. After literally eating and drinking our way through Palm Springs the entire weekend, I’ve captured a full list of places for you to check out!
***Disclaimer: these are all pre-covid times. If you plan to visit Palm Springs soon, be sure to call ahead to understand the new regulations in place.
Cheekys – Plan ahead because Cheeky’s does not take reservations and there is always a line. They have the cutest outdoor patio space with a modern flare. I got the the breakfast quesadilla and fresh squeezed blood orange juice. I’m not sure what the sauce is that comes with the breakfast quesadilla, but it sure was delicious. I joined the clean plate club here! 😉 See a few pictures below of our Cheeky’s experience.
Pinocchio’s — Bottomless mimosas and ALL DAY HAPPY HOUR. Need I say more? What’s not to love about that? I forgot to take pictures of my food here, but I got half of the chicken salad sandwich and it was divine! I’d definitely recommend Pinocchio’s for a fun brunch atmosphere. This would be the perfect spot for a weekend Bachelor/Bachelorette party brunch!
Tropicale – If you’re looking for a cute outdoor patio, Tropicale is the spot for you! Hair of the dog is a thing… This Bloody Mary brought me back to life. It was served with a lemon, lime, pearled onion, olives, and some pickled green beans. The Tropicale Breakfast pizza (pictured below) was exactly what I needed on this hungover morning.
Boozehounds: New in 2022, Boozehounds is the perfect brunch spot to dine with friends or solo with your dog. This new dining spot had a huge outdoor patio, spacious lounge, and large wrap around bar for lots of different dining options. They serve other meals too, but Brett and I went for the hair of the dog… I mean Sunday Brunch.
They we booked so we ended up getting a seat at the bar, which worked out great. If you have more than two people, I’d recommend making a reservation.
Let’s jump to what we ordered…
I got a Peach Bellini and a Bloody Mary… don’t judge me!
For food, we got the truffle fries, avocado toast, and the breakfast hash (not pictured). Everything was delicious and the service was great.
On top of the excellent food, they had the cutest signage in the entire restaurant, including the restrooms. Feminine, edgy, and idolizing is how I would describe the bathroom decor. Every inch was covered in the cutest details. It’s certainly a bathroom you’ll remember.
Daytime & Lunch Spots:
Escena Golf Course Grill – The most adventurous we got all weekend was by going to a golf course…. to eat and drink… with a view. Brett was so excited for me try the chips and dip with secret sauce. We dove right in and forgot to take some pics. For lunch, I got the salmon salad and the sangria, both pictured below. On the way out, we stopped in the Pro shop where we both became proud owners of some golf attire – you know, because we both golf ALL THE TIME! 😉
Lulu California Bistro – Brett and I stopped at Lulu’s after several hours at the Tiki Hut. Needless to say, we were specifically looking for pizza and ended up at Lulu’s. Luckily we snagged two chairs at the bar, otherwise we would have had to wait a while for a table. I remember Lulu’s having a really fun vibe. This would be another great spot for a group!
Las Casuelas – I always need a Mexican fix on vacation. As soon as I landed, we went to Las Casuelas for a late lunch and jumbo margarita. To be honest, I have had way better Mexican food, but this restaurant was located right on S Palm Canyon Drive and had a cute outdoor seating area. The margs were lit. They also have live music, which is always a plus! This was the perfect start to our trip and pretty much the only night we remembered to eat dinner… whoops!
Trio – This fun spot is located in the heart of downtown Palm Springs. They have delicious food, but what sets them apart is their outdoor dance floor. From the moment you walk through the door, there is an upbeat energy that guarantees you’ll have a good time. Good Food, Good Mood!
[2022 UPDATE] 1501 Brewery: I believe this is a newer, hip, spot since my last visit in 2019. Both the inside and the patio were full of dogs and their owners. Their food looked and smelled amazing, but we just stopped in for a single cocktail. They close down for a couple of hours between brunch and dinner so pay attention to what time you go on the weekends!
[2022 UPDATE] Thai Smile: We ended our Sunday Funday at Thai Smile. I wish I would have taken pictures of my delicious Lychee martini… a refreshing, light pear cocktail that capped off another successful weekend in the desert. I have some low quality photos in my IG highlight, but you’d be better off searching yelp to reviews for better photos! 🙂
Cocktails, cocktails and more cocktails:
If there is anything I learned on this trip, it is my unexpected love for gin. Brett actually pointed this out one night because I kept telling the mixologists that I’m more of a vodka gal, but ended up ordering all of the gin cocktails. Who knew?!
Arrive Hotel Bar (pictured below). Palm Springs (PSP) is known for their unique boutique hotels. We spent more time bee boppin’ around to different hotel bars than we did anywhere else.
This bar was perfect during the day since it’s located right by the pool and you don’t need to be a guest at Arrive hotel to enjoy this area. Pool reservations can be made ahead of time to reserve lounge chairs or cabanas.
We came here in both 2019 and 2022! This is a great spot for people watching! 🙂
Parker Hotel mini bar – The iconic Parker Hotel is a must see! Since we were not guests staying in the hotel, we were limited which parts of the hotel grounds we could explore, but I still loved it all.
2022 UPDATE: [The Parker Hotel is currently not open to non guests]
Gray Malin also photographed an unbelievable series here with exotic animals, which he turned into a darling children’s book called Be Our Guest. Brett has stayed at the Parker before and has said the grounds are absolutely incredible and worth the splurge. Another reason I need to go back…
Norma’s is located outside on the terrace. I loved how the the bright orange from the front door of the hotel is carried to the cushions on the benches at Norma’s. I have heard brunch is never a disappointment here, but be sure to make a reservation because it’s a busy spot!
Seymour Speakeasy located inside of Mr. Lyon’s Steakhouse. Pictured below are the Singapore Sling and Wait… What? Avocado? This speakeasy is was elegantly decorated and provided for such a vintage vibe. The Mixologists were incredibly knowledgeable and helpful when trying to decide on cocktails to order.
Tiki Bar — Tonga Hut If you’re looking for a place where the drinks are lit, go here! Pun intended. We spent a good chunk of our Saturday here and ordered lots of rum drinks. Our waiter kept lighting them on fire as he delivered them to our table. Let’s be honest, we started this trend for the gram, but then never stopped….
Blackbook 1/4 sheet Nachos (and barely pictured Shishito peppers). This picture does not do these justice. After a long day of bee boppin, this was our final stop before heading home. The food blogger pics were not a priority, but boy, oh boy these were good. Blackbook is one of the gay bars located on East Arenas Rd. It had such a fun atmosphere with a great modern feel inside. Highly recommend coming here with a group of friends if you’re visiting PSP.
4 Saints Bar Located on top of the Kimpton Rowan hotel, this bar has the best views during the day! To no surprise, another hotel bar, another gin cocktail. Sadly, we did not get any pictures here, but we still enjoyed the atmosphere and the view as the sun set over the mountains.
Where to Stay:
If your budget allows, stay at one of the boutique hotels:
- The Parker Hotel
- The Saguaro Hotel
- Ace Hotel & Swim Club
- La Serena Villas
- Air BnBs – there are a lot of fun houses that are rented out as Air Bnbs with their own pools. This would be a great COVID friendly option.
What to do:
Annenburg Estate also known as Sunnylands, is a 200 acre estate that welcomed political leaders for more than 40 years with the goal to promote tranquility and peace. This estate was stunning. While we were visiting, there was an outdoor yoga class taking place on the garden lawn with nearly 200 people. There are tours that can be purchased to see the grounds, but by the time we got there, we missed the tour.
Palm Springs is known for it’s unique mid-century modern architecture. If style and design is your thing, book a tour to learn more!
There are plenty of beautiful hiking trails to explore as well!
Other surrounding cities to explore are:
- Palm Desert
- Cathedral City
Other things you should know:
- Palm Springs is in the desert meaning depending on the time of year you visit, temperatures can get very hot. I thought January was perfect because it was still 80 degrees during the day, but dropped into the 60’s at night.
- Palm Springs does have an airport that you can easily fly in and out of; PSP. Other airports to fly into would be Orange County/Santa Ana or Ontario. These are about an hour drive from Palm Springs.
- Both Uber and Lyft operate in Palm Springs so if you don’t have a car, it’s easy to get around.
Where to Shop:
- Just Fabulous
- Art Galleries
- Dessert Hills Outlets
- Thick as Thieves
2022 California Trip:
After 3 long years of minimal travel, I was so excited to make it back to PSP for another fun weekend in the sun.
I flew into San Diego this time and spent the first night exploring Gaslamp. I was underwhelmed… I’m not sure if it was the time of year, Covid outbreak or the fact that a Tsunami warning was issued up the whole West coast, but it was not very busy. We started out in Gas lamp and then ventured to Hillcrest and went to Rich’s, which was more upbeat and fun.
Saturday morning was rainy due to the Tsunami, so we didn’t get out to explore as much as I had hoped. Our only stop…
We stayed at The Westin in Gaslamp Quarter, which was the perfect location within walking distance to all of the shops, bars, and restaurants. I’d love to go back to San Diego, but hopefully when the weather is nicer and I can stay longer! 🙂
Located almost halfway in between San Diego and Palm Springs, Temecula was the perfect pit stop. We only stopped at Callaway winery since we had to drive over an hour to get back to Palm Springs, but I would definitely go back to Temecula again!
Most of my updates from my 2022 trip were made to the body of the post above. Since we spent half of our time in San Diego / Temecula, we did less exploring this trip, but was still the perfect getaway. I’ve already been jotting down a mental list of what I want to do when I go back… there’s never enough time to do it all in one trip!
Pro tip: Stay in touch with your college friends… and go visit them again and again!
That’s a wrap! I can’t wait to book a trip back to PSP for another fun weekend of bee boppin’ around with Brett. Maybe next time we’ll remember to eat dinner and make it out somewhere besides a bar. 😉
If you visit Palm Springs and check out any of these places, leave a comment below and let me know where you went!