When in Palm Springs, CA | Travel Guide

Palm Springs is a desert oasis of never-ending palm trees, mid-century mod architecture, and pool-side lounging under the desert sun. It's also a popular spot that people hang out and stay at during the Coachella music festival weekends. As my first-ever solo trip, Palm Springs was the perfect destination for a super relaxing vacation! I put together a mini travel guide of all my favorite places in this beautiful city. I've listed my recommendations by category (Do, Eat/Drink, Stay) along with a photo recap below!

DO:

1. Wellness retreat at Two Bunch Palms Resort. 
This spa oasis is located in Desert Hot Springs, CA, about 20 minutes away from Palm Springs, and is well worth the short trip. I booked the 'World Away' package (it was their Memorial Day special), which included soaking in their award-winning mineral water known as "The Grotto", a spa treatment (I opted for a mud bath & arnica wrap treatment!), all available daily classes (which includes yoga, juicing classes, and more) and lunch at their on-site restaurant, Essence. With a quiet place to soak while freeing your mind under a canopy of beautiful palm trees, this was the most relaxing spa experience I've ever had!

2. Visit the Moorten Botanical Garden & CactariumWith just a $5 entrance fee, it's hard not to want to visit this hidden treasure. I met the owner of this place, Clark Moorten. His family has sourced succulents and cacti from all over the world since 1939, nurturing and growing every visible succulent and cacti plant at this location. 
Pro Tip: If you're visiting during the summer, make sure to go early (they're open from 9am-1pm between 6/21-9/21, except Wednesdays)!

3. Take a ride on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. This was such a memorable experience - nothing beats a view from the top! I ascended 2.5 miles up the San Jacinto Mountains aboard the world's largest rotating tramcar, and was welcomed with an amazing view. The air is so refreshing at the top, and I seriously could not believe how high up I was! I hiked during my visit on top of the mountains, but there are also guided nature walks and campgrounds for extended stays (as well as snow activities, such as snow-shoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter!).

4. Hop on a cruiser bike and sight-see the mid-century mod architecture in the city! This was so effortless for me to do during my down-time, since my hotel (The Saguaro) provided free cruiser rentals during the day. Besides the house of the famous Pink Door (which I briefly blogged about here), there are so many beautiful houses in Palm Springs. The things that awe-struck me most were the vibrant and decorative doors, the art-deco wall patterns, and the mid-century style rooftops. If you're feeling adventurous, you can take a self-guided tour of several mid-century landmarks, found here

5. Shop at these local gems - H20 Closet and Elizabeth & Prince! H20 Closet is a modern apothecary for all your skincare and beauty needs. Their new store is located in the Uptown Design District and is super clean and organized! I found a great SoHo mint julep foot scrub while I was there, which saved me from all the walking I did during the rest of the trip. Elizabeth & Prince is an upscale and thoughtfully curated clothing & accessories boutique. If you're up to splurge a little, this store has the most gorgeous style finds.

EAT/DRINK:

1. Dessert: Ice Cream & Shop(pe). This ice cream parlor is cuteness overload. It has so much character with their fun aesthetic and all the fun merchandise they have for sale in their gift shop section. Their rose water ice cream flavor was to die for, and I love that they have a free mini toppings station, where you can load up on all the sprinkles to your heart's desire.

2. Brunch: Cheeky's. If you haven't been to Palm Springs, CA before, I recommend you try Cheeky's at least once. It was at least an hour of a wait for me, but this place was my favorite place to brunch at in the city! I had their delicious white raspberry drizzled waffles with berries, a fruit sampler, and a mouthwatering bacon flight (they're only $1 each!).

3. Dinner: NORMA'S at The Parker Hotel. If you're planning to check out The Parker Hotel like I did, I'd also recommend a bite at NORMA's while you're there. The food is a bit over-priced, but the fried fish tacos were so juicy and their lemonade is super refreshing and delicious! 

4. Beverages: Great Shakes. This is the first dessert shop that I've been to that serves a mini donut with your shake. It's the cutest thing ever. I selected the Blueberry Hill shake, which combines blueberry, lemon, and lavender - it was so refreshing, and just what I needed when the weather hit 110 degrees there that weekend.

5. Beverages: Ernest Coffee. The coffee here is carefully crafted and the interior is clean and comfy. I got their iced Sevilla, which is a mocha drink with a hint of orange zest. This place is a coffee-lover's dream.

6. Beverages: Fruit Wonders. This juice and pop bar serves everything from Aqua Frescas, acai bowls, shakes, and vegan gourmet popsicles! I opted for a coconut drink with a fruit straw, which was so refreshing, especially during the hot weather. I also loved the vibrant and airy interior of this place!

STAY:

The Saguaro Palm Springs. I stayed at the Saguaro Hotel & Pool during my Palm Springs trip. I felt right at home with the hotel's colorful interiors and exteriors, their comfy hotel room, and not to mention their weekend-long pool parties! It seriously felt like I was at a Vegas day club with all the pool-side festivities going on. As mentioned above, I also love that they offer free cruiser bike rentals during the day!

I did some hotel hopping and checked out The Parker Hotel and The Ace Hotel, when I dined at their on-site restaurants (NORMA'S and King's Highway). The Parker Hotel has an absolutely luxurious aesthetic and was decorated by the famous designer, Jonathan Adler. It is a premium hotel with gorgeous private grounds, so if you plan to stay here, you can expect to pay a premium price. The Ace Hotel has a completely different vibe, and I'd say it's for the hip, cool kids expecting to have a good time either relaxing or partying it up pool-side. The DJ was spinning fun beats in the pool area and there are good vibes all around at this hotel and swim club. 

Will you be heading to Palm Springs anytime soon? Let me know in the comments below of any other spots you'd recommend :)

Thanks for visiting and hope you all have a wonderful weekend!