Palm Springs Travel Guide

I went to high school in the Palm Springs area. None of these recs are based on that experience, though. I was pretty boring in high school and also, obviously, couldn’t enjoy the boozier elements of the valley. In the last several years, though, tons of tourism money has been bolstering the area and influencing the restaurants, bars, and overall scene of the Palm Springs area. It’s a retreat for Angelenos and San Diegans alike. Walk its streets and you’ll hear the echo of a bachelorette party’s high heels go clack-clack-clack. Take a deep breath and smell the cotton candy-flavored vape of some nearby pseudo-hipster. And then, read this and get to planning your Palm Springs weekend.

Food & Drink:

Cocktails @ Workshop
  • Workshop Kitchen + Bar: One of the best places in PS for brunch or dinner. The interior is a bit industrial, with private booths and one big communal table. The drinks and the food are special and would be right at home in a bigger city.
  • Truss & Twine: right next door to Workshop and perfect for pre- or post-dinner drinks. They serve snacks and are really great at listening to your preferences and prescribing cocktails. This is my favorite cocktail bar in the area.

    Breakfast fried rice @ Purple Palm
  • Purple Palm: V cute place. I have only had breakfast/brunch here so can’t vouch for other meals, but it was truly fun. The interior has gorgeous old-world tiling, and if it’s not too hot, the outdoor seating has fun people-watching by the pool.
  • Azucar: So, so cute. Upstairs there’s rooftop seating. Great for doing apps plus an entree.
  • Birba: Legit pizzas and wine. Sit outside and enjoy the ambiance. Easy.
  • Chi Chi: super cute, tucked-away place in an old school PS hotel.
  • Norma’s: At the uber-hot Parker hotel. Make ressies now because it’s one of the most popular places in town! But if you’re craving dinner at the Parker, dry Mister Parker. It’s pretty upscale, dim, well-decorated. Grab a drink at the very photogenic Mini Bar before.
  • King’s Highway: Super cute, themed like an old diner @ the Ace Hotel. Great for breakfast. There’s an old-school photo booth there — look for it near the bathrooms (I think?). It prints out real B&W ink photos that can smudge — so retro.
  • Tonga Hut: A classic tiki bar. Not a proper dive bar, but a bit divey, if that makes sense. Has classic games to play (Jenga, Connect-4) and can be quite fun for a drink. Get a painkiller. Trust.

    Cork & Fork’s boring parking lot still has a great mountain view
  • Cork and Fork: This is in La Quinta, about 30 minutes from PS. If you’re staying closer to that end of the valley, this is your spot! Sharable plates and lots of local ingredients.

Nature (if it’s not 4000* outside):

  • Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve: This is a pretty neat place. On top of being gorgeous and ‘grammable, it’s a slice of ancient geology. The naturally-occurring water here is what’s left of when the Coachella Valley used to be a big lake nestled in between the surrounding mountains. There is an endemic species of fish — meaning it’s found only there, and nowhere else in the world — that lives in the water here.
  • Bump n Grind: If you’re staying in Palm Desert, Indian Wells, or Rancho Mirage, head here for a little fitness and be rewarded with amazing views. It’s a steep uphill hike/run trail. And FYI, I really don’t know any other trails closer to Palm Springs b/c I’m not an outdoor fitness queen, but I’m sure google/yelp can tell you!IMG_5078
  • Indian Canyons: Another little slice of history. Think a little bit of natural water (aka not just puddles left over from the very occasional rain), lizards and birds galore, and some cool remnants of the indigenous peoples that inhabited this area!
  • Joshua Tree National Park: Not just a U2 album. This is a giant expanse of high desert that has gained extra popularity with the rise of Coachella and this new generation of Instagram ~artistes~. But it’s actually very cool (and very hot). Some areas have Native American petroglyphs, which is just awesome no matter how interested in history you may be. Allow half a day at least to explore, plus drive time. Stop by one of the bars with live music on your way back down to PS.

And a couple bonus things:

  • Desert Hills Premium Outlets in Cabazon: especially if you’re driving on the 10 West back to LA (or driving in on the 10 East), please stop here and get four thousand amazing things for $200. My fave stops here are the Neiman Marcus, Saks, and Lululemon outlets.
  • Ace Hotel occasionally does Splash House. It’s a see-and-be-seen type pool party but friends seem to love it. (I’ve not been to the events, but have been to the ever-trendy Ace in multiple cities including PS.)
  • Social Cycle: a classic Bachelorette activity. You board a 14-person bicycle cart and make stops at 3 different bars over the course of 2 hours. Tim and I have done this twice: the first with my parents and their friends, and the second with my parents and his parents. I guess I’m trying to say it can be very age-inclusive as long as all members of your party are 21+.


Vacation without all the hotels

I’ve been on vacation since last Thursday. Now I see why people desperately need to be void of responsibility for brief periods of time. Let’s take a snapshot of my life right now so you can get real jealous.

WHO: my parents, some friends from high school, my cat, my cat’s favorite new toy, and me

 My dad and his friend Lenora (not my mother) who will dance with him

High school friend Mikal’s parents run the pickle booth that we worked last weekend. 

WHAT: the best several days ever, because I literally have done nothing of importance with the exception of paying a toll from when I recently crossed the Golden Gate Bridge. (Ps, did you know that it costs $7? Now there’s a #TrollToll.) I “worked” at Stagecoach country music festival, then went to Disneyland, then relaxed in the pool and watched Seinfeld reruns and went shopping at the best outlets near my parents’ place. Deals like WOAH. I got a pair of Joe’s Jeans that fit perfectly for VERY LITTLE MONEY. Bow down.

The only picture we took at Disneyland, because I have a million in front of the castle from yesteryear.  

For some reason I was genuinely terrified of Splash Mountain even though I can keep my eyes open and hands up on that massive California Screamin’ roller coaster they have. 

WHEN: Over a week, before I start my new job on Monday. Seriously excited.

He’s the most perfect specimen, and he loooooves his toys.  
WHERE: where not? The Palm Desert area, Disneyland, up and down California in my Ford Focus. (Try not to be jealous of my sweet ride.)

Gorgeous sunset in the desert during Stagecoach.  

This is Eric Burdon and a couple of the Animals. Totally killed “House of the Rising Sun.” Such a bucket list moment. 

This has been the best and most refreshing few days of my life. Something about being with your folks and just living life with no commitments has been the most restful time. I highly recommend booking a few weeks between the end of one job and the start of another — completely worth it.
The one thing lacking? Exercise. I have walked a TON but no running, no spinning, no barre/yoga/whatever. It’s just so hot and I don’t belong to a gym. But I have a half marathon, uh, next weekend. Straight up yikes.
I really want to join Equinox. It’s just SO EXPENSIVE. But I think it might be worth it, because I like to work out early and then shower and get ready at the gym before going to work.
Who has an Equinox membership? Is it worth it? What should I know?

Do you normally take a break between jobs?

What do you recommend to rejuvenate before going back to work?

Visiting your parents is the best

Yesterday morning I flew from the Bay Area to Southern California to visit my parents in the Palm Springs area. I’ve been in a nonstop great mood since I’ve been here. What is that? Why does their home placate me into a sort of floaty bliss, where the Easter candy I’ve been eating has no consequence and I am not worried about the fact that I spend six hours in my bathing suit before actually going into the pool?

At dinner last night we were all obviously thrilled to have our photos taken.

We went to one of my favorite places in the desert called Cork & Fork. It’s tapas style, and since everything is small and shareable, it’s generally all super rich. Example: pork belly potstickers, aka fatty meat inside fried wonton papers. #explode

After dinner, my folks headed out to Downtown Palm Springs with one of their friends to see a local band perform. My father LOVES live music, especially anything bluesy. Whenever we went to a street fair or flea market, he was bound to leave with a new CD. That’s why he has so many cover band albums and a few of those windpipe/wind chime style sort of Native American Indian (is that the correct term?) inspired CDs.

Meanwhile I went out for a couple drinks with friends and got home at midnight… TO AN EMPTY HOUSE. My parents are party animals.

Today is Relaxation Day. We steered off with coffee and waffles, because that is my father’s specialty.

That also means hours in the pool (with sunscreen!) and enjoying this little number:

Yep, it’s a floating cooler shaped like a pineapple. It was marked $15 but my mother got it on clearance for 90 cents. She’s the deal master.

Oh, and apparently cat videos are the #1 way to make my mother laugh hard. She laughs easily and often, but this laugh is a true delight. I wish I could just insert the audio, but I don’t know how, so please forgive my filming job. I was trying to be discreet since she didn’t know I filmed her… 😳😬

And for your reference, this is what we were watching.

Have a relaxing weekend!!!

– What is everyone else doing?

– What is your parents’ specialty in the kitchen?

– Any hilarious cat videos I need to show Pam (my cute mother)?