With sunshine virtually 365 days a year and a short two-hour drive from LA, it’s no wonder why Palm Springs is becoming more and more popular as the perfect weekend getaway. We recently traveled to the desert to shoot our latest Spring lookbook at the swanky Villa Royale Hotel and although there are lots of new businesses and trendy, Instagrammable hot-spots popping up, we love hitting up old-school Palm Springs places that otherwise fly under the radar. Scroll for a few of our top picks - straight from a local.
Villa Royale - There are a ton of hotels to stay at in Palm Springs, but if you’re looking for something a bit more low-key, the newly renovated Villa Royale is for you. Originally built in 1947 as the Villa Royale Inn, its mid-century interiors, colorful Spanish tiles, and beautifully landscaped property make the Villa Royale a one-of-a-kind weekend hideaway. Grab a swanky cocktail in the Lightning Bar, take a bike ride with their complimentary bikes, or just sunbathe on one of the poolside loungers.
Indian Canyons - If you venture to the desert in the cooler months or wake up early enough before the temperatures get too high, Palm Springs has some amazing hiking trails for exploring - and Indian Canyon is my favorite. Moderately easy with lots of shaded area, most trails have stunning views of the valley, a running stream and waterfalls, and beautiful desert flowers after it rains. Get there early - it gets crowded!
Moorten Botanical Garden - Built in 1938, this family owned and operated nursery tucked away from the main drag boasts 3,000 different species of cacti, rare succulents, and desert plants. Take a quiet, self-guided tour of the grounds, check out the desert tortoises, and don’t miss the “World’s First Cactarium,” a greenhouse filled with the craziest looking plants you’ve ever seen. Admission is $5 and hours are limited.
VillageFest - Every Thursday evening, Palm Canyon Drive closes to cars between Baristo and Amado to host VillageFest - part Farmer’s Market, part Art Walk, and long- standing street fair where you can grab a date shake and mingle with the locals. Don’t miss the E & E Pel’s truck - a frozen lemon ice treat you must try.
Bootlegger Tiki - Set in the original home of 1950s ear Don the Beachcomer, the Bootlegger is an intimate tiki-bar with lots of boozy but not overly sweet cocktails and friendly bartenders. Perfect for smaller parties, this spot also has a great happy hour if you’re in town during the week.
Dead or Alive Bar - The newest spot on the list, this independent local bar sets itself apart with a well-curated beer and wine list and chill atmosphere. While they often host special pop-ups with food, you can also grab some tasty Mexican food right next door at El Mirasol if you get hungry.
Tyler’s Burgers - With classic sandwiches and burgers, plus old-fashioned malts, egg salad and more, Tyler’s is a gas-station turned burger stand set right in the center of Downtown. With a huge, outdoor patio and vegetarian and gluten-free options, Tyler’s has been a Palm Springs staple since 1996.
Elmer’s - Built in 1960, the old-school Elmer’s diner is a no-frills, always-busy breakfast spot with large portions necessary for soaking up the night before. You probably won’t find avocado toast on the menu, but it’s a great spot for a mimosa and a stack of pancakes, if that’s what you’re into.