RedWeek Travel Guide: Palm Springs, California

published on July 15, 2021 by

Located in the Sonoran Desert of southern California about 100 miles south of Los Angeles, Palm Springs has been a popular destination for decades now. Celebrities like Frank Sinatra and his “Rat Pack” would escape to this secluded and luxurious spot back in the 1950s and 1960s. Huge festivals like Coachella and Stagecoach have attracted a new generation in the 21st century. Check out RedWeek’s Palm Springs travel guide, featuring the destination’s best activities, restaurants, resorts and more.  

The Best Things To Do In Palm Springs

What you get up to in Palm Springs depends on what you’re in the mood for. Enjoy some of California’s best golfing, take a deep dive into mid-century modern architecture, or indulge in hot springs therapy. 

Palm Springs Golf

The greater Palm Springs area is a golfer’s dream come true, with more than 100 public, municipal, and private golf courses. Want to play where the pros play? Try one of the five championship courses at La Quinta Resort. The Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course (designed by the legendary Jack Nicklaus, of course) is guaranteed to take your game to the next level, with 18 holes of challenging play. 

Desert Modernism Architecture Tour 

The minimalist, mid-century modern buildings of Palm Springs set it apart from virtually any other destination. You can get an eyeful of the city’s Desert Modernism style by taking a self-guided tour, which will take you to some of the coolest and most unique spots, from fire stations to residential homes. One of the highlights is the striking Dinah Shore Estate, which contrasts beautifully with the surrounding cliffs. Fun fact — the house now belongs to Leonardo DiCaprio. 

Indian Canyons

Located in the Agua Caliente Indian Reservation, Indian Canyons Nature Preserve offers both natural and cultural immersion. You’ll wander amidst gorgeous desert scenery, including a stunning 60-foot waterfall. You’ll also discover Palm Springs’ rich Native American heritage via rock art that was carved centuries ago. Pay a visit to the Tahquitz Visitor Center for a deeper dive, including fascinating artifacts and exhibits. 

Palm Springs Art Museum

Head to downtown Palm Springs for a taste of desert culture. The three-story Palm Springs Art Museum is home to a revolving series of exhibits that highlight an array of artists from the past and present, who work in an array of styles — painting, sculpture, video and beyond. While you’re there, check the schedule to see what’s upcoming at the museum’s Annenberg Theatre, which hosts live music, podcast tapings, lectures, and more. 

Desert Hot Springs

Looking for the ultimate in California wellness? Try Desert Hot Springs, an oasis in the Greater Palm Springs area. Here, you’ll find several spots that offer easy access to some of some of the world’s purest hot and cold mineral springs, made possible by an underground aquifer that lies deep beneath the city. These springs are said to have healing properties; a soak here can improve metabolism, reduce stress, and increase overall health. 

Where To Shop In Palm Springs

Palm Springs is known for its diverse (though often upscale) shopping options, each one providing a path towards retail bliss. 

La Plaza Palm Springs

Offering open-air shopping in the heart of downtown, La Plaza Palm Springs should be your first stop during a shopping spree here. Built in Spanish-style in the 1930s, it’s one of the original outdoor shopping centers, with landscaped courtyards, atmospheric lighting in the evening and soothing fountains. Today, you’ll find an eclectic selection of shops selling handmade jewelry, stylish apparel, local art and more. 

The Shag Store

Go gloriously retro at The Shag Store. This fun shop is dedicated exclusively to the vibrant, throwback stylings of the artist known only as “Shag.” His work has a delightfully vintage flavor, with colors that pop and a retro-cool vibe that sums up Palm Springs perfectly. You can grab framed prints, apparel, and all kinds of merch — to bring a little Palm Springs back to your home bar, grab Shag’s old fashioned glassware

Antique Galleries of Palm Springs

Still in a retro state of mind? The 12,000-square-foot Antique Galleries of Palm Springs is the place to go if you’re looking for classic mid-century modern furnishings, one-of-a-kind collectibles, and vintage clothing. With more than 40 vendors, it’s a sprawling picker’s paradise. Oh, and make sure to say hello to Barley, the chocolate Labrador who is the Antique Galleries’ official greeter. 

The Shops On El Paseo

For pure Palm Springs Luxury, The Shops On El Paseo will do the trick. It’s known as “The Rodeo Drive of the Desert,” after all! Here, you’ll browse the day away at such upscale brand shops as Ralph Lauren, Chico’s, and Oliver Peoples. When you’ve had your fill of retail bliss, choose from a wide range of restaurants, including Eddie V’s Prime Seafood, California Pizza Kitchen, and Kitchen 86. 

The Best Palm Springs Restaurants

Whether you’re in the mood for fine dining or ultra-casual, Palm Springs’ cuisine scene has something for every taste.

Lulu California Bistro

Opened in 2011, Lulu California Bistro has quickly earned a (well-deserved) reputation as “Palm Springs’ hippest restaurant, thanks to an upscale casual menu (including plenty of vegan and vegetarian options), extremely colorful décor, and some of the best cocktails in town. The time to see and be seen is at Lulu’s Weekend Brunch (9am-2pm) — three delicious courses for just $19.99. Don’t forget the mimosas! 

Lulu California Bistro Menu

Sherman’s Deli & Bistro

Serving authentic NYC-style deli eats since 1963, Sherman’s Deli & Bistro is your go-to Palm Springs restaurant if you want to go old-school. Bagels with Nova lox and cream cheese, pastrami-on-rye sandwiches, patty melts, potato latkes — this is a little slice of the Big Apple in the desert. Don’t skip the cheesecake! 

Sherman’s Deli Menu

The Purple Room

More old-school vibes? A supper club in the Club Trinidad Hotel, The Purple Room pays tribute to Palm Springs’ golden age, when Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, Dean Martin, and others brought high-wattage glamor and star power to the desert. While you enjoy tasty surf ‘n’ turf food, you’ll be entertained by live music, magicians, and comedians. A great night out in Palm Springs. 

Purple Room Menu

Las Casueles Terraza

For the best Mexican food in Palm Springs, make a beeline to Las Casueles Terraza. Family owned for four generations, this restaurant has long been a favorite among locals and visitors alike, thanks to big flavors, fresh ingredients, and three outdoor patios for al fresco dining. Tequila lovers take note: Las Casueles Terraza boasts more than 100 varieties of the Mexican spirit. 

Las Casueles Terraza Menu

Greater Palm Springs Timeshare Rental Resorts

Find your ideal Palm Springs home away from — and remember, when you book through RedWeek, you’ll get cheaper, by-owner prices! 

Marriott’s Desert Springs Villas

Marriott’s Desert Springs Villas, the sister resort to Desert Springs JW Marriott Resort & Spa, features condo-style villas with plenty of room for the entire family. Located in the Coachella Valley, Desert Springs is just minutes from family friendly attractions like The Living Desert Zoo and Wet ‘N’ Wild Palm Springs, one of the country’s largest waterparks. 

Marriott’s Shadow Ridge – The Villages

Framed by the picturesque peaks of the San Jacinto, Santa Rosa and San Gorgonio Mountains, Marriott’s Shadow Ridge – The Villages delivers a soothing and scenic family friendly getaway. Play a few rounds on the eight-hole championship golf course, cool off in one four outdoor pools — kids will love the interactive water playground and waterslide. 

Westin Desert Willow

Boasting unmatched views of the Sonoran Desert, Westin Desert Willow is a relaxing retreat with one- and two-bedroom villas, close proximity to the highly regarded Mountain View Golf Course and three enticing outdoor pools. Take some time to unwind with a cocktail or two at the Sanctuary Pool Bar, overlooking the 16th hole of the golf course.
Start planning your Palm Springs vacation with RedWeek now.

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