April 8, 2021

A Guide to Palm Springs

During the global pandemic, travel has looked, wait for it…. different this year. Ugghh, we are all sick of hearing that, but there is some truth to it. One of the few good things about the pandemic has been traveling to areas in the United States that we are not familiar with. Taking a van trip into the Florida Everglades and Key West, exploring Utah, and taking spring break in Palm Springs.

If you are a golfer, Palm Springs is a Mecca with championship golf courses everywhere you turn. However, there is a lot more to Palm Springs than golf. Since I don’t play golf at all, I’ll give you a non-golfers itinerary of fun things to do in Palm Springs. We spent 6 nights here in April 2021. The temperature was unseasonably warm at 100 degrees. When people say it’s a “dry” heat they aren’t wrong. It’s hot, but it isn’t until the late afternoon hours where you really feel it and need to get out of the sun.

I feel like Palm Springs is an excellent girls’ weekend getaway. From Minneapolis to Palm Spring, Sun Country has really inexpensive one-way flights. We stayed in a mid-century modern home with a pool (you really need a pool) in the Movie Colony District. Back in the day, the movie stars were known to frequent Palm Springs. The reason they did this was to get away from the gossip columnist of their day. The gossip columnists’ expense accounts were reimbursed within 100 miles of Los Angelos. Palm Springs is 107 miles away from Los Angelos, leaving the stars to their privacy. People like Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Kirk Douglas, Sammy Davis Jr., and Lily Tomlin have all called Palm Springs home. In the Movie Colony District are many one-level walled in mid-century modern homes that are spectacular. This area is close enough to downtown that you can walk to restaurants and shops (within a mile). If a hotel is more your style, the Kimpton Rowan seemed very stylish and is right off the central shopping district at Palm Canyons Drive.

Hiking is excellent in Palm Springs. We brought hiking boots and hiking poles. We generally would hike in the morning when the temperatures were cooler. We hiked the Murray Canyon Trail in the San Jacinto Mountains. It was about a 4-mile hike round trip which ended at the Seven Sisters Waterfall. Kurt ranked this hike a 5 out of 5, and the hike took about 2 hours. Kurt also hiked the Araby Trail. This six-mile (up and back) hike shows the iconic architecture of various homes when you get high enough and allows you to peer into the John Lautner-designed Bob Hope estate. 

Make it a point to go to Joshua Tree National Park. There are many hikes throughout the park, and the Joshua trees and the desert cactuses are beautiful dessert gardens with large rock formations throughout. The trail is sandy, and it is the dessert, so it can get hot. Plan to go in the morning and walk the three-mile 49 Palms Oasis hike or the four-mile Lost Horse Mine & Mountain hike, both of which are filed under Moderately Strenuous. After your hike, drive through the park about 40 minutes to the Southside and grab a burger at the Joshua Tree Saloon, or better yet, visit Pappy and Harriets. The iconic restaurant/saloon/outdoor music venue has a history dating back to the 1940s when the original building (and the surrounding Pioneertown) was designed to be an 1800s frontier set for Hollywood movies. It was closed when we were here (closed Tuesdays), but we will try to come back another time. 

A whole day can be spent exploring the shops on Palm Canyon Drive, Home of the Palm Springs Walk of Stars, the Sony Bono bronze statue (he was the former mayor of Palm Springs), and beautifully lined with palm trees. This is the historical heart of Palm Springs. You will find art galleries, restaurants, pubs, historical buildings and every kind of shop, including the Super cute Palm Beach just Fabulous store where we found lots of souvenirs for our trip. A great patty melt can be had at Crazy Mels and LuLu’s Palm Springs has something for everyone with Brunch and plenty of gluten-free and vegan options. A place not to be missed is Shermans Deli. Shermans is an iconic New York Jewish Deli with the best Pastrami Sandwich I have ever had. Tylers Burgers is a great outdoor spot in the heart of Downtown for Burgers or Patty Melts.

If you love mid-century modern architecture, you will love Palm Springs. There are guided house tours and apps that you can download for self-driving walking or driving tours. The famous Twin Palms house of Frank Sinatra is here and on the historic register. We also enjoyed the Palm Springs Museum. The main museum (1 of 3) in downtown Palm Springs is 3 floors artwork. Kurt really wanted to get to The Palm Springs Air Museum, home to one of the World’s most extensive collections of flyable WWII aircraft, in addition to some Korea and Vietnam era planes. That looked cool, but we simply ran out of time.

Dinner in Palm Springs was primarily cooked in. When you have a family of cooks who all like to cook, sometimes that is the most economical and most uncomplicated, but we did have a special night out at what many consider the best restaurant in Palm Springs called Tropicale. Since 2008, it boasts a Polynesian Super Club vibe, and their happy hour is a favorite with the locals. We particularly loved their signature Pina Collada cocktail and loved their “Pupu Platter,” a heaping platter full of Spring Rolls, Chicken and Beef Satays, Ribs, and Coconut Shrimp that was to die for. Their Happy Hour snacks from 4-7 were all the rage with the locals who flock there for cheap eats each day. We did visit Mr Lyons, another famous Palm Springs spot known for being an upscale classic steak house. We did not eat dinner here. We had a lovely shrimp cocktail and  French 75 on the patio. The menu looked great.

All in All, Palm Springs was a blast. I will add it to my list of 4-days spots for future girl’s weekends and hope you enjoyed my rundown of one of Kardashian’s favorite spots.