It wasn’t until my family’s annual Christmas card went out that I realized I didn’t travel anywhere in 2016. Seriously, my biggest excursion was making the three hour drive home to Dallas… So my 2017 New Years resolution was pretty easy to think of — travel more. Since then, I’ve planned three trips (including two international getaways!) and am trying to master the art of the weekend holiday. First up on my list was Palm Springs, CA. This place has been at the top of my travel list for a while now and I was so excited to finally check it off. Keep reading for photos from my weekend in Palm Springs and an itinerary of the must-visit places in this midcentury, desert town.
Before my excursion, I spent a week visiting my friend Quinlan Duncan who lives in Los Angeles. We decided to make Palm Springs into a weekend roadtrip (it’s about 2 hours away), and honestly, that’s about as much time as you need to get the full Palm Springs experience.
We got into town early on Saturday and headed straight to Cheeky’s for breakfast. There’s always a notoriously long wait for a table, but you guys, it was totally worth it. We tried the eggs benedict, huevos rancheros, and corn pancake. They also have a bacon flight, which almost every table was enjoying.
We stayed at The Saguaro, also known as “that rainbow hotel in Palm Springs.” The pool was in full swing for as long as the sun was out, and boasted quite the diverse group, ranging from bachelor parties to babies. A live DJ set the mood with an upbeat playlist as we sipped on cocktails and bathed in the sun. My drink of choice was Mermaid Bait, a refreshing cocktail consisting of watermelon, vodka, grapefruit, and aperol.
Once the sun went down, we headed back into town for dinner at Birba, an outdoor Italian restaurant especially known for their meatballs. Their motto is that they love words that start with the letter F — like food, family, fun, friends, festivals, and fashion. I couldn’t agree more. Quinlan and I split a bottle of wine and a couple pizzas for dinner, and met the sweetest woman who is a Palm Springs native. She told us where she got her Irish accent, and shared some serious life advice with us 24-year-olds.
I’m definitely more of a “stick to the itinerary” traveler than a “let’s just sit by the pool” vacationer, so our second day in Palm Springs was jam-packed with activities. I had to track down #ThatPinkDoor, which is basically somebody’s real house that has recently become Instagram famous because of the trendy light pink color of their front door. As we were taking this photo, a neighbor passed by who was walking her dog and told us that about 50 people come here a day to see the door in person!
For lunch, we stopped in at Reservoir which is poolside at the Arrive hotel. This was the meal I was most excited about in Palm Springs, and it did not disappoint. I devoured the So-Cal cobb salad – butter lettuce topped with turkey, egg, avocado, bacon, cilantro ranch, and the freshest shrimp I’ve ever had. Quinlan raved about the burger, which further proves my theory that you can never go wrong with the burger.
I have been obsessed with The Parker ever since seeing Gray Malin’s series of photographs from the hotel. The orange lacquer front doors and whitewashed bricks are quintessentially Palm Springs. It was fabulous just walking around the hotel grounds and seeing the space, even though we weren’t guests. I kept peeking around the corner just waiting for an exotic animal to pop out!
Palm Springs is a hub for anything and everything midcentury modern, so it was fun browsing through the furniture and home decor stores. We hit up A La Mod which boasted one of the best collections of true vintage, midcentury furniture I’ve ever seen. Then, we popped into Just Modern, a more updated store with contemporary items that brought us back to the 1960s.
The architecture in Palm Springs is what drew me to the city in the first place. All of the houses have colorful front doors and unexpected roof shapes. As for landscaping, grass is keep to a minimum and there is no shortage of cactuses and succulents. The Amado is the cutest boutique hotel tucked into a residential neighborhood. With it’s five bohemian hotel rooms and a splash-worthy pool, it would be the perfect place for a bachelorette party.
Three hours from the coast and there was no doubt that we were in the desert. While the forecast said it was 85 degrees, it felt more like 100 — so naturally, ice cream was our go-to treat. We stopped into Ice Cream and Shop(pe) before heading out of town and scored a couple waffle cones. I got the cutest manicure at Olive & June in Los Angeles before our trip that matched perfectly with our Palm Springs weekend vibes.
Our final day in the city was the last day of the Desert X art exhibit, and we felt so lucky to have caught it in time. We hiked up a giant hill in the blazing sun (post-ice cream) to check out “Mirage” by Doug Aitken. His concept was a mirrored, life-size house that reflects the sky, the mountains of Coachella Valley, and the city of Palm Springs. From certain angles, it seemed to disappear into the scenery completely. It was the perfect ending to our short trip in Palm Springs, and gave us inspiration for our next weekend getaway.