We love fall and all its seasonal accouterments as much as the next PNW native worth their flannel, but let’s be honest—sometimes we wish summer would hold out just a bit longer before giving way to extra layers and all things Pumpkin Spice.
Enter Palm Springs. With more than 350 sunshine-filled days (and temperatures hovering in the 90s well into October), itinerary options span lounging poolside to soaring over the Coachella Valley via helicopter and just about everything in between, from film festivals and street fairs to sipping your way through the burgeoning craft beer scene.
There’s no shortage of accommodation options, from luxury resorts to ultra-hip boutiques, or even renting out Frank Sinatra’s former digs. The real question is: How should you fill your long weekend?
First things first—what’s on the menu?
Start the day off at Cheeky’s, a local staple known for its rotating menu of all-day breakfast items (and a bacon bar to write home about). Newcomer Grand Central in the heart of downtown is another spot with a bevy of indulgent breakfast options, from savory French toast served on parmesan brioche to prosciutto Benedict. For dinner, The Rooster and the Pig prides itself on pushing the envelope with its Vietnamese-American dishes, whether it’s a banh mi burger or an inspired Jasmine tea leaf salad. For a straightforward slice, or a whole pie if the mood strikes, Bill’s Pizza is a must. And in a town where outdoor dining is practically a given, head to LuLu California Bistro or Las Casuelas for happy hour al fresco (go for the martinis and margaritas, respectively). Not to be outdone, Evzin Palm Springs on the south end of town is a Mediterranean eatery serving a menu influenced by the owner’s Greek, Filipino, and Albanian heritage, from hummus to adobo fried chicken.
Don’t sleep on local craft beer either, from Revel Public House (the lineup includes three drafts from Palm Springs Brewing Company) to Draughtsman Palm Springs with its robust menu of California IPA’s and lagers, plus an expansive patio with games on offer (think Jenga). La Quinta Brewing Co.’s newly minted Palm Springs outpost serves light and hoppy ales, and last but certainly not least, kick back with a cocktail in the decidedly hip Amigo Room at the ACE Hotel for a truly on-trend Palm Springs experience.
After fueling up.
Stroll through more than 3,000 species of cacti at the delightfully kitschy Moorten Botanical Garden, open year-round to visitors interested in desert flora. For the inside scoop on Palm Springs' culture and culinary scene, sign up for a walking food tour with Desert Tasty Tours, and fans of the King can take a guided house tour of Elvis’s 1960s Honeymoon Hideaway. Red Jeep Tours offers a nature escape with sunset drives to view the San Andreas Fault, Joshua Tree National Park, and more. The Palm Springs Aerial Tram is another way to take in the sweeping sights—a 10-minute ride along the cliffs of Chino Canyon to Mt. San Jacinto State Park leads you to the Mountain Station (elevation 8,516 feet), home to two restaurants, observation decks, a natural history museum, and more than 50 miles of hiking trails.
On Thursdays, weeknight like a local by heading downtown for VillageFest, a weekly street fair with arts, crafts, food and drink, and plenty of entertainment. And if it’s nightlife you’re looking for, relive the Rat Pack days with live entertainment at the Purple Room supper club, or head to the Copa on weekends for the best dance floor in the desert.
Already thinking about your next trip?
A few upcoming events to consider planning a visit around: Palm Springs Modernism Week (a celebration of mid-century architecture and design, with a fall preview in October preceding the festival February 14-24), Palm Springs Pride the first week of November, and Palm Springs International Film Festival (January 3-14).
And let’s talk layovers (or lack thereof).
Did we mention that you can fly direct from the Pacific Northwest into Palm Springs International Airport, conveniently located smack dab in the middle of downtown? Most accommodations are within a 10-minute drive, with car rental/drop off located right at the airport.
For more itinerary inspiration, check out visitpalmsprings.com.