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Calling all Portlanders: Escape the Winter Chill in Palm Springs

And check “take more weekend getaways” off your list of New Year’s resolutions.

Presented by Visit Palm Springs December 31, 2018

Palm Springs

It’s official—winter has arrived in Portland in all its frosty, rain-soaked glory, when the sun is long set by 4 p.m. and hibernation until spring seems like the path of least resistance. We don’t blame you one bit for browsing flights to sunny desert climes on your lunch break.

But fear not! A little snowbird told us about a destination with plenty of Vitamin D to be had (we’re talking 350-plus days of sunshine) and no passport required. Southern California’s Palm Springs will welcome you midwinter with balmy temperatures hovering in the low 70s, perfect for outdoor adventure from mountain treks to riding horseback through canyons, followed by a rooftop drink or dip in the pool.

When it comes to places to stay, take your pick from trendy boutique hotels and luxury resorts to private homes that would make any mid-century modern architecture lover swoon. All that’s left is deciding where to head first after dropping off your bags.

King's Highway

 First up, fuel up.

Palm Springs’ increasingly hip food scene has no shortage of new venues and longtime staples to try. Pair an L.A. Mike (grilled chicken, scrambled egg whites, and avocado) with a Bloody Mary at Peabody’s Cafe, or taste-test the Matzo Brei at Sherman’s Deli & Bakery. Roadside diner King’s Highway at the Ace Hotel & Swim Club serves up a mean avocado toast and Instagram-worthy bohemian aesthetic—their modern take on a retro diner pairs linoleum tables and comfy, leather booths with angled mirrors and funky décor.  




                  For casual al fresco dining, stop for spring rolls on The Tropicale’s plant-filled patio, or a BLTA (locals like their avocado) in the cozy courtyard at Jake’s in Uptown. Unfussy pizza spot Birba Palm Springs is another go-to lunch location with chic outdoor seating, plus an open-air bar for daytime imbibing.

Birba Palm Springs

Newly minted Tommy Bahama Marlin Bar & Grill (yes, that Tommy Bahama) in downtown offers frozen mai tai’s on draft, a chicken and mango salad to write home about, and an excellent vantage point for people-watching on the patio. Last but certainly not least, Trio is the definition of desert-casual with its midcentury décor and American modern fare. 

Opt outside—Palm Springs-style.

We’ll admit, we may be a little spoiled by the stunning scenery of the Pacific Northwest, but the desert offers a whole different kind of natural beauty. For a two-mile, 900-foot-gain trek, The Palm Springs Art Museum Trail (find the trailhead at the back of the museum’s parking lot) offers a steep ascent to sweeping views of the valley. Or sign up for a ranger-led hike into Indian Canyons—the ancestral home of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians—where the lush oasis of Andreas Canyon and the 60-foot waterfalls at Tahquitz Canyon are top draws. Exploring the canyons on horseback is another option with Smoketree Stables, offering guided outings on a first-come-first-served basis—unless a private ride is more your speed. 

Tahquitz Creek Golf Resort


For a family-friendly excursion, White Water Preserve is only a 15-minute drive from the heart of Palm Springs. Part of the Wildlands Conservancy, the more than 2,000 sprawling acres are home to a swimming hole, spots to picnic, and access to the Pacific Crest Trail. Back in town, try a walking tour with Palm Springs Historical Society—choose from more than 10 tours that give the inside scoop on the area’s colorful culture, from “Stars and Starchitects” to “The Rat Pack Playground.” The dramatic desert setting also makes Palm Springs a coveted golf destination—popular courses to book a tee time are Escena Golf Club and Tahquitz Creek Golf Resort. (Pro tip: Cap off a long day on the links at Bootlegger Tiki or Tonga Hut for rum-forward refreshment.)

Can’t decide which long weekend to book your flight?

Let us help: For arts aficionados, the Desert X (Feb 9–Apr 21) biennial exhibition is decidedly more avant-garde, with artists from around the world using the Coachella

Modernism Week


Valley as their inspiration and exhibition space. Fans of midcentury architecture and design will delight in the more than 350 events during Modernism Week (Feb 14–24), ranging from tours and lectures to nightly parties and live music. And, even if it’s just to browse, car buffs will want to plan around the twice-yearly McCormick’s Classic Car Auction (Feb 22–24). Plus, charity cycling event Tour de Palm Springs (Feb 9) is a sight to see whether you’re a spectator or strapping on a helmet yourself.

Already planning your next trip? 

Cinephiles will want to mark their calendars for Native Filmfest (Mar 8–9) and American Documentary Film Festival (Mar 29–Apr 4), featuring works from some of today’s leading Native American and Indigenous and documentary filmmakers, respectively.

Did we mention flights are nonstop?

You can fly direct from Seattle into Palm Springs International Airport in just under two and a half hours. 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.