Local Weekend Getaways: Exploring Palm Springs
For the longest time, many Californians considered Palm Springs to be a “pit stop” on the way over to events such as the annual Coachella Music Festival…a kind of small, sleepy town coveted by the retirement crowd. But over the years, this city has experienced a revival that has less to do with its proximity to such attractions as the aforementioned festival and more to do with the fact that people can’t seem to get enough of this sun-kissed desert oasis – and we here at Woodland Hills Magazine are some of them.
The answer to what makes this an awesome weekend getaway destination isn’t difficult to muster; while Palm Springs, once a haven for Hollywood’s Rat Pack, has held onto its slow-paced lifestyle, it has also attracted a smattering of stylish boutique hotels, locavore eateries and downright cool bars. What’s more, as of late the city has seen a revitalization in the eyes of design and style aficionados that have rediscovered its iconic architectural marvels…all while foodies, hipster hikers and tastemakers are coming in by the boatload to enjoy the breathtaking natural scenery and flourishing culinary scene.
One of the main reasons we love Palm Springs is the way in which it makes for a perfect weekend retreat from bustling L.A. Whether you’re after a low-key getaway, an action-packed itinerary, or a little of both, you’ll find something to love while visiting this stylish, warm-weathered refuge.
Places to Stay in Palm Springs
The Saguaro Palm Springs brings a bold color palate to the Coachella Valley, challenging the status quo of drab desert hues. This Palm Spring boutique hotel’s beautiful pool oasis, wedding venues and incredible cuisine are just part of the special charm the property exudes, and whether your accommodations include a breathtaking view of the pool, mountains, garden courtyard or city lights, you will immediately know you have arrived in a special place. The Saguaro Palm Springs is located at 1800 East Palm Canyon Drive.
Avalon Hotel Palm Springs can be considered an old-world hideaway in the heart of glitzy-yet-refined Palm Springs; often referred to by lodging experts as a “jewel box nestled in the heart of downtown,” the historicAvalon Hotel Palm Springs rests at the foot of the rugged San Jacinto Mountains on four acres of fragrant, beautifully-manicured gardens, its Spanish architecture punctuated by a series of secluded, private villas that hearken back to the iconic, storied Golden Age of Palm Springs. Every experience at Avalon has been hand-curated by a team of collaborators and bona fide hotel aficionados to offer what property representatives call “a penchant for wanderlust” with enchanting bungalows, the incredible Estrella Spa, fine dining at Chi Chi and much more. Avalon Hotel Palm Springs is situated at 415 South Belardo Road.
The Avanti Hotel is one of Palm Springs’ newest boutique properties offering luxurious comfort in an intimate oasis. Originally conceived in 1954, the Avanti was remodeled in 2008 but remains located in the Movie Colony neighborhood with classic 1954 architecture, an iconic reminder of when Old Hollywood flocked to Palm Springs. Each of the 10 rooms here is unique and completely remodeled as well, with modern furnishings and private patios and kitchens or kitchenettes in most. Come and revel in a pampered weekend getaway by relaxing by the Avanti’s sparkling pool and in the secluded hot tub, or consider booking the entire property for your corporate retreat or private getaway with friends or family. The gorgeous Avanti is located at 354 East Stevens Road.
Places to Eat and Drink in Palm Springs
Workshop Kitchen + Bar was established in 2012 by chef/owner Michael Beckman and Beirut-based Joseph Mourani after manning the stoves at the likes of Lameloise in Chagny, France and the Ritz-Carlton in Berlin. Michael has cooked as a private chef in Los Angeles for the past several years, where he focused on the farmers’ markets of Santa Monica and Hollywood, as well as the city’s burgeoning cocktail culture. Today, Workshop Kitchen + Barsits as a retrofitted 90-year-old movie theater that boasts a James Beard Award-winning restaurant design and an industrial chic interior – all of which gives the Class 1 historic El Paseo structure that houses it a contemporary edge befitting the locale. With farm-to-table New American fare and a classic cocktail bar, Workshop sources most of its ingredients from local farms within an hour of Palm Springs. Don’t miss this gem during your Palm Springs weekend excursion! Workshop Kitchen + Bar is located at 800 North Palm Canyon Drive Suite G.
Elmer’s Restaurant, established in 1960 by Walt and Dorothy Elmer under its original name, Elmer’s Colonial Pancake House, continues its mission of providing quality food ingredients, gracious service and clean surroundings that make every customer feel at home. While the menu has changed over the years, Elmer’s still brings home-style cooking to those lucky enough to live in the Northwest, beginning with breakfast selections that include a pancake batter recipe rumored to be locked away in Walt’s safe. As a group of locally-owned restaurants, Elmer’s takes pride in its communities by sourcing local, farm-fresh ingredients and remaining loyal to its return guests. In Palm Springs,Elmer’s is located at 1030 East Palm Canyon Drive.
TRIO, since its opening day in 2009, has been a restaurant where “Palm Springs Eats and Drinks,” boasting a mid-century multi-room space that’s complemented by progressive furnishings – including a five-foot rubber chandelier in one of the formal rooms – and American modern/Midwestern fare that often has critics and patrons buzzing. Palm Springs Life’s Top 12 New Restaurants 2010 was the first of many awards that TRIO continues to earn, based in no small part on the eatery’s encompassing menu that includes a variety of fish, steak, organic salads and seasonal items from local growers and farmers. From starters like his signature Artisan Cheese Plate to Lamb Shank braised in Burgundy, rosemary and garlic, chef Mark changes up this incredible menu often. TRIO is situated at 707 North Palm Canyon Drive.
Toucans Tiki Lounge was founded and established in 2001 as a Palm Springs local gay bar boasting a unique atmosphere that makes all patrons feel comfortable sharing their unique personalities. As a LGBT club catering to a specific clientele, Toucans has been voted the Best Gay Bar 2013 by Desert Magazine for its variety of colorful events, charming atmospherics and more. Toucans Tiki Lounge is located at 2100 North Palm Canyon Drive.
Things to Do in Palm Springs
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway was established in 1963 and immediately made itself known as an “engineering challenge,” with helicopters flying some 23,000 missions without mishap during the first 26 months of construction, hauling men and materials needed to erect four towers and the 35,000 square-foot Mountain Station. Completed in 1963, the Tramway has been designated a historical civil engineering landmark, where all kinds of viewpoints, a cocktail lounge, gift shop, Natural History Museum and two documentary-style films about the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway and Mount San Jacinto State Park can be enjoyed. Dine at one of the two restaurants – Peaks Restaurant offering fine dining and The Pines Restaurant offering an affordable self-serve alternative – and travel the 10-minute, 2.5-mile ride, which begins at the Valley Station (elevation 2,643 feet) and ends at the Mountain Station (elevation 8,516 feet). The Aerial Tramway is located at 1 Tramway Road in Palm Springs.
Villagefest takes place in downtown Palm Springs on Palm Canyon Drive every Thursday night, with the street closed to vehicular traffic while it’s transformed into a festive, pedestrian extravaganza. The perimeter of the event consists of Indian Canyon Drive to the east and Belardo Road to the west, and vendor booths are set up on both sides of the street. The Thursday night party consists of arts, crafts, food and entertainment, so if you’re looking for something to do in the Coachella Valley, come join thousands of visitors and locals in beautiful downtown Palm Springs for the Valley’s finest event. Villagefest is held at 100 South Palm Canyon Drive.
Palm Springs Art Museum’s Architecture and Design Center in downtown Palm Springs remains the hub of the museum’s exploration of architecture and design and houses related exhibitions and educational and community programs, as well as research space and a storage area for the museum’s growing architecture and design collections and archives. The 13,000 square-foot glass and steel building is elevated above street level, the glass pavilion featuring floor-to-ceiling windows that perfectly frame the cityscape and the surrounding San Jacinto Mountains. For something truly unique to do during a weekend excursion to Palm Springs, check out the Palm Springs Art Museum and its Architecture and Design Center. The venue is located at 300 South Palm Canyon Drive.
There’s nothing quite like a weekend jaunt with the fellas or girls to fuel the soul, and with its sun, pool scene, spas and shopping, Palm Springs remains tailor-made for quick end-of-work week getaways