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10 Tips for Visiting Palm Springs

My only knowledge of Palm Springs before our trip was that it used to be a Hollywood hideaway, has awesome architecture and is where you can find YouTubers during Coachella. That random mix was enough for me to put Palm Springs to the top of our honeymoon wish list, but if you are a little more organised here are some tips that might help with your planning.

Palm Springs is Hot

I know you’re probably like “well duh you booked a holiday in the desert” but in all seriousness be prepared for the heat.

I’m talking high sun factor, hats and make plans that don’t centre around going out in the middle of the day.

I had dreams of hiking, cycling, and exploring but when the temps hit 45°C I admitted defeat and joined the rest of the holiday makers in the pool.

Prepare to relax

I’m a get up and go kinda gal and have to be forced in to relaxing. Thankfully Palm Springs was the perfect destination to actually unwind.

The heat means either stay inside in the solace of air conditioning or embrace the destination and spend the day rotating between chilling under one of the dreamy cold water mists and drinking cocktails in the pool.

Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty to do in Palm Springs but it’s advisable to take things at a slow pace to avoid burnout.

Head to Villagefest Thursdays

Every Thursday the traffic is cleared out and downtown Palm Springs turns into a market with over 200 stalls as well as entertainment.

We sadly missed this event but everyone we spoke to raved about it so it is defo on the list for our next visit.

Rent a bike

Palm Springs is super cycle friendly and is a great way to cruise around and see that famous architecture or to hotel hop. Most hotels have free bikes you can checkout and there are also plenty of rental shops.

Check out the Architecture

The unique desert buildings and old school Hollywood homes are a real must see when in Palm Springs.

First up we visited the Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Centre to see the work of Richard Neutra and to pick up a map of the buildings he had designed.

As well our handy paper map I had also had a list of addresses of houses that interested me saved in my phone. This included: Elvis and Priscilla’s Honeymoon Hideaway, Frey House II, Elrod House, and the homes of celebrities such as Marlyn Monroe, Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and Clark Gable.

We were more successful at seeing some houses than others but we both loved exploring the streets and stumbling across so many amazing pieces of modernist design. 

You can do a self guided bike/driving tour like us or if you’re more organised PS Architecture Tours run at 10am daily.

Take a trip to the art gallery

If you feel like escaping the sun for a couple of hours The Palm Springs Art Gallery is a great option.

Word of advice: don’t be like us and forget to check the opening hours or you might find yourself hanging our on the steps trying to work out what to do with your afternoon.

If you don’t manage to get into the gallery there is still plenty of public art in the surrounding area to enjoy.

Hotel Hop

Hotels in Palm Springs aren’t just for sleeping in, they are destinations. Each place has its own unique vibe with awesome interiors, pools, events and restaurants. 

We loved the Ace so much that we only made it along to the Saguaro for tacos and to hang in their hammocks but there are always events going on so don’t forget to check out what’s going on when you’re in town.

Head Downtown

Bored of the pool? Downtown Palm Springs isn’t just lively on a Thursday but throughout the week too.

There are plenty of shops, bars, coffee shops, indie restaurants, a cinema and museums to keep everyone entertained.

A couple of my favourite vegan friendly spot were Remedy Juice Bar, Bill’s Pizza, Nature’s Health Food & Cafe and Draughtsman.

Shop until you actually drop

Now, I’ve been to my fair share of shopping outlets but nothing compares to the vastness of Desert Hills. Every-time we thought we had reached the end another section appeared.

I am not one for excessive shopping but once a year in the States I stock up on Calvin Klein underwear, Nike workout gear, jeans from Levis and trainers from Vans. I’m basic like that but there were literally hundreds of stores to choose from including Dolce and Gabbana, Micheal Kors, and Coach.

Still not sure what to do?

Pop in to tourist information. There’s one Downtown in the Welwood Murray Memorial Library and Visitors Centre which was first opened in 1941 and designed by the city’s first resident architect, John Porter Clark.

Alternatively the main office is located in North Palm Springs in Albert Frey’s Tramway gas station. Both buildings are historical landmarks worthwhile seeing and the staff are more than happy to help.

Palm Springs was a perfect getaway for us with a great mix of relaxation, party and culture.

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