Hi, friends! It's no secret that I am completely obsessed with Palm Springs. In fact, since my first visit about two years ago, I've been back four times! I can't stay away. My friends often ask me why we choose Palm Springs over other sunny spots (with beaches!), and I always answer the same thing, "It's SO incredibly relaxing." I love that as soon as we land in Palm Springs it's like time moves slower, and we always have the best quality time together.
Palm Springs is a small town. Before I visited I expected it to be much larger because of all the cute photos my friends were always posting, but it's TINY. We usually have plenty of time to visit everywhere on our list (and sometimes our favorite pizza place twice, LOL) even if we only stay for a long weekend.
If you're planning to travel to Palm Springs anytime in the future, be sure to bookmark or pin this guide for reference! Now, without further ado—let's get to it!
Places we've visited and loved:
Let's start with food! Our strategy is to eat smaller meals so that we can eat MORE often when we travel. We like to get real snacky.
We LOVE Koffi. There are a few locations in Palm Springs (one right next door to The Ace), and we always go at least a few times. I like to get this thing called a Mint Tea Freeze. If that even sounds good to you AT ALL, just try it. It's refreshing and fluffy and minty.
Cheeky's. One of our favorite brunches! The photo is from the first time we went and we ordered the flight of bacon. But ever since, we just order the jalapeño bacon because it's on another planet! Their menu is always changing, so I won't go into much detail, but just trust me—you'll like it. And get there early (because everyone likes it)!
Photo via Palm Springs Life.
Norma's. Norma is our grandmother's name, so I was already in based on that. But it's also located at The Parker (Jonathan Adler heaven). So I was double in. I've been there a couple times and it's just so beautiful. Last time I got brûléed oatmeal and it was pretty a-mazing.
Kings Highway. This is the restaurant inside The Ace. It has a light, bright mid-century vibe. We usually go for brunch, but they serve all three meals. If you stay at The Ace, it's the same food as the room service and pool menu. My favorite cocktail there is The Desert Facial (it's a mint and cucumber dream-come-true).
El Jefe is located at The Saguaro (the rainbow hotel). It's one of our favorite spots for lunch or snack time. We usually order either Queso Fundido or mini tacos (fish is my personal fave). It's a tequila bar. So if you like margaritas, this is your spot! We like the laid back vibes.
Birba. OK, get ready to get preached at because we are REALLY into Birba. Jeremy and I say it's our favorite pizza in the world (and, yes, we've been to Italy… don't hate us, Italy). It's our personal version of the perfect pizza.
Birba also has really sweet patio seating, great appetizers and delicious cocktails. We always try to go twice! That's how much we love it.
Make reservations or get there right when they open.
Workshop Kitchen + Bar. We're big fans. One of the best meals we've had in Palm Springs. Amazing cocktails too! The menu changes a lot, so check online before you go.
This past trip we stopped in at Viceroy just to hang out for a little while and have a cocktail, and we thought it was the cutest bar with the friendliest people. We definitely want to stay there in the future!
Next up, hotels!
The Ace. We've stayed at The Ace a bunch. It's got a good vibe and a million photo opportunities. This last trip we got a room with a patio and fireplace, and I highly recommend that little upgrade. It's not a lot more money considering how much extra privacy you get. We made s'mores three nights in a row and it was awesome!
The Saguaro. We stayed at The Saguaro once. It's BEAUTIFUL. It's truly a work of art. They also have two good restaurants (listed above), so even if you don't stay there, you can get a look around. It's definitely more of a party hotel on the weekends, just FYI (and so is The Ace).
The Parker. We've never stayed at The Parker, but I hear only good things about it. We've been there a bunch of times to eat at Norma's. It's super pretty, and I definitely want to stay there sometime in the future!
Korakia Pensione. On our last trip, some friends of ours were also in Palm Springs staying at the Korakia (it was Valentine's weekend… and that's what people from Missouri do I guess?). So we got to go over there and hang out. It is a really nice hotel with a super different vibe from the other hotels in Palm Springs. It's more of a bed and breakfast vibe, and the Moroccan decor is really pretty. I definitely want to stay there on a future trip. (photo via 100 Layer Cake)
Moorten Botanical Garden. This is a must see. You can walk there from the Ace. It's super close. Jeremy and I went on Valentine's this year. It costs $4 to get in, but it's more than worth it. It's incredible. I've never seen such giant cacti. This little greenhouse is an awesome photo spot because the light is diffused. Because of the hours they are open, it's probably super bright in most of the garden, but this greenhouse has really nice lighting. I highly recommend this. It's random, but SO inspiring and fun to see all the different plants.
Oh, and I backed into and sat on a cactus twice. So be careful! :D
Salvation Mountain. Located 1.5 hours away from Palm Springs, this is quite a trek, but completely worth the trip in my opinion. I've been a couple times, and it's hard to believe that most of it was built and maintained by one man. I got to meet Leonard in person on our first trip, and he's definitely one of the most inspiring people I have met as well as an amazing storyteller. He has recently passed away, a true artist!
I LOVE seeing other people's Salvation Mountain photos pop up in my Instagram feed because I know how far they drove to see it (it's not really close to anything else), and it makes me happy that people see it for the treasure that it is.
Christopher Kennedy Compound. We got to tour this home during Modernism Week and I seriously still think about it all the time. It was one of those homes where every angle, every detail was photogenic. If you get a chance to tour any homes in Palm Springs, definitely take it! So fun.
Oh and I don't have a photo, but Great Shakes is really cute (honey and nut shake, you guys!).
Other places I want to go in (or near) Palm Springs on future visits: The Mojave Desert, Joshua Tree, Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.
Thanks so much for going on my little tour with me! I hope you get a chance to visit Palm Springs if you haven't yet. It's SO chill and so pretty. Definitely my soulmate city. I can see why Frank Sinatra liked it so much. xx. Elsie
PS. If you live near or have been to Palm Springs and you have travel suggestions that I missed, I would love to hear them in the comments!
Credits// Author: Elsie Larson Photography: Elsie Larson (unless otherwise noted).