After our days in Disneyland, we woke up early and headed straight for Palm Springs. It’s really easy to forget that you’re heading into a desert until you see the temperature slowly increasing on your phone as your drive. By the time we reached Palm Springs we were squarely into the 100s and surrounded by mountains.
Palm Springs is somewhere that’s stuck perfectly in its golden era. In the golden age of cocktail drinking, I imagine. More on that later…
With just a day to enjoy Palm Springs, we had to spend our time wisely. And at this time of year (late summer), the temperatures stay around 100 degrees for most of the day. We skipped the aerial tramway up San Jacinto and opted for some indoor activities. Plus we’d be seeing the landscape at Joshua Tree the next day.
- Palm Springs Mod Squad Tour – If you’re a fan of mid-century modern, architecture, or history, the only thing you need to do is a tour of the architecture of Palm Springs. The tour guide Kurt is incredibly knowledgeable and personable. After the tour, he even provided more resources so we could learn more about the Desert Modern movement. My sister and I even used our afternoon to drive around to the houses he recommended on a handy postcard.
- Palm Springs Art Museum – Based on Kurt’s recommendation, we stopped by the Palm Springs Art Museum that afternoon. They house a collection that is indicative of the people that likely live in Palm Springs – heavy on the modern and contemporary art.
To Eat and Drink
- King’s Highway – Located in the Ace Hotel, King’s Highway is an upscale diner created inside what used to be a Denny’s. The menu changes frequently – while there in late summer we enjoyed a watermelon salad, a plate of shoestring fries, and nachos. I also had to try their frozen piña colada because in Palm Springs you need a drink at every meal.
- Bootlegger Tiki – I love a good tiki bar and this is a good tiki bar. Drenched in red lights, the space is small and cozy. The menu features a lot of original concoctions (Name so good you have to get the drink: Boaty McBoatface aka Lil Yachty) as well as their takes on the classics. And boy, were these some strong drinks! So strong in fact that it made our Uber driver’s rant about the different brands of bottled water somehow interesting.
- El Jefe – Another restaurant inside of a hotel (this time, the Saguaro), this restaurant serves up the tacos and margaritas you’re craving after spending the day in 100 degree heat. Or drinking multiple tiki drinks…
This map covers our entire trip from LA to Phoenix. You’ll find all of the places we went, plus a few extras that we didn’t get the chance to make it to.