today’s city guide is devoted to sunny palm springs, california- which seems lightyears away from grey brooklyn today. jaime curtis of prudent baby created this fantastic guide to eating, shopping, site-seeing and staying in this fun desert city. jaime grew up playing tennis and golf with her mother at their palm springs condo and now works in palm springs for both her day job and upcoming book. she created a wonderful list of things to do and places to see in town so i hope you’ll enjoy her guide as much as i did.
CLICK HERE for the full city guide after the jump!
Palm Springs combines modern minimalism and old Hollywood glamor to create a perfect dusty, laid-back elegance. Past the industrial beauty of the turbine wind farms, and pressed up against the stark face of the San Jacinto Mountains, Palm Springs is the definition of a desert oasis, a modern design dream nestled in a dry, parched landscape. Modernist gems by architects like Richard Neutra and Albert Fray compliment the bungalows once owned by stars like Marilyn Monroe and Cary Grant in the Movie Colony neighborhood. Everywhere high style meets relaxed luxury; the city oozes modern inspiration.
Positioned at the entrance to the Coachella Valley, just a two-hour drive from both Los Angeles and San Diego, with desert temperatures hovering around 90 degrees well into the winter, Palm Springs is the perfect confluence of convenience and climate – an irresistible weekend retreat. The local population numbers about 40,000, composed of what’s affectionately known as the “Gay 90’s” (they’re either gay or they’re 90); lovers of art and culture as evidenced by the lively art and theater programs always available.
Ace Hotel – All kilim, ikat and army green with industrial fixings reworked to create an almost run-down, modern, laid-back desert charm. And adult snow-cones by the pool!
Parker – Jonathan Adler’s playful and imaginative luxury outpost with the best spa in the city, known as Palm Springs Yacht Club.
The Viceroy – Kelly Wearstler’s intimate paradise recalls 30’s films with it’s yellow and black décor creating a distinctive drama.
The Riviera – The recently renovated Riviera is a sexy revival of the classic Palm Springs hotel where big acts would test their material before heading to Vegas.
Colony Palms – This Spanish Colonial style hotel in the heart of the Movie Colony neighborhood was once owned by a mobster and now attracts young Hollywood with it’s unique style and delicious Purple Palms restaurant.
Movie Colony – Palm Springs on a budget can still bathe you in modern luxury.
Orbit In – This inn is all about atomic midcentury style
La Quinta Resort is an old-school luxury style resort with desert sports golf and tennis and a gorgeous setting under the mountains
Trina Turk and Trina Turk Residential are housed in an Albert Frey designed building with interiors by Kelly Wearstler; a must for upbeat Palm Springs style clothing and home accessories.
Design Within Reach Annex houses big markdowns on barely-scratched design classics, not to be matched anywhere else .
Modern Way for vintage beauties and modern classics
The Palm Springs outlet of famed Los Angeles boutique Room Service offers custom made furniture with dramatic sizing and bold shapes.
Retrospect offers restored midcentury beauties as well as lighting
Asylum is a local favorite with reasonable pricing on “accessible” modern furniture and unique décor; always a great place to stop for a last-minute gift – and they have an online store
A La Mod for well-edited midcentury modern
Studio 111 for classic, high-end 20th Century art and design, truly rare finds
M Modern hosts contemporary gallery shows while offering midcentury art and objects
Dazzles has midcentury furniture and a collection of amazing vintage Bakelite jewelry
Hedge is located a few miles into the valley in Cathedral City has an eclectic selection of midcentury modern pieces.
And Vintage Oasis is another favorite for midcenturty décor and accessories
House 849 has a more contemporary mix of lighting, accessories and tables
The Estate Sale – Palm Springs best kept secret (I can’t believe I am sharing it) is a consignment store filled with treasures from the valley’s residents; rare finds at unbelievable prices
Revivals is the resale shop of the Desert Aids project and is filled with trinkets and treasures
Angelview Thrift Marts have outlets all over the dessert stocked with great finds and profits benefit the Angelview Crippled Children’s Foundation
And if you’re in town on a Thursday night head downtown for Villagefest, with live entertainment and vendors selling vintage finds and handcrafted items
Outlets – On your way in or out stop in Cabazon at the Desert Hills Premium Outlets & Cabazon Outlets to hit up Barney’s, Prada, Gucci, and Saks or Nike, Crate & Barrel, La Crueset and Banana Republic.
Take a self-guided driving tour of Palm Springs architecture with this guide from the Palm Springs Modern Committee.
Take the Palm Springs Arial Tramway for a sky-high view of the valley.
Hike the Pacific Crest Trail in San Jacinto State Park and Wilderness.
Rent a Scooter and explore.
Visit the Palm Springs art museum.
Gamble a few dollars away at the Spa Resort and Casino right by downtown.
Sunday night is the best drag show in the desert at local favorite Toucan’s Tiki Lounge.
Canyon Flours Bakery for organic, gluten and dairy-free treats
The Tropicale is a must for the asian-inspired fish and a fiery patio.
Las Casuelas for a loud, authentic Mexican feast in a hacienda stretching a city block.
Or El Mirasol for a fine-dining experience of regional Mexican delicacies
Mr. Parker’s at the Parker; if you can’t stay there, at least eat there. No windows and Jonathan Adler’s signature style infuse everything from the flashlights used to see the menu to the food itself.
Citron at the Viceroy; similarly a must do if you aren’t staying at the Viceroy, just to dabble in the dramatic décor.
Copley’s Restaurant is located in what was once Cary Grant’s estate; waiters in tuxedos keep the charm alive.
Sherman’s Deli for an authentic Kosher deli experience.
King’s Highway at the Ace is a spare yet luxurious re-imagining of the roadside diner.
Matchbox Palm Springs has quickly become known for its “perfect pizza”.
Koffi has north and south Palm Canyon locations for the best coffee in the desert.
Spencer’s delivers a four star asian-influenced American meal right under the mountain
Hadley’s Date Gardens to taste the delicious fruit of local desert palms.
Trio features organic, local meat and produce for designer meals at accessible prices, in a clean, modern atmosphere.
John’s Restaurant is a local favorite diner for the basic food consistently made delicious.
Hamburger Mary’s is THE place to grab a burger.
Melvyn’s Piano Bar is a great little lounge.
Manhattan in the Desert is a little slice of New York with giant sandwiches and giant waits, but worth it.
Wang’s is the spot for Chinese food in Palm Springs.
Native Foods is a Southern California quick-service restaurant with quality tastes for vegans.
Cheeky’s for lunch and a “New Age” lime wine cocktail on ice is the perfect stop before heading back home. Yum.