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Frequent Flier: Travel guide to Palm Springs, California

Jessica Padykula is a freelance writer and editor in Toronto, Canada covering a wide range of  topics for several online lifestyle publications. She is a regular contributor for SheKnows, covering travel, style, relationships, health and...

What to see and do in Palm Springs

From art and architecture to design and outdoor adventure, Palm Springs has it all — and we're sharing some of the best attractions and sights to add to your itinerary. Between the Uptown Design District, Palm Springs Art Museum and art district, not to mention the picturesque Indian Canyons, great food and boutique hotels, there's plenty to pack into your stay.
Frequent flier
Frequent Flier

What to see and do in
Palm Springs

From art and architecture to design and outdoor adventure, Palm Springs has it all — and we're sharing some of the best attractions and sights to add to your itinerary. Between the Uptown Design District, Palm Springs Art Museum and art district, not to mention the picturesque Indian Canyons, great food and boutique hotels, there's plenty to pack into your stay.

Palm Springs
Photo credit: Kenna Love/Photodisc/Getty Images

Stay

Bonus: There are freshly baked chocolate chip cookies available every evening. Just try to walk past the front desk without grabbing one (or three).

Built in the late 1940s, the chic and cheerful Chase Hotel is a fun and ideally located spot to rest your head. Walk into the mid-century modern building and you’re greeted with a colorfully decorated lobby that warmly welcomes guests with books, magazines and stylish furniture, not to mention staff who are friendly and quick to share tips and information about the area. Rooms are large, and some have kitchenettes, which is handy if you’ll be staying for a week or longer. If the weather is warm enough, relax by the heated pool surrounded by mountain views and stately palm trees. WiFi and continental breakfast are included in the room price.

Eat

Breakfast at Cheeky’s while you’re in Palm Springs is a must. The popular spot fills up fast, so we recommend getting there before 9 a.m. when the restaurant opens. The menu changes weekly in order to highlight the freshest ingredients available, and dishes are hearty, homemade and delicious. Everything from pastries to sausages are made in-house, and all juices are squeezed by hand.

Stop by Jake’s for lunch in the Uptown Design District. Sit in the bright, airy interior or the charming courtyard, and choose from a wide array of salads, sandwiches, wraps and other simple yet well-crafted and satisfying plates. We opted for a flight of salads, wherein you choose three salads from a rotating roster of creative blends of various vegetables, grains, pastas, cheeses and fruits.

Workshop Kitchen and Bar blew us away with the commitment to use only what’s in season and local. Because of the focus on what they can get from the farms they work with, the menu changes often, affording the chefs an abundance of flexibility and creativity, which shows up in every bite. The decor is industrial-chic and minimalist, and although large, there are many intimate spaces to escape to.

Drink

The Purple Room at Club Trinidad is a great place to grab a drink while you’re in Palm Springs. The swanky spot dates back to the 1960s, when you might have spied Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin sipping a martini. The current space has been extensively remodeled and is now a stylish lounge offering a creative menu and nightly entertainment. Drop by to take in some live music while enjoying a cocktail like the “Miss Norma Jean,” which features Hendrick’s Gin, Chambord, fresh lemon and pineapple juice, or “The Dame,” a simple yet refreshing concoction of vodka with fresh muddled basil and cucumber.

Hike

Hikers of all skill levels, or anyone who enjoys being active in the great outdoors, should add Palm Springs to their must-visit list. With over 100 miles of hiking trails of varying lengths and degrees of difficulty in the Indian Canyons, you can spend your entire stay exploring the area. If you just want a taste of what the hiking here has to offer, we suggest the one-mile loop walking trail through Andreas Canyon as it gives you a good overview of some of the stunning scenery Palm Springs has to offer. It’s an easy walk, but do wear closed-toe shoes.

Bonus: If you happen to be in Palm Springs on a Thursday, we recommend a wander through Villagefest, a weekly event featuring artists, entertainers and vendors selling everything from jewelry to handmade treats to T-shirts and crafts.

Shop

Get your fix of antiques, mid-century modern furniture, funky housewares, pop-up shops and well-curated vintage clothes with a shopping trip through the Uptown Design District. Just down the street from the Chase Hotel you’ll find Palm Canyon Drive, a bustling stretch of shops, bars and restaurants. Pick out some souvenirs, and then grab a coffee at one of the many cafés.

Learn

Palm Springs is a mecca for anyone interested in mid-century modern architecture. If you’re interested in the history behind some of Palm Springs' most-notable architecture and the people who helped bring it to the forefront, book a tour to see some of the best examples of mid-century modern homes in the area. Our tour was with Palm Springs Modern Tours, which offers small-group tours that run for about three hours and provide an entertaining and educational look at the homes and buildings that have helped shaped the design identity of Palm Springs.

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