Photo of an outdoor Palm Springs sign.

Located 107 miles east of Los Angeles and nestled at the base of the mighty San Jacinto mountain you’ll find the bustling resort town of Palm Springs. Brought into popularity by the 1930s by Hollywood elite, Palm Springs remains a hot spot where historical charm meets all things modern. Whether you are searching for ultimate poolside relaxation, outdoor adventures, or cultural immersion via the impressive museums and architecture on offer – there is something for everyone at this sunny destination. 

If visiting for more than a few days, we recommend the short drive to explore our other favorite nearby destinations Idyllwild and Joshua Tree.

Where to Dine: Our Favorite Spots to Eat and Drink in Palm Springs, CA

Interior image of King's Highway diner at the Ace Hotel Palm Springs, California.
King’s Highway at the Ace Hotel, Palm Springs. Photo: Lance Gerber.

Palm Springs offers a wide selection of food and drink options, many of which are found along or near the main drag of Palm Canyon Drive or tucked away in the many hotels. Here are a few of our favorites:  

The Ace Hotel is a mainstay for its King’s Highway diner, dark tavern-inspired Amigo Room, and outdoor pool-adjacent patio dining spaces. Expect elevated comfort food that caters to the hip and happening crowd with a sure-to-please selection of beer, wine, and cocktails (try the Paloma slushy and thank us later).

Nearby Gabino’s Creperie is a must if you are in the mood for savory crepes. The small menu offers loaded crepes (including a fantastic veggie option) that are easy to grab and go or snag a spot at one of the few outdoor tables to dine. This location does have limited hours so make sure to consult their website and plan ahead. 

Tucked away from the main drag, Chef Tanya’s Kitchen is worth the short drive for what we think is the best vegan food in the city. You’ll also find a selection of their menu items and in-house products available in their small curated shop on-site. If venturing further into the Coachella Valley, stop at their location in Palm Desert which also boasts a vegan creamery.

Interior view of the bar at modern inspired restaurant Boozehounds in Palm Springs, California.
We love Boozehounds for all occasions – happy hour, dinner or brunch. Photo: Raven and the Willow.

When happy hour time rolls around Boozehounds has one of the best in town. Drink and/or dine inside the mid-century-inspired restaurant with views of Mount San Jacinto or enjoy the expansive dog-friendly patio to take in the desert sun. Stay for dinner to follow up your happy hour drinks with their Japanese-inflicted Southern California food menu. 

Right in the middle of the main strip Las Palmas serves up fresh pints, wine, ciders, and guest brews in a welcoming light-filled space. Their rotating selection of brews is best enjoyed on one of their two patios where you can mix and mingle with creative locals and visiting beer enthusiasts. They often have a food pop-up vendor out back (check their Instagram).  

Centrally located Truss & Twine is one of the go-to spots in town for expertly crafted cocktails. This sister bar to the adjacent Workshop Kitchen+Bar (also highly recommended) serves up small plates and a thoughtful selection of cocktails – though feel free to stray off the menu. Service is friendly and staff is knowledgeable with a nice selection of top-tier spirits available. 

Step inside the dark but inviting Bootlegger Tiki for rum-inspired tropical cocktails (and beyond). Situated in the original location of the 1953 Don the Beachcomber, this spot pays tribute to tiki culture done right. Snag one of the few inside booths or grab a seat on the outdoor patio. Next door you’ll find Ernest Coffee – perfect for tomorrow’s pick-me-up.

Where to Shop in Palm Springs, CA

Exterior view of Mojave Flea Trading Post shopping market in Palm Springs, California.
The Mojave Flea in Palm Springs, CA. Photo: Escape Los Angeles.

There are several locations to shop for local and handmade goods in town, some even within walking distance of each other (if the desert temperatures allow). Mojave Flea Trading Post on Indian Canyon Drive is a 10,000-square-foot marketplace of makers and vintage wares under one roof that houses an art gallery and a multitude of vendors including Hermano Flower Shop, our favorite spot for picking up a fresh bouquet. Just a bit further down the street, you’ll find Thick as Thieves, a thoughtfully designed space full of apparel, jewelry, and home goods. Over on Palm Canyon Drive (and next door to Las Palmas) Windmill City Super #1 is chock full of locally designed merch loved by locals and visitors alike.  

On Thursday evenings the main stretch of Palm Canyon Drive closes to traffic for Palm Springs VillageFest. Take in the cooler evening temperatures and stroll the street full of food vendors, local craft booths, live entertainment, and people-watching opportunities galore. 

Deal seekers can head to the Cabazon Outlets where you’ll find outlet shops for major brands and retailers spread across an open-air shopping complex. While en route, make sure to pull off at exit 106 for Cabazon and snap a photo with the Cabazon Dinosaurs. This beloved roadside attraction often boasts a seasonal paint job and we recommend taking the time to climb up into the apatosaurus for the vintage dino-themed gift shop.

Museums & Architecture in Palm Springs, CA

Exterior view of the Palm Springs Visitor Center's iconic triangular roofline.
Palm Springs Visitor Center. Photo: Escape Los Angeles.

For a city its size, Palm Springs has a few impressive museum offerings. The Palm Springs Art Museum is worth a visit for those interested in contemporary art. Make sure to visit their Architecture and Design Center, Edwards Harris Pavilion outpost downtown dedicated to exploring architecture and design. The museum’s permanent collection also includes the Frey House II, a long-time residence of celebrated architect Albert Frey. 

Architecture rules supreme in Palm Springs, with notable numbers of mid-century modern homes and businesses dotted throughout the city. There is a highly anticipated Modernism Week held in October for architecture buffs or explore year-round with several operators that offer mid-century modern and Hollywood-era celebrity home tours. If you prefer to explore on your own, we suggest starting with this Mid-Century Architecture Self-Guided Tour

Also notable is the Palm Springs Air Museum for its extensive collection of aircraft and memorabilia. They even offer flights above the city in vintage aircraft (for an additional fee) for those seeking an aerial view. Check out their calendar as they host events ranging from DJ nights to microbrew festivals which are a fun way to experience the impressive collection of aviation history. 

The Moorten Botanical Garden and Cactarium is like a flora museum for cacti and other desert plants. Make a quick stop here to walk the grounds and greenhouse, see the desert tortoises wandering the grounds, and even purchase your own plants from their stand as the perfect desert souvenir. 

Outdoor Adventures in Palm Springs, CA: Hiking, Aerial Tramway, and Offroading

A solo hiker on a desert trail with yellow spring blooms near Palm Springs, California.
Spring blooms abound on the Canyon View Loop Trail at the Whitewater Preserve in Palm Springs, CA. Photo: Escape Los Angeles.
There are plenty of hiking options in town but be prepared for the desert sun and heat. The trail systems located on the Agua Caliente Band’s tribal lands are some of the most stunning hikes in the region (entrance fee required). We recommend Indian Canyons for a handful of excellent hikes including the notable Palm Canyon trail and Tahquitz Canyon for the seasonal 60-foot waterfall. There are many free hikes around the city like South Lykken Trail for an elevated view of the city or Araby Trail to spot several celebrity homes as you ascend. Last but not least, there are several trails at Whitewater Canyon Preserve; we love the stunning overlooks from the 3.7-mile Canyon View Loop Trail.
If you’re looking for a more elevated view, check out the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway and take the 8,500-foot journey from the desert floor to the alpine of Mount San Jacinto. The scenic journey takes you to a mountain station with trails, restaurants, and several observation decks. For those seeking more of an adrenaline rush, Off Road Rentals is a quick 5-mile drive west of town on Highway 111. Get set up with your own ATV for a ride out into the desert sand, sure to keep you entertained for several hours.

Where to Stay: The Best Hotels in Palm Springs, CA

There is no shortage of lodging options in this resort town. Whether you are looking for hip and happening, retro kitsch, or ultimate relaxation here are a few of our favorite picks.

*Disclosure: Escape LA independently reviews and curates everything we recommend. When you book through our links, we may earn a commission. All views and recommendations are our own.
View of the pool at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs, CA

Photo: Ethan Gulley

Mingle with the LA crowd at this place-to-be-seen property. The Ace has enough amenities that you could spend a whole weekend stay here. Post up on a lounger by the pool, book a treatment at the spa, snap some photo booth pics, and savor the food and drink of the on-site restaurant and bar. 

Book a Patio Room with Fireplace to take full advantage of day-to-night during your stay. 


Poolside view of the Trixie Motel in Palm Springs, California.

Photo c/o Trixie Motel

This buzzy and bright pink property developed by drag persona Trixie Mattel is centrally located in the iconic Old Las Palmas neighborhood. The entire renovation process is captured as a series on Discovery+. The theme rooms are kitsch perfection and the property offers photo ops at every turn.  

Book the Yeehaw Cowgirl Suite for the amped-up southwest decor. 


Cacti and agave against a villa at Casa Cody in Palm Springs, California

Photo c/o Casa Cody

Bask in old Hollywood charm at this historic property quietly tucked just off the main strip. Find ultimate relaxation in the serene garden-like environment complete with multiple pools and light food and drink options. And, when you are ready for more action you are only a short walk away from downtown. 

Book a Large Studio for a bit more space to disconnect and recharge.  


Interior view of a cozy fireplace and mid century modern chairs at Villa Royale hotel in Palm Springs, California

Photo c/o Villa Royale

Explore the thoughtfully restored 1947 property for an eclectic and hip desert stay at this adults-only property. Insider tip: Cozy up around the patio’s fireplace or step inside the dimly lit on-site restaurant and bar Del Rey for sampling their tapas-inspired menu. 

Splurge on the Continental suite for the gas-burning fireplace and dry bar. 


Outside patio seating set against large floral murals at Fleure Noire Hotel in Palm Springs, California.

Photo c/o Fleur Noire Hotel

Take in the striking views of the San Jacinto mountains against the black floral murals that adorn the exterior walls of the casitas, bungalows, and suites that make up this boutique adults-only property in the Uptown neighborhood.

Unwind in the heated pool with a glass of rosé from the property’s champagne/rosé speakeasy La Boisson


Exterior poolside photo of Drift Palm Springs hotel. Photo credit Erin Feinblatt

Photo: Erin Feinblatt

This newly opened hotel offers the perfect backdrop for a sun-soaked vacation. Rooms are decked out in desert tones paying tribute to the surrounding landscape and range in size from studios to 4-bedroom suites.

Sample their extensive mezcal and tequila collection poolside or at Maleza, the hotel’s Baja-inspired restaurant.


Where to Stay: The Best Vacation Rentals in Palm Springs, CA

Poolside view of Palm Springs vacation rental home Pour Me a Dream.

Photo c/o Plum Guide

This stunning home sleeps up to six (3 beds and 4 baths) with picture-perfect interior and exterior spaces that are the perfect setting for a private retreat, while still being close to the heart of the city. Take in the mountainside backdrop and 200-degree vista views while enjoying the property’s amenities including an outdoor BBQ, fire pits, and an infinity pool and spa. 


Interior of a vintage yellow and white dining nook in a Palm Springs vacation rental home called the Swinging Sixties.

Photo c/o Plum Guide

Find retro perfection in this immaculately preserved 3 bed and 3 bath home that sleeps up to six. Snack in the sunshine yellow eating nook or hang in the emerald green or wood-paneled lounging spaces (complete with fireplace and wet bar).

Vintage touches are abundant throughout the property – we love the working Wurlitzer jukebox.


Exterior view of pink walls with a disco ball, patio lounge furniture, and the pool at Desert Dreamer Plum Guide vacation home in Palm Springs, California

Photo c/o Plum Guide

Sleep up to 6 in this original 1960s Mid-Century Modern holiday home by renowned architects Palmer and Krisel. Let the candy pink desert tones lighten your mood while you enjoy the pool by day or the firepit by night. 

If some like it hot and some like it cold you can bathe as you wish side-by-side in the nestled bathtubs.