Saturday, April 20, 2024

A Weekend Staycation: What to Do in Palm Springs

March 7, 2011  
Filed under Smart & Savvy

By Alicia Olivares —

palm springs ace hotel
{Ace Hotel photos by D.L. Thompson; Jon Johnson}

Since I was a child, Palm Springs was a second home to me. Today, it’s one of my favorite places to escape to when the congestion and smog of LA becomes a bit overwhelming. The tranquility and stillness of the Mojave Desert makes it the best place to catch up on some much needed R&R—to take in a breath of fresh air, bargain shop, gamble a little here and there and enjoy the vast landscape and desert oases. Palm Springs is only a few hours east of LA, which means it’s just the right distance for an ideal weekend getaway.

Since the days of old Hollywood, celebrities have made the city an attraction for Californians and international tourists—the spas, resorts, golf courses and ubiquitous art galleries. And should you want to tour the homes of Sonny Bono, Bob Hope and Frank Sinatra, or even the Betty Ford Clinic (sometimes home to Lindsay Lohan), you can. Palm Springs also hosts their own International Film Festival, held once a year, which recently honored Natalie Portman for her work in Black Swan.

Aside from the Hollywood influence, Palm Springs is, of course, rich in cultural history. The city and its surrounding towns were founded by the inhabitants of the Agua Caliente Cahuilla tribe. The natives were known for their water reservoirs, artwork, rich culture and peace throughout their nation. Palm Springs eventually transformed into the spa/resort destination it is today, but there are still traces of the Cahuilla tribe in the architecture and artwork of Palm Springs, which you can witness by visiting Cahuilla reservation any time.

A Relaxing Weekend in Palm Springs:

ace hotel lobbyace hotel pool

Ace Hotel & Swim Club

Best known for its relaxing atmosphere and hipster vibe, this is the place to be if you’re looking for good drinks and great company. The average age of hotel guests is mid-20s to early-30s, and there’s an awesome bar/diner that delivers the goods to your poolside hammock. During the weekends a live dj spins in the large glass recreation room, and old movies play a la Cinespia style.

Hadley’s Orchard

hadley's orchard

Palm Springs is filled with great steak houses and Mexican restaurants, but the must-have item on the way to or from the city is the famous Hadley Orchard date shake. This shake is made with vanilla ice cream and crushed dates, and is definitely refreshing on a 100 degree day.

Downtown Palm Springs, El Paseo, The River at Rancho Mirage, and Cabazon Outlets

There are several shopping districts to choose from: Downtown has a mix of boutiques and souvenir shops, El Paseo is the equivalent of Rodeo Drive, The River has everything in between, such as a Barnes & Noble and movie theater, and Cabazon has the best outlet deals in SoCal. Do be aware of the current temperature and if it is over 100 degrees, only venture out once the sun starts setting.

palm springs tramwayPalm Springs Aerial Tramway

The Aerial Tramway is the world’s largest tramcar. As you climb altitude, the car rotates giving you a 360 degree view of the scenic Mojave Desert and its surrounding mountains. Once you reach the top, the air is cooler, or there may be snow depending on the season, and you are free to go hiking or lounge around the mountain top resort.

For more information on Palm Springs, go to

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