After our two weeks in Paris, we were home for a few days and then headed to Palm Springs where Mr. Misadventures attended a workshop. We hadn’t been to the area since we spent 2 weeks there in the RV over the Christmas and New Year’s so we were looking forward to spending some time in the Palm Desert. We packed a lot into the free weekend before Mr. Misadventures workshop and my regular work days began and I wanted to share some things to do in Palm Springs.
Take Pictures of the Palm Springs Signs
Looking for a photo to encapsulate your weekend? Want a good Instagram shot? There are 3 Palm Springs signs that you can hit.
First and foremost is the Palm Springs sign right near the Palm Springs Visitors Center (2901 N Palm Canyon Dr).
It was super windy when we were there and just after we showed up we were joined by a couple trying to do their wedding photos there, but the poor bride’s veil (and dress) was getting whipped all over! After you take your shots, stop by the visitor center. The building’s retro style is very fun. The Visitor Center also is right on the corner of Tram Road where you turn for the entrance to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.
Next is the Palm Springs sign by Gateway Park at the corner of Vista Chino and Gene Autry Trail. We turned into the housing area on E Chia Road and scoped out some of the houses there. We parked on E Avenida Fey Norte (it’s a court) but could have also done the same on E Paseo Barbara (another court) and walked to the sign. Just checking out the houses on the way to the sign is part of the fun of taking this shot.
There is another “less official” Palm Springs sign on West Mesquite Avenue where it meets S. Palm Canyon Drive.
A little cruder, but fun all the same and I definitely felt “good vibes” over my weekend!
Palm Springs home tours
My absolute favorite thing to do in Palm Springs is gawking at houses! I love the mid-century modern minimalist homes in this area and there is nothing better than checking out the adorable neighborhoods including Las Palmas Estates, Desert Park, Indian Wells, and many, many more! We are hoping to get tickets to Modernism Week in February when many of these houses are open for tours. (There is a Fall Sneak Peek in October we will try to get tickets for as well!).
Of course, everyone takes photos of #ThatPinkDoor at 1100 Sierra Way…
But there are SO many gorgeous homes it is a great way to spend a few hours! Trust me, you don’t have to be an architecture geek to enjoy yourself.
It’s also a good place to get out of your car and walk, you can see the homes closer and get some steps in. On the weekend, you might even get to peek into an Open House going on!
Pam Springs Hotel Pools
Like any other resort town, there are lots of great resorts. But in judging a hotel in Palm Springs, the end all be all of a great accommodation is its pool. The hotel pool scene is competitive here and the competition for your spot on the lounge chair is fierce. Good news. Some of these spots are open to the public without a room reservation!
The pool was in full on party mode (hence the borrowed photo above, I think you have to be there at 6 in the morning when everyone has a hangover to get a shot of it empty!), so we walked around it checking out the rest of the grounds.
One such spot (at least Monday through Friday) is the colorful Saguaro Hotel. We went for a drink and checked out the grounds. It’s wild with pops and flashes of pigmentation everywhere and the pool was jam-packed. It’s an old Holiday Inn that got quite the makeover and it is seriously hard to be anything but cheerful when visiting this Candyland.
I wanted to sit in one of those hammocks and read a book, but alas we other stops on our agenda.
Other iconic pools in Palm Springs:
- Ace Hotel – live DJ, cool cocktails.
- Parker Meridien with its awesome lemonade stand (otherwise known as a bar, but they are known for darn good martinis.
- ARRIVE Palm Springs – fun pool toys! (Open to the public)
- Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs – the only rooftop pool in town. Not free, but you can buy a day pass.
Palm Springs Art Museum
If you are visiting when it is on the hot side (although the high 80’s and low 90’s we experienced were 20 degrees color than what we were getting in Phoenix at the time) then cooling off for a bit by visiting the Palm Springs Art Museum will be right up your alley. We actually started at the annex which is known as the Architecture and Design Center. It’s downtown housed in a former bank, a 1961 savings-and-loan building designed by desert architect E. Stewart Williams. We took in an exhibition and shopped the museum store that is the bank’s old vault!
From the center, we walked through downtown towards the main art museum. We checked out the Andy Warhol exhibit and the sculpture garden and felt refreshed with our respite from the sun.
Other Museums in Palm Springs:
- Palm Springs Air Museum – the space geek in me loves this spot (we visited on a previous trip).
- Art Pop Gallery promotes local artists, pop-up style.
Art Installations & Murals
There are a few spots in town where you can see art installations either as part of commercial space, like this Orange Twist by Delos Van Earl which is located at 1492 N. Palm Canyon Drive, a small midcentury building designed by William Krisel. Or in shopping areas like the #pspinkwall at The Shops at Thirteen Forty-Five, 1345 N. Palm Canyon Drive.
A few of the hotels (Parker Meridien, Ace, ARRIVE) and the Art Pop Gallery have murals. There is a fun one next to the Palm Greens Café, 611 S. Palm Canyon Drive. If you are willing to drive a little to Coachella there are quite a few murals (1604 6th Street and Shady Lane Mural across from Dateland Park).
Palm Springs Life has a great list of murals in the area and where you can find them.
Other Spots to Visit in Palm Springs
We didn’t get to these 2 spots, but they are totally on my radar for our next trip to Palm Springs!
Moorten Botanical Garden
I keep hearing about their amazing “world’s first” Cactarium with over 3,000 species of cacti. Apparently, the golden light inside is said to be absolute perfection. I’m intrigued!
This is the former home of some famous mucky-mucks. Tours have to be booked in advance and you can’t take photos outside, but there is supposed to be a plethora of pink walls (dating back to the 1960s) that make awesome photos. The grounds are supposed to be quite nice as well.
A Word on Food & Drink
Palm Springs has a fabulous restaurant and bar scene, however, for this trip, we were staying in an Airbnb and did our own meals. After all, we had just come back from a decadent 2 weeks in Paris! The only time we stopped anywhere was for a caffeine stop at Koffi Coffee near the Ace Hotel.
How about you? Have you been to Palm Springs? Do you have other suggestions of things to do?