From ultra-relaxing yoga retreats to sun-soaked poolside retreats, it’s easy to see why Palm Springs has been known as the playground to the stars for generations.
Ever since my amazing girlfriend getaway in Palm Springs, it has been one of my favorite destinations for a long weekend.
Whether you want to spend time with the girls, connect with that special someone, or want to unwind with mom, there’s nothing better than a long weekend (or mid-week escape) in Palm Springs.
If you’re coming from Los Angeles or San Diego, it’s just a two-hour drive. If you’re coming from farther afield, you can fly directly into town.
Ready to plan your perfect three days in Palm Springs? Here’s what you’ve got to know before you go.
Where to Stay
When it comes to luxe options, you’ll be spoiled for choice in Palm Springs. Here is a couple of the best of the best that will leave you feeling pampered at every step.
Korakia Pensione: You might recognize this drop-dead-gorgeous Mediterranean-style resort from the Architectural Digest, Condé Nast Traveler, Vogue, Elle, Marie-Claire, New York Times, and a laundry list of other glossy mags.
Want to treat yourself but not break the bank? Strike a balance of comfort and value in these great spots.
Dive Palm Springs: I adore the 1960s French Riviera vibe at Palm Spring’s newest boutique hotel.
Riviera Palm Springs: This old Rat Pack haunt is another vintage cool pick that I adore. Newly transformed from the Margaritaville Resort Palm Springs, this casual-luxe ticks all of the boxes.
The Saguaro Palm Springs: The Saguaro is the trendy, colorful motel-style property you’ve probably seen all over Instagram. It’s a budget hotel but the vibe here is FUN all the time!
Sunny downtown Palm Springs is best explored on foot. Wander the countless cafes, restaurants, and boutiques of Palm Canyon Drive then rent a bike to explore the wider area.
When you’re ready to get off your feet, it is easy to hop in an Uber. If you want to explore the Coachella Valley (like Indio, La Quinta, Palm Desert), you’ll want to rent a car. If you are planning to stick close to the city though, it’s not necessary for a quick visit.
What to Pack for Palm Springs
Palm Springs is in the heart of the desert so things get steamy! Pack your bathing suit, sunscreen, and sunnies.
A flamingo pool floaty was one of the central modes of transport during my chill break, and I’d recommend bringing one if you’ve got a bit of extra space. 😉
Beyond days at the pool, there are some gorgeous spots for trekking so bring along hiking gear and comfy shoes for exploring.
Planning Tip: Not sure what to pack for hiking in the desert? Check out my hiking gear guide for ultra-comfy and practical picks.
You’ll also want an outfit or two for going out at night. No need to get too ritzy, but do bring something a bit chicer than your pool cover-up. And keep in mind that it gets chilly at night! Bring a couple of layers for bundling up after the sun sets.
Day 1: Arrive + Relax
Palm Springs is all about disconnecting and pampering yourself. Whether you’re flying in or driving in, treat yourself to a break on arrival. Take a siesta poolside, have a mid-day cocktail, and just take it easy.
Check out the epic happy hour picks around town like Tropicale for great martinis, spring rolls, and other essentials for starting the evening.
Once you’ve got a drink or two under your belt, it’s dinner time. Make a reservation at one of the area hotspots like Tac/Quila, Le Vallauris, or Johnny Costa’s Ristorante — then save room for dessert!
In Palm Springs, it’s all about the date shakes and nobody does them better than Great Shakes. Order one with “the works” to get a sweet treat of whipped cream and a donut on top (you can thank me later!).
Day 2: Good Eats + On the Town
Enjoy (a Boozy) Brunch
Sleep in then start your day with a boozy brunch at one of these local faves:
- Cheeky’s: This fun spot is famous for its “bacon flight” and organic egg benedicts. Be sure to try their incredible java and yummy homemade pastries too.
- Pinocchio in the Desert: I’ve got two words for you: bottomless, mimosas. Drop $4.95 here and you’ll have mimosas for days.
- Farm: For a French-inspired menu in a gorgeous garden space, this is the place to be.
- Boozehounds: A newly-opened restaurant, they will be serving brunch in the future, but are open at 8AM for coffee service + coworking in the meantime. I love the style of this place—it’s serious VIBES.
If a boozy brunch isn’t what you’re going for, how about a beautiful, classy brunch setup? The Pink Cabana restaurant at Sands Hotel & Spa (a short drive outside Palm Springs proper) is a fresh, modern take on the great Tennis and Racquet Clubs of the 50’s and 60’s in Palm Springs. It’s a decor DREAM.
Explore + Shop
Once you’ve filled up on eggs and mimosas, it’s time to wander the local shops.
Stroll around the downtown area and pop into the countless one-of-a-kind boutiques that dot the street. You’ll find a great selection of cool little spots to grab a souvenir or two.
And, plan time for those selfies! You’re going to love the cool retro vibe and Instagram-worthy architecture you’ll find all over the city. Whether you are into design or not, there are more than a few gems around this city that will impress you.
While you can have a perfect evening by the pool or unwinding in a local spa, there are also great options for a night on the town. See where the night takes you. If you are in the mood to live it up, check out these local haunts:
- Bar: With regular live music and open mic nights, this is the perfect spot to grab a drink.
- Bootlegger Tiki: This craft cocktail spot is perfect for finding your new favorite drinks.
- Amigo Room in Ace Hotel: More in the mood for craft beer? This hip spot is the place to be.
- El Jefe: Opt for some Happy Hour tacos and margs at The Saguaro Hotel’s restaurant.
Day 3: Explore + Adventure
Check Out Joshua Tree: After a couple of chill days, it’s time to start exploring. I’d highly recommend getting out to explore the incredible natural beauty of Joshua Tree and the surrounding areas.
Botanical Garden: If you want to stick close to town, get a dose of nature at the Moorten Botanical Garden. It is a beautiful spot to learn about cacti, succulents, and other local beauties.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite, grab a Chicago-style pizza at the much-loved Giuseppe’s or head over for top-notch Vietnamese grub at Rooster and the Pig (there is usually a line out the door at Rooster and the Pig but it’s worth it).
Go Star Gazing
On your last night, soak in the beauty of Palm Springs after dark. For an experience you’ll never forget, go stargazing at the Rancho Mirage Library & Observatory or book a tour at Skywatcher Star Tours.
If you can squeeze in a little extra time before you go, pay a visit to Salvation Mountain. This true one-of-a-kind man-made mountain is unlike anything else that you have ever seen
Pro Tip: The best thing about Palm Springs is the laid-back lifestyle.
To get the full experience, keep your plans loose and just see where the day takes you. If it doesn’t take you any farther than the hotel pool, that is totally okay! Savor the moment and just enjoy the sunshine.