The Coolest Palm Springs City Guide

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Our new Palm Springs City Guide is here! Palm Springs is one of the best places to visit all year long, whether you're coming to party at Coachella, explore architecture at Modernism Week, or just want to relax by the pool in the sunshine.

Our Palm Springs City Guide gives you everything you need to know to plan for your upcoming vacay, from things to do in Palm Springs to the best restaurants, shopping, and where to stay in Palm Springs:

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Best Time of Year to Visit Palm Springs

Honestly, Palm Springs is a great place to visit any time of the year! It definitely gets hot hot hot in the summer (May-Sept), but you can also get really good hotel deals in the summer low season, so if you just want to hang out by the pool all day, then it works!

We are regular attendees of Modernism Week in Palm Springs, which happens for two weekends every February. If you love architecture, this is a really great time to visit Palm Springs because a lot of the stunning homes are only open for tours at this time of year, and there’s a ton of events happening so it’s buzzing with popularity. Generally speaking, December-April is high season in Palm Springs, and for good reason!

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But if you’re looking for the best best time of year to visit Palm Springs, our personal favorite is April - the bougainvillea are out in full bloom, and it’s hot enough for pool weather. There’s also the music festivals Coachella and Stagecoach happening, and with that comes our second favorite event in Palm Springs: Desert X! Every year there are free art installations that pop up all around the Greater Palm Springs & Coachella Valley area, which make for fun adventures (and an awesome backdrop for your Instagram photos).

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Fun Things to Do in Palm Springs

Palm Springs is full of bright doors, and we highly recommend taking yourself on a bike tour of all the gorgeous houses if you're looking for fun things to do in Palm Springs. We rented bikes from Bike Palm Springs and biked all around the flat city checking out the historic houses in this self-guided tour.  

There’s also a lot of beautiful hikes in Palm Springs, we recently did the Tahquitz Canyon trail in the morning, which is gorgeous and an easy 1 hour hike that ends in a waterfall! We also love just going for walks at sunset, sipping on a cocktail and admiring all the gorgeous flowers (can you tell we’re not from Southern California?).

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Even though we've been to Palm Springs countless times, there's still fun things to do that we haven't checked off our list yet! Like visiting the Moorten Botanical Gardens for a perfect selfie shot, or feeding the giraffes at The Living Desert.

Another  incredible Palm Springs experience is participating in the long table dinners at Sparrows Lodge. You need to book ahead, but we just loved this dining al fresco experience and will definitely do it again! We also loved exploring the cool art collection at the Palm Springs Art Museum, and if you get a chance to book a tour to Albert Frey's house, Frey House II, definitely do it! 

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Best Pools in Palm Springs

Obviously, you have to have to spend some serious time by the pool in Palm Springs while you're there. The good news is that you're not confined to the pool at your hotel! You can pool hop in Palm Springs, with most pools being open to the public if you buy a drink, eat some food, or sometimes, pay a small cover charge. 

If you're looking to party, the pool at The Saguaro is super fun with a great poolside bar, tacos, and music. The Ace Hotel pool is kind of an inbetween, with lots of people lounging but there's still some music to groove to. The pool at Arrive Hotel is just stunning, and a really great place to lay out with good food and drinks. Last but not least, Holiday House has killer margaritas and an amazing lawn / shaded area, complete with shuffleboard. The pool at Villa Royale is reserved for guests, but it’s a seriously stunning adults-only pool perfect for relaxing.

Villa Royale pool

Villa Royale pool

The Saguaro pool

The Saguaro pool

Arrive hotel pool

Arrive hotel pool

Ace Hotel pool

Ace Hotel pool

BEST RESTAURANTS IN PALM SPRINGS

Wondering where to eat in Palm Springs? Palm Springs is in the middle of a cultural renaissance, and there are SO many amazing cocktail bars and restaurants in Palm Springs to choose from. We always visit Azucar Restaurant, with their modern boho decor, incredible cocktail menu (hello, blood orange margaritas), and gorgeous rooftop bar! This is definitely one of the best restaurants in Palm Springs, I mean...just look at it:

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What we love about visiting Palm Springs is that you can visit multiple times a year and always find new places you love! We recently visited Evzin restaurant for the first time, which was an incredible experience. The interior of the restaurant is like eating in an art gallery, and we quickly fell in love with both the atmosphere and the incredible food!

The menu is inspired by the Mediterranean, and we recommend shared plates to indulge in the fresh and delicious dips (black garlic hummus, eggplant, and tzatkiki), and scrumptious salads. The rack of lamb was cooked to absolute perfection, and this is by far our favorite restaurant in Palm Springs that is sure to become our new vacation tradition.

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Other good restaurants in Palm Springs are King's Highway at the Ace Hotel, you can eat by the pool or inside their cool '60s restaurant. This is one of the Palm Springs staples, and we come here to eat every time we visit! 

Norma's at The Parker hotel is also famous for their brunch, and another favorite Palm Springs restaurant is  Reservoir at Arrive Hotel, which is great for both lunch and dinner. 

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If you're looking for a serious good cocktail, head to Bootleger Tiki for some tropical drinks! Their cocktails not only have out-of-this-world presentation, but they’re super delicious (and potent) too. Our fave is the matcha cocktail! We also love visiting the rooftop bar at the Rowan hotel, 4 Saints, for a glass of wine with a beautiful view. And last but certainly not least, there’s a secret back bar at Seymour’s that has a fire pit and a bocce ball court!

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When it comes to casual dining in Palm Springs, we love Ernest Coffee, which is where you'll want to spend your mornings if you're a fan of Stumptown Coffee. If you’re in South Palm Springs, Koffi is a great spot with some healthy salads to go too. We also love stopping by Granucci Gelato to cool off with some authentic gelato, and they also have the option to eat your gelato in sandwich form with some macarons!

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Where to Shop in Palm Springs

There's a ton of really great mid-century mod furniture shopping in Palm Springs, but if you don't want to break the bank, head to The Frippery for some cute and curated vintage shopping! Sun care in Palm Springs is super important, and we adore H2O Closet for indulging in natural beauty and skincare at affordable price points. The store is stocked with a ton of thoughtfully curated summer essentials you wouldn’t find elsewhere! We also love shopping at Elizabeth & Prince for designer finds and desert-chic style.

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One of our favorite places to shop in Palm Springs is Thick as Thieves, a locally owned store that is full of desert gems like crystals, palo santo, textiles, home decor and womenswear too. Pick up some of the local aloe & eucalyptus facial spritz, it’s one of our travel beauty essentials.

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If you only shop at one place in Palm Springs, make it the The Shops at Thirteen Forty Five! This local shopping spot is a one-stop destination for everything you would want to find in Palm Springs, like unique and beautiful moroccan rugs at Soukie Modern. The Palm Springs Style shop is filled with cute pool floats, stylish hats, and the most stylish “souvenirs” you could possibly want. We highly recommend following @palmspringsstyle on Instagram too!

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Where to Stay in Palm Springs

When it comes to where to stay in Palm Springs, there are SO many amazing options! Honestly…you can’t go wrong. Here are some of our favourite places to stay in Palm Springs, based on where we have personally chosen to stay!

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Best Boutique Hotel in Palm Springs: Villa Royale

Welcome to your paradise: Villa Royale is one of the newer hotels in Palm Springs, and we are OBSESSED with this gem of a boutique Palm Springs hotel! The hotel is 21+, which makes for a relaxing time if you’re looking for a more low-key pool (read: no loud party vibes here), and the decor is incredible. It has that mid-century modern Palm Springs vibe, while still feeling quite modern, homey, and comfortable at the same time. And the grounds are simply so beautiful, just look at this garden:

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But the best part about Villa Royale is this POOL! It is everything you could want in a vacation pool, with delicious poolside cocktails and service, retro-inspired beach chairs, and even the perfect shaded lounge area by the pool complete with misters to keep you cool (which worked as the perfect outdoor office for us!).

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Villa Royale also has a spacious courtyard covered in bougainvillea, and they have a ton of bikes that you can use too! Villa Royale is located in South Palm Springs, basically right across the street from both the Ace Hotel and Evzin restaurant, so there’s a lot of cute houses and scenery to bike around to in the area.

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Best Palm Springs Hotels: The Saguaro

We have stayed at the Saguaro Hotel a bunch, and we love it for girls trips because it’s so lively! The hotel grounds are super colourfu, and it’s really reasonably priced too. Definitely spring for a pool view room! This is where you want to stay if you want a lively atmosphere and fun pool to hang out at -  the DJ is always playing!

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Best Palm Springs Hotels: Ace Hotel

We are regular visitors to all of the Ace Hotels, and the Ace Hotel Palm Springs is one of our favourites! We love the rooms with the big patios, perfect for happy hour with your friends. The huge beds are super comfy too, and it’s nice to be close to a great pool, a cool bar, and a yummy restaurant.

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Best Palm Springs Hotels: The Parker Palm Springs

The Parker Palm Springs is a super hot spot Palm Springs hotel, and it’s pricey too. Located a bit away from the centre of the “city”, you’ll want to stay here if you’re looking for a resort-like hotel that has a ton of amenities, secluded in the luxury of peace of quiet. Think lots of lawns, fire pits, and a celebrity or two from LA. If you don’t stay here, come for a drink at least, it’s pretty cool!

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We hope you enjoyed our Palm Springs City Guide! This is honestly our favorite place to visit, and this is our most popular blog post ever so we are very excited to have it all updated for you guys!

You can check out all our Palm Springs blog posts here, and don't forget to follow us on Instagram at @localwanderer for even more travel inspo, we have a Palm Springs guide pinned to our stories highlight too!

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Did we miss something? Let us know in the comments!