It’s become an annual pilgrimage for me; sun, desert sand, endless mountains, gorgeous architecture and plenty to do. Palm Springs California. Since I’ve been so many times, I get asked again and again for my favourites and recommendations.
So these are some of my PSP must-do’s, starting with places to eat:
For great Mexican food: Las Casuelas.
You can go to the old, original vintage location at 368 N Palm Canyon Dr in Palm Springs, or there is also a nice more modern location (with a band and dancing ) called Las Casuelas Terraza at 222 S Palm Canyon Dr Palm Springs. The original location is all red leatherette and wrought iron, kinda like going to a bullfight in 1960′s Spain. The new one has a much younger and cooler vibe, but can be very busy, and sometimes at night turns into party central. Good if that’s what you’re after, but if you just want a quiet meal, go old school. Either way, both have the same great food. Totally worth the visit to either one and the bill won’t break you.
Top pizza choice: Matchbox on Palm Canyon Drive. It’s really good and they have great margaritas. Nice thin crust and plenty of toppings. Make sure to snag a box of signature matches!
Great great Thai can be had at Thai Smile.
. It has all the standard Thai favourites, and always tastes freshly made. I’ve never taken anyone here who didn’t like it. These folks consistently win Best of the Desert awards.
On our last visit, we found an amazing new, cheap brekkie place called Cheekys. It gets short lineups some days, as it has a super cool menu. I HIGHLY recommend the “flight of bacon”, which includes samples of the infused rosemary, Thai sweet chili and apple cinnamon flavours; don’t knock em till you try ‘em . I also loved the buttermilk and fresh corn pancakes. (622 n. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs)
PSP regulars know about Keedy’s Fountain Grill in Palm Desert. This retro greasy spoon has likely never met an interior designer it hasn’t sent packing. The decor is not the allure, the old fashioned breakfast is. Can’t go wrong with any of the Mexican themed brekkie specials like the Huevos Rancheros or the chorizo and eggs. Y-U-M. (73633 California 111, Palm Desert)
For great steaks and killer (homemade, infused pineapple) martinis head to Sullivan’s Steak House in Palm Desert. Best steaks in the desert. Expensive , but worth it. The pineapple martini they serve as their signature drink is called The Knockout. It’s awesome; goes down away too easy!!!
Before your meal, rub shoulders with the rich and well-to-do on the high-end shopping strip El Paseo, in Palm Desert. Very high end stores, and a lovely walk. Lots of other restaurants to be found there too. It’s about 20-25 minutes drive from Palm Springs proper but its an easy drive if you take Highway 111. Tiffany, Apple Store and Sephora all have space there alongside some small independent boutiques.
One of my favourite places anywhere, for coffee, breakfast or lunch.. or cocktails, so ok, anything really…is The Parker Palm Springs. Its restaurant Norma’s serves some crazy-ass deliciously over the top breakfasts. It’s expensive, but worth every bite. Sit outside if it’s nice and watch the rich people. Then take a walk around the hotel grounds. They’re 13 acres formerly owned by Merv Griffin. Their spa– the cheekily named “Palm Springs Yacht Club”– starts your treatments off with a shot of vodka. ‘Nuff said. And cocktails in the hotel lounge afterwards are an exercise in watching how the other half lives.
Fun Stuff to Do
If you want a unique social experience in how the old folks who don’t buy rocking chairs live, go to happy hour at The Nest. It’s close to El Paseo near Palm Desert : 75188 California 111, Indian Wells. Good idea to get a drink here before you eat and have a martini at Sullivan’s! Then sit back, and let your eyes roam….This place is catnip for frisky older cats.
Other cool things are the Living Desert park, which is a combination zoo and botanical gardens (
)and the Aerial Tramway www.pstramway.com The tram trip is neat and the views at sunset are spectacular. Have a drink at the top but don’t plan to eat there. It’s cafeteria food-to-go-style of reheated snacks. You’ve been warned.
The Salton Sea is NOT WORTH the trip (think dead-fish-stench, and oily water), but Joshua Tree Park IS (
). About an hour’s drive, “J-tree” has trees unique to this very small desert area; the aforementioned Joshua Trees, Ocotillio plants, and Cholla Cactus. Also worth seeing; Skull Rock.
A beautiful and easy within a short drive of the desert cities was to Painted Canyon. It does NOT feature any painted petroglyphs. In case you were thinking it might. As we did.
There are plenty of other nice hikes and walks, but that could be a list of its own.
For my fellow shoppers, you can’t go wrong spending most of a day at the outlet mall aka Desert Hills Premium Outlets.
There’s like, 5,000 stores and if you can’t find what you’re looking for here, you never will. Plan 4 hours minimum. And take note it’s about a 25 minute drive from the Palm Springs strip.
The Parker Palm Springs Main Entrance
Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National park
The Saguaro Hotel Palm Springs