48 Hours in Palm Springs

Great food, stunning mid-century modern architecture, stylish shopping and an array of outdoor activities make Palm Springs, California an ideal weekend getaway. If you only have 48 hours, we’re sharing our picks for the best in what to see and where to stay.

Palm Springs (Image: Randy Heinitz)
Palm Springs (Image: Randy Heinitz)

Base yourself at the centrally located, chic and comfortable Chase Hotel, only a block from Palm Canyon Drive where you’ll find everything you need in terms of shopping, dining and entertainment. Continental breakfast and Wifi are included in the price and rooms are spacious and comfortable with kitchenettes. It was too cold to swim during our visit, but the pool looked so inviting we almost braved the chill for a dip.

Start your first day with breakfast at Cheeky’s Restaurant, a justifiably popular breakfast spot among locals. Get there right when it opens at 9 a.m. to avoid a line-up. Food is fresh, local and creative and everything is made in house. The menu changes regularly to reflect what’s freshest.

Frey House, example of mid-century modern (Image: Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism)
Frey House, example of mid-century modern (Image: Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism)

Since Palm Springs is known for its mid-century modern architecture, take a few hours to learn more about it. Palm Springs Modern Tours offers comprehensive, small group tours of the architecture in Palm Springs, the history behind it, architects who spearheaded the trends and the celebrities who lived in many of the mid-century modern homes. The tour is three hours, but it’s an informative and entertaining way to spend the morning.

Follow up your tour with lunch at Jake’s in the heart of the Uptown Design District. Meals are hearty and well-seasoned and include creative salads (portions are huge so a salad is a meal here), sandwiches and wraps. They also have a good selection of tempting-looking desserts.

After you’ve refueled, head for the Indian Canyons. There are miles of hiking trails to explore in Palm Springs that range in length and difficulty level, but all of which offer unparalleled mountain views and desert vistas. To get an abbreviated feel for the stunning scenery skip a longer hike in favor of a one mile loop hike of Andreas Canyon. It’s an easy hike (wear close toed shoes) but will still give you a good idea of what kind of natural beauty is on offer in this part of California, which includes over 100 miles of hiking trails, streams, waterfalls and inspiring landscape.

VillageFest (Image: Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism)
VillageFest (Image: Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism)

If you’re in Palm Springs on a Thursday, before heading to dinner, take a wander around Palm Springs Villagefest on Palm Canyon Drive. The free event is held every Thursday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. and offers the opportunity to browse more than 200 booths selling art, jewellery, handcrafted items and unique food items. If you’re not in town on a Thursday  you can still use the opportunity to explore Palm Canyon Drive and stop at one of the many bars or restaurants for a pre-dinner drink or do some last-minute souvenir shopping.

Finish your whirlwind tour of Palm Springs with dinner at Johannes, a bustling restaurant with a relaxed atmosphere and eclectic menu featuring homey, comforting meals prepared with a sophisticated twist. On your way back to the hotel, if you’re in the mood for something sweet, stop at Lulu California Bistro for a post-dinner coffee (or cocktail) and their decadent flourless triple chocolate cake.

Grab breakfast at the hotel the next morning and (weather-depending) squeeze in a swim before leaving Palm Springs.

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