48 Hours: Down Home in Palm Springs
By Kevin Perry
Our downtown area is configured like an architectural embrace. Palm Canyon welcomes you into its outstretched arms, then routes you lovingly to Indian Canyon and pulls you back again in an endless loop of sustenance and style. The eateries offer tasty food done right and the shopping options are playful; stroll and peruse without the stress of a hard-sell scenario.
And where better to start than at the heart?
La Plaza is the perfect inaugural destination to plug into your GPS as you navigate to our hearty hometown. With lunch options ranging from Bill’s Pizza to L’Atelier Café to Farm to Grand Central, you’ll get the protein punch you need to conquer the downtown shopping scene. Men, get your retro resort wear fix at Bobby G’s; ladies, bring the bling at Hephaestus Jewelry.
Then, when you’re ready to dig deeper into what makes Palm Springs home, explore our heritage across the street at Palm Springs Historical Society. They offer walking tours that delve into our celebrity allure, our midcentury modern mastery, and our Uptown Design District.
Now that you’ve fashionably relocated to the Uptown Design District, pull up a bar stool at Draughtsman. Their rustic surroundings are complemented by regional craft beers and gourmet pub noshes like a Smoked Pork Cheese Melt and the 48-Hour Korean Short Rib.
Speaking of 48 Hours, let’s get back to our itinerary!
Looking for a home away from home, Mediterranean style? Book a stay at La Maison, where you’ll be pampered from the moment you walk in the door. They greet you with a beverage and a smile and tuck you in (metaphorically speaking) with a fresh lavender sachet every night. Welcome home, indeed! Mom’s got nothing on Maison.
As night falls on Palm Springs, your appetite for decadence rises. Satiate it at The Tropicale, where a Crispy Boneless Southern Fried Chicken awaits. Reserve an outdoor table and sip an exotic cocktail to fully savor the desert ambiance. But this full-scale gastronomical safari is merely the appetizer for your evening, because right next door is the Copa Nightclub. Their Friday drag shows are fab and their dance floor will burn the calories of the day right off your involuntarily gyrating frame. The rhythm has spoken: you are home.
Morning brings a bevy of new taste sensations. After a dip in the pool, immerse yourself in deliciousness with a home-style breakfast at Wilma & Frieda. Slice into nice with their meatloaf topped with fried eggs, or surrender to your sweet tooth and order the blackberry custard French toast (you know you want it)!
It’s official: your tank is on full and you’re ready for adventure, so rev up your proverbial engine with a Red Jeep Tour of Indian Canyons. This place rocks (literally) with formations and flora arranged to dazzle. Hike (or ride) your way to legacy!
On the topic of legacy, book a post-tour trip to Las Casuelas, one of the oldest operating restaurants in Palm Springs. They have been harvesting hominess since 1958 and they’re serving up six decades of heritage to their grateful guests on the daily.
Retreat to your resort pool for the afternoon and keep the kids cool… ok, enough family time – it’s happy hour! Celebrate at Trio, the brightly hued party palace that’s stocked with signature cocktails that are a who’s-who of who’s thirsty? After polishing off a Spatini and/or Forever Marilyn, book a dinner table and thrill to the meat-and-potatoes majesty of a local favorite, Trio’s Yankee Pot Roast.
But everyone has a different definition of home. Perhaps you prefer the Wiener Schnitzel at Johannes, the legendary chef’s answer to steak and potatoes. Or the culinary comforts of Central Europe, as re-imagined at the upscale/down-home enclave of Miro’s.
No matter where you hang your hungry hat, you’ll be sure to enjoy a succulent Saturday night in Palm Springs. And after a serene vacation slumber, rise and shine for even more delectable options. Crack into the sweet and savory menu listings at Broken Yolk Café, then enjoy a morning of leisurely window-watching at the Vineyard Shopping Center just across the street.
As you pack up and prepare to leave town, fuel your waking dreamscape with a final stop at King’s Highway Diner. From the outside, it’s a triumph of midcentury architectural flair. Once inside, you’ll indulge in local fare like their Twin Palms Wagyu Burger, washed down with a rich, refreshing Date Shake made with fresh Medjool fruit and swirled into vanilla bean ice cream. If you’re fortunate enough to stay until Monday, book a room at the adjacent Ace Hotel & Swim Club and enjoy bingo and trivia under the very same roof.
But alas, it looks as though we have broken our 48-hour promise and overstayed by a day. Oh well, Palm Springs is synonymous with expanding your horizons, expelling your inhibitions, and succumbing to luxury. The concept of home transcends the weekend calendar; once you’re here, we never want to go.