Discover these uniquely Palm Springs block spots
By Kevin Perry
No matter which specific block you rock in downtown PS, you’ll be greeted by luxury and leisure. It’s only in Palm Springs, and it’s all for you!
Our fair city is simultaneously compact and sprawling. The desert rolls out its pristine welcome mat, the mountains usher you downtown, and Palm Spring distills your grandiose vacation dreams into a perfectly packaged sojourn.
Your downtime is valuable. Whether you’re here for an epic day trip or a party weekend supreme, we are built for maximum relaximum. You can experience a whirlwind of stay, play, and dine escapism without enduring lengthy travel times. Palm Springs is legendarily local and luxurious!
It’s rare for a bustling, vibrant downtown to close traffic and open its heart to a street fair… and yet it happens once a week in our singularly spectacular city. Palm Springs VillageFest gives vendors a chance to collaborate and thrill the local community. Artisans assemble to showcase their transcendent expressions to grateful attendees. And the food… oh, the food.
Pause for indulgence, pass the salt!
VillageFest welcomes over 180 local businesses and organizations to the corner of Tahquitz and South Palm Canyon every Thursday evening. Eat yourself silly or appreciate art seriously; either way, you’re living uniquely.
The 700 Club (700 North Palm Canyon Drive)
Midcentury browsing, upscale eats, and craft cocktails – this is living by design… Uptown Design! The northern outpost of Palm Canyon’s trendiest stretch of stores is a flashback to vintage serenity with an impossibly modern feel. The 700 North vicinity feels like it was laminated in time to present you with a uniquely NOW experience.
Just take it from Wil Stiles.
“Ten years ago we opened, probably around the same time as Trio opened. So we kinda stepped into this little neighborhood when this new, hot restaurant was opening and we were this new little clothing store and it was very symbiotic. Tony Marchese and Mark Van Laanen, like we had this whole thing where we energized each other, being entrepreneurial.”
Mr. Marchese concurs, reminiscing about the fledgling hotspot he grew from the ground up and flourished into the place Where Palm Springs Eats. “We weren’t the first ones in the Uptown Design District, but we were definitely the one that made the biggest splash in the neighborhood.”
It’s a ‘hood characterized by diversity of thought and uniformity of passion. From bespoke fashions to a bevy of beverages to Buttercup the porcelain bovine. “Her name is Buttercup because that’s a good Wisconsin cow name,” explains Mark Van Laanen, owner of On the Mark Fine Foods and Provisions. “So people go, ‘Why do you have a cow out front?’ and I say, ‘Well, I’m from Wisconsin; I gotta have a cow!’” Buttercup is a bellwether of Palm Springs. She symbolizes rich taste, quirky aesthetics, and a down-home camaraderie in Uptown. So, when you’re searching for the 700 North Palm Canyon block party, DO have a cow!
Keepin’ It 100 (100 South Palm Canyon Drive)
You’ll most definitely want a souvenir (or twelve) to commemorate your Palm Springs visit, so stroll the wares of La Plaza outdoor shopping emporium. Look both ways and meander to Mercado just across the street to keep the downtown love flowing. Collectibles, candy, and couture abound at this hopping intersection.
But before you shop until you drop, fuel up! Bill's Pizza and Kaiser Grille juxtapose the joyous dichotomies of Palm Springs: down-to-earth satisfaction with lofty flourishes. And once it’s wine-o-clock, conclude your day trip with an award-winning sip from Zin American Bistro.
Where else on the planet can you find such disparate and delicious options all populating one idyllic city block? Palm Springs embraces a wide array of tastes (and flavors), so let’s hug it up!
The Rule of 300 (300 East Arenas Road)
Speaking of inclusiveness, the Arenas District is the epicenter of gay life in Southern California. Nowhere else on earth concentrates so much LGBTQ fabulosity into one block. From the diverse bar scene to the scandalous shopping options to the indescribable vibe, this is a must-visit destination for travelers from across the globe.
Dean Lavine, Proud owner of Blackbook, home of tasty gourmet fare and even tastier clientele. “At Blackbook, everyone is welcome. On our logo, ‘Black’ is backwards. The idea is taking a blacklist and flipping it on its head.”
While Dean and Stacy bring refinement to the Arenas scene, new kid Scott Murchison sharpens its edgy side. Murchison opened the Eagle 501 bar to add some manly grit to the rainbow of Arenas love. “There are several bars that have go-go boys and several bars that have dance floors and there are several just neighborhood bars, but there were two businesses here on the street that didn’t really have anything to support them. That’s Rough Trade and Bear Wear, both of which are in the leather and Levi community. They didn’t really have a bar to help anchor and draw people to them.”
With this burly contingent firmly in place, the 300 East Arenas block is a nirvana of naughty fun. We dare you to find a gayer locale anywhere; Arenas is the pound for pound champ!