My hubby and I decided to go to Palm Springs, California recently. It’s only a couple hours from where we live, and grandma wanted to babysit, so why not? Although this wasn’t my first trip to Palm Springs, it was great because I like to try something new each time I go, and I got to try a ton of new stuff this time around!
In case you don’t know, Palm Springs is in the middle of the desert, more specifically, the Coachella Valley. The closer you get, the more it feels like you’re in the middle of nowhere. You might think this doesn’t sound like a place that would offer great food or have a lot going on, but you would be wrong on both accounts. Palm Springs offers quiet getaways, a diverse food scene, and recreational activities for everyone.
There is an eclectic mix of people that visit this area. You have retirees and snowbirds that come for the weather, the hot springs, or to play golf. There’s the gamblers that come for the casinos, the military that visits from nearby Twentynine Palms, and hikers that come for Joshua Tree National Park. Then you have the tourists like me who come because it’s a fun staycation.
Heads up, folks. It is HOT there in the summer. The high for the day when I was there recently was 110 degrees. The good news is that it’s a dry heat. It doesn’t leave you feeling sweaty the minute you get out of the shower like a humid, east coast heat.
Depending on what you’re looking for in Palm Springs, there are a couple different areas to stay in. I’ve stayed in Downtown Palm Springs and I’ve stayed in a nearby town called, Rancho Mirage, which is about 20-30 minutes away from Downtown Palm Springs. Each location has its perks.
Downtown Palm Springs is where all the shops, restaurants, and bars are. It has everything from the Hard Rock Hotel, to mom-and-pop restaurants, to a fancy steak place, and everything in between. If you stay in Downtown Palm Springs, I highly recommend the Hyatt Palm Springs. They had live music in the evening, a nice outdoor seating area (pictured below), a pool, and good drinks and tacos at the bar! I received superb customer service the entire time I was there; they really make you feel like a valued guest. Plus, it’s within walking distance to all my favorite eats and drinks.
I’ve also stayed at a resort called Agua Caliente in Rancho Mirage. Rancho Mirage is further out and a little more isolated. It is where you’ll want to go to relax. Agua Caliente is amazing because it has everything you need without having to leave the resort: pool, casino, multiple restaurants, and multiple stores. It’s beautiful inside and out, and since it’s off the beaten track (about a 25-minute drive to downtown), you feel even more secluded. I had a delicious sandwich in their “Poker Deli”, and my mom and I had a wonderful meal at their dinner buffet. As you can see in the very first photo on top, the resort is all by itself out there.
The oddest food recommendation I am going to give you is going to be Ruben & Ozzy’s Oyster Bar and Grill. Yes, I did just recommend you eat seafood in the desert. I can’t explain it because it doesn’t make any sense, but both my mom and I had an AMAZING seafood pasta. Better than most restaurants that are NOT in the desert, and I know this because seafood pasta is like, my thing, and I order it everywhere I go.
Another weird suggestion is ordering the Lobster Pot Pie at Three Sixty North. The lobster pot pie was one of the best pot pies I’ve ever had (1st place going to a restaurant in Phoenix, Arizona). It wasn’t filled to the brim with lobster, but it had a perfect crust with perfectly cooked veggies in a wonderful sauce. I devoured it before the thought of a picture even crossed my mind! A bonus of this establishment – a member from the Temptations was singing there the night I was there!
If you are in the mood to partake in an adult beverage, you MUST stop by the Tonga Hut. This place is a Hawaiian-themed tiki bar from another generation. It has all the decorations you would expect from a place like that, but even better, amazing drinks. Their Mai Tai is not the overly sweet drink you’ve had in Hawaii – it’s the classic Trader Vic recipe from 1944. It’s different from what you would expect, but really good. However, if you’re only going to get one drink, it must be the Kraken the Dole Whip. This is seriously, one of the best drinks I’ve ever had. It has Kraken rum, vanilla rum, macadamia nut liqueur, coconut, and pineapple. It’s a little sweet, but not too sweet, a little nutty, and oh so good.
After you’ve had a night on the town, and are ready for some late night munchies, stop by Alicante, a Spanish/Mediterranean restaurant and bar. They offer tapas and small plates, and if you go, you must get the Alicante Sliders (pictured below). They are mini burger patties made with ground beef, chorizo, and bacon, then topped with manchego cheese and a romesco sauce served between two tiny buns that have been grilled to crispy perfection. There is absolutely no room for improvement with these sliders – ok maybe pickle slices….I love pickle on my burgers! You get two sliders for $6.00 – unless you and your husband eat the duo of sliders then decide you have to have two more, then they’re $12.00.
Well, those are my recommendations for the desert resort town of Palm Springs, California. Whether you go to Rancho Mirage for tranquility or check out all the amazing food and drinks in Downtown Palm Springs, you’re sure to enjoy yourself. My next trip will hopefully include a ride on the Palm Springs Aerial Tram that takes you up to elevation 8,516 feet, atop the Mt. San Jacinto State Park. Stay tuned…
If you’re planning a trip to Italy, make sure you check out my post called, A Foodie’s Trip to Italy. There, you will learn about all the great eats, drinks, and sites in a major foodie country.