Palm Springs is truly an oasis in the desert! It is a super getaway for golfers, tennis players, those beating the cold and those just wanting a break from life. We often spend a few days in Palm Springs in the January/February time frame. It’s typically a refreshing 70-80 degrees and sunny, really taking the edge off of winter. The great thing is that Palm Springs is close enough to LAX that you can fly in, rent a car and head southeast to the Coachella Valley and, in a couple of short hours, you’re there. As you drive along Interstate 10, you see the humongous windmill farm spread out on both sides of the highway and know that you’re close. Take this short jog to R & R and a breather from the snow and cold back home.
3 Places to Go
Palm Springs Aerial Tram
The aerial tram in Chino Canyon, just north of Palm Springs, climbs 5,800 feet in just 12 minutes while slowly rotating 2 1/2 times. It was completed in 1963 after many years of planning and fundraising, primarily as a diversion to the heat of the desert sun. It serves as one of Palm Springs most popular attractions. Once on top, hiking, camping, nature walks and cross-country skiing are available, as well as a substantial lodge with a very nice restaurant called The Peaks, a cafe and a small bar. Large windows and an overlook provide you with fabulous views of Palm Springs and the Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains. I admit it, I don’t love heights, but this was worthy of the ride. You get an overview of the entire Palm Springs area and, if you go at night, the beautiful lights. Trams leave every 30 minutes. Open Mon-Fri 10:00-10:00, last tram up 8:00pm, last tram down 9:45pm, Sat, Sun and holidays 8:00-10:00. Adults – $24.95, Seniors – $22.95, Children 3-12 $16.95. Tickets can be purchased online or at the tram site. http://www.pstramway.com/
Palm Springs Air Museum
The Palm Springs Air Museum is home to over 20 WWII planes. Dedicated to restoration, preservation and operation, exhibits feature a Flying Fortress B-17 and P-51 Mustang. Visit the hangars, read about the planes, take pictures and learn the amazing stories about how the planes were used during wartime. Navigating the tight spaces of a B-17 bomber in the cockpit and the narrow walkway to the tail gunners spot gives you a glimpse as to what life was like for a crew during WWII. Open 10:0-5:00, $15.00 ages 18-65, $13.00 over 65, Address: 745 Gene Autry Trail, http://palmsprings.com/airmuseum
Every Thursday evening at 6:00pm, Palm Canyon Drive is turned into a pedestrian street where local vendors and artisans sell their wares in makeshift stalls. The festive atmosphere draws you in as you stroll up and down listening to bands while looking for that special something. The streets are lined with indoor/outdoor restaurants brimming with customers. Try Matchbox –155 S Palm Canyon Dr, for great food and great people watching. Thursday evenings, October-May 6:00-10:00, June – September 7:00-10:00, Palm Canyon Drive, http://www.visitpalmsprings.com/events
Cabazon Outlets and Desert Hills Premium Outlets
If you’re an outlet mall fan, this is some pretty great shopping! High end stores are a focus for many shoppers, also Brighton Collection has an outlet here, Tumi and many stores that you’ve probably never experienced.
3 Places to Eat
Wilma & Frieda’s – Breakfast
Wilma & Frieda’s is a tasty breakfast place with indoor/outdoor seating. Get ready for lots of tempting pastry, tantalizing omelets and scrumptious gourmet French toast and pancakes. Whether breakfast, lunch or dinner, this choice will make the foodie in you smile. The service is excellent and the location in the El Paseo Shops make this a must in Palm Desert, just east of Palm Springs. Open Sun-Wed, 8:00am-2:00pm, Thurs-Sat, 8:00-2:00 evening, 5:30-9:30
Babe’s – Lunch
If BBQ is your thing, Babe’s is a great idea. We especially like their lunch as sandwiches and burgers hit the spot with great side choices like coleslaw and baked beans. I love the BBQ salad, so yummy. The pie’ce de re’sistance is the warm fruit pies for two. The blackberry and the peach are both excellent choices. Be sure to order the pie when you are seated. They are first come, first serve and they frequently run out. Served hot, a la mode…wow! Dinner is tasty as well. We always share as portions are big. Open M-F 11:00-9:00. www.babesbbque.com/home.php
Fisherman’s Market and Grill – Dinner
The Fisherman’s Market and Grill is definitely one of my favorite places to eat in Palm Springs. There are two, but I recommend the one in Palm Springs on S. Indian Canyon Dr and Arenas. It looks like a fish market with daily specials written on a giant chalkboard. Order something at the counter, but be sure to include at least 6 jumbo shrimp. Yum! You serve yourself drinks and salad fixins, then wait a short time while the staff expertly prepares and serves fresh fish your way. Open 11:00am-9:00pm Mon-Sun, Early Bird specials from 3:00 -5:30 M-Thurs. 235 S. Indian Canyon Dr, Palm Springs
In a tiny shop on 160 S. Palm Springs Drive, you will find Great Shakes, a fabulous, old fashioned milk shake place. The salt and caramel sauce is extraordinary. Shakes are a bit on the expensive side, but oh so worth it! Addicting! Sit and enjoy in an old fashioned ice cream shoppe. Sooo good! Open 11:00-2:00 Sun – Fri
Sherman’s – a Kosher Deli with large portions, super service and the best macaroons ever!
Las Casuelas Terraza – delicious traditional Mexican recipes with a twist that have been handed down for four generations
Papa Dan’s Italian Pizzeria – flavorful Italian food with scrumptious pizza with a thoughtful atmosphere
1 Place to Stay
Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa – 71333 Dinah Shore Dr, Rancho Mirage Westin Desert Willow Villas – 75 Willow Ridge, Palm Desert
Staying in a resort area is part of a great experience in Palm Springs. Face it, you go to Palm Springs to relax, play, be pampered and rest. Resorts help you by providing awesome golf courses, swimming pools, spas, restaurants and a whole host of activities. We prefer the Westin offerings. Westin Mission Hills is in a great location, close to all the shopping and restaurants, galleries and theaters. The Westin Willow Resort is in Palm Desert. It’s brand new and very, very nice. We recommend Westin’s for the heavenly beds and comfortable spaces. The pool, jacuzzi, workout center and golf course dominated our time in Palm Springs. Whichever you choose, you are sure to relax and enjoy.
For a blast of calm and a slower pace, be sure to visit Palm Springs/Palm Desert. Ahh…