Palm Springs Weekend Guide: Bask in Hot Weather and Retro Hollywood Cool
Sheltered between 4 mountain ranges, Palm Springs, California,
is the perfect place to play outdoors when your hometown's chilly
weather has you down. It's also a must-visit for cinephiles, history
buffs, architecture enthusiasts, those with an appetite for tasty treats
and, quite simply, people who want to sit out by the pool and do
Where to Stay
Movie Colony Hotel
It's all retro glam at the 16-room high-end Movie Colony Hotel. Though
it was designed in 1935 by architect Albert Frey -- the guy responsible
for Palm Spring's "desert modernism" architecture movement -- the Movie
Colony is up-to-date when it comes to modern luxury. The rooms feature
400-thread count sheets on your pillow-top bed and free Wi-Fi to keep
you connected. If you're looking to really make it a
luxury-home-away-from-home experience, book 1 of the 3 townhouses, step
through your French doors out to the shared pool, and wait for your Dean
Martini to arrive from the hotel bar.
The Willows Historic Palm Springs Inn
With just 8 rooms, guests never have to compete for attention from the
staff. The Willows easily ranks as one of the most romantic properties
in Palm Springs. No 2 rooms are alike; request The Loft for French
limestone, a claw-foot tub, and a window view out onto a waterfall or,
for bookish types with a thing for the history of the cinema, pick the
mahogany-decorated Library Room, where Clark Gable and Carole Lombard
Ace Hotel & Swim Club
The Ace fits all kinds of travelers' bills. Hipsters love it, and folks
with kids in tow are welcome. Rover wants to go, too? Book one of the
dog-friendly rooms. Housed in a former Howard Johnson's -- which
automatically amps up the hotel's hipster cred -- the Ace is also home
to King's Highway Restaurant, which serves up (mostly) local, organic fare and one of our favorites, Stumptown Coffee.
Where to Eat
Even if the food were so-so, this breakfast and brunch spot would get
points for its name and, well, its cheeky little monkey logo. But the
food is far from mediocre. With a focus on locally grown food -- organic
when possible -- the Cheeky's menu changes weekly. A recent menu
offered gluten-free corn fritters with a sweet chili, bacon and arugula
salad; a yam sandwich with cilantro, red onion, feta, and tomato; and
poached wild steelhead trout over cold soba noodles. Bonus points to
Cheeky's for serving from-the-tap Thomas Kemper root beer. Want an adult
beverage? Choose from wine, bubbly or beer.
Copley's Palm Springs
There's no monkey business, arsenic, or old lace here. Though Copley's
is housed at Cary Grant's former home (and quite a romantic place it
is), the kitchen doesn't rely on the former handsome homeowner to pull
in guests. Chef Andrew Manion Copley's got the magic touch when it comes
to the culinary arts. A modern international steakhouse of sorts,
Copley pulls flavor inspiration from around the world, with a menu heavy
on seafood and meat. Don't miss his Hawaiian ahi tacos. Tasty. If you
love what the chef serves, consider one of the restaurant's daytime or
happy-hour cooking classes.
The Cowboy Way
Well it is the Wild West! The Cowboy Way's menu may be limited, but
that doesn't make it any easier to choose your chow at this tiny
counter-only spot. Will it be the tri-tip steak? A full slab of ribs?
Chili? Return daily. Try them all.
What to See & Do
Palm Springs Follies
Vegas showgirls? They've got nothing on the "Long-Legged Lovelies" and
"Follies Gentlemen" who set the stage a-blazing at the Palm Springs
Follies. The Follies performers range in age from 56 to 86. Whether you
were alive to see the 1940s, '50s and '60s-style entertainment they
showcase at the Follies or it's your first time getting a good look-see
at such a show, you'll be back for more next year. Vegas schmegas.
Head for a Hike
Thanks to the area's high temps, it's essential to pack extra water and
let somebody know where you're going when you head out to hike the
trails near Palm Springs. If you take the necessary precautions, Palm
Springs and the Coachella Valley serve up some of the finest desert
hiking in the US. Work a local legend into your hike by taking the Bob Hope House Overlook Loop. Kick-start a hike through Mt. San Jacinto State Park by taking the Palm Springs Aerial Tram for a ride.
Scoot Palm Springs
You could rent bicycles and pedal your way around Palm Springs, but
that takes so much energy. Why not rent a scooter instead? Scoot Palm
Springs rents so-cool Buddy scooters. After handing you your helmet, the
owners will even help you figure out the best places to scoot off to
Take in a Flick
Though the Palm Springs International Film Festival
is the town's premiere movie must, it's not the only Silver Screen
event around. The Palm Springs International Film Society also hosts Shortfest and, on Thursdays throughout the summer, the Palm Springs Art Museum offers free weekly film screenings. In March, the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum hosts the annual Festival of Native Film & Culture.
Palm Canyon Theatre
Palm Springs' only equity theater entertains the town (and its
visitors) from October through mid-July. If you're a fan of classic
musicals, the Palm Canyon is your venue. Other Palm Canyon Drive theater happenings are offered at the Annenberg Theater.
Morongo Casino Resort & Spa
Yes, Englebert Humperdink has been on the Morongo's show schedule. But
Bill Maher and Melissa Etheridge are also headlining there (separately).
Add in 150,000 square feet of gaming space, and you've got yourself a
night out. Morongo is 20 minutes outside of town; if you would rather
stay in downtown Palm Springs, head to the nearby slots at the Spa Resort Casino.
Travel Channel Insider's Tip: Before there were Hollywood stars or trams, Palm Springs was home to the Cahuilla Indians. Get grounded in the area's history and real culture with a visit to the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum.
Palm Springs Weekend Guide