Credit: Jenni-Kate Rogers of Raven and the Willow

A Desert Dweller’s Guide to 24 Hours in Downtown Palm Springs

Where to Stay, What to Do and How to Dine Like a Local in This Glam Desert Town

Few would disagree that Palm Springs is the ideal getaway, which is why A-listers, celebrities, art lovers, outdoor enthusiasts and past presidents have chosen this oasis escape for decades. The sun is always shining, the pools are perfectly chilled, and there are always new things to see and explore. This desert city is set against the backdrop of majestic mountains and blue skies with a booming culinary scene, thought-provoking art and an unrivaled retro vibe. Twenty-four hours in Palm Springs is hardly enough time to experience all of its charm, but we’ve rounded up the best experiences for a glorious day in this nostalgic city! 

 

STAY

Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs

Downtown Palm Springs Guide
Credit: Laure Joliet

We wouldn’t blame you if you spent your entire Palm Springs getaway lounging on a sun bed by the only rooftop pool in the Coachella Valley. Situated atop the swanky Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs, this freshwater pool shares an open-air space with a leisurely cocktail bar and seasonally-inspired restaurant, 4 Saints. Beneath this sky-high lounge is a collection of 153 midcentury modern suites—each one adorned with blue-tiled headboards, intricate lighting fixtures, wraparound balconies and spa showers for a very chic finish. Throw in an Instagrammable lobby lounge, in-room spa services and stunning mountain views, and you’ll find us here all season long.

 

Casa Cody

Downtown Palm Springs Guide
Credit: Josh Cho Photography

Female-founded and the oldest operating hotel in Palm Springs, Casa Cody retains its boutique charm through organic modern glamour and local luxury without ever exuding pretension. Hidden behind a curtain of pink bougainvillea and native desert plants, each white-washed abode is adorned with Spanish revivalist decor. Parachute Home linens, vintage art and Zellige-tiled kitchenettes add an extra layer of posh to this Palm Springs hotel. Spanish-style doors lead right from their produce-rich mercantile to the Market Pool—the perfect spot to plop down underneath a scalloped umbrella and sip a housemade artisan latte. 

Local Insight: This natural oasis shares the same neighborhood as the Mojave Flea Trading Post and Palm Springs VillageFest

 

Margaritaville Resort Palm Springs

Credit: Margaritaville Resort Palm Springs

With two cool pools and the largest resort spa in town, this tropical retreat is sure to set your watch to island time. The lush and tropical vibes of Margaritaville Resort Palm Springs will make you feel like you’re lounging underneath the palms in the Riviera Maya. From the Paradise and Palm Suites to the elevated two-level Jimmy Buffet villa, each living quarter features island-inspired decor, cozy and contemporary furnishings and private balconies. Pick up a Pink Cadillac cocktail from the 5 o’Clock Somewhere Bar out on the pool deck and stretch out on a sun bed for a little sunshine therapy.

 

Life House Palm Springs

Credit: Life House

Drenched in sage green and burnt orange tones, it’s safe to say that the all-new Life House Palm Springs is a serene depiction of a Pinterest-worthy mood board. This hideaway in Palm Springs fits right into the neighborhood, with plenty of nearby art galleries, music venues and artisanal markets. The property fuses elements of Japanese and East Asian design, and the rooms feature tasteful touches like burlwood coffee tables, revival linens and botanical rain showers. Mīnerva’s Pool House is where you’ll get your daily dose of greens and grains. With a plant-forward menu, this day-to-night eatery sits adjacent to the retro pool deck, indoor apothecary and artfully curated botanical-themed clubhouse.

6/18

 

DINE + DRINK

Trio Restaurant

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Step through the doors of Trio, a Palm Springs staple housed inside the iconic 1953 Turonnet building in the Uptown Design District. This buzzy restaurant received a refresh earlier this year and now boasts an elevated look and feel and a menu that lets locally sourced ingredients shine. At Trio, the kitchen is where all the magic happens; diners can expect a medley of fresh dishes that rotate with the seasons. New spring arrivals include the pork belly crispy rice salad, heirloom tomatoes and burrata, roasted baby squash and basil pesto and zesty halibut ceviche. Pair your meal with a standout wine from their curated collection or sample from their imaginative cocktail menu, featuring favorites like the whiskey-forward Uptown Lemonade or gin-based Flower Sour with lavender-hibiscus syrup. 

Credit: Mollie Kimberling

Happy hour here is also a thing. It’s offered daily from 4-6 p.m. and on Tuesdays, all day, in the bar and on the patio, featuring $15 smashburgers. Wine connoisseurs should take full advantage of the restaurant’s Wine Wednesdays promo (25% off the entire wine list). Thursday is Pasta & Wine Night, which offers a sharable bowl of amazing, housemade pasta and a bottle of house-selected red or white wine. And to wrap up the weekend, carnivores will love the Prime Rib Night special on Sunday.

Local Insight: Bring your pup! Trio is dog-friendly and even donates to the Palm Springs Animal Shelter.

6/9 

 

Wilma & Frieda

Credit: George Duchannes

If there is one brunch spot you must check out, it’s Wilma & Frieda—it’s a local favorite and for good reason. They might just have the best homemade pop tarts you will ever eat! The ethos at Wilma & Frieda is guided by comfort food with a twist. Here, you’ll find grandmotherly recipes with a contemporary edge, like short rib eggs Benedict and the tarragon chicken salad sandwich. There’s a full bar ready to serve delicious libations, too—you can never go wrong with a Bloody Mary here! 

 

Clandestino

For a sophisticated and eclectic Mexican food experience, Clandestino does not disappoint. The owners, who are known restaurateurs in the area, call this Palm Springs restaurant “Tac/Quila’s moody sister.” True to its name, Clandestino is located in the heart of downtown with the grand San Jacinto Mountains in the background. The menu will take you on a trip south of the border, with gourmet tacos like the all-time favorite al pastor, as well as more elevated classics like cochinita pibil and cauliflower mole. Seafood is featured heavily on the menu—we recommend the crab enchiladas or any of the ceviches. The vibrant energy of the restaurant echoes throughout every detail—from the food and decor to the craft cocktails.

 

Boozehounds

Downtown Palm Springs Guide
Credit: Jenni-Kate Rogers of Raven and the Willow

Dog lovers rejoice! Boozehounds welcomes your four-legged and two-legged friends to come together for great food, boozy drinks and good times. This dog-friendly restaurant in Palm Springs has a special menu for pups, featuring dishes like salmon bowls and meatloaf. Inspired by seasonal ingredients and international cuisines, Boozehounds creates memorable flavors and shared plates that will have your tastebuds singing. As if made more for canines than humans, the venue is expansive—choose from the stylish dining room (for humans only), an open-air atrium or the cabana bar and patio.

 

Sandfish Sushi & Whiskey

Downtown Palm Springs Guide
Credit: Emma Black

The chic Sandfish Sushi & Whiskey showcases a blend of modern Scandinavian and Japanese flavors. Award-winning sushi chef Chef Engin Onural creates exceptional rolls and dishes while delivering an unforgettable dining experience. Some must-trys are the Venue Roll, made of tuna, salmon and tobiko, and the black mussels, which are steamed in an aromatic miso-sake broth. The Japanese whisky selection is also a stand-out feature here. We recommend gathering a group of friends so you can share a little bit of everything.

 

Truss & Twine

It’s best to go out in style, and Truss & Twine is the most stylish place to end your night.  This swanky spot celebrated cocktail classics from the Golden Age to the present day. You can sip on timeless favorites like old fashioneds, cosmos and gimlets. Relive your youth with a Long Island Ice Tea or a Surfer on Acid, or level up with a sophisticated glass of wine. Going through the menu at Truss & Twine promises a blast from the past.

 

Las Palmas Brewing

Downtown Palm Springs Guide
Credit: Rey Romero

If you’re in the mood for a laidback place to sip and relax, head to Las Palmas Brewing! This is the spot to catch a buzz, relax and be fully present, whether with friends or on your own. Las Palmas is a family-owned and operated brewery and wine bar, specializing in farmhouse ales, unfiltered IPAs and traditional European-style lagers. Their brews are seasonal, so the taps change on the reg. There’s no kitchen, but casual is key: you can bring your own food here.

 

SHOP

Mojave Flea Trading Post

Credit: Brandon Harmon

Mojave Flea Trading Post is a collection of goods from local merchants and makers displayed in a 10,000-square-foot experiential marketplace. Founder James Morelos opened his first pop-up at the Ace Hotel, which was so popular that he settled his first brick-and-mortar store in Palm Springs. Now, shoppers and browsers can view rotating art exhibits while perusing handmade dresses, artwork, accessories, home decor and more. Shoppers will find an array of beautiful goods that add a special touch to any home or make unique gifts for that special someone.

 

Thick as Thieves

To add authentic desert flair to your life, stop into Thick as Thieves, where you’ll find everything you need to feel cool in the desert heat. This little boutique is maxing out on desert-chic apparel from Western-style hats to vintage tees. We’re also obsessing over earthy scents like Kelly + Jones Mezcal Roja Eau De Parfum. This fragrance blends the redolent aroma of mezcal with arid blooms and warm minerals. This might be the coolest boutique in Palm Springs!

 

The Shops At Thirteen Forty-Five

Credit: Nathan Cox

You can’t shop in Palm Springs without stopping by The Shops At Thirteen Forty-Five. This pink midcentury modern-style building, designed by E. Stewart Williams, houses a collection of independent boutiques—fourteen to be exact. Here, you can pick up a new outfit to sip cocktails in by the pool or grab a few artisanal planters. Vintage Murano glass, apparel, handmade jewelry and midcentury modern furniture are just some of the pieces you’ll find as you meander through this swoon-worthy collective.

 

DO

Palm Springs Art Museum

Credit: Palm Springs Art Museum

Southern California is home to some of the most talented and provocative art. Downtown Palm Springs has many free outdoor art installations and murals to check out. But inside the Palm Springs Art Museum lives equally powerful and thought-provoking pieces. Meditations in Glass is an exhibition running through February 2025. It features glass pieces from the museum’s permanent collection, along with selections by contemporary artists. The works invite guests to contemplate and daydream as they view the collection. Each delicate piece transforms an everyday material into one of metaphor. 

Local Insight: The museum offers free admission for all visitors on Thursday nights from 5-8 p.m. 

 

Palm Springs VillageFest

Credit: Visit Palm Springs

The bustling Palm Springs VillageFest is held every Thursday in the heart of downtown Palm Springs. This pedestrian street fair is a diverse gathering of art, design, entertainment, local goods and more. Stroll down Palm Canyon Road from 6-10 p.m., and browse the best Coachella Valley has to offer. Along with the artisanal merchandise, you’ll find local fruits, veggies, flowers and food available for purchase. There’s something for everyone here—make sure you bring a tote to carry all your goods!

 

Reforma Palm Springs

Downtown Palm Springs Guide
Credit: Reforma

Reforma Palm Springs is a daytime restaurant that transforms into an after-hours nightclub full of dancing and live DJ entertainment. This hotspot is modeled after supper clubs where guests dine in a lavish setting, moving to and from the dance floor. Being one of Palm Springs’s most prominent venues, there’s plenty of space to groove all night. The state-of-the-art sound system and vibrant lighting keep the crowd in the mood and on their feet. For those looking for a more chill party feel, check out the private lounge and bar area.

 

The Movie Colony

Downtown Palm Springs Guide
Credit: Visit Greater Palm Springs

A self-guided tour through the famous Palm Springs neighborhood, The Movie Colony, will transport you back in time to an old-school glam era. Developed in the 1930s and 40s, this upscale area was home to some of the biggest stars of all time. These include everyone from Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe to Cary Grant. The exclusive and renowned neighborhood features a modern architectural style, drawing visitors from all over. Create your itinerary and check out the neighborhood’s celebrity homes, vintage hotels, intimate restaurants and green parks.

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Lauren McCarran is a freelance writer specializing in content creation for media outlets. Her work with numerous publications and brands has helped her develop a unique and engaging writing style. Lauren loves to keep a finger on the ever pulsating world of pop-culture while staying in the know of the latest trends and happenings.

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