Live from Palm Springs
I'm here! In my happy place: Palm Springs, California.
I love Palm Springs because it's bright and sunny, warm and happy. I love the mid-century modern art, architecture and design that saturates it.
I love that the mountain range is in sight at all times, and that every house has a swanky pool. I love the retro optimism. Most of all, I love that I can wear all the bright-colored summery clothes that it's too chilly to wear in San Francisco.
But really, one of the best things about vacationing here is that there's not much to DO. The desert energy is grounding so we just relax. There's very little culture (my apologies to the Palm Springs Art Museum and the McCallum Theatre.)
With nothing that we must do, there's no pressure to be out soaking up anything but the warm sun. And with a pool at the house there's no need to entertain the kids. When you're seven the very definition of happiness is playing in the pool with your friends all day, breaking only for watermelon and ice cream.
Meanwhile, the adults are reading books, listening to Frank Sinatra, grilling steaks, and sipping fruity cocktails poolside. It's the perfect formula for unwinding (and a lot of laughs.)But of course, part of the fun is tooling around town. When we do drag ourselves away from the pool, here are some of my favorite things to do, see, eat, and drink. I thought you might like them, too.
Grab a spicy jalapeno margarita on the patio at El Mirasol in the Los Arboles Hotel off Indian Canyon Drive. They have great guacamole, too. Very casual and you can bring your dog.
Put on a pretty dress and go to the Parker Palm Springs hotel, interior design by Jonathan Adler. You can walk the gorgeous grounds sipping a glass of wine or take in the ultra hip lobby.
Tropicale is a fun bar scene, inside or out. Go at dusk for the best effect.
When you arrive in Palm Springs and realize you packed all wrong, head over to Trina Turk's flagship boutique on N. Palm Canyon Drive and ask for Maria. Trina's bright, happy clothes were made for Palm Springs and you'll suddenly feel like you fit right in wearing one of her pieces. There's a Trina Turk home decor store and a Mr. Turk right there, too, in case you want to snazzy up your abode, or your man.
Now that you've got a bright, breezy dress, walk a few blocks north to Dazzles for affordable vintage jewelry. Set back off the street it's easy to miss, but don't. 1035 N. Palm Canyon Drive is your place for the perfect bakelite and other baubles. I have found some of my very favorite pieces here that I can wear even when I'm back home living in reality. It's fun to peruse, and the friendly owner has a story on almost everything.
Tired from all the shopping? My two favorite coffee shops are within walking distance. Ernest Coffee serves Stumptown in a sleek industrial setting, and Koffi offers a lively backyard commons where you can rest and people-watch while you recharge.
If you're looking for a hotel, two of my favorites are the Avalon (formerly the Viceroy) and the Del Marcos. There are fantastic hotels in every price range in Palm Springs. I like the low-slung vibe of quieter boutique hotels, but there are lots of resorts here, too.
Of course, the Ace Hotel is a favorite with the L.A. hipster crowd. It's fun to sit by their pool, play ping pong and have one of their delicious kale salads. (Yes, I even eat kale while I'm on vacation.)
Speaking of healthy goodness, there's a free yoga class in the outdoor sculpture garden of the Palm Springs Art Museum every Wednesday morning from 9:00 - 10:00. But pay attention: It's on the Palm Desert campus of the museum, so leave yourself plenty of time to drive to this gorgeous setting. Afterwards you can walk over to the farmer's market for fresh delicious produce, baked goods, flowers and other treats.
Still have energy for more? There are countless hikes you can take into the mountains, and one of my favorites is the Palm Springs Museum Trail back behind the Palm Springs Art Museum. It's steep so you get a great workout, and you'll be quickly rewarded with breathtaking views of the Coachella Valley. It's only two miles, but for God's sake bring water and plenty of it. This is the desert, people!
No list of Palm Springs favorites would be complete without Cheeky's, the best breakfast in the desert. With fresh juices, a bacon flight, and an outdoor patio, it's worth the wait. And you will wait, unless you get there before they open at 8:00.
For lunch, LuLu is fun and vibrant, but I'm a more of a diner girl myself, so I never miss a visit to Sherman's Deli and Bakery. They have coconut cake there, each piece as big as your head. (Hey, I had my kale salad, did yoga and went on a hike. Leave me alone.)
For dinner the choices are endless. Palm Springs isn't really a foodie town, so new addition Serious Food and Drink was a pleasant surprise. With comfort food reimagined, a full bar, and attentive service you'll love it. The owner is really nice and used to chef for President Gerald Ford (remember him?)
Eight4Nine is a swanky delight for dinner (or lunch.) The hot pink-and-white decor puts me in a good mood and screams, "I'm out having fun!"
If you can't make it to PS this year, don't fret. Put on a Frank Sinatra playlist and make yourself a yummy cocktail. Our friends Jay and Craig taught us a new one this week:
Over a glass of ice pour 1/2 shot vodka + 1/2 shot tequila + mango juice. Garnish with an orange slice. Put on your sunglasses. Smile.