This past January I had the opportunity to fly to Palm Springs, CA and attend the blogging conference Alt Summit to work on their social team. I went to Palm Springs two days before the conference to explore and I absolutely fell in love with the city. The people are all so warm and friendly and give off a relaxed, party vibe. As I remarked in one of my Instagram posts, Palm Springs is like the Charleston of the West Coast. The sky is the bluest shade, the sun is always shining, and bougainvillea are blooming on every corner. To say I fell in love with this desert town would be an understatement! Since I did so much research for my trip I wanted to share all of my favorite spots and tips with you! And if you’re headed to Palm Springs for a bachelorette party I’ve got everything you need to pack – right here!Palm Springs is absolutely gorgeous with amazing mid-century architecture and pristine gardens. I got the chance to take a home tour with Lowe’s and highly recommend booking a tour so that you can peek into the interiors of these homes. Palm Springs is also known for unique and colorful front doors. (similar to Charleston!) Arguably the most famous front door in California #ThatPinkDoor is located on East Sierra Way. I have heard that you can no longer take photos of it but a slow drive by is worth it to see the Mid-Century architecture and huge palm trees. Right next to the pink door are the party lions. The homeowner accessorizes the lions with different pool floats on a weekly basis! Most of the unique doors in Palm Springs are located around the Canyon Country Club area. The homes in this neighborhood are all gorgeous and feature unique mailboxes and desert gardens. I downloaded the Salty Canary’s door tour for my trip and I highly recommend it.The Moorten Botanical Garden was one of my favorite attractions in Palm Springs. Had I not seen photos on Instagram I never would have noticed this little space. For only $5 you can tour this unique cactarium with over 3,000 examples of desert cacti. While this sounds like a nerdy activity I promise you it is far from that. Palm Springs really has a unique landscape and this is a fascinating example of it. Their greenhouse is also a great spot for photos. I went really early in the morning and had the space to myself!Other fun spots to visit in Palm Springs are City Hall, Palm Springs Women’s Club, vintage shops, and the wind turbines. I also took an evening trip up the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway and highly recommend it. This is the worlds largest rotating tram car and it takes you up the side of the Chino Canyon. Riding the tram so close to the cliffs was like experiencing a roller coaster, not to mention the views and surprise snow at the top were fun!Before going to Palm Springs I had read a lot about the great dining scene. Maybe it’s because I am spoiled with great restaurants in Charleston but I wasn’t very impressed with the restaurants in Palm Springs. I went off a lot of recommendations that I found on Yelp and other blogs to find some budget friendly and high end spots. Although many of my meals were misses I did enjoy a few spots. I really enjoyed my dinner at Rooster and the Pig. This is a Vietnamese fusion restaurant and the menu was very eclectic. I recommend going early as we waited two hours for a table. I also really enjoyed grabbing dessert at Great Shakes and coffee from Koffi coffee. I went to Koffi every morning for breakfast and their poppy seed muffins are the best I have ever had! Plus their downtown location has a beautiful back garden that you can sit in.Tips:
While Palm Springs is very walkable I highly recommend renting a car if you want to explore more. Palm Springs is one of the easiest cities to navigate and parking is free everywhere. I am pretty directionally challenged and knew my way around the city in only two days and never had trouble finding a great parking spot.
Research your accommodations throughly before booking. I stayed at two different hotels during my trip and I wasn’t completely happy with either of them. The hotels in Palm Springs come at a premium yet many of the actual rooms are run down and very basic.
Wake up early for great photos. Because of the way the sun rises over the mountains the light gets sharp and casts large shadows quickly. Some of my favorite photos were captured right at sunrise.
All photos copyright of Gillian Ellis Photography. Please do not share without permission.