Sleep, Eat, Play: Rediscovering Palm Springs

When I think about getting away for a short trip, plenty of areas around Southern California come to mind: San Diego, Santa Barbara, even Ojai.  Recently, I rediscovered another great Southern California location that’s just a short two hour drive away: Palm Springs.

I’ve been to Palm Springs before, but I always stayed in hotels away from the center of town and didn’t get a close up view of the quaint, artsy town that Palm Springs is.

So on a recent trip to Palm Springs, I really wanted to get acquainted with the city and make the most of my stay.  I wanted to play like the locals and, of course, find some of the best places to eat.  I was joined by my hardworking wife Nicole and also wanted our trip to be a relaxing one.

Arriving at the Hyatt Palm Springs.

Arriving at the Hyatt Palm Springs.

Here are some reflections on my stay with a focus on the hotel accommodations, the restaurants I visited, and some of the activities I took in.

Pictures do a good job with reviews but I’m also including a few videos in this one to help share the experience.  Enjoy!

Sleep: The Palm Springs Hyatt

Hyatt Palm Springs

On this trip, I made the Hyatt Palm Springs my base of operations.*  The hotel is right on North Palm Canyon drive which is the active and bustling main strip running through the town.  This made getting out and about very convenient; nearby shops and restaurants were just a stroll away and the Palm Springs Buzz, the free shuttle that makes a loop around the town, had a stop just outside the hotel door.

The Hyatt also had a great “bed and breakfast” deal which included breakfast for two in the hotel’s restaurant.  While I stressed over what to have for lunch and dinner, it was nice not having to worry about the first meal of the day.  I basically rolled out of bed, rode the elevator down, and enjoyed the made-to-order breakfast.  Highlights for me were the waffle and the blue crab omelette.

Breakfast at the Hyatt Palm Springs

During the middle of the day, Palm Springs gets kind of warm.  It is the desert after all!  So most of that time I spent lounging around the hotel pool.  Making a lazy, relaxing day of it was easy since there were attendants checking on guests around the pool and taking orders for drinks and meals.

In a state of total rest and relaxation, I didn’t move an inch for hours!  R&R was only disturbed for lunch, a hearty chicken club sandwich accompanied by a stack of crispy French fries.

Eat: Making the Most of Multiple Restaurants

For my re-acquaintance trip, which was just two days, I didn’t want to limit myself to having meals at just a few restaurants; I wanted to experience as many as possible.

To make the most of as many restaurants as I could, I planned a progressive dinner.  Each course of the meal would be from a different restaurant.

Once again, staying on the main strip was key because all of the restaurants I wanted to check out were a short walk away from the hotel and then a short walk from each other.

Here’s the progression we followed:

Without a doubt, each of these restaurants had their own style and contributed to the overall Palm Springs vibe: chic, historic, and classy all while being hip and laid back.

For more details on our Palm Springs progressive dinner, follow this link.

Play: Palm Springs Villagefest, Every Thursday Night

If you can, you must include a Thursday night in your trip to Palm Springs.

Palm Springs VillageFest

Every Thursday night, downtown Palm Springs holds an event called VillageFest.  Several blocks of the main strip are closed to traffic and turned into a street festival featuring arts, crafts, food, and entertainment.

(Here’s a link to the VillageFest website.  I’ll warn you that music might start playing when you click through.)

I would compare Palm Springs’ VillageFest to Hermosa Beach’s Fiesta Hermosa.  The biggest difference is Fiesta Hermosa only comes along twice a year; VillageFest is the main attraction in town every Thursday night!

Along with the action on the streets – artisans making jewelry by hand, vocalist crooning to the crowds, and street food vendors – many of the stores along North Palm Canyon Drive stay open late to entice shoppers in.  There’s also a farmer’s market with fresh fruits and vegetables.

Just strolling along and enjoying the festival environment was a lot of fun.   “Stroll” is a key word too.  As you might imagine, there were plenty of people out for the event and parking was at a premium.  Fortunately, the Hyatt is located at the intersection where the street closures begin.  We were able to walk right out of our front door to VillageFest.

To make the event even more fun, we started out with Happy Hour at HooDoo, the Hyatt’s patio restaurant located in front of the hotel.  The environment at HooDoo complemented the festive atmosphere with a lounge singer belting out standards and current hits.

HooDoo Patio Restaurant & Bar

After enjoying happy hour and VillageFest, we passed a lively bar on our stroll back to the hotel.  We stopped to listen for a minute and wound up singing karaoke with the locals for a couple hours.  It was a great way to round out the night, making us feel right at home in Palm Springs.

A “New” Destination for Southern California Road Trips

I can’t really call Palm Springs a “new” destination.  The Hollywood elite and others in the know have been making the trek for years to soak up the sun and fun in this vibrant desert community.

But now, instead of immediately jumping to the conclusion of heading to San Diego or Santa Barbara, Palm Springs will be high on my list of Southern California destinations for fun, rest, and relaxation.

Here are a couple more websites to help plan your trip to Palm Springs.  And when you get there, tell them South Bay Foodies sent you! 😀

* Some items mentioned in this article were provided on a complimentary basis for the purpose of this review. In particular, this includes accommodations at the Palm Springs Hyatt.  This story was accurate when it was published and reflects the uninfluenced opinion of the reviewer. 

Related Posts with Thumbnails

About the Author

Michael loves grilling, rum, and has a weakness for key lime pie.

Comments are closed.