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What's the big deal with Palm Springs?

By Anna Sarjeant ​- House of Travel

Wh​ere'​s Palm Springs and why should we go?

It’s the lush desert city with a vintage feel. It’s part modern, part masterpiece; a city that sits in ​southern California and encapsulates both the golden age of Hollywood and a 2017 resort town vibe. If you’re a fan of glamour – and the good life - you don’t want to miss Palm Springs.

Here’s why.

1. It’s hot                                     
You’re in the desert now people. And the temperatures here are as hot as the good looking Cali folk that grace the boardwalks. With an average 360 days of sunshine per year (we truly are sorry if you pick the five days it pours), it might not be as celeb-packed as LA, or as glitzy as Las Vegas, but come winter, it’s more reliably warm than both. Hallelujah.  


2. There’s a small town feeling
The merits of which are hard to describe, but it’s unbelievably feel-good. In Palm Springs, every day feels like a lazy Sunday morning. Where you’re encouraged to spend long laborious hours reading the newspaper over a pot of strong coffee, and the scent of sugary pancakes is always wafting heavily in the air. Potter in and out of unique boutiques and meander along the boardwalk; stop for a pretzel and watch the world go by. It’s like time doesn’t even exist here.

3. They know how to throw a great Thursday
They have a motto in Palm Springs and it goes like this:

“Thursday is the new Friday.”

And with good reason too: VillageFest.

Villagfest is a weekly Palm Springs’ street fair held, yes you’ve guessed it, every Thursday - in the downtown region of the desert city. Playing host to over 200 vendors from 6pm -10pm, come rain or shine (rain? Yeah right), it’s the hottest place to spend your Thursday eve. Occupying three blocks of Palm Canyon Drive, you’ll find food, fancies and live entertainment. The drummers drum and the guitarists strum, while the handmade pizzas fill the air with doughy-smelling goodness and all the local watering holes offer the very best in happy hour prices. See, Thursday really is where it’s at.  

Palm Springs Resort

4. The Long Valley Loop trail is unmissable
Following on from the above, may we suggest a hike?

No, we’re not crazy. The Long Valley Loop trail enjoys an elevation of approximately 2595 metres, which means, the temperature drops quite significantly when you’re up there. The optimum heat for a four mile hike (that’s 6.4km - but come on, get down with local lingo). Fingers on your shutter buttons, the views are profound: subalpine forest comprised mostly of beautiful Jeffrey pines and disturbed only by dust tracks and granite boulders, it’s nature at its most dashing. Expect mostly level trails and a few short climbs – tittering on strenuous, and bear in mind you’ll have to stop at the ranger station and fill out a wilderness permit. And purchasing a trail map from the gift store (at the mountain station) wouldn’t go amiss.

Hang on, what mountain station? Ah, well that brings us nicely to point number 5…

Palm Springs Park


5. It’s home to the world’s largest rotating tramcar
And that’s how you’re getting to the mountain station – and the start of the Long Valley Loop Trail.

A ten minute, 2.5 mile ride from Valley Station to Mountain Station, the Palm Springs Tramway provides sweeping views across Chino Canyon and the stunning valley floor a whopping 2595 metres below. The beauty of these flying trams is that they also rotate, resulting in breath-taking views from whatever vantage point you find yourself standing. Once you alight you’ll be in Mt. San Jacinto State Park, complete with two restaurants, various observation points and a natural history museum. Not forgetting the gateway to the Long Valley Loop Trail, as well as a further 80km of hiking trails. 

palm Springs Rotating Tram

6. It’s way cooler than, well, anywhere
Apologies to the rest of the world, but nowhere does California-cool like the Californians. And chilled city life doesn't get cooler than Palm Springs. With the wide boulevards, palm sprinkled walkways and a backdrop of clear blue skies, even Starbucks looks steazy on the strip.

Feel the vibes by making a beeline for Deja Vu Vintage Finery on Palm Canyon Drive. A throwback to vintage fashions from the 50s-80s, go rummaging in one of these racks and you might just wake up in the 1970s. At the very least you’ll find kooky sport coats and glamorous cocktail dresses. The locals love a good weekend riffle - and we’re 100% sure you will too. 

Palm Springs Swimming

7. Pool parties. Lots and lots of pool parties
As synonymous with Palm Springs as Elvis is to Vegas, nowhere puts on a pool party like the good folk of Palms.

A winning combination of pools, DJs and a steady flow of margaritas, you might choose to rage the night away with another 1500 revellers; beer pong and hot tubs all come as standard, or you might choose the more subdued approach of sitting in an inflatable donut and watching a Hollywood film from the water. Either way, you’re guaranteed three things: good vibes, a San Jacinto mountain backdrop and a jolly good time.

pool party palm springs

8. There are therapeutic mineral waters everywhere
More so in Desert Hot Springs, which is just a 20-minute drive from Palm Springs. Here you’ll discover no end of healing waters. So much so, it’s often referred to as ‘California’s Spa City’. Stretch out by the pool and have a pedicure, or wrap yourself in therapeutic mud and chill out until your skin resembles that of a 20-year younger self. From salt scrubs to spice massages, DHS boasts enough spa resorts to leave your skin silkier than just polished brass. Like a giant, therapeutic tap, with both hot and cold water sourced directly from the earth, this is as pure as it gets; you’ll leave thoroughly cleansed, both inside and out. 

9. Shopping at the Uptown Design District is awesome
Because, when the golden age of Hollywood meets upmarket store vendors, something called the Uptown Design District is forged. A mesmerising collection of independent boutiques, this glorious Palm Springs’ shopping strip is an eclectic fusion of old school glamour and upmarket designer wear – desert designer wear. From eccentric vintage furniture to fashions that are fit for a desert festival (and yes we’re referring to Coachella), it’s just as fun to window shop, as it is to reach for your platinum credit card. 

palm springs boutiques

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