Only two hours from Los Angeles, Palm Springs has been the go-to weekend getaway destination for Angelenos for almost 100 years. Filled with luxury resorts, championship golf and fine dining, it’s a great place for a weekend getaway. Here are my five key tips to have the perfect one:
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Where to stay
There’s only one five-star luxury resort in the Coachella Valley and it’s the Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage. Perched on a mountain overlooking Palm Springs and the entire valley beyond, the resort has all the elements for a perfect luxury getaway. There’s an amazing spa, beautiful accommodations, great on-site dining, a huge pool terrace and of course, Ritz-Carlton service. The hotel’s State Fare restaurant and Edge Steakhouse are both wonderful dining options and are often filled with locals as well as hotel guests. There are 20 miles of hiking trails that start from the resort.
What to do
Downtown Palm Springs is a great place to stroll and shop. For a more upscale experience, head out to El Paseo in Palm Desert for the area’s own version of Rodeo Drive. Golf is king in the desert and the area is home to over 100 world-class golf courses. My favorite is the Celebrity Course at the Indian Wells Resort. A challenging course with beautiful desert views and staff that really care about you having a great day on the links.
Any visit to Palm Springs needs to include a trip into the mountains on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. This tramway, with gondolas suspended from giant wires like a ski lift, whisks visitors from the desert floor to an elevation of 8,500 feet in twelve and a half minutes. You go from a sandy desert to a forest wonderland, complete with giant evergreen trees and snow for most of the year.
Although small, the Palm Springs Art Museum has quite an amazing collection, thanks to its benefactors, the city’s rich residents. The museum is especially strong for 20th century works and works from West Coast artists.
Where to eat
Follow the locals to the city’s best French cafe, L’Atelier Cafe, in the La Plaza shopping center across from the Hard Rock Hotel. Run by Raphael and Charlotte, a husband and wife team from France, be sure to call ahead as they take freqent trips to France and close for a week or two while they do. The food is fresh, locally sourced and always delicious.
For some seriously old-school Mexican food, head over to Las Casuelas Terrazo on Palm Canyon Drive. Making diners happy since 1958, the restaurant has some great outdoor patios and live music most of the time.
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