Last weekend I took a trip with two of my law school friends, Nemo and Victoria, to Palm Springs. Victoria invited the two of us to do something for Memorial Day, and together we all settled on Palm Springs! None of us had been before, but it turned out to be so charming and dreamy, we can't wait to go back--after the summer when the weather cools down.
At first, I wasn't going to write about this getaway on my blog, since it didn't involve Grace, Casper, or camping. But then I realized: Palm Springs is an iconic Southern California destination, and I did take a road trip there. So with that in mind, here are a few of my first impressions of Palm Springs!
1. Everyone who goes there seems to agree that it is an incredibly relaxing place, and it's because the pace of life is s l o w.
After having heard so much about Palm Springs, I expected it to be packed for a holiday weekend. The funny thing is, according to our Uber drivers, it WAS packed. But to us LA, San Diego, and San Francisco-living gals, it seemed like a secret that only a handful of people had discovered. We didn't make any reservations ahead of time, and despite that we were able to walk into every restaurant, pool party, bar, and ice cream shop we wanted without a wait (except for Cheeky's, which apparently always has a wait, but was SO worth it).
We sometimes drove my car and sometimes took Uber, and it was never difficult to snag a parking spot or an Uber/Lyft driver. When we went to a pool party at the Saguaro (more on that below), the pool was surrounded by people in artful bathing suits and enthusiastic bachelorette parties . . . but it was nothing like a Vegas pool party where you're touching all of the other people in the pool. We even had room to actually swim and tread water.
I just could not get over how wonderful it was to go to a "destination" locale with every type of trendy restaurant, pool scene, bar, you name it, but where there were no crowds, traffic, or waiting in line. Heavenly.
In addition to the pace being slower, time seems to slow down even further because of all the mid-century architecture and Flintstones/Land Before Time landscape. You almost forget the decade you're in, because everything (both new and old) is made to look super retro in palm springs.
2. The town is built around the heat
It was hot over the weekend, ranging from in the 80s on Friday when we arrived to 107 at the highest on Sunday. Though it's of course cooler in the winter, the whole town is built around the fact that it's in the middle of the desert. There is mist and AC everywhere, pool culture rules everything, and shade is built-in for parking spots.
The Airbnb where we stayed had its own pool, which we used every day, and we spent Saturday lounging at the Saguaro's pool, jumping in and out of the water about every 20 minutes to keep cool. We also checked out the Ace's pool on Sunday evening, which looked awesome (but we didn't swim; we were just there for a drink). I loved the pool culture vibe because again, it was so relaxing.
3. Everyone in Palm Springs seems to be celebrating something or in a vacation state of mind
When the three of us would hop in an Uber or sit down at a bar, we got asked multiple times which one of us were getting married. It is a HUGE bachelorette party town, and at one bar, we counted five separate groups celebrating brides-to-be. Something I didn't expect is that it is also a very gay-friendly town, and there were several groups of guys doing getaways or celebrating with some pre-Pride month festivities. Our group was a mini law school reunion, and I also ran into my friend who lives in LA who was on a romantic getaway weekend with her boyfriend. I also spotted several family vacations, some even from other countries. It was really sweet to see so many different types of people in such a celebratory, vacation-state-of-mind mood.
4. Everything in Palm Springs seems to have a very strong aesthetic, and the town is made for photographers and Instagram
I expected this going in because I had seen so many photos of Palm Springs on Instagram and blogs, but it is a colorful, palm tree-filled, whimsical place and it is really fun to photograph. Some of my favorite photo-worthy places were the Saguaro (all of the rooms in the hotel make up a rainbow of colors), the Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired Mirror House, the Instagram-famous pink door that is a private residence (there was no one else there when we pulled up) and has its own hashtag with thousands of photos, the Moorten Botanical Garden, and the Parker hotel (photos of each of them below).
5. Overall, for me, Palm Springs is the opposite type of oasis from Vegas
Though I don't hate Las Vegas, it is just not really my style. I would totally go back for the right event, but it's not my first choice for a getaway. That said, I do love the concept of an oasis in the desert--and Palm Springs is everything that I want out of an oasis. It's not about clubbing, gambling, and excess, but a simple lifestyle, spas, hot days and balmy nights, celebration, and relaxation. I am head over heels for it, and I can't wait to go back after the summer heat fades! Grace and Casper will definitely be in tow next time.