Palm Springs has been a world-renowned resort destination and vacation spot where the theme has been golf, tennis, rest and relaxation. Beyond the obvious, days and evenings can be filled with extraordinary natural beauty from a hike in the Indian Canyons to the view of the valley from the top of the tram and a spectacular desert sunset.
Begin the day with a stop at Elmer’s Restaurant. The breakfast menu ranges from traditional dishes like oatmeal to more exotic dishes such as the Mediterranean omelet and smoked salmon Benedict. If you are in the mood for something sweet- try the German pancakes- a long time favorite of locals. Sometimes crowded, Elmer’s is well worth the wait.
Next, take South Palm Canyon about two miles south to the Aqua Caliente Indian Canyons. The Canyons, boast unusual rock formations, waterfalls, California fan palms and wildlife. Their beauty can be seen while hiking the trails, most of which follow running springs. Whether you hike on your own or take a ranger-guided tour, the beauty of this area and your imagination will take you back in time to when the Cahuilla Indians made this area their home.
After the Scenic Canyons, head five minutes east to the charming village of Palm Springs and the cities main street, Palm Canyon Drive. Park midway on the street and your walking experience will begin. Here you can find authentic examples of Spanish, Art Deco and mid-century architecture. A stop at the Village Green- a mini village in the heart of Palm Springs- has several historic buildings that can be toured October through May. In the same location is the McCallum Adobe; the first pioneer home built in Palm Springs and now the home to the History Museum.
While strolling down Palm Canyon stop by Ooh La La, an upscale women’s boutique with an array of smart yet affordable sportswear for a fun shopping experience. Then, step next door to Baby La La, a trendy and fashionable shop for the younger set, Shoe La La and yes, Puppy La La for canine attire and more. All the La La’s have a smart assortment of gifts and accessories. For a great experience in the world of hats, stop at the Mad Hatter…..for all ages and occasions -from jester to yachting- this store has the most impressive array.
Palm Springs weather will beckon you to lunch at one of the many beautiful sidewalk cafes. Tyler’s, located on Indian Canyon Blvd. is a small and trendy eatery specializing in incredible burgers. Try the mini version, called the Slider, the homemade soup, or the Somersizer- a bunless burger option- named for Suzanne Somers. Whatever your choice, the owner Diana will not disappoint; whipping up fresh and delicious recipes keep the waiting list full for lunch.
Afterward, head directly across the street to Imageville; a gallery of photographs capturing all the beauty and ambiance of the desert, where owner and photographer Gary Dorothy is often available to discuss his photos and desert life.
Next, head out of town, north five minutes to the world’s largest rotating tram cars- the Palm Springs Ariel Tramway. During the ten-minute exhilarating ride to the top of Mt. San Jacinto you will enjoy spectacular views of the desert. Once up top, you will immediately notice the drop in temperature, which can be as much as 40-degrees at the 8,500 foot elevation.
The Mt. San Jacinto State Park offers 54 miles of hiking trails; everything from a one-mile nature walk through Long Valley to a five and one-half-mile hike to the 10,804 foot peak.
If you feel like dining high in the sky check The Pines Café offering a cafeteria style menu or The Peaks which offers fine dining. Or head back into town to Fisherman’s Market and Grill for a relaxing dinner. Sit inside, with the casual ambiance or outside with the magnificent evening air and people watching. The extensive fresh fish and seafood menu give choices from albacore to ahi, fish and chips, salmon Caesar and much more.
Finally, for some lively music and dancing check out Las Casuelas, only a short walk from Fisherman’s, provides visitors and locals a memorable ending to a very perfect day.
What & Where:
Elmer’s Restaurant (1030 E. Palm Canyon Dr.;760-327-8419)
Indian Canyons (38520 S. Palm Canyon; 760-323-6018)
Village Green Heritage Center (221 S. Palm Canyon; 760-323-8297)
Oooh La La (275 S Palm Canyon Dr.; 760-318-7744)
Baby La La (275 S Palm Canyon Dr.; 760-318-7744)
Shoe La La (275 S Palm Canyon Dr; 760-318-7734)
Puppy La La (275 S Palm Canyon Dr.; 760-318-7744)
The Mad Hatter (155 S. Palm Canyon; 760-416-8588)
Tyler’s (149 S. Indian Canyon; 760-325-2990)
Imageville (128 La Plaza on Indian Canyon; 760-416-9825)
Penny Williams is a freelance travel and lifestyle writer and photographer living in Palm Springs. She has traveled to many cities and countries photographing people, places and things. Her favorite photos are the casual photos of children and landscapes. Her love of writing includes children’s stories as well as travel pieces.