Getaways

Palm Springs Weekend Guide: Bask in Hot Weather and Retro Hollywood Cool

Filed Under: Restaurants, Weekend

Sheltered between 4 mountain ranges, Palm Springs, California, is the perfect place to play outdoors when your hometown's chilly weather has you down. It's also a must-visit for cinephiles, history buffs, architecture enthusiasts, those with an appetite for tasty treats and, quite simply, people who want to sit out by the pool and do nothing.


Where to Stay
Movie Colony Hotel
It's all retro glam at the 16-room high-end Movie Colony Hotel. Though it was designed in 1935 by architect Albert Frey -- the guy responsible for Palm Spring's "desert modernism" architecture movement -- the Movie Colony is up-to-date when it comes to modern luxury. The rooms feature 400-thread count sheets on your pillow-top bed and free Wi-Fi to keep you connected. If you're looking to really make it a luxury-home-away-from-home experience, book 1 of the 3 townhouses, step through your French doors out to the shared pool, and wait for your Dean Martini to arrive from the hotel bar.

The Willows Historic Palm Springs Inn
With just 8 rooms, guests never have to compete for attention from the staff. The Willows easily ranks as one of the most romantic properties in Palm Springs. No 2 rooms are alike; request The Loft for French limestone, a claw-foot tub, and a window view out onto a waterfall or, for bookish types with a thing for the history of the cinema, pick the mahogany-decorated Library Room, where Clark Gable and Carole Lombard honeymooned.

Ace Hotel & Swim Club
The Ace fits all kinds of travelers' bills. Hipsters love it, and folks with kids in tow are welcome. Rover wants to go, too? Book one of the dog-friendly rooms. Housed in a former Howard Johnson's -- which automatically amps up the hotel's hipster cred -- the Ace is also home to King's Highway Restaurant, which serves up (mostly) local, organic fare and one of our favorites, Stumptown Coffee.

Where to Eat
Cheeky's
Even if the food were so-so, this breakfast and brunch spot would get points for its name and, well, its cheeky little monkey logo. But the food is far from mediocre. With a focus on locally grown food -- organic when possible -- the Cheeky's menu changes weekly. A recent menu offered gluten-free corn fritters with a sweet chili, bacon and arugula salad; a yam sandwich with cilantro, red onion, feta, and tomato; and poached wild steelhead trout over cold soba noodles. Bonus points to Cheeky's for serving from-the-tap Thomas Kemper root beer. Want an adult beverage? Choose from wine, bubbly or beer.

Copley's Palm Springs
There's no monkey business, arsenic, or old lace here. Though Copley's is housed at Cary Grant's former home (and quite a romantic place it is), the kitchen doesn't rely on the former handsome homeowner to pull in guests. Chef Andrew Manion Copley's got the magic touch when it comes to the culinary arts. A modern international steakhouse of sorts, Copley pulls flavor inspiration from around the world, with a menu heavy on seafood and meat. Don't miss his Hawaiian ahi tacos. Tasty. If you love what the chef serves, consider one of the restaurant's daytime or happy-hour cooking classes.

The Cowboy Way
Well it is the Wild West! The Cowboy Way's menu may be limited, but that doesn't make it any easier to choose your chow at this tiny counter-only spot. Will it be the tri-tip steak? A full slab of ribs? Chili? Return daily. Try them all.

What to See & Do
Palm Springs Follies
Vegas showgirls? They've got nothing on the "Long-Legged Lovelies" and "Follies Gentlemen" who set the stage a-blazing at the Palm Springs Follies. The Follies performers range in age from 56 to 86. Whether you were alive to see the 1940s, '50s and '60s-style entertainment they showcase at the Follies or it's your first time getting a good look-see at such a show, you'll be back for more next year. Vegas schmegas.

Head for a Hike
Thanks to the area's high temps, it's essential to pack extra water and let somebody know where you're going when you head out to hike the trails near Palm Springs. If you take the necessary precautions, Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley serve up some of the finest desert hiking in the US. Work a local legend into your hike by taking the Bob Hope House Overlook Loop. Kick-start a hike through Mt. San Jacinto State Park by taking the Palm Springs Aerial Tram for a ride.

Scoot Palm Springs
You could rent bicycles and pedal your way around Palm Springs, but that takes so much energy. Why not rent a scooter instead? Scoot Palm Springs rents so-cool Buddy scooters. After handing you your helmet, the owners will even help you figure out the best places to scoot off to around town.

After Dark
Take in a Flick
Though the Palm Springs International Film Festival is the town's premiere movie must, it's not the only Silver Screen event around. The Palm Springs International Film Society also hosts Shortfest and, on Thursdays throughout the summer, the Palm Springs Art Museum offers free weekly film screenings. In March, the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum hosts the annual Festival of Native Film & Culture.

Palm Canyon Theatre
Palm Springs' only equity theater entertains the town (and its visitors) from October through mid-July. If you're a fan of classic musicals, the Palm Canyon is your venue. Other Palm Canyon Drive theater happenings are offered at the Annenberg Theater.

Morongo Casino Resort & Spa
Yes, Englebert Humperdink has been on the Morongo's show schedule. But Bill Maher and Melissa Etheridge are also headlining there (separately). Add in 150,000 square feet of gaming space, and you've got yourself a night out. Morongo is 20 minutes outside of town; if you would rather stay in downtown Palm Springs, head to the nearby slots at the Spa Resort Casino.

Travel Channel Insider's Tip: Before there were Hollywood stars or trams, Palm Springs was home to the Cahuilla Indians. Get grounded in the area's history and real culture with a visit to the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum.

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