When Joshua joked about how he thought it would be really cheap to go to the desert during the summer, next thing I knew we were planning a mini getaway to a part of California we hadn’t visited yet. Yes, 31 years in California and this was our very first trip to Palm Springs.
When we did our trip to Hawaii, we had a bucket list of things we wanted to do and see. With Palm Springs, it was merely “check out the Mid-century Modern neighborhoods” and that was it. However, as I started planning our trip next thing I knew we had an equally long list, most of which was based on recommendations from fellow bloggers.
Here’s a look at our little weekend in the desert back in September.
Day 1: Getting Settled at the Parker
Our trip actually started in San Diego. We had planned not only to go to Palm Springs but to stop in San Diego to visit my sister. We were going to do this at the end of our trip but ended up doing it first because I flew down south after work. Joshua was already in Long Beach for work training earlier in the week, and since there were no convenient flights down to Palm Springs or Long Beach, I flew into San Diego where he and Dani picked me up.
We got to have dinner with Dani and see her new place. We spent the night at a motel a couple miles from where her place was, and the next morning we had breakfast at Swami’s in downtown La Mesa.
After breakfast, we walked around town for a little bit checking out the different shops. Then we were on the road to Palm Springs, only a few hours away!
When I researched hotels, I learned that there are three iconic hotels that you either need to stay at or at least check out: The Parker, The Saguaro, and The Ace. Seeing as Jonathan Adler, one of my FAVORITE designers, designed the interior, The Parker was the obvious choice. 💁🏻♀️
Between the gorgeous architecture, the luscious estate grounds, and the quirky interior design, I knew I had found my happy place. We were a little early to check-in, so we had the opportunity to explore the grounds while we waited for our room.
There were so many little seating areas, fire-pits, etc. throughout the grounds as well as an area to play croquet, an adorable outdoor bar, and two beautiful swimming pools. Oh, and a giant bronze banana. 🍌
Once we were settled into our room, we hung out at the pool and got a few drinks and snacks from the Lemonade Stand. 🍋
For dinner, we ate at Norma’s, one of the hotel restaurants.
I had a delicious brick chicken with potatoes and asparagus, all made gluten-free to order. After dinner, we took a dip in the hot tub and called it a night!
Day 2: Cacti, Salvation Mountain, and Colorful Architecture
One of the stunning features of the Parker is the brise soleil and orange door that leads into the lobby, so naturally, I had to snap a few pics of Joshua’s car in front of it.
We were ready to hit the road for our first full day in Palm Springs! But first… coffee. We stopped at the highly recommended Cheeky’s for breakfast where we had a bacon flight and gluten-free waffles!
Since we were already there, we booped down the street after breakfast to SHAG’s flagship Palm Springs store, and it did not disappoint!
I had a lot of fun in the tiki den and checking out the artwork. I took home a set of Palm Springs glasses.
Next on our to-see list was the Moorten Botanical Garden, home to all the cacti! 🌵
This place was so cool! They had all kinds of cacti from around the world and a little greenhouse with special exotic cacti. Joshua and I didn’t realize that tequila was made from agave which is a cactus, so we learned something new!
Once we were done at the botanical garden, we were back in the car and drove 1.5 hours to the famous Salvation Mountain.
I’ve seen pictures of Salvation Mountain before but seeing it in person was a whole other experience. You really get to appreciate the dedication that went into creating this place.
Considering how HOT it was outside (106° F) I was surprised how many people were out there. There was even an engagement photoshoot happening as we were leaving! 😳
Once we were back in Palm Springs, we stopped for a late lunch at El Jefe, the tequila bar inside The Saguaro. Naturally, I had some tequila along with chips + guac, a steak salad, and their famous Flourless Chocolate Cake + Burnt Marshmallow for dessert.
Later on, we checked out the rest of the hotel. As cool and colorful as it was, it’s definitely a party-type hotel, and I think for how we vacation, we made the right choice staying at the Parker. I’m still glad we got to check it out! It’s so lovely and quirky!
Next, we drove through the mid-century modern inspired neighborhoods, one of my primary reasons for taking this trip in the first place. We did a self-guided “door tour” and even saw #ThatPinkDoor!
We definitely found inspiration for what we’d ultimately like to do with the exterior of our home!
For dinner, we had reservations at the fancy Copley’s. It was pretty yummy but a little pricey, so while we’re glad we got to try I am not sure we’d go back again. If anything, I think we liked Mister Parker’s better as far as pricey restaurants go.
Day 3: Dinosaurs and Museums
We had another busy day ahead of us so our first stop was breakfast at MidMod Café. This place had a lot of healthy options on the menu including wellness shots, smoothies, and Doterra Oil-related beverages. I, however, had coffee and huevos rancheros.
On our way out we stopped at Koffi, a popular coffee shop in Palm Springs, and got a yummy Matcha Tea Freeze!
Our first attraction of the day was to see the Cabazon Dinosaurs! You may recognize them from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. It’s simply a roadside attraction featuring giant dinosaurs, a museum and gift shop.
It was pretty neat to check out. We even got to go up inside the t-rex!
The next museum we visited was the Palm Springs Air Museum. Joshua absolutely LOVED this place! They had a WWII exhibit, a Cold War exhibit, and so much more. We could have spent all day there, taking in the history.
However, we were hungry so we had a late lunch at King’s Highway Diner, the restaurant at The Ace Hotel. I loved the decor inside the diner! It has a very cool mid-century vibe, which I am all about! I had a yummy Desert Facial to drink along with my lunch.
Our last dinner in Palm Springs was at Mister Parker’s, another restaurant at The Parker.
It was high-end but the food was delicious and we had an amazing waiter who made sure everything was gluten-free! We’d definitely come back!
Day 4: Bidding the Desert Adieu
Our final breakfast was back at Norma’s, and I think we definitely liked their menu for breakfast better than dinner.
After breakfast, we checked out of The Parker, said goodbye to Palm Springs, and made the journey home. We absolutely loved Palm Springs. We packed in a lot during our trip and are already talking about when we can come back.