As summer winds down, there’s a nearby destination that can keep the sunny pool vibes alive a little longer: Palm Springs.
Even if you recently used up all of your vacation time galavanting around Europe, a visit here is easily doable over a weekend. Fly into town on a Friday (call in sick or depart after work), and plan to check out Palm Springs' newest hot spots between dedicated lounge time by the hotel pool.
Friday in Palm Springs: Check in at Azure Sky.
(Courtesy of Azure Sky)
Book a room at Azure Sky.
This quiet oasis is ideal for Palm Springs travelers looking to relax more than party. So don’t expect to find rowdy bachelorette groups smashing rosé or children splashing in the pool here (the hotel is 21 and up). In fact, with just 14 rooms, you might at times feel like you have the whole place to yourself. Azure Sky is a chill, no-frills reinvigoration of the original 1959 hotel featuring a palm tree-enclosed pool with plenty of loungers and umbrellas, views of the San Jacinto Mountains, a communal lawn for lazing about when it’s not too hot, and fire pits for chilly nights.
Like most Palm Springs hotels, it has a mid-century modern theme, and it’s clean, simple and isn’t trying too hard. Rooms are contemporary yet understated with floating wooden beds and soothing neutral tones, and most have kitchenettes and private patios with hammocks. Azure Sky is located conveniently within walking distance to several Palm Springs institutions like Melvyn’s, plus the buzzy Bar Cecil. You can also borrow complimentary cruisers for getting around quicker. // 1661 S Calle Palo Fierro (Palm Springs), azureskyhotel.com
Drink + dine at a new speakeasy.
After settling in at Azure Sky, head out for drinks and a light dinner at Tailor Shop, a new speakeasy near downtown. No secret password is required, but like any good speakeasy, this one is well-hidden with no sign, poorly lit, small and in an unexpected location (next door to the lively Bootlegger Tiki bar). Reservations are necessary but seating options include a massive and marbled centerpiece bar, or for a more intimate experience, tufted booths and ottomans. Tailor Shop serves the classics—your Sidecars, Old Fashioneds and Last Words—but also originals, like the Dressmaker (Tanteo jalapeño, ginger beer, prickly pear, and lime). Pair your drinks with fancy small plates that can easily add up to dinner like snow crab deviled eggs, escargot, and wagyu carpaccio. Pro tip: Don’t sleep on the salmon salad if they have it. // 140 West Via Lola (Palm Springs), tailorshopps.com
Catch a show.
A drag show is practically a Palm Springs rite of passage. Visit one of the city’s most iconic drag venues: Toucans. This intimate tiki bar doesn’t look like much from its beige exterior, but inside it puts on fun nightly parties at 9pm and 11pm. Reservations are recommended. // 2100 North Palm Canyon Dr. (Palm Springs), toucanstikilounge.com
Saturday in Palm Springs: Coffee, Shopping + the Hottest Restaurant in Town
(Courtesy of Bar Cecil)
Fuel up at Cafe La Jefa.
Azure Sky has a pretty good continental breakfast spread, but it’s worth a trip to the Instagramable Cafe La Jefa, where you definitely won’t want to take your cup to go. This light- and plant-filled coffee shop opened last year and serves a wide selection of coffee and espressos in addition to chais, chagaccinos (featuring wild-foraged chaga, Peruvian cacao, cinnamon, and monk fruit), and lemonades like matcha mint. They also have a variety of breakfast items ranging from pastries to roasts to heartier entrees which you can enjoy outside on some chic furniture that’ll inspire your next backyard redesign. They also have a lunch menu if you get a late start. // 750 N. Palm Canyon Dr. (Palm Springs), cafelajefa.com
Take your wallet on an adventure.
Spend the afternoon perusing some of Palm Springs’ eclectic shops. The Mojave Flea Trading Post is not your typical flea market; it’s an artisan emporium where a roster of makers and merchants have set up shop under one 10,000 square foot roof. It’s a larger version of San Francisco’s Fog City Flea (and from the same company) that opened in 2020, with a Joshua Tree meets Coachella vibe. Shop everything from jewelry and candles to home goods and clothes, plus there’s a tiny wine shop in the back focused on boutique brands from LGBTQ+, BIPOC, and women producers. Find something light and/or fizzy to pop open by the pool later.
Head to the adorable Thick as Thieves for home goods that will immediately elevate any room of your house, plus souvenirs, clothes and gifts that you won’t be able to help spending your money on. Palm Springs is also chockfull of vintage and antique stores like the exceedingly colorful Iconic Atomic, which feels straight out of an episode of Mad Men. All three shops are set along a two-mile stretch of road downtown, with plenty of other options in between. Bring an extra suitcase on your trip, just in case.
R&R back at the pool.
Return to the hotel for some pool time—because what is a trip to Palm Springs without it?—before dinner.
Dinner at the Talk of the Town: Bar Cecil
Don’t be put off by Bar Cecil’s nondescript location in a shopping center. This place, which opened in 2021, is arguably the hottest Palm Springs dinner reservation and requires advance planning (it books out weeks in advance). The bar is walk-in only, but your best shot is to arrive early and keep your party to two people.
Once you walk through the doors, you’re immediately transported to an energetic and playful hangout, the kind of place one might picture history’s most famous creatives sharing ideas over cocktails—think bright pops of color, English wallpaper, brass finishes, and tufted banquettes. It’s nice and cool inside, but the patio is also lovely. The specialty cocktails are just as memorable as Bar Cecil’s elevated bistro fare: the buttery, fluffy, and salty Parker House rolls with sage butter and the grilled artichokes with brown butter sauce are must orders. But if you feel like splurging, that’s an option too. Order the Fifty Dollar Martini, served with a caviar-topped deviled egg and potato chips on the side, and the wagyu tomahawk. // 1555 S. Palm Canyon Dr., Suite H 104 (Palm Springs), barcecil.com
Head out for a nightcap.
You can have one more at one of many nearby bars. Seymour’s is the hidden speakeasy at Mr. Lyons. This cozy and chill space doesn’t take reservations and feels a bit like a 1920s library, playing old black and white films above the bar. Seymour’s mixes up classic and original cocktails, like Pretty in Pink (vodka, green Chartreuse, grenadine simple syrup, angostura bitters, and ginger beer) or a smoky twist on a Hemingway with mezcal. // 233 E Palm Canyon Dr. (Palm Springs), seymoursps.com
Another option is the new El Jefe Desert Cantina at the famous Saguaro hotel. This playful and red-lit Mexican speakeasy has a retro WWE theme with a bit of Palm Springs mixed in: The walls feature giant murals of wrestlers wearing inner tubes. El Jefe is focused on punny tequila and mezcal drinks, like Soft Pour Corn (corn cordial and corn liquor) and Ginger Neutral (gin, lemon, raspberry, bell pepper, orgeat). Before you leave, try your hand at the 80s video game consoles—you know, for nostalgia purposes. // 1800 East Palm Canyon Dr. (Palm Springs), thesaguaro.com
Sunday in Palm Springs: Take in the sites + soak up some color.
(Courtesy of Superbloom)
Get outside (and up in the air).
If you want to spend your remaining time in Palm Springs by the pool, we won’t judge. But if you feel like packing in a final activity, you can get outdoors by taking the Aerial Tramway. This isn’t your typical scenic tourist trap; the world’s largest rotating tram car will take you practically straight up more than 8,500 feet. If you have a fear of heights (or wake up with a bad hangover), this probably isn’t for you, but if you enjoy the occasional shot of adrenaline, the ride is truly a thrill. At the top, you can have a drink and hike about the trails. Even if it’s a hot day, it’s surprisingly cool at the top, so pack layers. // 1 Tram Way (Palm Springs), pstramway.com
Go back in time.
Take back some home and landscape design inspo from a 90-minute architecture tour. Check out the city’s quintessential mid-century modern desert oases by noted architects like William Cody, Albery Frey and Donald Wexler.
Embrace the world of color.
If you’re an art lover, this would be a good day to discover Superbloom, a new, one-of-a-kind showroom that explores color, how it connects us and impacts us in our daily lives. This art gallery reflects on 10 distinct colors that visionaries Alexis and Chris Ramirez created themselves, and each has a meaning attached to it—pairings like purple and self loving or green and offline.
For now, Superbloom is open by appointment (inquire via Instagram or their website). You’ll first be prompted to choose a color and meaning that you most resonate with in the moment; this will be used to personalize your experience and gives you lifetime access to the Superbloom community. While you’re there, you can shop for beautifully hand-painted hats, robes, tote bags and more, all of which makes for a truly special souvenir. The gallery also offers a variety of wellness classes, like sound bowl relaxation and color therapy yoga that aligns the chakras, with a more robust schedule rolling out this fall. // 1414 N. Palm Canyon Dr. (Palm Springs), superbloom.world