Recently, Blake and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary in Palm Springs. We went to the desert for the first time last year during our big cross California trip and fell in love with it. Since our first visit was too short, we went back to get the full Palm Springs experience.
So, what makes this city so charming? I love the beauty and awe I feel when staring up at the giant mountains, the cacti at the side of the road, the rows of palm trees along the sidewalks and the magenta bougainvillea growing all over town.
Then there’s its famous mid-century modern architecture, fun restaurants and relaxing vibe, all within about a two hour drive from Los Angeles.
And I love the heat. Palms Springs sizzles in the summer with daytime temperatures in the late 30s/early 40s. But after a rainy and cool spring here on the East coast, I was more than ready for the heat. Plus, those hot days turn into warm, beautiful evenings made for stargazing and late-night swims.
Where to stay
We chose the Avalon Hotel and Bungalows Palm Springs for its boutique feel. With its views of the San Jacinto Mountains, beautifully-manicured grounds, spanish-style bungalows, three pools and chic black and white aesthetic, it’s easy to spend the day there swimming, lounging and playing ping pong. Plus, the Avalon is located downtown making it a short walk to shops and restaurants.
What to do
When we weren’t relaxing, we wandered through the boutiques along the main street, Palm Canyon Drive, and cooled off with milkshakes from Great Shakes. I tried their famous Date Shake (delicious and not too sweet), featuring dates from a local date farm, and loved how it came garnished with a mini doughnut. Yay for two desserts in one!
While I would have loved to check out the desert trails, it was too hot for a hike! So instead we did an early morning bike ride using the hotel’s free bicycles. We wandered through quiet neighbourhoods filled with those beautiful mid-century modern homes and snapped a few Instagrams along the way.
Up there with my love of celebrity news is my love of celebrity houses. And back in the day, Palm Springs was where celebrities would go to play.
So, we took a tour featuring famous celebrity homes including Frank Sinatra’s old pad, which you can rent out, Elvis and Priscilla’s honeymoon house and Leonardo DiCaprio’s place. Hey Leo, when’s your next house party?
Where to eat
My favourite spot was Spencer’s, one of Palm Springs top recommended restaurants. It’s delicious menu, excellent service and ultra-romantic patio made it the perfect place to celebrate our anniversary.
The crowd there was older, but that added extra charm. I could picture Blake and I a few decades from now celebrating another anniversary there, grey-haired and happy.
Blake loves tiki bars, so we checked out the Tonga Hut. Its decor, tasty polynesian-cantonese dishes and fun cocktails make it a must-visit for tiki fans.
For lunch, we ate at Farm, a French cafe with fresh sandwiches, omelettes and crepes. It’s tucked away from the street and has a gorgeous garden-like patio.
And for dessert? We devoured the heavenly coconut cake with cream cheese icing at Jake’s, which I’m still dreaming about!