By No Vacation Required, on February 4, 2014

Winter getaway in Palm Springs

For two guys who love rainy, cloudy weather, we sure do have an affinity for Palm Springs. Perhaps we are sun-seekers (and simply won’t admit it) or maybe it has more to do with all the other great things that Palm Springs has to offer (Palm Springs receives 300+ days of sunshine a year). Regardless, we find Palm Springs to be the perfect long weekend getaway. Here are some of our favorite ways to spend a few days in Palm Springs.

We like to get into Palm Springs early enough on a Thursday so that we have time to settle into our hotel and make it to “VillageFest,” the street fair/farmers market that takes over a large chunk of Palm Canyon Drive every Thursday. The eclectic mix of artists, entertainers, and food always makes for a great evening. 

Palm Springs has the world’s greatest concentration of mid-century modern architecture, which is our single favorite thing about the city. We always make sure to keep lots of time open to just amble around the city and gawk at the amazing structures. If, like us, mid-century modern design is your thing, you might choose to head to Palm Springs in mid-February for Modernism Week, when the city officially celebrates its prominent place in the design universe.

Viewfinder Tip: If you don’t mind a quick drive, flights to nearby Ontario, California can be significantly cheaper than flying into Palm Springs.

There are numerous home design and retro-furniture stores along Palm Canyon Drive for those who like decorating their homes. We’ll often pick an afternoon to go store to store, with the main objective being to not drool on the furniture. If you are not actively looking to drop coin on some delicious mid-century furniture, then we suggest you stay away. We know we are testing fate every time we enter one of Palm Springs’ furniture boutiques.

But I may have lied earlier when I said that our favorite thing about Palm Springs is the design. Our favorite thing about Palm Springs might actually be Sherman’s Deli & Bakery. We will usually eat at least two meals at Sherman’s over the course of a long weekend, which means we can have the corned beef reuben, a large order of latkes, and several desserts without trying to fit it all into one seating. We also like to stop by El Marisol for some grubby Mexican food with some of the fiercest hot sauce we’ve ever tasted. On a recent visit, we joked that we might run into Barry Manilow, who is said to frequent the restaurant. Well guess what? We did. Starstruck! 

Joshua Tree National Park

It is possible to enjoy Palm Springs without a car (we’ve done it), but we don’t recommend it (at least not for a first-time visit). We will typically rent a car so that we can take a day trip to Joshua Tree National Park, which is just a 40-mile drive from Palm Springs. Additionally, having wheels means we can more easily explore the other cities that string along the Coachella Valley, from Cathedral City to La Quinta, all of which have their own unique vibe.

Palm Springs is an LGBT mecca, and that generally translates into a pretty vibrant nightlife. We’ve never stayed up late enough to actually find out, but we did stumble upon a Sunday “Tea Dance” on our last visit. The only thing rarer than us staying up late to go clubbing is us busting a move stone-cold sober in broad daylight. However, the flashback Top-40 music was too infectious (curse you “Total Eclipse of the Heart”!). We just had to get our groove on.

With so much to do, it’s no wonder why we are drawn to Palm Springs. Whether we admit it or not, the sun is definitely a draw. But the food, design, sites, and activities are compelling enough to allow us to say that we love Palm Springs without admitting that we are sun seekers.

What is your favorite winter destination?