By Paul & Teresa Lowe
Sunny warm days, mild desert breezes gently kissing the skin coupled with friendly smiles from locals are the banners of welcome to the new downtown Palm Springs. Visitors are treated to stunning majestic views of the area mountains and spectacular starry nights. Carter Mitchell has called Palm Springs home for more than seven years and says his Renaissance community is an ideal ‘Zen Space’ of relaxed living and every is welcome.
The city can be a perfect one tank getaway vacation spot for hipsters and trendsetter guests. Chilling out at a swanky retro boutique hotel also can be a cool way to spend a few days and take in all of the wonders this desert oasis town offers.
Foodies will appreciate culinary gems such as the ‘Birbas Restaurant & Lounge’ and ‘Cheeky’s Breakfast Cafe.’ Looking around Birbas’ dinning room the roasted savory cauliflowers and capers, prosciutto, fresh pesto, pastas and aromatic specialty pizza seem to be guests favorites. Restauranteur and Chef Jonathan Heath is a rather charming fellow. Sitting with him a while as he speaks of his passion for foods brings a gigantic smile to your face. Ambiance of outdoor seating is also rather cool. ($$-$$$)
Former Hollywood talent agent turned restauranteur Felix Tipper seems to have found a niche for midday and evening meals with his ‘Tippers Gourmet Marketplace.’ Specialty dishes such as the Italian turkey meatloaf and Jerusalem salad, salami and manchego cheese are delightfully wonderful. The food is award winning, organic, healthy and delicious. Felix’s vibe is really cool. ($-$$)
Diners wanting authentic veal or chicken schnitzel dishes will find their taste buds dancing and singing to the moon with pleasure at Chef Johannes Bacher ‘Johanne ‘s Restaurant.’ (http://www.johannesrestaurants.com/) Some of his exquisitely seasoned dishes are prepared right in front of you. Folks didn’t seem to mind waiting for a table to dine on Bacher’s fresh and out of this world flavorful schnitzel. Reservations are encouraged. ($-$$)
Flavorful aged steaks, seafood, French-American dishes are what packs in folks at the ‘Eight4Nine Restaurant and Lounge.’ This restaurant highlights white tablecloths, upscale modern artsy décor but with a hint of mid century Hollywood glamor chic. Guests say it’s the perfect backdrop for people-watching and cool fun. Owners Willie Rhine and John Paschal say they wanted a spot emphasizing top tier fresh foods, top shelf beverages and service where local folks would happily say “I want to hang out here with my friends.” The food is scrumptiously delicious—a lot of great food on your plate. ($$$)
Walking about, riding the free Buzz trolley or driving around this relatively small town you’ll find clean streets, stylish restaurants, chic stores and boutique hotels. One of the premiere chic spots in downtown Palm Springs is the Alcazar Hotel. This property is a throwback to the 1930’s with large and charming bungalow style luxury rooms and suites. The classic pool with a serenity water wall is a focal point of the property. General Manager Robert Hunt and his staff make certain every attention is given to you and that you’re made to feel right at home. Complimentary gourmet coffees, teas, juices and fresh pastries are offered daily. ($$$-$$$$)
Palm Springs is one of those places that doesn’t disappoint. The night life is alive during weekends. Casinos, nightclubs and live music spots and outdoor festivals provide endless entertainment options for locals and visitors.
You can enjoy a round of golf at one of the many lush green courses, or just lounge around a swimming pool or ascend to the summit of Mount San Jacinto with the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway ($).
Charles and Deb, a couple visiting from Knoxville, Tennessee describes the mountain tram ride and Palm Springs overall as ‘-super cool-nothing like this back home.’ By the way the temperature of the Palm Springs desert floor to the mountain summit can vary 35 degrees Fahrenheit.
Palm Springs’ indigenous Cahuilla people are believed to have lived in the area for about 500 years before being scattered with the coming of the Southern Pacific Railroad and ranchers around the 1890’s. Today a small group of their decedents make up the Agua Caliente nation and own large portions of Palm Springs. This desert town and the surrounding Coachella Valley by the way sits atop one of the largest underground aquifers in the United States.
Palm Spring locals are found of saying; if you want to get away and find a quick cure for stress ‘hit this spot’ and just sip, splash and then repeat!
Downtown Palm Springs is what Mary Jo Ginther, the Director of Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism, says is the new hub-meca for incredibly wonderful cuisine and live entertainment – like no place else. Dozens of fine and casual dinning restaurants and nightclubs line the new Palm Canyon Drive.