Places to Visit- Palm Springs Edition!

Spring break at Boston College is only a week away, and I am beyond excited to be headed somewhere beautiful and WARM! Every year, my grandparents travel to Palm Springs for the month of March, and my sister and I have been going to visit during spring break for many years! Each time I visit I am in increasing awe of the beauty of the California desert.

After many visits to Palm Springs and the surrounding areas of Palm Desert, La Quinta, and Indio, I always have a list of "must visit" restaurants, shops, and hiking trails. Each year it is so fun to revisit the old favorites, yet there always seems to be a few new and exciting places to add to the list every time I visit! Here are just a few of some of my Palm Springs favorites!

1. Palm Springs Aerial Tramway- I have been to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway twice, once when I was very young and once last year. It is an unbelievable experience and gives you a whole different view of the desert! Though the tram takes you up to an elevation of a little over 8,000 feet, it is a short and quick ride! The ride actually feels a bit more like a roller coaster than a scenic tram ride, it is quite thrilling! Once you exit the tram at the top, one strange thing you'll notice is it's cold! Instead of the typical palm trees and colorful flowers, there is actually a bit of snow on the ground and some evergreen trees! The view is incredible and great for taking pictures! Just one tip- bring a jacket! Last year I forgot to pack one, and was definitely cold when I reached the top!

View from the top of the tram! Such a different perspective!

2. San Gorgino Pass Wind Farm- Depending on which airport you fly into, you may be lucky enough to see the San Gorgino Pass Wind Farm on your way into Palm Springs! The wind farm is actually very close to the aerial tramway, and you can see the windmills from the top of the tram! Driving past the towering windmills is a very cool and unique experience. There are around 3,000 windmills, and the sight is definitely not something I am used to seeing in either the Chicago or Boston areas! It's crazy to think of how much energy the windmills must generate!

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3. El Paseo Drive- Shopping on El Paseo Drive is definitely on the "must-do" list when I visit Palm Springs! El Paseo is known as the "Rodeo Drive of the desert" and has so many different kinds of shops ranging from high end designer stores, art galleries, small boutiques, and great restaurants! I love visiting the "J Crew in the Desert" store, as well as many other unique smaller shops! Another reason I love El Paseo is for the Cruise Night that happens the 1st and 3rd Friday of each month! During Cruise Night, owners of classic cars are invited to drive their prized vehicles down El Paseo Drive, and it is such a fun event! The cars are all very colorful, in pristine condition, and there are some very expensive and luxurious vehicles! My grandparents both love classic cars, and seeing their reactions to the fancy cars is priceless!

El Paseo Drive

4. Palm Springs Thursday Night Street Fair- One of my favorite things to do downtown Palm Springs is attend the VillageFest, the Thursday night street fair on Palm Canyon Drive! At the VillageFest, hundreds of vendors sell food, sweets, fruits and vegetables, artisan jewelry, art, among many other unique crafts! It is always such a fun, lively event and Palm Canyon Drive has so many unique shops!
Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs
5. Hiking Trails- One thing I discovered relatively recently about Palm Springs is the great hiking and variety of hiking trails in and around the Palm Springs area! Last spring break, many of my family members went on a big family trip to celebrate my grandpa's 80th birthday, and we discovered many neat trails that I definitely want to visit again. One of the trails we visited was Tahquitz Canyon, which was a 3.5 mile hike to a beautiful 60ft waterfall. Another trail we hiked was the Thousand Palms Oasis. The Thousand Palms Oasis is a very unique trail, as there are many small creeks and ponds surrounded by massive shaded Fan Palm Trees. Standing amongst the large, shaded trees was an incredible experience, and a nice break from the hot desert sun!

Thousand Palms Oasis
6. Restaurants- These are some of my favorite restaurants in the Palm Springs area!

LuLu California Bistro- A delicious new bistro we discovered last year in the heart of downtown Palm Springs! There is a wide variety of items on the menu, and the atmosphere is very hip!

Bouchee Cafe and Deli- This little hidden gem in Palm Desert is a must visit! They have very fresh and delicious sandwiches, salads, prepared foods, and desserts! They use very high quality, organic ingredients, and their European-inspired cafe atmosphere is very inviting!

Las Casuelas Quinta-  I love good, fresh Mexican food, and I can always count on Las Casuelas for a delicious meal! Las Casuelas has four locations around the Palm Springs area, and I have been to the La Quinta location numerous times! They have a huge menu with a wide variety of fresh salads, quesadillas, fajitas, tacos, burritos, and many other items! The portions are great for sharing and the salsa and guacamole are both delicious. Not to mention the colorful, Mexican decor and the lively atmosphere!

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I am so excited for my trip to Palm Springs and hope I can enjoy every moment of the hot sun, the beautiful mountains, and most importantly spending some quality time with my grandparents! If you ever plan to check out Palm Springs, make sure you visit some of these fun places, I promise they won't disappoint!


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