palm springs

Looking to get away, but don’t have either the time or budget to take a full week-long vacation to some far-flung destination? In our Weekend Road Trip series, we’ll show you how to get away from home without breaking the bank…or having to buy a plane ticket.

Home Base: Los Angeles

Weekend Destination: Palm Springs, CA

Total Driving Time: ~2 hours

Level of Difficulty: Easy

Route: I-10 E from Los Angeles to Palm Springs

Accommodations

Splurge: Viceroy Palm Springs

A Palm Springs staple almost from the moment it opened in 1933, the Viceroy’s architecture is a nod to the old Hollywood Regency style. Guests can choose from standard rooms, spacious suites or private villas (each of which have fireplaces, kitchens and full parlors). The property has three different pools with private cabanas available, a full-service spa and fine dining in the hotel’s restaurant, Citron. If you feel like venturing off-property, all the shopping, dining and golfing that downtown Palm Springs offers is just a short walk away. (And did we mention? No need to leave your canine friend at home; dogs are welcome as long as they’re under 40 pounds and trained. There’s even a special Pooch Menu available!)

Bargain: Orbit In

Another downtown property, Orbit In is decked out in 50’s-inspired furniture, transporting guests to another place and time. The concept is to give the experience that was once reserved for the rich and famous, but at a modest price point. While there, lounge by the chlorine-free salt water pool while sipping on your complimentary “Orbitini” during cocktail hour and, if you’re getting away with that special someone, top the night off soaking in the outdoor, fireside hot tub.

Dining

Splurge: Le Vallauris

This French restaurant, furnished with Flemish tapestries and Louis-XV furniture, is set in a restored historical landmark, with ample outdoor seating under a canopy of lush, green, leafy trees. The restaurant offers a rotating prix fixe menu ($59 per person; $96 per person with wine pairing), or you can order from the regular menu. Start with sautéed foie gras; for your main course, you can’t go wrong with the roast rack of lamb; and, if you still have room at the end, top it off with the chocolate soufflé.

Bargain: TRIO Restaurant

Housed in the former Old Las Palmas bank—you’ll notice the wall safe mounted inside the restaurant’s front entrance—TRIO’s menu is a modern take on American cuisine with a nod to Midwestern offerings. Start your night off with the country pate (a pork and veal combination); then dive into the shepherd’s pie, with its rich garlic butter sauce; and before you leave, be sure to try out the creamy peanut butter pie.

Activities

Shopping: Whether you’re just looking to window shop, or actually want to splurge on some keepsakes to take home with you, Downtown’s Palm Canyon Drive has what you need. You can shop for antiques at The Antiques Collective; pick up beauty supplies at Home 101 Apothecary; satisfy your sweet tooth at See’s Candies; or expand your wardrobe at British Invasion (men’s) or Frenchy’s Fashion (women’s).

Culture: While in town, don’t forget to take advantage of the local cultural offerings Palm Springs has to offer. Before you leave, make a point to stop by the Palm Springs Art Museum, which has both permanent and rotating exhibits. The permanent exhibits include contemporary, Mesoamerican and modern art collections, among others.

Golf: Looking to spend an afternoon on the greens? Head to Escena Golf Club, a Jack Nicklaus-designed course set against the backdrop of the San Jacinto Mountains. You’ll be challenged by strategically placed bunkers and a number of water hazards, but the clear sightlines should help you play your best game.