Palm Springs, Santa Fe or somewhere else?

Old Feb 8th, 2020, 08:51 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2020
Posts: 3
Palm Springs, Santa Fe or somewhere else?

I occasionally travel to LA on work (from India) and try to visit a new US city each time. Iím a solo female traveller aged 30, looking for somewhere that has:
1. A vibrant, unique creative scene
2. A great social vibe and friendly people
3. Chic design
4. Rich local culture and/ or natural beauty

Logistics wise, both Santa Fe and Palm Springs are fine for me. I will be travelling in late March for 4-5 days. Which do you reccomend for me or is there anywhere better you can suggest?

Iíve already been to LA, NYC, SF, SD, Miami and Austin. My budget is pretty generous so cost is not a major issue. Thanks!!
Jade_Azure is offline  
Old Feb 8th, 2020, 09:22 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 9,391
Two places about as different from one another as it gets. Palm Springs for visitors is desert resort-oriented & the weather will be beautiful. Santa Fe has it all, rich history, art & architecture, but at 7200' elevation it will still be winter. For someone who hasn't been to either I think Santa Fe is infinitely more interesting. But Palm Springs is a fun place to hang out for winter warmth. I'm heading to friends there myself for my birthday in March.
MmePerdu is online now  
Old Feb 8th, 2020, 09:23 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,810
Boy, both are nice. In late March it will likely be quite a lot colder in Santa Fe then in Palm Springs (due to high altitude.) I'd personally pick Palm Springs because not only does it have the features you're looking for, but there are a couple of terrific destinations available for day trips, including Joshua Tree National Park and the Mt. San Jacinto tramway. It's got fabulous mid-century architecture, a vibrant local arts scene (including a terrific small art museum) lots of great food around, and, while you'd be there before the madness of Coachella hits in early April, there ought to be plenty of things to occupy the evening hours, in PS itself or up and down the Coachella Valley.

Joshua Tree NP





Gardyloo is online now  
Old Feb 8th, 2020, 09:30 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 9,391
Everything Gardyloo says about Palm Springs is true. It's a tough call. If the look of a place is a deciding factor as it is hugely for me I suggest you go online & look at photos of both places. I think you'll learn a lot & could make your decision easier.
MmePerdu is online now  
Old Feb 8th, 2020, 09:38 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 20,298
I find Santa Fe more interesting, but the two are such different communities I think they are difficult to compare.

The weather would be nicer in Palm Springs. One of the largest tennis tournaments of the year is held in March in Indian Wells near Palm Springs. I'm sure it affects area lodging availability and rates, so if this trip is in March 2020 you should figure out where you want to stay and check availability ASAP for your exact dates.

There are flights from more cities into Palm Springs than into Santa Fe. Depending on where you're coming from, the logistics for reaching Santa Fe may take a lot more of your time.
Jean is offline  
Old Feb 8th, 2020, 11:13 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,112
Good advice from Jean about checking on available lodging in March. Quite a few friends and family are heading to Indian Wells for the tournament.
curiousgeo is offline  
Old Feb 8th, 2020, 11:22 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 66,725
Since you indicate you will have other trips to the LA area -- for this one I'd recommend Palm Springs because it is the perfect time of year there. Save Santa Fe for a time when there isn't snow and freezing temperatures (unless you want a winter type experience - in that case Santa Fe would be great)

The tennis tournament runs from Mar 9 and the finals are on Mar 22. If you are traveling after the 22nd accommodations cost/availability will ease up a bit. This is prime time for Palm Spring though.
janisj is online now  
Old Feb 8th, 2020, 06:28 PM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2020
Posts: 3
Thabk you all so much for the detailed, informative replies! I have a few more questions:

1. It sounds like Santa Fe is a more interesting substantial destination but the weather in March is bad. What if I were to finish my work and travel there in end April instead, would you reccomend it over Palm Springs in end March (I wouldnít consider Palm in April due to Coachella)?

2. Would you say either destination has an edge in terms of friendly people and fun, social things to do? As a solo traveler, this is very important to me.

3. Are there any comparable day trips from Santa Fe that are as interesting as Joshua Tree? I was looking at Ghost Ranch.

Thank you again!
Jade_Azure is offline  
Old Feb 8th, 2020, 09:43 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 8,188
Q3:
The probably most obvious day trip from Santa Fe would be to Taos (Pueblo) https://taospueblo.com/
Another nearby destination is Pecos National Historic Park https://www.nps.gov/peco/index.htm
Or if you like a mini road trip experience, take the Turquoise Trail https://www.turquoisetrail.org/

Not sure about the weather end of April, though. Always been in those parts in summer or fall.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Old Feb 9th, 2020, 03:31 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 1,477
We did a day trip to Ghost Ranch. (I assume you will have a car?) We took a horseback ride that was very enjoyable and informative. Did some hikes and toured the property, too. If you are interested in the art of Georgia O'Keefe and also hit the O'Keefe museum in Santa Fe, it makes a nice combo.

I noticed you mention "chic" on your list. Downtown historic Santa Fe has more of a flavor of the old Southwest as far as architecture, but there is certainly high end shopping and cuisine.

If you are interested in Mid-Century Modern architecture, there are a number of architecture tours offered in Palm Springs. We were there with a "work" group and did some pre-arranged tours including one to the aerial tramway (some short hikes and great views) and a geology focused tour to the San Andreas fault.

Some nice things to do in both places. Weather (and potential crowds) might help you choose.
mama_mia is online now  
Old Feb 9th, 2020, 03:49 AM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2020
Posts: 3
Thanks for the replies everyone! Iíve decided to go with Palm Springs keeping the weather in mind nd the ease of driving there from LA. Adding a Joshua Tree daytrip as suggested here.

Any tips for me for Palm Springs and/or Joshua Tree?
Jade_Azure is offline  
Old Feb 9th, 2020, 05:50 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 3,789
Joshua Tree - even if it is warm/hot in Palm Springs, bring a light jacket for Joshua Tree. Its exposed elevation can get some pretty chilly winds. Be careful to avoid contact with the cholla cactus. I know they don't really jump, but I have a video of my husband walking too close to some and I could swear that's exactly what happened. The spines are painful and difficult to remove.

Last edited by sludick; Feb 9th, 2020 at 05:56 AM.
sludick is online now  
Old Feb 9th, 2020, 06:39 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,810
Two old-fashion-y food stops in the area (might just be my tastes, of course) - Sherman's Deli in PS and Shield's Date Garden in Indio. http://shermansdeli.com/ and https://shieldsdategarden.com/

Have a fortifying breakfast at Sherman's before heading off to Joshua Tree, drive the loop through the park, and end up at Shield's for a date milkshake when you're done. Fab. Map - https://goo.gl/maps/cCn9ym31RmgiB7Qh9
Gardyloo is online now  
Old Feb 9th, 2020, 08:46 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 9,560
Another cool thing to do is hike one of the palm canyons. We did the easy San Andreas Palm Canyon. Fascinating.
MichelleY is online now  
Old Feb 9th, 2020, 10:42 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 9,391
Years ago when I lived in Southern California I'd visit friends in the area fairly regularly & one of the things we loved to do, for the sport as well as the ambiance, was watch polo. The season goes through late March so you may be able to catch a match, great fun.

https://empirepolo.com/for-spectators/season-schedule/

https://www.eldoradopoloclub.com/sundaypolo
MmePerdu is online now  
Old Feb 9th, 2020, 07:35 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 1,364
Adding that unlike the larger cities you have already visited, Palm Springs and Santa Fe are small. Santa Fe more fits your criteria but as noted it may be wintry in March (or it may not). Both cities have small airports, especially Santa Fe.

American cities are universally friendly, have you experienced otherwise?

More in keeping with the larger cities of your previous visits, March is a good time to visit Washington DC.

Personally as a tourist aggressively seeking out tourist attractions I would burn through Palm Springs and environs in a few days, although maybe thatís all you have.

edit to add: Palm Springs is rather like a hill station in India, the weather is a big part of the reason it exists.

Last edited by tom_mn; Feb 9th, 2020 at 07:58 PM.
tom_mn is offline  
Old Feb 9th, 2020, 11:26 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 8,188
Originally Posted by Jade_Azure View Post
Thanks for the replies everyone! Iíve decided to go with Palm Springs keeping the weather in mind nd the ease of driving there from LA. Adding a Joshua Tree daytrip as suggested here.

Any tips for me for Palm Springs and/or Joshua Tree?
The mid-century houses of Palm Springs have been mentioned many times, and it's really interesting to explore them.
The visitor information as well as many (souvenir) shops downtown sell a "self drive" map for $5 with the location of the houses.
Aside from public buildings like banks or museums, you cannot enter the privately-owned buildings (and also not stray on the properties).
But many are in a location that you can easily enjoy the architecture from the road.
It's kind of fun to "hunt" those houses - though no real challenge with GPS as the full address is given on the map.

Also mentioned before: The PS Art Museum. It really surprised me. The had some really good and fascinating exhibitions in January.
The smaller museum for design and architecture on S Palm Canyon Drive is indeed a small place. But when you go there first you get a discout for the bigger Art Museum, so you get the Design Museum for free, eventually.

Both museums are in easy walking distance. As all of the restaurants, cafes, etc are in downtown PS. And people actually walk there ;-)
If your hotel should be somewhere else than in downtown, it's easy to drop the car at the free downtown parking garage on Baristo between Indian Canyon and Palm Canyon Drives.

If you have time to "waste" on your drive from L.A. to Palm Springs, there is also an alternative scenic route via Mt Jacinto State Park.
You exit I-10 in Banning, take Hwy 243 up into the mountains via Idyllwild until it hits Hwy 74, the Palms to Pines Highway, which will take you to Palm Desert (or any other town).
There are many vista points along the route. Just before Hwy 74 starts to go down into the valley, there is Cahuilla Tewanet Vista Point. Two interesting (short) trails tell you more about the local vegetation and how the Cahuilla used the different desert or mountain plants to make food or goods.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Old Feb 10th, 2020, 06:17 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 1,364
"Vista Point" as far as I know is a term only used in California, the more typical English term I am familiar with is "scenic overlook." It threw me the first few times I saw it, I thought it was a business, although the people I was with did not have that comprehension problem.

Edit: Reading this https://english.stackexchange.com/qu...ew-of-the-city the British English term "viewpoint" is pretty close to "Vista Point" so maybe no issue for you.

Last edited by tom_mn; Feb 10th, 2020 at 06:36 AM.
tom_mn is offline  
Old Feb 10th, 2020, 07:15 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 8,188
Actually, the only reason I used "Vista Point" had been that you find exactly that expression on the road signs, so it's part of the full name of that location. Nevertheless, the USDA website uses the more common termin "scenic overlook". Go figure.
But pretty odd that it never struck me as odd - maybe because English is not my first language. Vista point is more or less self-explanatory - when you know some Spanish.
Another phrase specific to California (I guess) could be turnout, which are really a great feature of narrow, winding mountain roads where you cannot pass safely otherwise.


Cowboy1968 is offline  
Old Feb 10th, 2020, 09:24 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 9,391
I love to visit gardens, so on my visit in March I plan to see Sunnylands, built by media tycoon Walter Annenberg. The historic estate that for years hosted anybody who was anybody, is now open to the public.

More information here: Home - Sunnylands



Last edited by MmePerdu; Feb 10th, 2020 at 09:28 AM.
MmePerdu is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

FODOR'S VIDEO