This is the ultimate guide to California’s most ‘grammable town.
If palm trees, blue skies, and perfect poolside weather isn’t your thing, Palm Springs, California is a place you should avoid at all costs. Not only is Palm Springs home to some of the most epic desert sunsets on the West Coast, but it’s also the place to see and be seen on Instagram and IRL. From the unreal mountain views to the gorgeous bougainvillea that grows almost year-round, it’s no wonder why Palm Springs is one of the most sought after vacation spots in America. And with nearly 2.5 million tags on Instagram, it should go without saying: Palm Springs is a place that needs no filter.
The Parker Palm Springs
Quite possibly one of the most stylish hotels in the desert, The Parker comes equipped with some of the most drool-worthy interiors in the city. Not surprising, since the design work comes straight from the creative brain of Jonathan Adler. The lobby lounge is cozy in a way that makes you never want to leave, with the infamous “DRUGS” sign finding itself the backdrop in countless photos with questionable captions. As you walk further through the lobby, you’ll find Mister Parker’s, a dimly-lit and ultra-chic restaurant open for dinner only.
Be sure to stop by the Gene Autry pool, and go early because spots fill up fast. On your way, don’t forget to make a pit stop at the Lemonade Stand, a cute outdoor bar with every spiked lemonade combo you can imagine. The yellow striped umbrellas are an Instagram waiting to happen, and you can’t leave the place without a snap or two.
Ace Hotel and Swim Club
A destination for the hip, this boutique hotel was practically made for photos. From the oversized “ACE” signage by the outdoor pool to the vintage theatre sign that rotates through phrases, frequently going back to the popular and ever-fitting “never leaving,” it’s all in the details for guests who choose to spend their days (and hard-earned money) here.
The pool is one of the most entertaining and photogenic spots at the hotel, especially during magic hour. With the sun framed perfectly behind the mountain, it’s the ultimate backdrop for an epic sunset selfie.
A former Denny’s that was turned into cutesy diner, Kings Highway is Ace Hotel’s restaurant with a brunch menu that can’t be beat. With a photobooth tucked behind the walk-up counter, it’s a spot that adds vintage vibes to the hotel’s chic 1960s decor.
Moorten Botanical Gardens
Succulent lovers, unite! Whether you’re a plant aficionado or not, this place is a definite must-see. Whatever you do, don’t miss the “cactarium”—a greenhouse full of (you guessed it) cactus, where the photo ops are nearly endless. A greenhouse smack dab in the middle of the desert is as unreal as it sounds. Open year-round, Moorten Botanical Gardens is a sight that photos, quite frankly, don’t do justice—but damn does it make a beautiful backdrop. It’s no wonder this place has hosted endless weddings and events because the views are truly something out of a movie set.
Ah, the painted ladies of the desert. The brightly colored buildings of The Saguaro hotel are as mesmerizing as they are photo-worthy. Couple that with a poolside party, sprinkle a few expertly lined palm trees, and you have a recipe for a vacation. The Saguaro can best be described as Vegas–meets-Santa Monica Boulevard. It’s wild, colorful and full of personality——a real show-off among the muted tones of the desert city. But that’s exactly what makes The Saguaro so special.
The Pink Door at 1100 Sierra Way
Chances are high that you’ve seen this famous door on Instagram. This adorable little house is equal parts charm and style, luring ‘grammers and bloggers from all over the world. It’s practically a national monument, bringing a glam side to Palm Springs’ famous mid-century modern architecture.
Commemorate your Palm Springs vacation by snapping a shot alongside the iconic welcome sign. Located beside the Palm Springs Visitor Center, the city’s welcome landmark is the official kickoff that signals “vacation has started”. This frame-worthy photo op is photographic documentation of time well spent. Whether you’re just beginning your trip or saying your farewells, there’s no better time to pull over and pose.
This Moroccan-inspired retreat in the desert is unlike any hotel you’ve ever stepped foot inside. Straight out of another world, the beauty of this hotel is unparalleled, with every inch of the space meticulously designed, down to the last detail. The serene hotel is centered in busy downtown Palm Springs, which makes it an even more magical escape. Regarded as one of the most romantic stays for couples, Korakia isn’t your typical hotel—it’s an experience for those looking to relax and unwind. While visiting, take advantage of the unique decor that occupies the space. The patterned tile, eclectic doorways, and vintage fountains found throughout are truly a bohemian paradise.
Twin Palms Frank Sinatra Estate
Named after the man himself, Twin Palms Frank Sinatra Estate, managed by Natural Retreats, embodies old Hollywood glam in the heart of the desert. Spanning 4,500 square feet, four bedrooms, and seven bathrooms, the mid-century architecture comes with all modern amenities for a match made in design heaven. The twin palm trees located along the piano-shaped pool, an ode to the name, create a perfect backdrop for photos. Make a pit stop here if you want a dose of desert luxury you’ll be dreaming about for months after your trip.
PS Art Museum
A haven for art and design lovers, Palm Springs is full of timeless artwork. Take a walk through PS Art Museum and you’ll find a mix of contemporary and modern pieces to satisfy your inner art lover. It’s a beautiful space to escape the desert heat and score a few shots for the ‘gram. The peak time to visit revolves around the museum’s pop-up exhibits that happen a few times a year. No word on what the next one entails, but if it’s anything like the most recent Andy Warhol exhibition, it’ll be a good one. If you happen to be in town during a busy pop-up, run, don’t walk, and take all the pictures and boomerangs your heart desires.
The Tahquitz Canyon hike is by no means easy, but at just two miles round-trip, it’s definitely worth the sweat. Complete with a totally hidden 50-foot waterfall, this is one Palm Springs hike you won’t want to miss out on. Be sure to pack a swimsuit and disregard TLC’s advice on this one. The waterfall is everything you never thought you’d find in the desert, which makes it all the more glorious when you make it to the end.
Taking you 8,500 feet up the side of a mountain in about 10 minutes, the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is where you’ll find the best views of the city. You’ll arrive near Mt. San Jacinto, where it’s roughly 30 degrees cooler (remember to pack a light jacket). In summer, this cool weather feels like a miracle, while snow is common in the winter and spring months–a welcome change of scenery from the miles of endless desert views. Don’t forget to gram your way all the way to the top, and while you’re up there, snag a shot of beautiful Coachella Valley.