I have heard of Palm Springs for my entire life, but never really knew what or where it was and why it was so popular even in the Northeast of the country. TBH, still kind of confused about that…
We are camping East of Palm Springs, so the town is out of the way for us but when it rained all night recently, we needed something to do while we waited for the area to dry back out. Palm Springs it was! Before we made our way there, I did some research via google to see what there was to do and also why? (LOL). Turns out, Palm Springs is *most* famous for it’s mid-century modern architecture, but they don’t have any free formal walking tour to see the architecture, makes no sense to me, but I’m a problem solver not a finder, so I made up our own walking tour 🙂
Pretty much nothing is next to anything. Meaning you have to walk over the damn place to string things together, so I broke the town up into 2 sides and we parked on one end and explored that half and then moved the van the other half and did the same thing. We still missed a few things though! Also, because we have Rufio, we couldn’t really go into any galleries or buildings so I am sure that limited us from a decent amount. The vibe in town was very retro and #instaworthy, at some of the more popular places, there was even lines for people to take the same photo. I would have been in said line if I had patience or the ability to take a normal photo in front of others (LMAO).
Street and Public Art aren’t overly abundant but there are definitely some cool pieces worth checking out. Personally, I loved the crawling Babies and the Rain Maker Fountain, but I would like to see more murals throughout the town, and just more art and sculptures in general. It was hard to tell if the area was starting to resurge after a drop-off, or if the town itself was slowly dying out, as there were abandoned buildings and for sale signs every where, and some famous murals painted over. If you’re headed to Palm Springs, start mapping your route now! I would have much preferred if I had the time to map all the destinations out so I could walk smarter not longer, but that’s just me!
When it was time for lunch, we decided that instead of heading back to the van to make PB+J sammies, we would treat ourselves to lunch. KIDDING. We were hangry and needed food ASAP so that’s why we ate out. We chose Ruby’s Diner because it was the busiest and most normal/affordable. Both of us got the Cobb burger w/ fries, our firsts in months and it was sooooo good, though I’m sure my taste buds were just happy to have something other than the same 3 things. There were so many restaurants to choose from, but most of them didn’t have more than 1 or 2 tables seated. Seemed like the market was very over saturated, but Ruby’s was slamming. It was $37 after tip for 2 burgers and a strawberry lemonade, not bad! But also, can’t help but think that $37 is like half our food budget for the week.
After lunch, we finished walking around and checking off sights from my home-made list. When we got back to the van, we drove up town to see a few more popular spots and pop into the Visitor’s Center to inquire about the best sunset spot. Unfortunately, the man working was not very knowledgeable on anything other than rich people activities and he just kept trying to give us restaurant recs even though we look like the dirtiest hippies haha. When I asked about sunset, he told me that “Palm Springs doesn’t ever have a sunset and anyone who told me different was a liar”. I’M SERIOUS THAT’S A DIRECT QUOTE. So, I took what he said with half of a grain of salt and we set off to find a place to watch the sunset behind the San Jacinto Mountains. There is a pretty #instafamous windmill farm that everyone takes a picture at, and I wasn’t going to miss that op! So off we went and found a secret little hideout, far from the droves of people on the side of the road trying to get the shot. It was perfect! We had great unobstructed views of the mountains and windmills, watched the sunrays dance across the valley, and finally set behind the mountains. It was not the epic sunset I was hoping for, even with all the cloud coverage, but it was still cool to watch and experience the epic af wind gusts.
Once the sun set, it was time for us to head to our resting place for the night, about 30 minutes away from Palm Springs. We took one last look as we got onto the highway and talked about what our favorites were on the drive back, for me it was definitely the vibe! They really leaned hard into the mid-century modern and I loved the collective cohesiveness of it all together. I don’t think we will ever be back in Palm Springs to hangout, but you never know either!
Scroll for all my favorite pictures from our day-