City Guide: Palm Springs
julia o test creative palm springs guide

If you know me, you know that Palm Springs is one of my favorite places to relax and take photos. It's an incredible desert oasis, pulled out of a different time, where phones don't get service and poolside brunch is a state of mind. 

I recently visited Palm Springs with a few other blogger babes - we sunbathed, we took photos, we discovered new places and revisited old favorites. Check out my most recent recommendations, and make sure to visit this magical land of palm trees and Old Hollywood glamour asap.

 

Where to eat

Cheeky's

Cheeky's is one of Palm Springs' staples. Everyone knows about it, but the brunch line is absolutely worth the wait. We ordered a huge variety of dishes, and everything tasted amazing. Make sure to get the waffles with berries (available GF) - they will make your mouth dance.

julia o test creative palm springs guide cheekys
IMG_0190.JPG

 

Reservoir (at Arrive Hotel)

I don't have a ton of photos from this spot, but trust me when I say it's the best. Arrive is a new hotel, but they really hit it out of the park (I recommend lounging by the pool here further down in this post). For food options, they have a pool bar with a full menu, as well as seating indoor and out, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They offer a variety of different food, including Asian, Mexican, and good ol' American. 

Here's the avo toast, because you just have to.

IMG_0187.JPG

 

Where to chill

North Palm Canyon Drive

The main drag of Palm Springs, North Palm Canyon Drive offers cute quirky shops, high-end retailers, coffee, ice cream, and all types of restaurants. Amidst the buildings, you get nonstop views of the mountains, cacti, bougainvillea, and beautiful white stucco.

julia o test creative palm springs guide

 

Where to stay

Arrive Hotel

I've probably spent most of my time in Palm Springs at this hotel. Their pool is incredible, they have a restaurant (read about it above), as well as a coffee shop and an ice cream shop, attached! Did I mention that their pool is free, even for visitors? Most other hotels charge a day fee, but you can just walk right into Arrive and chill from dawn to dusk (did I mentioned fire pits!). Play some ping-pong or bocce ball and float on a swan for max relaxation.

julia o test creative palm springs guide arrive hotel
julia o test creative palm springs guide
julia o test creative palm springs guide arrive hotel
julia o test creative palm springs guide arrive hotel pool

 

Korakia Pensione

I hadn't heard about this magical resort until this trip, but it's pure #inspo. They have a limited amount of suites (all of their rooms are suites), wood accents, daybeds hidden under palm trees, and nonstop photo ops. Make sure to bring all of your boho outfits for this spots, as it's boho heaven. 

julia o test creative palm springs guide korakia
IMG_0188.JPG

 

The Parker Hotel

This is one of the famous spots in Palm Springs and is definitely on the pricey side (the other two are more affordable), but it's with good reason. The hotel is hidden away on huge grounds with hidden sitting corners and hammocks, a church-themed bar, and straight-out-of-catalog boho feels throughout the property. Even if you don't stay here, make sure to grab a photo in front of the famous wall out front (valet is free!).

julia o test creative palm springs guide the parker hotel
julia o test creative palm springs guide the parker

 

Where to take photos

Moorten Botanical Gardens

This place is a dreeeeam. All kinds of cacti and desert plants, a cactarium (um what!), old Spanish architecture ... wow. Wear your prettiest flowy outfit and don't forget cash to bring home a cute cactus friend. There's a $5 fee to get in, and taking blog photos is free, but there is a fee for professional photos since it's such a popular spot. 

julia o test creative palm springs guide moorten botanical garden
julia o test creative palm springs guide moorten botanical garden
IMG_0189.JPG
julia o test creative palm springs guide
julia o test creative palm springs guide moorten botanical garden
julia o test creative palm springs guide moorten botanical gardens

 

That Pink Door

The infamous Pink Door! It even has its own Instagram account! I've been here several times, and it never disappoints. There is always someone already there taking photos. Unfortunately it looks like as of 4 days ago (!!!) the owners have prohibited photography here, but I still recommend visiting and appreciating it from afar. You actually don't need an address - just enter "That Pink Door" into Google Maps and it'll take you straight there.

julia o test creative palm springs guide that pink door
julia o test creative palm springs guide that pink door

 

Indian Canyons Neighborhood

The neighborhood surrounding That Pink Door is actually absolutely incredible. Endless mid-century modern architecture, single-floor houses, cacti, and the perfect combination of white walls and brightly painted doors. Make sure to be respectful, it's all private property, but you can definitely grab photos in the area if you're quiet and quick. Start at E Sierra Way and S Camino Real and drive up and down on the nearby strets to find hidden gems.

julia o test creative palm springs guide
julia o test creative palm springs guide
julia o test creative palm springs guide
julia o test creative palm springs guide
IMG_0184.JPG

 

Where to drive

Salvation Mountain

The 1.5 hour drive is well worth it when you come upon this magical, colorful, religious oasis in the desert. Past the Salton Sea (a manmade lake of death), you find a mountain like no other. Read my full post about it here, and definitely don't miss this when you're visiting Southern California.

julia o test creative palm springs guide salvation mountain
julia o test creative palm springs guide salvation mountain
julia o test creative palm springs guide salvation mountain
julia o test creative palm springs guide

 

Niland, California

All around Salvation Mountain is magical too. There are empty fields with random abandoned houses and furniture, fields of cacti, and curious desert land. If you love the dystopian look, this place is for you. Look out for dusty locals on motorcycles surveying their land, and local kids with animal tails laughing at the tourists.

julia o test creative palm springs guide salvation mountain
julia o test creative palm springs guide niland california
julia o test creative palm springs guide niland california
julia o test creative palm springs guide niland california
julia o test creative palm springs guide

 

Palm Springs, the place to be

Palm Springs is the perfect place for everyone. You can relax, eat amazing food, swim, tan, or adventure into the desert, exploring manmade marvels and nature's beauty alike.

IMG_0185.JPG

Can't wait for next time! See you there!

xx Julia
 

Photos by the gorgeous ladies I traveled with:

Allison  |  Caitlin  |  Anna

Julia O Test is a lifestyle blogger and photographer based in Los Angeles.