Fear & Loathing in Palm Springs

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Days were beginning to string together and the weekend happy hour lost its luster. So, disappearing into the desert to lose a couple days and check out the infamously quirky city they call Palm Springs sounded about right. A big fan of those two-hour-drive getaways, it was an easy decision. First time? Yep. Second visit already in the works because it was that weird and that awesome. Palm Springs is alive with artists, musicians and free thinkers. It’s said they find that the tranquility and expansiveness of the desert feeds their souls and fosters creativity. Could be true, or it could be a combination of the heat and a few psychedelics. Regardless, a trip here is just what you need to reignite the fire in your mind and soul.

The streets are colorful and the people – even more so. Smiles for miles everywhere you look. A confusing place, really. But it’s somewhere to get weird and no one will judge you. Heaven? Is that you? 

Where to stay: ACE Hotel

Address: 701 E Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92264

Rest your head here – at least once in your lifetime. Especially if this is your first visit to Palm Springs because it’s a quintessential reflection of the city. Burlap drapes, art prints by Mike Mills and handmade macramé coat the walls of each room. Grab the pair of handcrafted seats in your abode and take them outside. Sit down, be bougie and order up a cold cocktail to have delivered straight to your hand. Kick back and watch the party happen around you before joining in. The hotel resembles a Motel 6 dressed up in Urban Outfitters. The ACE is your playground so just have fun with it and all its unorthodox, commune-esc, whimsical ways.

The Amigo Room is the on-site bar. It’s dark, dank and the furnishings are a bit worn-in – akin with my soul. Crawl into the cave-like watering hole and hang out with the bear in the corner. He’s got stories to tell. Three top picks were the Palm Springsteen (rum drink), Bustin Grapes (gin drink) or Desert Facial (vodka drink). Craft cocktails are served in Sizzler-like soda cups and this is all fantastically okay with us. 

Best part? Diving into the pool right at sunset. The surrounding mountains are painted in perfectly pink hues and the air is slightly cooler. Refreshing. Enjoy it.

Sweet tooth: Lolli and Pops

Address: 111 North Palm Canyon Drive Suite 140 Suite 140, Palm Springs, CA 92262

When a friendly looking fellow summons you off the street to, “try the best gummy bears in the world,” you heed his advice. And that we did. From Dots to red wax candy lips to the classic jawbreaker, they have it all. Except for a pack of candy smokes – the clerk said they ran out, so I guess those things are still pretty popular. Forty dollars later and we had two bags of treats to rot our teeth for the next few days. Excellent.

Souvenirs: Mr. G’s Toys and Expressions

Address: 180 N Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92262

Stop in Mr. G’s for a trip down memory lane. You can find the perfect gift for the kiddos or for your oddball pals. Our stop-in was for the latter. Expect to find everything from Beanie Babies to Jacks. We looked for Sea Monkeys but no luck. We grabbed a couple of glass ‘Palm Springs’ ashtrays and were on our way.

Margaritas: Maracas

Address: 155 S Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs, CA 92262

Um, happy hour at the bar all day every day? Slashed prices of margaritas and delicious Mexican grub served by one of the jolliest ‘tenders I’ve ever met made a good day great. We had a couple rounds, street tacos, queso fundido, and a damn good Caesar salad.

Palm Springs, man. What a trip. Top off your weekend escape with a stopover at Cabazon Dinosaurs on the drive home. Who doesn’t love a good roadside attraction? This spot features two of the world’s largest dinosaurs boasting dinosaur-themed merch and souvenirs. Check mate!

Paige Nordeen is a food and wine enthusiast who skips around from one San Diego joint to the next and writes about it. Questions, comments concerns? Give her a shout at [email protected].

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