I’m 30 weeks (!) along as of today – what! – and we were determined to book a little getaway before I was too far along into the third trimester, too deep into our Tree House renovation and too close to the holidays. We’re also celebrating our 9 year wedding anniversary tomorrow (and 14 years of being together!), so the timing worked out just right for our annual adventure trip as well! In the past we’ve road tripped across the country and down the California and Pacific Northwest coast, but as my belly grows and my exhaustion has settled in, we opted to choose a location we’d been before. Rather than fuel the need to explore all day, we wanted to feel relaxed enough to do nothing but nap and eat or take a mini adventure – but only if we wished.
We debated a few favorite southwest cities from our Route 66 trip – being warm was key! – but a few internet searches for ‘warm babymoon’ and ‘budget babymoon’ kept taking us in the direction of sunny Palm Springs. Collectively, we’ve been three times before, so we knew what to expect: high temps, blue skies and a small town feel. Everything in Palm Springs is exceptionally cute (it seems to be the rule, not the exception), and we ultimately booked a flight + hotel package on Expedia and started counting down the days!
When we were deciding where to go and what to do, reading reviews and other blog posts were a huge help for us! In return, we thought we’d share the same with you, in case any of you are looking for a warm, mini escape, too. We’re always amazed at how a handful of days away from home and work can feel so inspiring and refreshing (we like to vacation hard, rarely picking up our phones or cracking the laptop), and we returned ready to demolish a wall or two in the Tree House!
Where we stayed:
We booked a four night stay at Holiday House, and many, many times throughout the trip, we said to one another, I’d stay here again in a heartbeat. It was more expensive than our stay at The Saguaro a couple of years ago, but this hotel was leaps and bounds above our expectations! (While the grounds of the Saguaro are adorable and colorful, the rooms were bare bones, and it definitely felt like more of a party hotel.)
Holiday House is an adult only hotel, and every morning they served a delicious, simple breakfast as a part of our stay. We actually looked forward to their breakfasts, which was mostly granola, fresh fruit and coffee, but their banana bread was on another planet. Our hotel room had a kitchenette and the comfiest, coziest bed, and every detail was incredibly thought out – from dimmers on every switch to brass and marble finishes to the lack of a television or clocks(!) – and the rooms are filled with gorgeous original artwork.
The location couldn’t be beat; the hotel was one block off of the main drag, with that gorgeous mountain backdrop behind it. The quiet pool was our best friend in the afternoons (along with a cold beer for Scott and a homemade berry lemonade for me!), and every evening, they roared up a couple of fire pits for late night conversations.
How we got around:
Palm Springs is fairly small, and with that in mind, we decided against renting a car. Aside from taking a 10 minute Lyft ride to and from the airport, we walked, biked, and hopped on the free bus. The hotel offered the cutest polka dot bicycles to check out (this seems to be a common theme for many of the hotels in the area), which we happily took advantage of! Palm Springs also has the Buzz, a free bus-slash-trolley that makes loops around the city, stopping along the most popular hotels and attractions. It’s absolutely adorable – just look at their website! – and during our ride, we enjoyed tunes from Madonna and Queen (yes, please!) over their speakers.
What We Did:
We were in Palm Springs for three whole days, plus one half day. Again, the whole point was to relax and not feel the need to do everything, but we agreed to choose a few mini adventures that could be done in the mornings during our stay. The temperatures were well into the nineties in the afternoon, but the mornings stayed a little cooler, perfect for leisurely activities!
Tahquitz Canyon Hike
Our hike through Tahquitz Canyon was easily one of our favorite things we did! After breakfast, we rode our bikes to the welcome center and were told that the relatively easy two mile hike should take us less than 1.5-2 hours. The main path, although a little hilly, was mostly smooth, but we couldn’t resist scrambling up the rocks and detouring through the brambles. The landscape is obviously drastically different than anything we see in Chicago, and at the halfway point, there was a (super cold!) waterfall where we took a rest and watched families splash around. Not surprisingly, it took us almost 3 hours to round-trip the hike (what, with our extra detours and all), and we only wished we had more time to explore other trails. Note: It’s definitely a family friendly hike, and it was easy enough for this pregnant girl.
The Moorten Botanical Garden
The Moorten Botanical Garden is a stop off the Buzz, and it was a fun way to ease into the day. We almost missed it – there’s a small entrance gate with a hand painted sign off the side of the road! – but once inside, a small-ish winding trail takes you through the garden filled with massive cacti. It ends at a Cactarium, the cutest little greenhouse overflowing with succulents! On the way out, we saw a crew setting up for a wedding, and we had way too much fun watching their pet turtles dine on salads bigger than their bodies .
Because we mostly walked and biked everywhere, we took the time to really slow down and take in our surroundings. A quick bike ride from the Holiday House was a spooky, yet beautiful, abandoned hotel, and during a serious hunt for tacos, we were struck by how stunning the overgrown lots were! Half the fun of getting to our destinations was the view along the way.
Where we ate:
FARM (seen above) kept popping up during our Yelp searches for a yummy lunch, so we decided to stick out the 45 minute wait time. The food was fresh and delicious, and the sandwiches were large enough to split between two people. We also ordered an apple crepe, which omg, was the best part of the meal! We sat outside on the patio, which is tucked away in a little nook, making it feel like we were far, far away from the traffic on the main street. It felt less touristy than some of the larger restaurants nearby, but I wouldn’t say we were aching to go back the next day. A solid meal.
We kept hearing everyone rave about Sherman’s, so we stopped here for lunch after our hike. The sandwiches were huge, like, crazy huge. It’s the kind of place that has an equally huge menu, and there were definitely other items that we would have been itching to try. But! My favorite part was their bakery case, and I can gladly say that the wedding cookies were every bit as delicious as they looked (with a hint of lemon!).
Birba is hidden behind a huge wall of greenery, and it’s so, so pretty once you step inside. We went in the evening, and glowing lanterns hung from the trees on the patio, creating the sweetest date night spot. The pizza is spot on (and a great size to share), but the meatballs! The meatballs. My little Italian grandma makes killer meatballs, and these were almost – almost! – as delicious. Birba was at the top of our list of places we dined, and Scott thinks it might’ve been his favorite.
We went to Cheeky’s for brunch on a Monday morning, which helped to cut down on the long wait we kept hearing about. You know when you look at a menu, and you’re like, oh, I’m definitely ordering this. And then sometimes you look at a menu, and you’re like, I want everything! How do I ever decide?! Well, the latter was Cheeky’s – ha! We were torn between All the Things, but in the end, we went with our waiter’s recommendation and ordered a quesadilla and waffles, and we shared the two. So. Good. It’s just too bad we didn’t have time to go back and try the scones and the cinnamon rolls and the tartines…
Rooster and the Pig
This place. This place topped my list in a big way! Rooster and the Pig was a wee bit off the beaten path (but still well within walking distance of our hotel), and it was weirdly tucked away in a tiny strip mall. Once we stepped inside, we felt like we were in a trendy Chicago restaurant, and the service and food was phenomenal! We went for a late dinner, and the vibe was intimate but bustling all at once. It’s a must try.
We stopped at Great Shakes (below) last time we were in Palm Springs, and we hit it up again the very first day we were in town. As the name suggests, the shakes are, well, great, and with a gazillion flavors, you’ll easily find something to love. Extra malt for me, always!
Overall, we had a truly magical time, although it somehow already feels like years ago – how does that always happen? We’re so glad and grateful that we were able to carve out that special time while it was still the two of us, but now, we’re looking forward to all the good things to come – wrapping up the nursery and diving into Tree House renovations immediately come to mind, but more than anything, our baby girl’s arrival.
I know our list of favorites is a short one, so please feel free to share your best Palm Springs must-dos in the comments!