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A Black Girl's Guide to Palm Springs, CA

Updated: Feb 17

My first ever solo trip was in 2021 to the beautiful, sunny city of Los Angeles. I fell in love with California’s mountain views, beaches filled with entertainment, and melting pot of food. I knew I wanted to return to California in the future, but I wasn’t sure what city to visit next. I stumbled upon Palm Springs during my search and knew right away I had found my next solo trip destination. From the warm weather all year long, tons of tourist attractions, and unique boutique hotels, Palm Springs was going to be the perfect adventure.

Traveling to Palm Springs

It is important to note that Palm Springs is a three hour drive from Los Angeles. I flew into Los Angeles from Philadelphia and headed straight to Avis to rent a car for my long weekend. In the words of Drake, "you know LA traffic has the city slow" so this ride can vary in time. As an east coast girl, the desert views during the long car ride never failed to amaze me.

Accommodations: The Monkey Tree Hotel 

I decided to stay at a  “retro boutique hotel” because I felt like that was going to give me the ultimate Palm Springs experience. I found the Monkey Tree Hotel on Tiktok and fell in love with the vintage aesthetic. Now the Monkey Tree Hotel is contactless, meaning there are no working staff besides the cleaners. I found the check-in/out processes to be super easy since all necessary information was  sent right to my phone.

The small intimate boutique had great views of the mountains, and the rooms centered around a pool with a game room featuring an adorable photo booth. The private patio by the pool included a sauna, a hot tub, and ice plunge bath. These amenities were the perfect addition to my already amazing stay at this boutique hotel. The colorful eclectic rooms made me feel right at home. Of course being on a solo trip, I popped up my tripod and was in my own little world taking photos.

 I also enjoyed renting the free bikes my hotel offered. Did I ride a bike at 9:00 am in 85 degree weather? Uh yes, and I enjoyed every second of it. Biking around the beautiful streets of Palm Springs on my first morning and relaxing in the pool right after was the start to a perfect solo trip. Due to the stormy weather on my trip which happens very rarely in Palm Springs I only got to ride my bike on the first day.

Tourist Attractions

Off Road ATV Rentals: This is your sign to add riding ATVs in the desert to your bucket list. This super cool tourist attraction was only $50 for one hour. Riding through the desert was the perfect adrenaline rush I needed. The instructors were welcoming, and after watching a short instructional video and putting on the proper gear, I was free to ride the crazy terrain at my own pace. Since I went a little later in the afternoon and there weren’t any scheduled riders after me, I was offered some extra time at no additional cost. I had done ATV riding before but this was by far my favorite experience.

The Living Zoo and Desert: The Living Zoo and Desert is an interesting take on the classic zoo. This attraction is $35 for adults and takes a total of two hours to tour the entire place. The zoo also includes hiking trails, for those interested in catching scenic views of the area. Be mindful, during the summer the zoo closes early due to the extreme heat so plan your visit accordingly. As you explore, you may feel like you are in a desert - for those unfamiliar with desert animals, you will have a cool time seeing unique species. Additionally, the zoo is very spacious, giving the animals a lot of room to hide, so at times it was difficult to see them. This was the most unique zoo I had ever visited and despite the few mishaps I had a great time.

Palm Springs Street Art: My biggest regret during my stay in Palm Springs was not taking more photos in front of the street art throughout the city. I was able to snap this photo in front of the iconic Marilyn Monroe statue, which highlights the impact this legend had on Hollywood. Interestingly, the release of this statue did cause a little controversy due to natives believing it was “too sexual.”  Personally, I thought the statue was historic, and its placement in front of the Palm Springs Art Museum makes for an Instagram-worthy attraction. 

The High Bar: I was so happy I found this gem by accident. After a little shopping in downtown Palm Springs, I stumbled upon The High Bar. The High Bar is the perfect rooftop bar located at the top of the Kimpton Hotel. This was the perfect location to cool down after walking through the hot Palm Springs weather. I ordered rounds of pina coladas and spicy margaritas as I swam around the on-site pool. The pork belly sliders were delicious and a must-order item on the food menu. The views from the pool were amazing, as I could see the entire city.

Places to Eat

Elmers Restaurant: A Palm Springs classic diner-style restaurant serving the best comfort food did not disappoint. I ate here on my first day, it was just 10 minutes away from my hotel, and only cost $30 for a full breakfast. The stuffed omelet was cheesy with a side of crispy bacon and sweet strawberry covered pancakes. This was definitely my favorite meal during my stay.

Rick's Restaurant: On my second day I enjoyed breakfast at Rick's. I really liked this vintage style restaurant. Once again, this place was super affordable and served the largest mimosa I have ever seen in my life. This is a great breakfast or lunch spot. 

Giuseppe's Pizzeria: This is a super cute spot for pizza & cocktails. My solo dinner date turned into a great conversation at the bar with some pretty cool locals. I loved how at this spot I was able to be creative with my pizza toppings. This arugula and pepperoni pizza was everything.

I would definitely rate Palm Springs a 7 out of 10 for a great solo trip. I definitely wouldn’t mind returning as a baecation due to the quiet and peaceful atmosphere with a little bar hopping. This trip did remind me of why I love visiting California and how the scenic views throughout the state are going to get me everytime. 

So if you are planning a trip to Palm Springs, allow this guide to be your itinerary for the weekend. From thrilling excursions to luxury rooftop pools, your stay in Palm Springs will be one to remember.

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