Palm Springs
Best Things to Do


You'll need your strength to explore the sizzling desert getaway. Start the day off with a solid breakfast. For stylish creations, check out Norma's at the Parker. Or line up for Cheeky's, where offerings include breakfast dishes such as Blondie's eggs Benedict (with sautéed arugula on a cheddar chive scone), and lunch specials such as grass fed burger & pesto fries.

The establishment and the artsy crowd rub elbows with celebrating local families at Spencer's, which offers classic and sophisticated choices to a broad based clientèle. Order the lobster club sandwich or the wild mushroom risotto and admire the stonework indoors or the stone wall facing the patio outdoors — actually the foot of Mount San Jacinto. The piano man tickling the ivories might be playing I Write the Songs or Moon River.

For the best burgers in town, try Tyler's. There's also Jake's which offers a simple but ample menu full of bold flavors, enjoyed in the charming little courtyard or the (even smaller,) well-designed and lounge-like indoor sitting area. If you'd prefer a picnic in the sun you can select from their creative variety of sandwiches and salads. You can also pick up lunch at Jensen's — the specialty sandwiches all have suitably local names. For dessert, try fresh-baked Mexican wedding cookies, key lime tarts or donuts.

Copley's on Palm Canyon, located in the one-time estate of Cary Grant, has established itself as one of Palm Spring's most popular upscale dining spots. British chef Andrew Copley, who honed his craft in Australia, San Francisco and Hawaii before moving to the desert, presents a groovy Trans-Pacific menu in a setting of rustic elegance. Johannes Bacher, at the eponymous Johannes, pioneered contemporary cosmopolitan cuisine in the Valley and remains one of Palm Springs' most interesting and adventurous chefs. Le Vallauris, a landmark of old Palm Springs, is considered by locals to be the finest dress-up restaurant in town, and it is also the prettiest. Take note though, that the restaurant is closed during the summer months.

Meanwhile, at The Tropicale Restaurant & Coral Seas Lounge, chef Tony Di Lembo has made a chic, eclectic and crowd-pleasing restaurant and bar out of an abandoned auto repair shop. You can get your groove on at El Jefe, located on the grounds of The Saguaro hotel and the creation of "Iron Chef" winner Jose Garces. Shareable plates, cool cocktails and a decidedly hip vibe best describe both destinations. Or try Trio, where comfort food is elegantly prepared and served in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

For an after-dinner drink, the bar at Melvyn's at the Ingleside Inn has been famous since Steve McQueen and Ali McGraw put it on the map when they were turned away by owner Mel Haber for showing up at the opening party wearing jeans and riding a Harley.

For more dining options in Palm Springs, search GAYOT's restaurant reviews.