Sustainable City Guide to Palm Springs
BY CARLEY LAKE
Sustainable City Guides are quick handbooks to help you have a perfect afternoon or day in cities around the world! A group of talented influencers have all chipped in with their favorite haunts.
The Palm Springs Sustainable City Guide is written by Carley Lake, sustainable + vintage blogger at Thoughtful Flamingo. Carley is a product marketing manager on Uber’s safety team who started Thoughtful Flamingo to show how we can bring sustainability into our closets - without losing the sequins! Check out her site to learn some great tips for a sustainable wardrobe.
WELCOME TO PALM SPRINGS!
I first got to know Palm Springs as the place all the bubbes would fly down to during the winter months to escape the Midwest freeze. It was either this or Florida, and my grandparents chose the desert oasis.
In high school and college, it became interesting for friends for two, maybe three weekends, thanks to Coachella and Stagecoach, and as a quick stop before Joshua Tree camping.
But it’s more than a place your grandparents live (which does make it pretty cool already) or a place to see Beyonce or Haim once a year (also cool). The city’s mountains, mid-century modern architecture, clothing, and bungalow hideaways make it more than a one-weekend-a-year escape.
See below for my top clothing, eating, doing, and staying picks (sorry, Grandma Gen’s home is closed for renters).
Tucked beyond the main road in downtown Palm Springs, N Palm Canyon Dr, Mitchells is easy to miss—but don’t miss this designer consignment collection. For finding the shop, you are awarded a bright, colorful welcome by 1960s Halston, Versace, and Gucci. I loved the patterned jumpsuits and Emilio Pucci mini-dresses. All I needed was a party at Frank Sinatra’s former Palm Springs home to show off my new frocks. Anything happening there soon...?
The drive to Palm Desert (~20 minutes from downtown Palm Springs) is worth it for a view of this store’s rainbow vintage dress wall. Once I stood in awe and took 10+ photos, I turned to the multiple sales racks (not as Instagram-post worthy, but still just as appreciated) in the back corner. The Fine Art of Design has designer names and less well-known vintage pieces which makes the prices reasonable with a sweet spot around $100. I found my New Year’s Eve dress here—a green, 1960s sparkly shift dress, originally $75, at 75% off—less than $20 and less than my NYE meal.
For more vintage finds, check out The Best Palm Springs Vintage Clothing Stores post.
WHERE TO EAT
If you work up an appetite after posing in front of The Fine Art of Design displays, walk across the street to Luscious Lorraine’s for a smoothie, wrap, sandwich, or even a three-day juice cleanse. I got The Monkey (banana, peanut butter, agave, hemp hearts, coconut milk), The Enzyme Boost (1 oz. wheatgrass, pineapple, mango, strawberry, orange juice), and Wild Blueberry Chia (chia, blueberry, light banana, orange juice), each for $7. Not bad for a place that sources all produce from the local certified farmer's market.
Right off the main strip of downtown Palm Springs is an unassuming strip mall with a salmon frittata you probably should try. My breakfast bowl satisfied but the salmon frittata...mmmm. The cafe never uses additives, preservatives, or high fructose corn syrup and makes everything in small batches, so its food is fresh every day. The menu has breakfast, lunch dinner, vegan, gluten-free, vegetarian, and organic...so you and friends of all dietary restrictions will be happy at any time of day.
WHAT TO DO
Palm Springs’ neighborhoods didn’t just fill with stars like Cary Grant, Natalie Wood, Elizabeth Taylor (and now Leonardo DiCaprio), they filled with mid-century modern interior and architectural design. And the best time to get a peak is during Modernism Week—February 14 to February 24. A few years ago my grandma and I saw the annual Modernism Week Show House, showcasing rooms designed by different designers and tastemakers. Joy Cho created a child’s polka-dot dreamland. Photographer Gray Malin styled the backyard. The Kate Spade NY team decorated an entrance that would make anyone happy after a long drive to the desert. See this year’s list of tour and events.
Take a hike and learn about the original history of the area—before the celebrities made it their weekend hang.
Tahquitz Canyon sits on the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians Reservation and is home to a 60-foot waterfall, rock art, ancient irrigation systems, native wildlife, and plants. This trail leads to Tahquitz Falls and back from the visitor’s center. It’s a harder hike, with some steepness and rocks to climb.
Want something more low-key? Indian Canyons also sits nearby with more than 60 miles of hiking and walking trails at all levels. Give yourself time to check the visitor center and read up on the history of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians before you head to their homeland.
WHERE TO STAY
Here are a few places my friends have stayed. I stay at grandma’s.
The Parker Palm Springs - for a 1960s (Jonathan Adler-designed) dreamland, with plenty of Instagram backdrops vibe.
Ace Hotel & Swim Club Palm Springs - for a you-might-stumble-upon a drum circle after you get some tacos and a drink off the hotel pool vibe.
Korakia Pensione - for a relaxing am I in Morocco? villa (the land once belonged to J. Carol Naish, an early silent-screen star) vibe.
I hope you enjoy the Southern California desert and leave with a Pucci jumpsuit and minimal sunburn.