As I headed across the desert and crossed the California border at the deep blue Colorado River, I looked forward to seeing what was new with Palm Springs' Uptown Design District. It had been years since I had been there and even back then it was a destination for shoppers seeking out art and vintage collectibles. I pulled into the colorful Palm Springs Inn nestled between Uptown Palm Springs and the hilly Tuscany neighborhood. I eyed the refreshing pool but lunch was just a walk away and I craved some California cuisine.
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Lunch at Jake’s
As I walked along North Palm Canyon Drive, I noticed the Mid-century Modern (MCM) storefronts housing everything from coffee shops and colorful boutiques to funky vintage shops. The area had clearly grown since my last visit. Birds chirped in the brilliant magenta bougainvillea vines and palm trees lined the sidewalk.
I entered Jake's and found myself in a shaded courtyard bar and restaurant with a trickling fountain. If you continue through, there is a back deck and, inside were more tables and a pastry case with to-die-for towering layer cakes. I took a seat at the bar and clicked on the QR code for the menu. Mimosas, expertly mixed martinis, bloody Marys, and glasses of white California wine were delivered to diners around me while I decided on my lunch and sipped on my OJ. This outdoor retreat, named after the owners' cute West Highland Terrier, was clearly a popular local haunt. I was glad to see that they take reservations.
I wanted something “California-ish” so went for the blackened shrimp tacos. Jake’s is known for satisfying its customers' appetites and so I wasn’t surprised at the size of the tacos and side salad. The shrimp was plentiful, huge, and succulent, and perfectly spiced… just a tad zesty. Freshly sliced avocado and house-made pico de gallo worked well together. But those succulent shrimp were truly memorable.
The meal was filling and so I wasn’t tempted to revisit the case with the decadent layer cakes. I left totally refreshed and feeling that I had found my oasis in the desert. Uptown is full of such intriguing, quality places like Jake’s. The area had really blossomed since my visits years ago.
Discovering Uptown's Victoria's Attic
As I strolled back to the Palm Springs Inn, I did quite a bit of window shopping but the place that really drew me in was Victoria's Attic. Glistening art glass was displayed in the window and the 15,000 square foot rambling antique mall housed in a 1930s Mission Revival building was filled with beautifully displayed treasures.
Victoria's attic had room after room of Oriental antiques, framed art, vintage items ideal for decorating your MCM home, and oddities from around the world. It's a fun place to explore and with over 25 vendors under one roof, you're bound to find something new each time you stop in.
Relaxing at the Inn at Palm Springs
Just a few blocks more and I was back at the Inn where I would be spending two nights during my explorations of the Greater Palm Springs Area. The Inn at Palm Springs is an 18-room small hotel surrounding a heated pool, lawn, and garden. This pet-friendly hotel caters to hikers, bikers (cruiser bikes are available at the Inn), and those who appreciate a casual, convenient location. It's a 15-minute walk to the heart of Uptown and about a 45-minute walk to the center of downtown Palm Springs.
Convenience is key. Just a few blocks away, you can catch the spectacular Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, the longest aerial tramway in the world. Rideshares are easy to hail and I walked to dinner one night and took rideshare back.
The Inn provides colorful outdoor spaces for small gatherings, free coffee, tea, and juices, and soon will be licensed to sell beer and wine on-premises.
My room offered a small kitchenette, a king bed with triple sheeting, cute vintage furniture, and decor in traditional turquoise and pink colors. The door opened out onto the grassy area around the pool. Parking was a few steps away via a coded security gate.
A complimentary hot breakfast is provided by the Inn at a local restaurant just a short walk away. Look for specials during the off-season.
Uptown Palm Springs' Boozehounds Bar and Restaurant
On the way to dinner one evening, I spotted something new on the Uptown scene. Billed as “Where Dogs Bring Their Humans,” Boozehounds restaurant and lounge was an amazing venue. Newly opened, I had heard about this place and Cinnamon the Coonhound was already lobbying me for a return to Palm Springs in the fall with her in tow (or, rather, she would have ME in tow.)
You see, Boozehounds is made for dogs and dog owners. I envision that it will become THE place to socialize with your furry friends, have a meal and a craft cocktail, and, in the mornings to grab a coffee and do a little co-working in a comfortable environment.
The restaurant features a large, beautifully decorated indoor dining room and bar along with an open-air lounge and patio bar, facing the mountains. The California cuisine consists of locally sourced, seasonal ingredients paired with a selection of craft cocktails. I soon learned that Palm Springs is dog-owners heaven. Dogs are treated well, to say the least. Given the influx of hounds and owners via their private patio entrance at Boozehounds the night I was there, it looks like dogs and their owners have found the ideal place to gather.
Since I didn't have a dog with me (you really don't have to), I sat at the bar and enjoyed an expertly made craft margarita. I could have stayed longer but I had a half-hour walk before me to make it to Downtown Palm Springs for my dinner reservation.
A Base for Exploring the Greater Palm Springs Area
I found a stay in Uptown Palm Springs ideal for exploring sites across the valley. In the mornings I could grab a cup of coffee before heading out and in the evenings, restaurants were within walking distance. There were stores, access to hiking trails, and parking was easy to get to and free at the Inn at Palm Springs. If you would like to plan a stay, check out Greater Palm Springs Visitor Information. And, have a look at the California adventures penned by our Wander writers.