Uptown Palm Springs: Exploring the Trendy Design District

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.

Uptown Palm Springs

Uniquely Palm Springs, the Uptown Design District is the place to go for retro gear, upscale eateries, and desert chic shops. Photo by Elizabeth R Rose

As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with accommodations, meals, and tours for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, we believe in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. Wander With Wonder contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, we may earn a commission, at no additional cost to you. We thank you for your help — it is what keeps Wander With Wonder bringing you great content.

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.

uptown Palm Springs

The architecture in Uptown is a mix of Spanish revival and Mid-century Modern. Photo by Elizabeth R Rose

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.

Jake's Uptown Palm Springs

Jake's bar and patio were shaded and comfortable for a relaxing lunch. Photo by Elizabeth R Rose

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.

Jake's Uptown Palm Springs

Jake's blackened shrimp tacos… spicy grilled shrimp with avocado, shredded green cabbage, mango pico de gallo, and chipotle sauce Photo by Elizabeth R Rose

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.

Uptown Vintage Glass

The vintage art glass drew my eye. I thought about those who collected art glass over the years and then, when downsizing, consigned their collections. Victoria's Attic had shelves and shelves of beautiful glass. Photo by Elizabeth R Rose

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.

Victoria's Attic

Elegant oriental antiques and framed art filled this room at Victoria's Attic. Photo by Elizabeth R Rose

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.

Inn at Palm Springs

The Inn at Palm Springs was yet another oasis during my visit. Photo by Elizabeth R Rose

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.

Inn at Palm Springs

I soon learned that turquoise and pink were the most prevalent colors in Palm Springs. I slept well on this luxurious, triple-sheeted bed.

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.)

Boozehounds Uptown Palm Springs

Newly, opened, Boozehounds was an Uptown Palm Springs draw for dogs and their owners. Photo by Elizabeth R Rose

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.

Boozehounds Uptown Palm Springs

The dog-friendly patio was certainly comfortable for people too. Photo by Elizabeth R Rose

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.

Boozehounds Uptown Palm Springs

Inside Boozehounds, I enjoyed a craft margarita. Photo by Elizabeth R Rose

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.

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.

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Written by Elizabeth Rose

Elizabeth Rose is back again in the Phoenix area after more than a decade living in New Mexico and Washington state. She travels throughout the West and beyond writing about destinations, accommodations, festivals, and restaurants, especially farm to table cuisine. As an expert in cultural tourism, her writing reflects that passion. She has won awards for her photography and accompanies her articles with her own images. She also provides photos for magazine covers, web sites and magazine articles (both print and online).

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2 Comments

  1. Susan Lanier-Graham

    I haven’t been to Palm Springs in years. But, seeing this makes me want to visit again. I really could use some very cool design pieces in my house. I have several spots that are empty waiting on exactly the right thing. Those blown glass pieces are calling my name…

    Reply
  2. Elizabeth R. Rose

    They had so much beautiful art glass in all kinds of colors. You must go and shop at Victoria’s attic!

    Reply

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