For years Palm Springs has been a coveted California desert retreat, know for its modern and chic style. In short, it's a lifestyle photographer's dream location with so many Insta-worthy hotels, restaurants, and neighborhoods. The inhabitants of Palm Springs are not afraid to use ultra-modern architectural touches and bold pops of color on pretty much everything, which makes so fun to explore with your camera!
We spent nearly a week in Palm Springs exploring while we attend the blogger and creative conference Alt Summit (I highly recommend it!). We did lots of research to bring you the most instagrammable spots to plan your SoCal desert getaway!
First off, one of the easiest (and cutest!) ways to get around is on bicycle. Check with your hotel beforehand to see if they provide bikes to guests. We were lucky that The Saguaro Hotel included our bicycles in the resort fee so there was no additional charge for us. We found many adorable neighborhoods with photo-worthy doors by riding around, including The Pink Door!
The Saguaro Hotel
I'm sure you've seen this rainbow hotel all over Instagram, the bold color scheme is candy for the eyes! The vibrant hues in this Palm Springs hot spot will instantly brighten up your Instagram feed. See more photography angles and vignette spots on my Alt Summit blog post.
Moorten Botanical Garden & Cactarium
The Moorten Botanical Garden and Cactarium is located in the heart of Palm Springs, a short drive from some of the most popular hotels. It houses the most rare species of cacti and is the world's only "cactarium." The Moorten Botanical Garden has been an Instagram favorite location for a while now and it's no surprise why, the colors and textures make for amazing photos! Click here to see my entire guide for taking your best photos in the garden, including when to go and what to wear.
While there are many sit-down brunch spots in Palm Springs, we loved Ernest Coffee because it's has a great casual and cozy ambiance while still proving great photo opportunities. The open setting with glass walls provides plenty of light for photos and the curated furniture is perfect for flatlays. We loved the café menu with specialty drinks and fresh baked goods, my date and currant scone with the Maple & Cardamom hot beverage was the best way to start the morning. This spot is also the best bang for your buck, Palm Springs can be pricey.
While technically Joshua Tree is not in Palm Springs, it's only an hour away and totally worth the drive. This was my first time visiting the park and I instantly knew why this is such a popular photo destination. The lighting around 5pm was just magical and we were even lucky enough to witness a full-moon rising over the horizon.
When we arrived at the entrance to the park, we put "Skull Rock, Joshua Tree National Park" into our GPS to take us to this exact photo location. This one little area of the park offered a variety of shots and was very easy to access without much hiking. In another blog post I wrote a very detailed guide to the best hidden gems for photos inside the park, many of these spots are rarely seem on Instagram. Pack your best desert goddess styled look and start snapping away!
This chic all-day eatery is located inside the trendy Arrive Hotel and serves some much loved Southern California fare. The outdoor patio has perfect photography lighting and a blogger favorite mosaic tile floor. This favorite brunch spots has great pool and mountain views giving you a plethora of photo options, especially during "golden hour."
Ace Hotel & King's Highway
We all love colorful walls, Instagram was made for them! King's Highway is the upgraded diner located inside the cool and eclectic Ace Hotel, serving a Cal-Mexican menu highlighting locally sourced ingredients. This colorful brick wall is located inside the hotel and is the perfect photo-op spot after a chill lunch.
The Famous Palm Spring Doors
By far one of the most popular things to photograph in Palm Springs are the fun and colorful doors. In fact, it is so popular that there are dedicated door tours which will drive you directly to the houses with the most colorful doors. In order to get your Instagram fix and take the best photos possible, I recommend going with a friend and hitting up these doors in the late afternoon/early evening for the best lighting and hopefully a quiet setting. It can be hectic when the tour buses roll through and everyone needs to wait in line to take their photos. See my full Palm Springs Door Tour blog post, complete with addresses to these fabulous houses.
I was lucky enough to get an inside tour of The Pink House at a dinner hosted by the very glamorous homeowners and Alaska Airlines. The house is stunning with a huge backyard complete with cascading pools. Even the cabana has a crystal chandelier! The bathrooms were all show-stoppers with wall-to-wall mirrors and crystal. See all the inside photos here!
Frankinbun Gourmet Sausages
Only in Palm Springs does a hot dog joint have its own custom wall paper made! Not only is the scenery fun in this little restaurant, but the food is fun too. We loved to eat and take photos of our "Chicken & Waffle" dogs with apple sausages baked to perfection in Belgian waffles. We also ordered the flight dish so we could sample many different types of links. We highly recommend you add the live sauerkraut, mango chutney, spicy ketchup and date chutney to your meal. The combo may sound weird but I promise it was delicious!
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