You’ve seen and heard about it in the movies, but what is this area containing nine cities like for a vegan to visit? Sophia Amos donned her shades and set out to explore this iconic destination...
Greater Palm Springs is instantly recognisable for its colourful sunsets, surreal landscapes and modernist architecture, but it is also a mecca for those seeking to rejuvenate and recharge from the daily grind.
From farm-to-table fare to creative takes on American classics, this Southern California oasis, made up of nine distinct cities, is the perfect place to enjoy a veg-friendly weekend in the desert sun.
Add in an eclectic mix of foodie experiences, including supper clubs, culinary and craft beer festivals and monthly food markets – you have one fantastic foodie destination.
Where to eat
Surrounded by natural beauty, an abundance of art and culture tied with world-class events, it’s only natural that the restaurant scene offers visitors a host of options for healthy organic, vegetarian and vegan nourishment.
Chef Tanya’s Kitchen
Inspired by Tanya’s love for good food, nature and the animal kingdom, this restaurant is dedicated to making food tasty, fun, healthy and easy.
The casual dining spot offers an all-vegan menu ranging from classic black bean and coriander tacos to exotic seitan piccata. For something sweet, Tanya’s offers a choice of chocolate, carrot or lemon cake and seasonal fruit cobblers.
706 S Eugene Road, Palm Springs – www.cheftanyapetrovna.com
This exclusively organic restaurant, located in Palm Desert, aims to make diners feel healthier and happier through its menu and dining area.
The uniquely designed restaurant is bright, welcoming, up-beat with welcoming segmented areas, including a coffee corner serving home-made kombucha, a smoothie bar, create your own salads and grain bowls garden bar and a bistro for more formal dining.
72990 El Paseo, Palm Springs – www.wildestgreens.com
Continuing on the organic road, Chef Lorraine offers diners a full menu of filling, whole food options. The “Bomb-Mi” rice bowl is a local’s favourite, along with the super Macro Nutrient Bowl. For something lighter, Lorraines also serves classics, including avocado toast or bruschetta.
73910 Highway 111, Palm Desert – www.lusciouslorraines.com
A popular juice bar with two locations in Greater Palm Springs, Raw Remedy recently expanded into offering vegetarian and vegan fare, introducing burgers and wraps.
A host of juices, smoothies and power shots are always available with ingredients including ginger, cayenne and garlic – perfect for a quick pick-me-up en route to a sunrise yoga session or desert hike.
Palm Springs & La Quinta – www.rawremedyjuicebar.com
Heirloom Craft Kitchen
With a focus on sustainable farming, reflective in its menu offering and prices, Heirloom is committed to providing fast table service with the highest quality dishes.
Scratch-made soups, salads and small plates are the forte, with daily baked breakfast goods and craft beer and wine on offer from local producers.
49990 Jefferson St Suite, Indio – heirloomcraftkitchen.com
Cork and Fork
This independent restaurant is a unique dining experience in a relaxed environment and serving locally sourced small plates tapas-style with a variety of unique wines.
The eclectic menu includes dishes such as crispy cauliflower, fried green tomatoes, strawberry salads and Thai lettuce wraps, to name but a few.
47875 Caleo Bay Dr, La Quinta – corkandforkwinebar.com
Out & about
Nature’s Health Food and Café
A vegan shopping and snacking wonderland, this health-minded café offers an eclectic menu of vegetarian and vegan fare alongside an organic juice bar and patio.
The café menu features an entire section dedicated to organic vegan small plates such as Pasta Primavera, Tofu Ranchero and a Blackened Taco Tempeh Plate.
555 Sunrise Way, Palm Springs – natureshealthfoodcafe.com
Date Shakes at Shields
Date shakes are the unofficial drink of the Coachella Valley, appearing on menus at hotels, restaurants and date shops throughout Greater Palm Springs.
At Shields, the thick and creamy milkshakes are made using date crystals, which are flakes of dried dates sweetened with date sugar.
Blended with vegan vanilla ice cream and milk, an assortment of additional flavours are also available, such as butterscotch, caramel and chocolate.
80225 US Hwy 111, Indio – shieldsdategarden.com
La Quinta Farmer’s Market
Baskets of brightly coloured berries, vegetables and bell peppers offer a small glimpse into the produce grown across Greater Palm Springs.
Every Sunday morning from October to May, Old Town La Quinta transforms into a paradise of produce as local farmers and vendors showcase their cream of the crop.
Live cooking demonstrations, tastings and live music make this the perfect day trip.
78100 Main Street, La Quinta – oldtownlaquinta.com
Top five places to visit
1. Coachella Murals
Coachella City is the heart of Mexican culture in Greater Palm Springs.
Internationally famous for its thought-provoking murals, authentic cuisine and annual Day of the Dead celebrations, Coachella offers visitors a colourful insight into the city’s history and heritage through the eyes of the locals.
Self-guided walking tours are the best way to admire their artistry at a leisurely pace.
2. Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
Hop on the world’s largest rotating tramcar and admire the breath-taking views of Chino Canyon as it makes its way up towards Mt San Jacinto State Park.
The journey takes around 10 minutes and travels over two miles, reaching over 8,500 feet. At the top, visitors can enjoy over 50 miles of hiking trails, two restaurants, a history museum and observation deck.
1 Tram Way, Palm Springs – pstramway.com
3. Living Desert Zoo and Gardens
Exploring flora and fauna from Africa to North America, the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens is a unique space.
Showcasing over 1,600 species of plants and 140 species of animals, the exhibit offers visitors the chance to experience desert conservation and preservation at its best through educational programmes and an opportunity to get closer to nature.
47900 Portola Avenue, Palm Desert – livingdesert.org
4. Two Bunch Palms
Desert Hot Springs, located just north of Palm Springs City, is known for its natural healing hot mineral waters.
Nestled within 77 acres of desert landscape, the legendary Two Bunch Palms is a hot mineral spring’s spa resort that offers healing waters, gourmet farm-to-table cuisine, movement and enrichment classes and an award-winning spa.
Treat yourself to a day pass and enjoy panoramic desert and mountain views, meditation ponds, lush gardens and wildlife.
67425 Two Bunch Palms Trail, Desert Hot Springs – twobunchpalms.com
5. Sunnylands Centre and Gardens
Surrounded by a nine-acre garden, Sunnylands is home to more than 53,000 arid landscape plants and miles of walking trails.
Admission to the centre is free and includes entry to a number of art and educational exhibits, walks and talks.
Programs offered at Sunnylands Centre & Gardens aim to educate the public about the history of Sunnylands, its architecture, art collections, cultural significance, and sustainable practices.
37977 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage – sunnylands.org
Where to stay
In the heart of the popular El Paseo shopping and dining district, Hotel Paseo is the first boutique hotel to open in Palm Desert.
Guests can choose from a more traditional room, or one of nine specialty suites, such as the Billiards Suite, a 700-square-foot suite featuring an in-room billiards table.
For a unique experience, guests can reserve a vintage 1950s Airstream Trailer.
45-500 Larkspur Ln, Palm Desert – www.hotelpaseo.com
The Sands Hotel & Spa
Located next to the Nest, a popular nightlife and dining destination since the 60s, The Sands Hotel and Spa is a recent renovation in Indian Wells.
It features 46 guest rooms, including a two-story Presidential Suite, and a large, central pool area with unique cabanas.
The Sands also includes a full service luxury spa and fine dining restaurant – picture perfect for Instagram.
8344-44985 Province Way, Indian Wells – sandshotelandspa.com
The Kimpton Rowan
Located just off North Palm Canyon Drive, this seven-story high hotel, boasts killer views of the Coachella Valley coupled with modern design.
100 W Tahquitz Canyon Way, Palm Springs. www.rowanpalmsprings.com
There are four major airports within 2 hours’ drive or less of Greater Palm Springs, including LAX, San Diego, Las Vegas and Phoenix.
From there, you can hop on a domestic flight to Palm Springs International Airport. Alternatively, hire a car and have a scenic desert drive.
For more, see visitgreaterpalmsprings.com