The Best Things to Do on Your Birthday in Palm Springs
We've tried and tested seven brilliant ways to spend a birthday in Palm Springs.
It's your birthday. You can cry if you want to – but we’d recommend throwing a blow-out bash instead. Wondering where to make merry? Pack your bags and make for Palm Springs, the decadent desert oasis famed for being the hangout of the Rat Pack back in the 60s and 70s.
Surrounded by the stunning San Jacinto and Santa Rosa mountains, blessed with 360 days of sunshine each year and home to some of the buzziest bars and hotels in the world, Palm Springs is, to paraphrase one of the city’s most famous sons, “our kind of place.” It’s an incredible destination to celebrate being older and wiser, and we have a selection of ideas to inspire you on the best way to ring in a birthday in Palm Springs.
Arguably the best way to celebrate a birthday in Palm Springs is by drinking expertly-mixed cocktails and dancing to fresh DJ spun tunes, around kidney shaped pools until dusk. The pool party over at Ace –a hip, happening hotel– is a top spot to cut loose and cool off (temperatures in the desert city regularly reach 40C).
Other birthday worthy pool parties are held at the Hard Rock Hotel, Skylark Hotel, Riviera Palm Springs Resort and the rainbow-hued Saguaro Palm Springs (pronounced Suh-whar-oh). Dive in.
Mid-century modernism and celebrity tours
Back in the day, Hollywood stars headed to Palm Springs when they wanted to escape the intensity of Tinseltown. Palm Springs was a natural playground for the rich and famous, being close enough to comply with the “two-hour rule” stipulating actors under contract had to be on call if needed by the studio. Old school entertainers including Elvis, Elizabeth Taylor, Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe and Liberace all had extravagant homes here and you can see them (while admiring the largest concentration of mid century modern architecture in America) on a birthday tour. Visit the Palm Springs Visitor Center for more information.
A spring baby? There’s only way to celebrate your special day in Palm Springs – and that’s at Coachella, aka the most glamorous music festival on earth. Think Glastonbury minus the mud. Coachella – which typically takes place over two weekends in April – plays host to A-list artists such as Ariana Grande, Beyoncé, Kendrick Lamar, Lady Gaga and Kings of Leon, as well as around 80,000 visitors. Coachella may be a music festival, but it’s also a fashion show so ditch the t-shirt and trainers and dress up – it’s your birthday.
Dine like Frank Sinatra
Ol' Blue Eyes wanted things his way and at Melvyn's he got just that. Adjacent to Ingleside Inn, an official Palm Springs Historic Landmark, Melvyn’s – which oozes old Hollywood – was one of Frank’s favourite dining haunts. It’s also where he held his lavish pre-wedding dinner with his fourth wife Barbara Marx in 1976. The Rat Pack crooner was partial to the Steak Diane (still on the menu today) and known to grab the pianist's mic when the mood struck him.
Alternatively book in for a birthday dinner in Palm Springs at The Purple Palm at the Colony Palms. A classic Palm Springs hotel opened in 1936 by LA mobster Al Wertheimer, this is where Frank and friends used to stay and play.
Gourmet picnic in Joshua Tree National Park
Contrary to public perception, Palm Springs isn’t all about rubbing shoulders with celebrities and bronzed locals at cool bars and pumping pool parties. Those who love the great outdoors can mark their birthday in Palm Springs by taking a jeep to Joshua Tree National Park, with its half a million acres of desert wilderness and spiky leafed Joshua trees, for a gourmet picnic lunch. Consider signing up for a jeep or Hummer tour with an outfitter such as Red Jeep tours. Want to stay a bit longer? Here's our guide to where to stay in Joshua Tree.
Shop till you drop on Palm Canyon Drive
No birthday celebration is complete without a present or two and on Palm Canyon Drive, you’ll find a cornucopia of antique and furniture stores, funky vintage shops, eye-catching galleries and chi chi boutiques all set against a backdrop of majestic palm trees.
In town on a Thursday night? Don’t miss VillageFest – when the world-famous Palm Canyon Drive, home of the Palm Springs Walk of Stars – is closed to traffic and vendors set up on both sides of the street to sell arts, crafts and fabulous local foods.
Raise a glass in the desert city’s hottest bars
A killer birthday cocktail is never far away in Palm Springs. Plum Guide loves Truss & Twine, a stylish Uptown cocktail bar whose menu takes guests through five drinking eras: the Golden Age, Prohibition, Tiki, Dark Ages, and Originals. Looking for a tiki inspired bar? Try The Reef, where rum and fun are always on the menu. For drinks with a view, try High Bar at the Kimpton Rowan Hotel Palm Springs. Sip your piña colada, while dangling your feet in Palm Springs’ only rooftop pool and drinking in the views of the sublime San Jacinto mountains. Cheers.
Has this list convinced you that Palm Springs is the place to celebrate your birthday? Then start planning your birthday trip of a lifetime by browsing our collection of apartments in Palm Springs. Each property has been personally checked by our team of independent home critics –who obsess over everything from the wifi speed right down to the art on the walls– so your high standards are always met. Oh, and if you're not done planning your desert adventure just yet, we've mapped out the perfect Palm Springs itinerary for you.