Where to Stay:
A popular getaway for Hollywood types (and wannabes) and a tourist hot spot during the '50s and '60s, Palm Springs still retains that post-war cache. For a trip back in time, check in to the Ballantines Hotel. The 14 rooms are each styled differently, but all come decorated with '50s vintage furnishings. It's one of the most authentic boutique hotels in the area.
With furniture by Eames, Bertoia and Herman Miller, each room not only takes a trip back in time but does so with chairs and couches worth almost a year of college tuition. Despite its stylish living quarters, the Ballantines remains relatively inexpensive, with rooms ranging from $99 to $179 per night. And don't forget the free poolside breakfast!
Where to Eat:
Nothing says Palm Springs quite like a mountain of kosher corned beef piled atop rye bread. For a cheap lunch, head to Sherman's Deli, a Palm Springs fixture since 1953. The restaurant, still operated by a father-and-son team, serves more than 40 different sandwiches and has an outrageous breakfast menu. (Eight-egg omelet, anyone?)
For dinner, take advantage of California's seafood and head to Fisherman's Market, a DIY restaurant that lets you choose your order based on what's available that day. After feasting on Jewish deli fare, you might want to try Fisherman's Lifeboat Menu: Everything on it comes in at under 200 calories.
What To Do:
Snag a guide to the city's distinctive architecture, called Desert Modernism, at the Palm Springs Visitors Center, housed in Albert Frey's striking Tramway Gas Station. The sharp, angular lines and glass walls that define the style are on show all over town, so budget some time for a wandering drive.
To take full advantage of the California sun, take a two-hour trip to Laguna Beach. If you're like us, you'll go to see LC's hometown and hope to spot a former Laguna Beach cast member. If not, at least take in the shoreline and dip your feet in the water.
[Photo: Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism]