Coachella Valley palm springs pool side

Visiting the Coachella Valley and wondering what to do in Palm Springs? I took over the Real Simple magazine Instagram recently to share my insider recommendations on where to stay, play, shop and eat. Read on to discover what to do in Palm Springs!

woman sitting at the poolside

What To Do In Palm Springs: My Guide for Real Simple Magazine

First Stop: Best Hotels

Hello from sunny Palm Springs! @kellygolightly here, creative director and author of, a style guide for the modern-day Audrey Hepburns of the world. Along with my husband, photographer @fredbaby13, we document the playful glamour, color and charm and are excited to share some favorite spots with you today!

Whether you visit here during the summer when it’s 115 degrees and can get primo deals, or in February for @modernism_week when it’s a perfect 75, languorous days by the pool are a must. Renting a house is a fun option for longer vacays, but if you’re here for a weekend getaway, Palm Springs serves up a bevy of fabulous boutique hotels from @ParkerPalmSprings to @AvalonHotels to @ColonyPalmsHotel to the totally chic @lhorizonpalmsprings, as seen here.


Pink Doors Palm Springs for what to do in palm springs

Second Stop: The Famous Doors

A fun way to see Palm Springs when it’s a bit cooler is by bike (there are rental shops and many of the hotels have them available for guest use). It’s fun to bike around the neighborhoods of Indian Canyons, Twin Palms, and Vista Las Palmas to take in the colorful doors and mid-century architecture – plus, hello, great photo ops!

My husband @fredbaby13 and I were so inspired by the colorful doors here, literal works of art in their own right, that we created the fine art photography series The Real Houses of Palm Springs Springs—find it at @purephoto or We’d love to know YOUR favorite color door!


clothes rack in a vintage shop for what to do in palm springs

Third Stop: Vintage Shopping 

The vintage shopping in here is out-of-this world. And while I often keep these gems to myself, I’m sharing my secrets with you today, starting with my favorite vintage store in the world @thefineartofdesign. The curated selection of vintage clothing from the 1950s-80s is a dream. Technically located in Palm Desert, a short 15-minute drive from Palm Springs, you can also hit up El Paseo, known as the Rodeo Drive of the Desert, while you’re there.

More vintage shopping favorites include:





Bonus: All of the above vintage stores are located in the Uptown Design District.

two women at the poolside for what to do in palm springs

Fourth Stop: Best Shopping 

While in the Uptown Design District, be sure to pop in to @justmodern, an art and design shop right next door to @trinaturk (another shopping must!). On view is Poolside Reunion, seen here.

Poolside Gossip, photographed by Slim Aarons in 1970 at The Kaufmann House, is one of the most iconic photos ever taken in Palm Springs. Capturing two stylish women sipping cocktails poolside, the photo epitomizes the Palm Springs lifestyle.

The women pictured, Nelda Linsk (former owner of the Kaufmann House) and her dear friend Helen Dzo Dzo Kaptur, reunited back at the house in 2015, 45 years after the original photo was taken, and @fredbaby13 and I had the honor of capturing it (read more here).

You can view Poolside Reunion and more photos from the series in person at @justmodern, as well as online at

After, cruise by to see the Kaufmann House by architect Richard Neutra in person. It’s located in the Vista Las Palmas neighborhood at 470 W. Vista Chino Road and is arguably the most famous house in Palm Springs. Blow a kiss to new neighbor Leonardo di Caprio while you’re it. So, he recently acquired the former Dinah Shore estate.


Palm Spring outdoor restaurant

Fifth Stop: Best Restaurants

It’s important to stay hydrated. It’s the desert after all, so popping in for a drink and a nibble frequently is a must, plus a wonderful way to imbibe more great design that is famous for.

A few favorites:

Eight4Nine Restaurant: seen above in all its pink glory
@ParkerPalmSprings: for lemonade and @jonathanadler‘s playful interiors
Melvyn’s: for a martini in an old-school Rat Pack setting
@AvalonHotels: for @kellywearstler’s Hollywood Regency design
@CheekysPS: is a go-to brunch spot famous for their bacon flight
@BirbaPS: lovely for an al fresco dinner — and pizza that will knock your socks off!

Yellow Doors of a building

Final Stop: That’s a Wrap!

We hope you’ve enjoyed our tour!

Be sure to follow us at @kellygolightly + @fredbaby13 for more updates + adventures from, including our new house that we can’t wait to renovate and decorate!

We’ll need your advice on picking a front door color… Aqua? Yellow? Pink? Orange? See you!


More Palm Springs Travel Guides:

My Palm Springs Guide for Architectural Digest

Palm Springs Vintage Shopping Guide

My Palm Springs Shopping Guide for RUE Magazine

5 Free Things To Do in Palm Springs

 5 Things To See in Palm Springs


Thank you to Real Simple Magazine for having us and to my partner in crime, Fred Baby, for the amazing photos to capture the spirit of Palm Springs perfectly.

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