Palm Springs Weekend: Annette Vartanian

Itinerary picks for quick desert trips.

Annette Vartanian Attractions

Visits to Palm Springs have opened up new possibilities with the addition of a child.

My husband and I love visiting Palm Springs for the abundance of sunshine, poolside drinks, late-night dinners, and vintage shopping. We thought we might have to give up the leisure getaways with a toddler in tow, but really our daughter Harlee has given us the opportunity to explore unexpected places. If your family is into trendy yet low-key spots, this guide is for you.

Friday Afternoon
Neighborhood Ride

One of my favorite neighborhoods to tour is Indian Canyons. We bring our own bicycles, but you could also borrow one from your hotel or drive. For us, it’s the perfect family compromise: Harlee loves getting into her bike seat, Alan loves checking out architecture, and I get to enjoy being out in the beautiful weather.

Saturday Morning
Living Desert Zoo & Gardens

This Palm Desert zoo is a must for any parent; it’s a great way to expend some energy. We’ve fed the giraffes about a dozen times, and it never gets old. The petting zoo is another perk, although — a word of caution to the clothes-minded — those goats have a thing for nibbling vintage dresses.

Saturday Afternoon
Retro Shopping

If you’re new to the vintage shopping scene, Cathedral City’s Resale Row is a must; here, on Perez Road, you’ll find a cluster of antique and resale stores brimming with eclectic accessories, wares, and apparel. Dazzles in Palm Springs is another favorite for décor.

Saturday Evening
Dinner at Birba Palm Springs

Birba was our pre-baby date-night choice, and though we’ve had to swap our 8 p.m. reservation for the early-bird special, the farm-to-table Italian restaurant remains at the top of our list for alfresco family meals.

Sunday Morning
Brunch, Then Vintage Market

Traveling with a child means waking up early, so indulge in brunch at Norma’s at the trendy Parker Palm Springs. If you’re in town the first Sunday of the month, stop by the Palm Springs Vintage Market. It’s a great place to stroll with your toddler and find hidden gems. (We look out for vintage Disney pins and books.)

Sunday Afternoon
Sunnylands Center & Gardens

The historic residence at Sunnylands might not be kid-friendly (no jumping on the bed allowed!), but the estate’s lushly landscaped gardens are the perfect place to round out your Palm Springs weekend. While a tour of the house requires a ticket and reservation, the center and gardens (and the tranquility) are free.

Annette Vartanian is the L.A.–based author of lifestyle blog “A Vintage Splendor.” Follow her on Instagram at @vintagesplendor and view more of her adventures at