Hipsters like to congregate at the Amigo Room inside the Ace Hotel and Swim Club in Palm Springs.
PHOTOGRAPH BY STEPHEN KENT JOHNSON
Is it possible for a town once known for hip replacements to become a hipster hot spot? Venture to the stretch of Palm Canyon Drive south of the curve to what some folks call Millennial Mile and see for yourself. You’re likely to find more night-crawling 20- to 40-year-olds than anywhere else in the Coachella Valley. Continue east and you’ll see that the shifting demographics — the number of adults between 19 and 44 has spiked 25 percent since 2015 — are plain as day. The young and the cool are everywhere, especially in these Instagrammable spots:
The Saguaro Hotel
From poolside raves to drinks and dinner at the new El Jefe Desert Cantina bar and adjacent restaurant (don’t miss Taco Tuesdays and Thursdays), this colorful, high-libido hotel is ground zero for everything hipsters. And it isn’t only for out-of-towners. The Saguaro Social Club offers locals year-round pool access. Day passes are also available, so go ahead, dive in.
Walk into the classic A-frame entrance of the historic Caliente Tropics Hotel and enter a world that’s part Gilligan’s Island and part SpongeBob SquarePants. This Tiki favorite is adjacent to a lagoon-like pool and serves up some of the most creative craft cocktails this side of Waimea Bay.
Ace Hotel & Swim Club
Entering the macramé spiderwebbed lobby here is like walking into a Quentin Tarantino movie. This outpost of the international Ace Hotel chain has one of the most happening pool scenes in town. It has King’s Highway, an homage to classic ’70s diners, and the dark and moody Amigo Room bar, which also offers outdoor seating by the pool. Serving up specialty cocktails and 19 beers on tap, it’s the Grand Poohbah of hipster hangouts.
PHOTOGRAPH BY NATE ABBOTT
Paul Bar/Foods in Palm Springs.
It seems fitting that the town’s hippest bar/restaurant is hidden in a shady strip mall. How else would they keep away the crowds (that start lining up at 4 p.m.) ? The later you go, the younger and groovier the crowd. Here, the bar is the star, and thanks to the eponymous Paul O’Halloran, it has a distinct New York vibe. Serving favorites like steak frites, a killer bone-in pork chop, vegan yellow curry, and sophisticated cocktails, it’s worth the drive and the wait (Paul Bar/Food does not accept reservations).
High Bar at The Rowan
With its 360-degree views and an anything-goes crowd of hipsters, hotties, LGBTQ+ peeps, and celebrities, Palm Springs’ only rooftop pool bar is the place to bring out-of-town visitors. Cozy up to the bar and enjoy a classic or retro cocktail and be cool when you spot the likes of Oscar winner Jamie Foxx hanging with friends in one of the pool’s plush cabanas. As if that’s not enough, the smoked trout dip, shrimp rolls, and burgers can’t be beat.
Regardless of how late they’ve partied, the hip and hungry have been lining up for breakfast outside this Uptown Design District staple since 2008. And for good reason: Everything is made from scratch, and breakfast is served all day. Start yours with fresh-pressed juice or a spicy bloody mary before indulging in the fresh-baked cinnamon rolls and the best custard creamy scrambled eggs you’ve ever had.
• READ NEXT: Best Poolside Dining in the Desert.