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A Romantic Getaway

Rancho Mirage and its surroundings embody a Mad Men-era glamour that transports you to a different time. Tour the area’s renowned mid-century modern homes, once owned by Hollywood stars. Tee off on some of the country’s top golf courses and hike cactus-lined desert trails, then soak sore muscles in mineral-rich hot springs. The food scene in Palm Springs has heated up in the last few years. Cozy up at a dim-lit Prohibition-era restaurant, then catch a show at McCallum Theatre or stargaze at the desert sky.

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Day

1

MORNING
  • Breakfast Alfresco.

    Breakfast at Norma’s is a five-star experience offered all day long. The always-buzzy open-air terrace is great for people watching as you dig into Norma’s lemon custard and blueberry jam doughnuts and banana-macadamia nut flapjacks topped with whipped cream. If you’re counting calories, healthy options jokingly labeled “rabbit food” are on the menu.

  • Tee Off.

    Palm Springs is home to more than 100 of America’s top golf courses. Guests at The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage can enjoy privileges at some of the area’s most exclusive country clubs, including the nearby Desert Willow. Hit the greens early to beat the heat.

MIDDAY
  • Peel and Eat.

    Grab a table on the outdoor patio and a bucket of peel-and-eat shrimp at Shanghai Reds Oyster Bar. This local favorite is on the main drag but remains off the radar of most visitors. Locals swear it serves the valley’s tastiest fish tacos.

AFTERNOON
  • Pampering for Two.

    After a round of golf, relieve sore muscles at The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Rancho Mirage. Carved into the earth on multiple levels, the spa offers the ultimate oasis of relaxation. Enjoy a customized side-by-side treatment — the Desert Wildflower Poultice Massage combines century-old techniques with indigenous herbs to release muscular tension.

EVENING
  • See the Stars.

    Catch a show at McCallum Theatre. Named for a pioneering desert family, the McCallum hosts big-name acts such as Bill Murray and Yo-Yo Ma and Broadway-style plays like “Kinky Boots” and “A Chorus Line.”

  • Provençal Dinner.

    On Friday and Saturday evenings, Farm offers a five-course prix-fixe dinner that makes for the perfect date spot. The bougainvillea-covered patio bistro has a blackboard menu, white tablecloths and live music.

LATE NIGHT
  • Ole Blue Eyes.

    Stop by Frank Sinatra’s old haunt, Melvyn’s Restaurant, for after-dinner drinks and dancing. Celebrity photos line the lounge walls and a pianist plays old-school favorites and pop numbers beside the dance floor.  

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Day

2

MORNING
  • But First, Coffee.

    Jump-start your day at Ristretto, For Coffee Lovers, which features perfectly crafted lattes and straight-from-the-oven baked goods.

  • Valley Views.

    Ride the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, the world’s largest rotating tram car, over 2½ miles to Mount San Jacinto State Park, which sits at an elevation of 8,516 feet above sea level. Wear your sneakers or hiking shoes. From the top, you can access 50 miles of hiking trails and snap photos of the breathtaking cliffs of Chino Canyon from the various observation decks.  

AFTERNOON
  • Soak It Up.

    In the foothills overlooking Palm Springs, just 15 minutes from downtown, healing mineral spring water feeds the 20-plus spas of wellness mecca Desert Hot Springs. Soak in the palm-shaded lithium-rich pools at Two Bunch Palms, then dine on sustainable, organic fare, such as cauliflower kale tabbouleh and hemp seed veggie burgers, at the spa’s restaurant, Essence.  

  • Geek Out on Design.

    After ogling the stunning homes and buildings of Palm Springs and its surroundings, learn more about their history at the Architecture & Design Center, which specializes in mid-century modern architecture and design.  

LATE AFTERNOON
  • One Shake, Two Straws.

    The desert environs are ideal for growing dates, and someone, no one knows who for sure, had the brilliant idea of mixing them with ice cream, creating the unofficial drink of Palm Springs, the date shake. Locals will debate which restaurant or shop sells the best sweet, creamy treat, but the unassuming Windmill Market is a contender because it uses real dates (rather than a purée).  

EVENING
  • Stargazing Safari.

    Go on a stargazing Jeep tour with Desert Adventures. The three-hour trip starts on the private 800-acre Metate Ranch on the San Andreas Fault and journeys through a natural palm oasis, an incredible box and slot canyons, and an ancient fossil bed. When the sun sets, you’ll be treated to a dazzling diamond-studded sky.  

  • Steak Dinner.

    Have a romantic meal at The Edge Steakhouse at The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage. The glass-enclosed dining room has a dramatic cliff-side setting, from which diners can take in the illuminated valley 650 feet below. A carnivore’s delight, the restaurant boasts its own dry-aging room and stellar wine list. Don’t miss the slow-braised lamb shank, served with charred broccoli rabe and lemon confit vinaigrette.