Palm Springs, located east of Los Angeles, is the perfect destination if you’re looking for a fun and relaxing getaway. This town, known for its day trips and as a playground for many Hollywood stars, offers a vibrant atmosphere. Whether you’re exploring the stunning landscapes, indulging in the diverse restaurant scene, or engaging in the myriad of fun activities, such as hiking, golfing, or visiting art galleries, Palm Springs has something for everyone.
Adding to its allure, the nearby majestic mountains and national parks, like the enchanting Colorado, further enhance the natural beauty and adventure that await you in this desert oasis.
SEE ALSO: 15 Best Boutique Hotels in Palm Springs
Seasonally, the city becomes even more vibrant with events like Coachella and Modernism Week, so be sure to plan your trip accordingly. When you visit Palm Springs, take advantage of its excellent golf courses, picturesque hiking trails, and charming mid-century modern rentals.
First time visiting Palm Springs? Check out my guides on the city!
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Palm Canyon Drive
Palm Canyon Drive is an iconic road that winds through the heart of downtown Palm Springs, offering visitors a picturesque experience with its palm-lined streets. The drive showcases a vibrant avenue filled with charming shops, delightful restaurants, and lively bars, immersing you in the city’s unique atmosphere as you stroll along.
To make the most of your stay in Palm Springs, consider checking out the diverse selection of Palm Springs hotels that dot the area around Palm Canyon Drive. By choosing the perfect accommodation, you can ensure a memorable and comfortable experience while exploring all that this wonderful destination has to offer.
N Palm Canyon Dr California 92262 palmsprings.com
The Palm Springs Art Museum
The Palm Springs Art Museum is a world-renowned institution that offers visitors a chance to view and learn about some of the best art in the world. The museum’s permanent collection contains over 16,000 pieces of art and regularly rotating exhibitions. Be sure to check the schedule of events on performing arts and pop into the Annenberg Theater. The museum is located in downtown Palm Springs and is easy to find. Just look for the big blue building on the corner of Palm Canyon Drive and Tahquitz Canyon Way.
You’ll see the ticket counter to your left when you first walk in. Tickets are $12 for adults, $7 for students, and $5 for children under 12. Seniors and military personnel get a discount, too. Once you’ve got your ticket, head on into the galleries. The museum has three floors of exhibits, so there’s plenty to see. And if you get hungry, there’s a café on the first floor.
When you’re done at the museum, be sure to check out the gift shop. They’ve got some really cool art-themed items, and it’s a great place to find souvenirs for your friends and family back home.
101 N Museum Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92262 psmuseum.org
The Coachella Valley is a beautiful area located in Palm Springs, known for its stunning natural landscapes and views. There are a number of parks and preserves in the area, including the Coachella Valley Preserve and Indian Canyons, which offer visitors plenty of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors.
If you’re heading to the Coachella Valley for a music festival or just to enjoy the desert scenery, there are a few things you should know.
The Coachella Valley is served by two airports: Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) and Thermal Airport (TRM). PSP is the larger of the two airports and offers direct flights from major US cities, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, and Phoenix. TRM is a smaller airport located in the city of Thermal, about 30 minutes from downtown Palm Springs. There are a few daily flights from Los Angeles and San Diego, but the majority of visitors to the Coachella Valley arrive via PSP.
If you’re staying in Palm Springs, you can also get around by taking advantage of the city’s free trolley system. The trolley runs daily from morning until evening and makes stops at popular destinations throughout Palm Springs, including downtown, Palm Canyon Drive, and the Spa Resort Casino.
If you’re planning to attend a music festival at the Empire Polo Club in Indio (such as Coachella or Stagecoach), you may want to consider staying in one of the many RV parks or campgrounds in the area. These include Desert Hot Springs, Thousand Trails, and Indian Wells RV Resort.
81-800 Avenue 51, Indio, CA 92201 coachella.com
Palm Springs Visitor Center and Downtown Palm Springs
The first stop for any visitor should be the visitor center in downtown Palm Springs, the center offers a wealth of information about the area, including maps, brochures, and helpful staff who can answer any questions you may have. If you’re sightseeing the area, want to know about family-friendly activities, or are looking for tennis courts to play on, the visitor center has got info for you!
The Visitor Center is also home to the Palm Springs Art Museum, which houses a collection of modern and contemporary art. The museum is free to enter, and its exhibitions are rotated regularly, so there’s always something new to see.
2901 North Palm Canyon Drive Palm Springs, CA 92262 visitpalmsprings.com
Frank Sinatra House
The Frank Sinatra House is a mid-century modern house located in the Movie Colony–El Mirador neighborhood of Palm Springs, California. Designed by E. Stewart Williams, this house is built on a double lot with two separate structures connected by a breezeway. The main house contains three bedrooms and four bathrooms, while the guest house has two bedrooms and two bathrooms. The property also includes a swimming pool, tennis court, and gardens.
The house was designed in an International style with both Modernism and Traditionalism elements. It features clean lines, ample windows, and open spaces. The use of natural materials such as stone and wood gives the house a warm and inviting feeling.
Other notable homes Bob Hope’s home, commissioned by Architect John Lautner, and Elvis Presley’s home, Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway, which was open for tours but is currently closed. Their official website states, “Elvis has left the building. Tours are no longer available at this location, thank you very much.”
Closed establishments- I’ve included this section as many popular restaurants, hotels, and tourist sites as the pandemic affected many establishments.
Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway was open for tours, but the official website states, “Elvis has left the building. Tours are no longer available at this location, thank you very much.”
1145 E Vía Colusa, Palm Springs, CA 92262 sinatrahouse.com
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
For breathtaking views of Palm Springs and the surrounding desert landscape, take a ride on the Aerial Tramway. The tram car starts at the Valley Station, located in Chino Canyon, and ascends two-and-a-half miles to the Mountain Station. Along the way, riders can see palm trees give way to towering pines, the Coachella Valley, and the desert floor transforms into rocky mountain terrain. On clear days you can see the vistas of Mount San Jacinto.
The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is one of the most popular attractions in the area, so be sure to purchase your tickets in advance to avoid long lines. Once you arrive at the tram station, you’ll board a gondola that will take you up to the mountaintop. The ride is smooth and relatively short, but it’s definitely worth it for the incredible views. Trust us, you won’t want to miss this Palm Springs must-do!
1 Tram Way, Palm Springs, CA 9226 pstramway.com
San Jancito State Park
After riding the tram and seeing the beautiful Mount San Jacinto, you may become interested in the San Jacinto State Park. From Palm Springs, take the I-10 freeway east for about an hour to get to the park. The scenery is different from what you’re used to seeing in Southern California as it is more mountainous and has a lot of desert plants. You can hike, camp, and there are even some horseback riding trails.
5905 CA-243, Idyllwild-Pine Cove, CA 92549
Palm Springs VillageFest
Looking for a unique and fun-filled way to spend your evening? Look no further than the Palm Springs VillageFest! This weekly event takes place on Thursday evenings and features a variety of vendors, live entertainment, and delicious food. The Palm Springs VillageFest is the perfect place to find one-of-a-kind gifts, try new foods from around the world, and enjoy live music. There is truly something for everyone at this festive street fair. Located at the heart of Palm Springs, the VillageFest is easy to find and impossible to forget. So come on down and enjoy the best that Palm Springs has to offer!
10 N Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92262 villagefest.org
El Paseo is a shopper’s paradise, home to some of the most luxurious stores in the Palm Springs area. There’s also a festive culinary scene, with plenty of restaurants and bars to choose from. El Paseo is definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for a place to spend a day or evening out. Art lovers will enjoy sipping wine at the many fine art galleries in the area. The boulevard also hosts many public artworks throughout the year and holiday parades.
Palm Desert, CA 92260, USA elpaseocatalogue.com
Old Town La Quinta
When you drive into La Quinta, the first thing you’ll see is the picturesque Old Town district. This quaint village is home to some of the best restaurants in town, as well as a variety of shops and boutiques.
One of the best ways to explore Old Town is on foot. Follow Main Street’s cobblestone road between the old Spanish Colonial-style buildings adorned with colorful tiles, twinkling lights, and pink bougainvillea. Make sure to stop by one of the charming cafes for a bite to eat, or relax with a drink at one of the outdoor patios.
If you’re visiting during wintertime, be sure to stay until sunset so you can witness the beautiful light show. The golden hour is enhanced by a hazy, hot-tangerine sky, making for a romantic setting.
78-100 Main Street, Suite #203 La Quinta, CA 92253 oldtownlaquinta.com
Palm Springs Walk of Stars
The Walk of Stars features over 400 stars embedded in the sidewalk, each honoring a celebrity or notable local personality including scientists, authors, actors, musicians, and more. The Walk of Stars was created in 1994 by artist Joe Plastino and has been updated several times since then. It is a popular tourist destination and a great way to learn about some of the world’s most famous people. Some of the celebrities honored with stars on the Walk of Stars include- actor Clint Eastwood, musician John Lennon, singer Madonna, author Mark Twain and even scientist Albert Einstein. So grab an ice cream and take a stroll.
For those wanting to explore by jeep there are many desert tours that allow you to explore the geology of South California’s San Andreas fault. Beyond that, naturalist guides will take you through the desert, introducing you to the Native American Cahuilla tribe and the desert plants that make up the fragile ecosystem. Ask them about the wildlife or the different cacti you’ll encounter. The most popular jeep outfitter is the Red Jeep Tours which
10 N Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92262 red-jeep.com
Palm Springs Windmill Tours
If you’re looking for an interesting and unique place to visit, Palm Springs Windmill Tours is definitely worth checking out! With wind turbine generators as tall as 328 feet and blades the length of an American football field, these windmills are a sight to behold. Some interesting facts include that the largest windmill weighs 30,000 to 45,000 pounds and that these mega towers were engineered in cooperation with NASA. It’s also important to note that almost all of the currently installed wind electric generation capacity is in California. So if you’re ever in the Palm Springs area, be sure to take a tour of this one-of-a-kind windmill farm that’s used to power Palm Springs and the entire Coachella Valley!
62950 20th Ave, Palm Springs, CA 92262 windmilltours.com
The Tahquitz Canyon is another popular destination in Palm Springs, known for its incredible hiking trails and dramatic waterfalls. Visitors can enjoy a number of different trails of varying lengths and levels of difficulty or take a guided tour to get the most out of their visit. Mountain biking is also possible; no matter how you explore Tahquitz Canyon, you’re sure to have a memorable experience.
500 W Mesquite Ave Palm Springs CA 92264 tahquitzcanyon.com/canyon
Palm Springs Air Museum
If you’re a history buff or just love planes, the Palm Springs Air Museum is definitely worth a visit. The Palm Springs Air Museum is home to one of the world’s largest collections of aviation history. This world-renowned museum houses an impressive collection of aircraft, from WWI-era fighters to modern passenger jets. The museum is located in the heart of Palm Springs, just a short drive from many of the area’s popular tourist attractions. Admission is very reasonable, and there are plenty of parking options available. Once inside, you can explore at your own pace or take a guided tour (recommended). Whether you’re an aviation enthusiast or not, the Palm Springs Air Museum is sure to impress. So when you’re in town, be sure to add it to your itinerary!
745 N Gene Autry Trail, Palm Springs, CA 92262 palmspringsairmuseum.org
Joshua Tree National Park
If you’re looking for a breathtaking desert experience, Joshua Tree National Park is the place for you. Just outside of Palm Springs, this national park is home to some of the most stunning desert scenery in the country with its goregous rock formations and popular trees. With dozens of hiking trails to explore, Joshua Tree is a perfect destination for nature lovers of all levels.
Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just starting out, there’s a trail for you in Joshua Tree. Try summiting one of the park’s many peaks for those looking for a challenge. Or, if you prefer a more leisurely stroll, take a stroll through one of the park’s many canyons. No matter what your hiking level, you’ll be able to find a trail that suits your needs.
In addition to its many hiking trails, Joshua Tree is also home to a variety of unique plants and animals. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for wildlife such as desert bighorn sheep and chuckwallas. With so much to see and do, Joshua Tree National Park is a great way to continue you’re Southern California.
74485 National Park Drive Twentynine Palms , CA 92277 nps.gov/jotr/planyourvisit/index.htm
The Whitewater Preserve is located about 35 miles northeast of Palm Springs, California. The preserve is home to a variety of wildlife, including bighorn sheep, deer, and bears. The preserve also features a number of palm trees, cacti, and cairns, as well as a scenic pathway that leads to the trout ponds. The Whitewater River runs through the preserve, providing a source of water for the wildlife and vegetation. In the spring, the river forms a series of waterfalls that flow over the rocky basin. The preserve is also home to a variety of birds, including eagles, hawks, and owls. The Whitewater Preserve is open to the public year-round and offers a number of activities, such as hiking, camping, fishing, and birdwatching.
9160 Whitewater Canyon Rd, Whitewater, CA 92282 wildlandsconservancy.org
Moorten Botanical Garden
If you’re looking for a charming and unique botanical garden to explore in Palm Springs, Moorten Botanical Garden is definitely worth a visit and it’s free! There are guided tours for a small fee and a gift shop where you can purchase plants.
The garden features a variety of different plants from all over the world, as well as some interesting sculptures. It’s the perfect place to spend an afternoon if you’re looking to escape the heat and learn something new.
1701 S Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92264 moortenbotanicalgarden.com
Horseback riding in Palm Springs
Horseback riding is a popular activity in Palm Springs, as there are many beautiful trails to explore. The most popular riding happens through Smoke Tree Stables and Los Compadres Club stable. But numerous other riding clubs and stables dot the greater Palm Springs area. Horseback riding is offered year-round and will take you through the Indian Canyons, Morongo Valley, into San Bernadino Mountains, and other areas in and around Palm Springs.
San Jacinto Mountains
The San Jacinto Mountains are located just west of Palm Springs and offer visitors plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation. The mountains are home to a wide variety of wildlife, including deer, coyotes, and bobcats. The mountains are a popular destination for skiers and hikers alike, with several ski resorts operating in the winter months and plenty of hiking and camping opportunities available year-round. Visitors can enjoy stunning views of the valley below and the Coachella Valley Preserve from the many hiking trails that wind through the mountains. Families can enjoy fishing, camping, and picnicking in the park’s designated areas.
The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens
The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens is a must-visit for any animal lover. The zoo features a variety of different desert animals from North America, Africa, and the Middle East. You can see everything from giraffes and lions to meerkats and tortoises. In addition to the animals, the zoo also has beautiful gardens with plants from all over the world and many cacti. It’s a great place to spend an afternoon with your family or friends. There are also plenty of activities for kids, so everyone can have fun.
47900 Portola Ave, Palm Desert, CA 92260 livingdesert.org
Thousand Palms Oasis
The Thousand Palms Oasis is one of the most unique places in the palm desert. This 20,000 acre nature preserve is home to the endangered California Fan Palm. The California Fan Palm is the only species of palm that is native to the state. The palms get their name from their large, fan-shaped leaves. The leaves can grow up to 10 feet long, and they are used by the palm fronds to collect water from the air. The preserve is located in the Coachella Valley, which is known for its hot, dry climate. The oasis provides a welcome respite from the heat, with its cool temperatures and shady palm trees. The oasis is a favorite spot for bird watching, hiking and picnicking.
29200 Thousand Palms Canyon Rd, Thousand Palms, CA 92276 visitgreaterpalmsprings.com
The Indian Canyons
The Indian Canyons in Palm Springs are a must-see for any nature lover. With its crystal-clear streams, shady palm oases, and granite rock walls, the canyons offer visitors a glimpse into the area’s indigenous past as well as a chance to get away from the every day and connect with something deeper. The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians offers tours of the canyons, which are a great way to learn about the history and culture of the area.
Andreas Canyon is the perfect place to start your journey, with its gentle stream and towering canyon walls. It is easy to see why the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians have called this place home for centuries. It hosts over 150 different species of plants, and the mountain-fed stream is a soothing backdrop to your hike. The 1-mile loop trail is perfect for hikers of all levels and will take you through the pristine wilderness. As you hike, keep an eye out for the centuries-old mortars carved into the bedrock. These carvings are a reminder of the land’s ancient tribal past.
Things to know
- 1-mile loop
- No dogs allowed
- best times to visit this trail are October through May
- Park closes at 5pm
Entry fee: $24 per adult
S Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92264
For a moderate hiking and equestrian trail that offers stunning views of palm trees and cascading waterfalls, Murray Canyon is the perfect choice.
Located in the Indian Canyons of Palm Springs, this beautiful canyon is home to a small palm tree oasis and more than a dozen mountain-fed streams. The trails are well-maintained and offer hikers and equestrians plenty of challenges and beautiful scenery.
The Seven Sisters waterfall is one of the main attractions in Murray Canyon, and can be reached by following the creek up from the oasis. Be sure to bring your camera – you’ll want to capture this incredible natural wonder!
2019 E Murray Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92264
Palm Canyon is one of the most beautiful places in all of Greater Palm Springs. Its fifteen-mile length is covered with lush vegetation and idyllic streams; it’s the perfect place to relax and take in the natural beauty of the area. The gorge has nearly 3000 adult plans alongside a gentle stream at the foot of the Indian Canyons Trading Post.
The canyon is also home to a wide variety of indigenous plants and animals, which the Cahuilla people have been using for centuries. This makes it the perfect place for visitors to learn about the local history and culture.
In addition to its natural beauty, Palm Canyon also offers plenty of opportunities for recreation. Visitors can enjoy hiking, picnicking, and even horseback riding in the park. And be sure to check out the Trading Post for souvenirs and information on the area.
S Palm Canyon Dr CA 92262
If you’re looking for a fun and unique activity to do while in Greater Palm Springs area, consider a trip to the Cabazon Dinosaurs. These life-size dinosaur sculptures are a great photo op, and they’re also a lot of fun to explore.
There are two main dinosaurs at the site – Mr. Rex and Ms. Diplodocus – but several smaller dinosaurs are scattered around. You can explore all of the dinosaurs at your own pace, and there are also a few fun activities for kids (and adults) to do.
From Palm Springs to Cabazon Dinosaurs, it’s only about a half-hour drive. Take the I-10 East and get off at the Cabazon exit. The dinosaurs will be on your right-hand side. You can’t miss them! They make for a great road trip destination if you’re traveling with family or friends or if you’re just looking for a fun date.
There is no admission fee to see the dinosaurs, but there is a small fee for parking. The dinosaurs are open every day from 9 am to 5 pm.
50770 Seminole Dr, Cabazon, CA 92230 cabazondinosaurs.com
World War II History in Palm Springs
History buffs will enjoy visiting Desert Regional Hospital used to be the famous El Mirador Hotel. which played a role in World War II. The US Army purchased the building to house injured World War II soldiers from the Pacific Theater, giving them a nice sunny place on the edge of the Sonoran Desert.
The Palm Springs Historical Society offers historical tours of the site, which include a look at the old swimming pool (now filled in) and views of the San Jacinto Mountains. They’ve got two museums on site: one dedicated to the history of the El Mirador Hotel and one all about the Cahuilla people who have lived in the area for centuries.
Out of Palm Springs, you can visit the General Patton Museum, which displays World War II memorabilia honoring US veterans. The museum is open daily and is located only an hour from Palm Springs!
62510 Chiriaco Rd, Chiriaco Summit, CA 92201 generalpattonmuseum.com
Rancho Mirage is a short drive from many of Southern California’s top attractions and is only 20 minutes from Palm Springs. Tucked into the foothills of the Santa Rosa Mountains, it’s a great place for shopping. The city is home to a variety of art galleries, museums, and performing arts venues. Rancho Mirage is also a great place to enjoy the outdoors. The city has several parks and hiking trails.
Rancho Mirage is a great place to shop for antiques and boutique items. The city also has several golf courses and tennis facilities. Given its location, Rancho Mirage is often combined with trips to Palm Springs or Joshua Tree National Park. Visitors can enjoy a variety of activities in the area, including swimming, hiking, and bird watching.
69825 Highway 111 Rancho Mirage, CA 92270 ranchomirageca.gov
Sunnylands Center & Gardens
Sunnylands Center & Gardens is a beautiful desert oasis in Rancho Mirage, California. The 15-acre property features winding driveways, desert landscaping, and a glass-fronted center that houses rotating art exhibitions, a café, a gift shop, and multimedia offerings.
Sunnylands is currently closed but is scheduled to reopen September 14, 2022.
37977 Bob Hope Dr, Rancho Mirage, CA 92270 sunnylands.org/visit-the-gardens
Now that you’ve got a comprehensive introduction to Palm Springs and all it has to offer, it’s time to start planning your trip! And what better way to get started than by checking out some of the city’s most popular annual events? From art and music festivals to golf tournaments and foodie events, there’s something for everyone in Palm Springs. So start packing your bags, and don’t forget your sunscreen – you’re going to need it in this desert oasis!
You may want to plan your visit around some of Palm Spring’s most popular annual events include:
- Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival: This world-renowned music festival takes place over two weekends in April and features some of the biggest names in the music industry. If you’re a fan of live music, Coachella is a must-attend event.
- Stagecoach Music Festival: Another can’t-miss music festival in Palm Springs, Stagecoach takes place over three days in April and features a lineup of country music’s biggest stars.
- Desert Golf Classic: This annual golf tournament attracts some of the world’s top golfers to Palm Springs for a weekend of competitive play. If you’re a fan of golf, this is a great event to check out.
- Palm Springs International Film Festival: This 10-day film festival is one of the largest events of its kind in North America and features screenings of hundreds of international films. If you’re a film buff, this is definitely the event for you.
- Desert X – Desert X 2023 will open in Coachella Valley from March 4 – May 7, 2023
So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip
FAQ of things to do in Palm Springs
Why did celebrities go to Palm Springs?
The history of celebrities coming to Palm Springs dates back to the 1910s when production studios started filling me, including Peer Gynt and Zane Grey. As it grew in popularity, celebrities started coming for longer periods of time, purchasing vacation homes in the area.
How would you describe Palm Springs?
Hollywood stars come out to Palm Springs for the same reasons any other vacationers would- mid-century architecture, great arts, shopping, dining, and many outdoor activities.
Is it worth visiting Palm Springs?
Palm Springs is great in the winter months, given the great warm, temperate weather. There are many things to do, and it is absolutely worth going for a visit.
When did Palm Springs become so popular?
The roaring 1920s is when Palm Springs really became popular as movie stars frequently retreated there on the weekends.
Do any celebrities live in Palm Springs?
Sia, Barry Manilow, Kurt Russell, Anne Rice, and Goldie Hawn all have homes in Palm Springs, with many other celebrities owning in the 92262 zip code.
Where is Kardashian’s house in Palm Springs?
The Kardashians’ house is called The Madison Club in La Quinta, an exclusive gated community.