Wondering what the most beautiful things to do in Palm Springs are? Here’s everything you need to do in the heart of the California desert!
Home to incredibly photogenic palm-fringed streets, quirky art installations, chic restaurants, delightful mid-century architecture, and trendy hotels, Palm Springs is a destination that is the epitome of desert chic.
While many people visit Palm Springs in order to hop over to Joshua Tree National Park, this incredible city is a destination of its own.
I’ve been several times and still can’t enough of it, and if you’re anything like me, you’re pretty much guaranteed to fall in love with it just as much as I did.
Here’s the ultimate list of the top things to do in Palm Springs, including things to do within the city as well as nearby attractions that are worth detouring for.
The Most Beautiful Things to Do in Palm Springs
1. Hike and camp in Joshua Tree National Park.
Visiting Joshua Tree National Park is one of the best things to do near Palm Springs, California.
The park is pretty much considered the heart of the California Desert and is located where the Mojave and Colorado deserts meet, resulting in a very peculiar-looking landscape that is an absolute treat to hike through (think quirky rock formations, Joshua trees all over, and geology as unique as it gets).
There are plenty of hiking trails available for all levels, with Discovery Trail, Boy Scout Trail, Wall Street Mill, Barket Dam, and the Split Rock Trail being just a few of my favorites.
Moreover, camping in Joshua Tree is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The park is listed as Dark Sky Territory, and stargazing from here is one of the coolest things I’ve ever done in my life.
2. Enjoy the view of breathtaking cliffs on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is the largest rotating tram car in the world. It goes all the way from the Chino Canyon to Mount San Jacinto State Park and provides glorious views of cliffs over two miles.
3. Browse the exhibit at Palm Springs Art Museum
The Palm Springs Art Museum homes 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries pieces from all over California, including Native American gems and classic Western works.
4. Enjoy the educational exhibit at Palm Springs Air Museum
As far as educational Palm Springs CA activities go, a visit to the Palm Springs Air Museum definitely takes the cake.
The museum showcases the importance of combat aircraft and pilots during World War II and the role they played in winning the war.
5. Hike in Mount San Jacinto State Park
Located over 10,0000 above sea level, Mount Jacinto is the tallest peak in the San Jacinto Range and a wilderness area that offers over 54 miles of trails that soar over the desert.
Needless to say, the views here are simply beautiful, and there are hiking paths available for all levels.
6. Take a Jeep tour along the San Andreas fault
The San Andreas fault line is the longest of its kind in the entire world. Measuring almost 800 miles, it sits right between the Pacific and North American plates.
If you’re up for the adventure, you can book a tour and hop on an open-air jeep and explore the unique geology of San Andreas.
Things you’ll get to see include a desert oasis, twisted rock mountains, steep-walled canyons, unique fauna, and more.
7. Explore the San Bernardino National Forest
Home to eight designated wilderness areas, the San Bernardino National Forest is a destination of its own and one of the most beautiful things to do near Palm Springs if you love nature.
Here, you can enjoy lots of outdoor activities, including hiking, backpacking, camping, fishing, horseback riding, off-road drives, and more.
Cross-country and alpine skiing are also available during the winter, making a visit here one of the best things to do in Palm Springs in January.
8. Ride a jeep or a bike through the Indian Canyons
The Indian Canyons were the ancestral home of the Cahuilla Indians. Throughout this incredibly mystical place, you will find house pits, rock art, irrigation ditches, dams, and other things they left behind that prove how advanced of a civilization they were.
In order to fully explore the canyon and learn all about the tribe, you can take a jeep tour through the area as you listen to stories told by an expert.
9. Marvel at the waterfalls of Tahquitz Canyon
Hidden deep in the crevices of the San Jacinto Mountains, Tahquitz Canyon is a canyon that offers a 2-mile loop to a beautiful waterfall. Along the way, you will be able to see rock art and lots of wildlife.
I found this hike a bit challenging as there are many rock steps to climb and barely any shade, but it’s worth the effort!
10. Discover folk art at the Noah Purifoy Outdoor Desert Art Museum
The Noah Purifoy Outdoor Desert Art Museum is one of the best spots in Palm Springs if you love peculiar art.
Set in the desert, this is an open-air museum displaying plenty of offbeat folk art assemblages, reimagined junk as art, and lots of quirky art installations. This was definitely one of my favorite photo spots in Palm Springs and I highly recommend it if you want to get unique pictures.
11. Visit the Coachella Valley Preserve
Formed by a system of sand dunes, this 20,000-acre sanctuary is home to several species of rare wildlife and a number of palm oases.
The preserve is a dream come true for wildlife lovers as plenty of threatened species live here.
Hiking is the ultimate way to get to know the area, with my favorite trail being the McCallum Trail to McCallum Grove as it is a pretty easy one that will have you passing through unique geological features.
This hike is a 2-mile round trip, and if you feel like going further, you can extend it by following the Moon Canyon Trail for an extra mile.
12. Relax at Ruth Hardy Park
Ruth Hardy Park is a green oasis in the heart of the city perfect for relaxing. It has plenty of green space, a children’s playing area, and public tennis and basketball courts.
13. Join a bike tour through Palm Springs
Palm Springs is a wonderful place to bike through. There are lots of bike tours available depending on your interests.
Some of them will have you biking to see the highlights of the town, while others will get you to different neighborhoods in order to admire their architecture and some will take you out to the desert.
14. Go rock climbing in different rock formations
Greater Palm Springs is home to thousands of bouldering and rock climbing routes, so you’ll be spoiled for choice if you want to do this activity.
One of the best places to go in Palm Springs for rock climbing is Joshua Tree National Park, where you’ll find impressive rock formations and twisted tree trunks in the high desert.
15. Check out the Cabazon Dinosaurs
The Cabazon Dinosaurs is one of the coolest roadside attractions in the world and a must-do in Palm Springs CA, especially if you’re into quirky and extremely photogenic things.
Here, you’ll find two gigantic dinosaur statues standing in what feels like the middle of nowhere: Dinny the Dinosaur and Mr. Rex.
You will find these dinosaurs about a 20-minute drive away from Palm Springs.
16. Enjoy the RoboLights show
The RoboLights show is a slightly creepy and incredibly quirky art installation of Christmas-inspired themes.
Think sparkling paths dotted by robots and other interesting Holiday characters to get an idea of what this outdoor display by Kenny Irwin is all about!
This is one of the best things to do in Palm Springs during the holiday season.
The exhibit is slightly different every year, but it usually runs from the end of November until the beginning of January.
17. Have fun with your dog at Palm Springs Dog Park
If you’re visiting Palm Springs with your furry friends, you can’t miss out on taking them to Palm Springs Dog Park.
This park is made up of 1.6 acres of rolling grass, picnic tables, and lots of fire hydrants for their amusement.
18. Relax at Boomers Palm Springs with your family or friends
One of the must-do things in Palm Springs, if you’re visiting Palm Springs in a group, is to check out Boomers Palm Springs, where you’ll find a plethora of fun activities like go-karts, mini golf courses, bumper boats, batting cages, and plenty more.
19. Hike Palm Canyon
Palm Canyon is a 15-mile-long area where you’ll find desert lands contrasted by rocky gorges and an incredible variety of flora and fauna.
Hiking here will not only have you exploring a beautiful desert oasis, but will also give you the chance to take a step back in time and imagine what life was like here for the Cahuilla people.
20. Visit the lush Moorten Botanical Gardens
If you’re looking for cool things to do in Palm Springs CA that are also educational, a visit to the Moorten Botanical Gardens is a must on your itinerary.
These are some of the prettiest botanical gardens I’ve ever visited because you can spend hours on end admiring a variety of desert plants like cacti and trees.
Most of the specimens you’ll find here hail from the California desert, but you can also find plants from other corners of the world.
22. Explore the historic Cabot’s Pueblo Museum
The Cabot’s Pueblo Museum was built into an American historic house created by Cabot Yerxa, a pioneer of the Colorado Desert.
Aside from getting to know the house, you will also be able to admire artworks and artifacts from American Indian and Alaskan Native cultures as well as memorabilia from the desert.
23. Enjoy a picnic at DeMuth Park
For a low-key day in Palm Springs, hosting a picnic at DeMuth Park is not only a great way to relax but also a fun activity that will get you closer to what local life in the city is like.
This is the largest developed park in Palm Springs and has plenty of facilities like playgrounds, open lawns, exercise areas, and picnic tables.
Pack your favorite snacks and drinks and spend a few hours just enjoying the outdoors!
24. Try out different rides at Castle Park
While Los Angeles definitely has some of the best amusement parks in the world, Palm Springs has one of its own and is worth visiting, especially if you’re visiting with kids.
Not only will you find lots of fun things like arcades, mini golf courses, and lots of entertaining shows, but there are also over a dozen rollercoasters and thrilling rides on offer.
25. Brings your kids and family to Get Air Trampoline Park
Another incredible thing to do in Palm Springs with kids is to spend half a day at the Get Air Trampoline Park.
Here, you’ll find wall-to-wall trampolines, drunk lakes, ninja courses, and foam pits, all of which are guaranteed to provide lots of fun.
Even if you’re not visiting with kids, this place is fun for all ages!
26. Take a tour of the historic Sunnylands Center and Gardens
If you love plants and stunning settings, one of the most beautiful things to do in Palm Springs is to visit the Sunnylands Center and Gardens in the nearby Rancho Mirage.
This property opened its doors to the public in 2021 and ever since then it has drawn visitors keen to walk its paths lined by over 70 species of arid plants.
27. Visit the World Famous Crochet Museum
The World Famous Crochet Museums looks more like a small drive-thru stand by the road, but this quirky green structure actually contains a world of crocheted items mostly created during the 70s.
28. Discover the unique ‘Baby On The Move’ sculptures
If you love things that look somewhat weird, don’t miss out on checking out the ‘Baby on the Move’ sculptures that seemingly popped out of nowhere in downtown Palm Springs back in 2018.
You’ll find them right between The Rowan Hotel and the Palm Springs Art Museum.
They’re 10 gigantic sculptures of babies that appear to be crawling around. Adorable? Creepy? You can decide!
29. Take a photo with the Lucille Ball Statue
The Lucille Ball Statue is a bronze statue of an American comedian created by Emmanuil and Janet Snitkovsky in 1995 in order to celebrate her career and legacy.
You can find it at the intersection of Palm Canyon Drive and Tahquitz Canyon Way.
30. Learn and pay your respects at the Desert Holocaust Memorial
Opened to pay tribute to the 6 million people who lost their lives during World War II, the Desert Holocaust Memorial stands in Palm Desert and is a must-visit during your time in Palm Springs.
At the heart of the memorial, you’ll find seven larger-than-life sculptures that vividly retell the story and terrors of the Holocaust.
31. Check out the historical and cultural displays at Agua Caliente Cultural Museum
The Agua Caliente Cultural Museum is a must on your Palm Springs to-do list, especially if you want to dive deeper into the history of the region.
Here, you’ll be able to learn all about the Cahuilla people of the Coachella Valley through historical and cultural displays and exhibitions.
32. Join a scavenger hunt
If you’re not into museums and traditional attractions, one of the coolest ways to uncover the thousands of years of history behind Palm Springs is by joining a scavenger hunt through the city.
Many companies offer scavenger hunts through Palm Springs and most of them lead to you the best landmarks as well as hidden gems.
You will need to answer trivia questions and solve challenges in order to get to the next spot!
33. Go on a windmill tour to San Gorgonio Pass wind farm
The San Gorgonia Pass wind farm is a wind farm that stretches from North Palm Springs all the way to the San Gorgionio Pass.
It opened back in the 80s and was the first of its kind in Southern California.
To celebrate 40 years of clean energy, Palm Springs Windmill Tours curated an exhibit and tour providing an in-depth background of the farm.
Since its opening, it has become one of the most unique things to do in Palm Springs.
34. Play golf in one of more than 130 Palm Springs golf courses
Palm Springs is a top golfing destination with more than 130 golf courses available all over town.
Each one is quite possibly better than the last and all of them offer gorgeous views.
Some of the best ones to get started with include the Indian Wells Golf Resorts, the Desert Willow Golf Resort, the Indian Canyons Golf Resort, the Escena Gulf Clun, and the Westin Rancho Mirage Golf Resort and Spa, to name just a few.
35. Let the whole family have fun at Big Bear Snow Play
Set on Big Bear Lake, the Big Bear Snow Play offers year-round recreational activities for all ages.
Even though the resort can be visited all year, this is one of the best things to do in Palm Springs from November onwards.
Once temperatures start dropping, it becomes a mecca for fun in the snow activities like snow tubing, sledding, and more.
36. Bring your kids to the Children’s Discovery Museum
If you’re looking for things to do in Palm Springs with kids, the Children’s Discovery Museum is a great option.
During their time here, the kids will be able to learn about the desert and science through hands-on exhibits and interactive activities.
37. Join a walking tour of the Palm Springs Historical Society
Palm Springs is famed for homing the largest concentration of midcentury modern architecture in the world.
Taking a walking tour through its historic neighborhoods is a wonderful way to get to know more about the city’s story and unique aesthetic.
38. Have a joyous time at the Palm Springs Village Fest
Every Thursday night, Downtown Palm Springs bursts to life when it transforms into the Palm Springs Village Fest.
This weekly street fair features crafts, entertainment, food, and arts and is loved by locals and tourists alike.
As you explore, you’ll be able to find an array of entertainment, art displays, flower shops, entertainment venues, and incredible shops.
39. Face the challenge in an escape room
Escape Rooms are always a ton of fun, and Palm Springs has plenty of them!
Escape Room Palm Springs, Scenario Escape Room, The Curiosity Shop Escape Room, Over The Moon Escape Rooms, and Escape Games at the River are just a few of the top-rated ones in town.
40. Visit the Palm Springs Walk of the Stars
Since the 30s, Palm Springs has been a favorite getaway for Hollywood stars.
If you love all things celebrities, you can stroll through this walk of fame in downtown Palm Springs where you’ll be able to see over 400 plates bearing the name of celebs and notable locals.
41. Check out the 28-foot-tall Spider Volkswagen sculpture
The Spider Volkswagen is a gigantic sculpture shaped like a black widow spider that will make you feel as though you’re in a scene from Stranger Things.
The statue was created by Robert Miner using a Volkswagen Beetle in order to “guard” the entrance to the Hole in the Wall repair shop.
This is a bit of a hidden gem but one worth visiting. I love how many quirky things you can find in Palm Springs and this statue is pretty much the epitome of that!
42. Try meditating inside a cave
If you want to treat your trip like a retreat, cave meditation is a popular Palm Springs activity to try.
Plenty of hotels offer cave meditation as an extra activity.
More often than not, they will drive you to Joshua Tree where you’ll be able to enjoy a nature walk, a sound bath, and guided meditation inside a magical cave.
I booked my tour via the Marriot and loved the experience.
43. Camp, fish, and have a picnic at the Lake Cahuilla Recreation Area
Located at the base of the Santa Rosa Mountains, Lake Cahuilla is a 710-acre park sitting amid lanes and beautiful mountain views.
A day trip here is the perfect way to escape Palm Springs, with activities like fishing and picnicking being readily available on the menu.
If you feel like spending a night under the stars, there are dozens of campsites available around the lake.
44. Take a photo with the Sonny Bono Statue
The Sonny Bono Sculpture is a larger-than-life bronze sculpture of Sonny Bonno located at 155 S. Palm Canyon Drive.
If you are a fan of the artist, taking a picture is a must-do in Palm Springs!
45. Visit the different breweries in Palm Springs
If you love yourself a good craft beer, you’ll find several breweries and distilleries in Greater Palm Springs worth checking out.
Have a barbeque and visit the oldest craft beer microbrewery at Babe’s Bar-B-Que & Brewery, enjoy the sun at the outdoor patio at La Quinta Brewing Co. in Old Town, or order a pint of citrus and honey-based beers at the Coachella Valley Brewing Company.
46. Browse the wide selection of collectibles at the Antique Galleries of Palm Springs
If you’re into vintage shopping, you won’t stop swooning over the incredible collection of antiques and items found at this gallery in Palm Springs.
Think tableware, mid-century modern decor, vintage clothes, retro signs, and just about anything you can think of to take you back in time!
47. Traverse through the scenic Palm Canyon Drive
Palm Canyon Drive is the main street in Palm Springs and a place you’ll probably spend lots of time in.
Throughout, you’ll find some of the top hotels, restaurants, and shops in the city. Walking through Palm Canyon Drive is one of the best free things to do in Palm Springs, but you can also drive or rent a bike if you prefer.
48. Join a tour through the homes of celebrities
Palm Springs has been a favorite retreat destination for celebrities ever since the 30s.
While many stay at top hotels, several stars decided to go all in and build beautiful homes to escape the hustle of Los Angeles.
While many of them are found in gated communities and are therefore inaccessible to the general public, some homes are set on regular streets and can be viewed from outside!
Most tours will take you to the homes of Elvis Presley, Alan Ladd, Marilyn Monroe, Nat King Cole, Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, and others.
These addresses are easily searchable on Google, so you can also create your own self-guided tour if you prefer.
49. Test your sports skill at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden
Set 15 miles southeast of Palm Springs in the Indian Wells community, the Indian Wells Tennis Gardens is one of the world’s most acclaimed sports and entertainment venues.
Their tennis club is home to the BNP Paribas Open and has state-of-the-art facilities. It is open to the public, so if you’re in the mood for a game amid beautiful views, this place is everything you could hope for.
50. Enjoy the view and mid-century modern architecture in the Alexander Estate
Nestled in the skirts of the mountains, the Alexander Estate is located in the Little Tuscany neighborhood and offers dramatic views of peaks from a modern home.
It’s one of the most famous homes in Palm Springs, and while it isn’t open to the public, you can rent it for the night or to host an event.
51. Hang out at the old-school Purple Room Supper Club
If a night out in Palm Springs is what you’re after, the Purple Room Supper Club should be a must on your schedule.
The venue opened its doors during the 60s inside the Club Trinidad Resort and ever since then, it has been a favorite hangout spot for nightlife lovers.
Back in the day, you could find Frank Sinatra enjoying his evenings here!
These days, the Purple Room Supper Club remains just as popular. Celebrity sightings aren’t unusual here even today. Reservations are highly recommended.
52. Check out the LGBT Veterans Memorial
Opened in 2019 by Palm Springs Major Robert Moon, the LGBT Veterans Memorial was founded as a way to honor gay veterans – the first one of its kind in the entire United States.
Robert Moon served in the US Navy for 26 years, all while remaining silent about his orientation even after marrying his husband. He openly shared his story during the official designation ceremony of the memorial.
53. Stop by the Palm Springs Visitors Center
The Palm Springs Visitor Center is an icon of the city and a Palm Springs must-do.
What I love about this visitor center is how unique it is – it’s located at an old gas station and is backdropped by mountains, so it is a wonderful spot for a pretty quintessential Palm Springs photo.
54. Cross through the Nudist Bridge
Palm Springs is a confluence of the weird and the wonderful, and the Nudist Bridge is exactly what it sounds like – a bridge built so nudists can discreetly cross the road!
55. Enjoy a day of performing arts at the McCallum Theatre
The McCallum Theater is a concert venue located on the campus of the College of the Desert in Palm Springs.
It opened back in the 80s and ever since then, it has been widely acclaimed for its incredibly varied events and state-of-the-art facilities.
Concerts, theater performances, and all sorts of entertainment are held here regularly, so make sure to check the venue’s calendar to see if there’s anything interesting going on during your visit to Palm Springs.
56. Go birdwatching at Andreas Canyon
Located inside the alluring Indian Canyons just outside of Palm Springs, the Andreas Canyon is one of the most beautiful things to do in Palm Springs if you want to escape the city for a little bit.
I loved this place for hiking and picnicking inside a unique setting made up of weird-looking rock formations, not to mention it’s also a wonderful place for birdwatching as there are so many species of birds flying everywhere!
57. Hike at Murray Canyon
The Murray Canyon Trail is a stunning 3.7-mile out-and-back hike that will take you to Seven Falls, a waterfall that looks absolutely magical and somewhat unreal in the middle of the desert.
Along the way, you’ll stumble across humongous boulders, a running stream, and natural palm trees, so even though the waterfall is the “prize” of the hike, I found the way there just as beautiful.
58. Take a ride in a vintage biplane
One of the most beautiful things to do in Palm Springs is hopping on a vintage biplane to soar over the city and its surroundings.
Not only are the views absolutely gorgeous, but getting to ride an authentic biplane is a truly unique experience that will make you feel as though you stepped back in time. This experience is offered by Palm Springs Biplanes.
59. Browse through the El Paseo shopping district
El Paseo is a world-class shopping district in Palm Desert where you’ll find fine dining restaurants, exclusive shops, and a calendar filled with activities.
60. Hike the Ladder Canyon Trail
The Ladder Canyon Trail is a gorgeous hike in the Mecca Hills Wilderness, which is known for its beautiful and unusual geological formations.
There are several ways to complete this hike depending on your preference. You can choose to hike up to Painted Canyon (the main slot canyon), bypass Ladders Trail, and head back.
Alternatively, you can choose to hike both Painted Canyon and Ladders Trail in order to turn the hike into a “loop”. I recommend doing the entire loop to make the most out of your visit (it’s 4.4 miles in total).
As a tip, while most people choose to do the loop clockwise, you can choose to do the hike counterclockwise to climb down the ladders rather than up.
The trailhead starts about an hour south of Palm Springs, but it’s absolutely worth the detour.
61. Visit the 17-acre date farm of Shields Date Garden
The Shields Date Garden is a huge date farm located outside of Palm Springs where you’ll find a lush garden and plenty of incredible photo spots.
What I found interesting about this farm, though, is the fact that there’s a path dotted with Biblical-themed sculptures and 14 scenes depicting Christ’s life.
If you’re not religious, though, you will also love learning about date farming and walking through the winding pathways of the farm.
62. Have a fun get-together in a ‘pedal pub’
If you’re visiting Palm Springs with friends and want to exercise while you drink, a pedal pub is a great way to get to know the city while you drink beer!
At least 6 passengers are needed to pedal the pub, with a limit of 16 people per bike.
63. Get a day of pampering in one of the top-rated Palm Springs spas
For decades now, Palm Springs has been a destination that is all about rest and getting away from everything for a while.
Celebrities like Marilyn Monroe and Frank Sinatra would retreat to the city whenever they could get a break, so you can pretty much expect the spas here to be as good as they can get.
The Well Spa at Miramonte Resort at Indian Wells, Two Bunch Palms Resort and Spa, The Spa at Desert Springs, Palm Springs Yacht Club at Parker Palm Springs, and the Spa La Quinta at the La Quinta Resort & Club are just a few of the best-rated spas in Palm Springs you can choose from.
64. Explore the mountain community of Idyllwild
Nestled in the heart of the San Jacinto Mountains, Idyllwind is a cozy alpine locale with an incredibly charming small-town atmosphere you’ll fall head over heels in love with.
Small local shops, family-owned restaurants, and cozy lodges are what you can expect to find here along with plenty of hiking trails and fun outdoor activities.
Idyllwind is pretty much a destination of its own, so if you have several days to spend in Palm Springs, I highly recommend staying here for at least one night.
65. Lounge in picture-perfect resorts
Palm Springs is home to some of the most aesthetically beautiful resorts in the world.
Most of the properties are set on hilltops and boast beautiful views of the mountains around, all while providing terrace pools, world-class facilities, and stunning decor.
While there are so many things to do in Palm Springs that you may fill up your schedule with activities, make sure you also dedicate at least half a day to simply lounging at a resort and enjoying your surroundings.
If you don’t have the budget to splurge on a top-rated resort for your Palm Springs vacation, many of them offer limited day passes as well.
The Parker, Arrive Palm Springs, and The Colony Palms are just a few examples of resorts that allow you to have a daycation at their pool.
66. Soak in hot springs
Hot springs in the desert are a thing in Palm Springs, especially if you head to Desert Hot Springs, which is commonly nicknamed California’s Spa City.
Here, you’ll find a wide array of resorts and boutique hotels offering pools, spas, and jacuzzis filled with mineral water that emerged from the San Andreas Fault.
The water is said to contain curative properties that reduce pain, increase metabolism, and improve health.
While the list of spas is pretty much endless, some of the top-rated ones include Azure Palm Hot Springs, The Good House, Two Bunch Palms, The Sky Valley Resort, The Morocco Inn, Tuscan Springs Hotels, Hope Springs, and the Lido Palms Resort.
67. Snap a photo in front of the Palm Springs sign
No trip to Palm Springs would be complete without snapping a photo at the Palm Springs sign, which is backdropped by beautiful mountains and located right by the visitor center.
I recommend visiting at sunset when the light hitting the mountains makes the landscape look gorgeous.
Best Tours to Do in Palm Springs
4.5 ⭐️ 839 Reviews
Get some of the best views around Palm Springs by hopping on the Aerial Tramway that will take you all the way to the San Jacinto Mountains through mountain spires, cliffs, and gorgeous desert views.
5 ⭐️ 492 Reviews
Hop on a jeep to explore the unique geology of the San Andreas Fault, which forms the tectonic boundary between the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate.
You will be able to see an oasis, marvel at walled canyons, learn about the indigenous tribes that lived here, and discover the unique flora and fauna of the area.
5 ⭐️ 249 Reviews
Explore Joshua Tree from a totally different perspective by driving off-road through the backcountry, allowing you to get the most out of the park in a short time.
5 ⭐️ 164 Reviews
Spend a morning biking through three different Palm Springs neighborhoods while a local guide tells you everything you need to know about each one and its attractions.
5 ⭐️ 191 Reviews
Ride a bike through the desert and a gentle grade along the San Andreas Fault for unique views before you head over to a date farm for a rest.
How to get to Palm Springs?
You can fly straight into Palm Springs via the Palm Springs International Airport. Other options include flying into Los Angeles (2 hours away) or Ontario International Airport (1 hour away).
How to get around Palm Springs?
Walking or biking will get you just about anywhere in downtown Palm Springs, but renting a car is recommended in order to fully explore the many attractions located outside of Palm Springs.
When is the best time to visit Palm Springs?
October through November are ideal for visiting Palm Springs for mild temperatures and fewer crowds. January through April are also great, but you should expect larger crowds.
Where to stay in Palm Springs?
✔️ Luxury Hotels
🏨 Ingleside Inn
The Ingleside Inn is an adults-only resort located at the foot of the San Jacinto Mountain and just a block away from downtown Palm Springs.
🏨 Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs Hotel
This beautiful and incredibly photogenic hotel offers a pool with beautiful mountain views and a decoration that fully celebrates the desert.
🏨 Colony Palms Hotel
Spread over a 3-acre property, the Colony Palms is a boutique hotel by designer Steve Hermann. It offers beautiful mountain views, a pool, a spa, and an on-site restaurant.
✔️ Mid-Range Hotels
🏨 Desert Riviera Hotel
While it’s a little less modern, the Desert Riviera Hotel still retains its mid-century splendors and provides a comfy garden, a pool, and bright sunny rooms.
🏨 Little Paradise Hotel
Located in the quiet Tahquitz River Estates neighborhood, this hotel is a wonderful choice if you’re looking for a low-key stay. It offers a pool and cozy rooms.
🏨 Palm Springs Tennis Club
Located in downtown Palm Springs, this resort offers beautiful mountain views, three different swimming pools, whirlpool spas, a golf course, and a world-renowned tennis club that is open to the public.
✔️ Budget Hotels
🏨 Vagabond Motor Hotel
Located near Downtown Palm Springs, this family-friendly hotel is ideal for a comfortable and budget-friendly experience. The rooms are very spacious and modern.
🏨 Days Inn by Wyndham Palm Springs
Located a mile outside of downtown Palm Springs on Highway 111, Days Inn by Wyndham is a beautiful property with a spacious courtyard, pool area, and modern rooms.
✔️ Vacation Rentals
If you aren’t a huge fan of hotels or you’re traveling in a big group and would rather stay at a home, vacation rentals are readily available all over Palm Springs for all budgets.
Vacation rentals usually start at $120 USD per night and can go up to several thousand dollars depending on the size and type of property.
Where to eat in Palm Springs?
🥦 Chef Tanya’s Kitchen
A vegan restaurant offering delicious plant-based recipes that are anything but bland. The menu changes every season.
🥢 Rooster and the Pig
A Vietnamese restaurant opened by a Viet-American. The dishes you’ll find here come straight from the owner’s family recipe book, so you can expect authentic, homemade food here.
Offers modern sushi recipes in uptown Palm Springs and whiskey cocktails.
🥗 Workshop Kitchen + Bar
Set inside a Spanish-style building from the 20s, this restaurant serves delicious farm-to-table food, wood-fired dishes, and other delicious recipes. The cocktails here are delicious as well.
Serves modern Mexican food and delicious tequila cocktails in a lively setting.
A cozy restaurant perfect for dinner that offers a menu filled with homemade pasta and wood-fired pizza that you can enjoy outside on a tree-filled patio.
🥙 The Sandwich Spot
A place where you can grab deliciously healthy sandwiches. Make sure to order their Dutch crunch bread.
🍤 Del Rey
An intimate bar with a classic atmosphere that offers dishes inspired by Spanish and Mediterranean flavors that will make you feel like you’re inside an authentic taperia in Spain.
🍨 Lappert’s Premium Gourmet Ice Cream
A classic spot to grab an ice cream to get refreshed. They have a menu of over 125 distinctive flavors, ranging from Hawaiian Pink Sea Salt Caramel, Philippine Macapuno, Mexican cajeta, and more.
🍸 Shanghai Reds Bar and Grill
Perfect if you’re craving seafood served in a lively setting. The cocktails here are pretty potent, so be careful!
🍣 Taka Shin
An elegant sushi bar offering authentic Japanese recipes, wagyu dishes, and sake cocktails.
Must-Visit Places Near Palm Springs
📌 Anza Borrego State Park (98.5 miles / 1 hr 38 min)
Anza Borrego State Park is the largest state park in California and a place where you’ll find yourself in a world of alien-looking landscapes, slot canyons, caves, and all sorts of desert goodness.
Hiking and scenic driving are the best things to do here.
As a tip, don’t miss out on checking out the Galleta Meadow Statues, which are a collection of massive sculptures dotted through the desert that showcase insects, prehistoric animals, fantastical creatures, and more.
Even though they’re pretty massive, they can be hard to find around the desert. Renting a bike to find as many as possible was one of my favorite things to do here!
📌 Salvation Mountain (84 miles / 1 hr 30 min)
Set an hour’s drive away, visiting Salvation Mountain is one of the most beautiful things to do near Palm Springs and definitely worth the drive.
This is a man-made mountain in the middle of the desert that depicts messages of love as well as religious words in all sorts of colors. This is one of the most instagrammable spots in Palm Springs, too!
📌 Los Angeles (107 miles / 1 hr 47 min)
The City of Angels is located just over 100 miles away from Palm Springs, so it only makes sense to visit while you’re here.
This incredibly cool city offers beaches, some of the best amusement parks in the world, an incredible dining scene, and lots of nature getaways.
📌 San Diego (139 miles / 2 hr 15 min)
Located just north of the Mexican border, San Diego is a pretty laid-back city where you’ll find balmy weather, gorgeous beaches, cozy coffee shops, incredible art galleries and museums, and stunning architecture.
Tips for visiting Palm Springs
✓ I highly recommend renting a car. Palm Springs itself is very walkable, but some of the most beautiful things to do in Palm Springs are actually outside the city so being able to drive is a must to fully enjoy your trip.
✓ If possible, visit Palm Springs on a weekday for fewer crowds and lower prices.
✓ Unless it’s absolutely necessary, don’t visit Palm Springs during the summer. Temperatures are scorching hot and you won’t be able to enjoy the attractions, not to mention many establishments shut down, especially during July and August.
✓ October, November, and December are the best months to visit Palm Springs for nice weather and fewer crowds.
✓ Drink more water than you think you need. Desert weather can quickly dehydrate you!
✓ Wear SPF at all times, even if it’s cloudy.
✓ If you plan on hiking, start the day as early as possible. Midday temperatures can get unbearable and many trails aren’t shaded, so it’s better to hike as soon as the sun rises.
✓ If you aren’t attending one of the festivals during April, I’d recommend avoiding visiting Palm Springs during that time, especially during the weekends. Accommodation prices rise steeply and it can get very crowded.
Frequently Asked Questions about Palm Springs
Is Palm Springs worth visiting?
Absolutely. Palm Springs is one of the most unique cities in the world and has plenty to offer, including amazing restaurants, art museums, beautiful resorts, and unusual attractions.
Moreover, Palm Springs is a gateway to the best the California Desert has to offer, with lots of state parks, national parks, and other amazing destinations located a stone’s throw away.
What is the best month to visit Palm Springs?
October through December is a great time to visit Palm Springs as temperatures are great and visitation levels are low.
January through April are also great weather-wise, but this is the high season in Palm Springs and accommodation prices tend to rise, especially in April.
What to pack when visiting Palm Springs?
Since it’s the desert, Palm Springs gets hot during the day and cool at night. Pack lightweight clothes, bathing suits, and clothes you’d wear for a warm-weather destination in general as well as a few sweaters for the evening. Don’t forget your sunscreen!
What is Palm Springs best known for?
Palm Springs is known for its desert vibes, fine dining restaurants, unique art scene, golfing, natural hot springs, and for being a favorite gateway destination for famous Hollywood stars since the 1930s.
What is the nicest part of Palm Springs?
Downtown Palm Springs is the nicest part of Palm Springs for visitors.
Most hotels, restaurants, and shops are located in this part of town, especially along Palm Springs Canyon Drive.
Final Thoughts: The Most Beautiful Things to Do in Palm Springs
Palm Springs is one of the coolest destinations in California, especially if you’re into desert vibes, quirky art, and boutique-style accommodations.
No matter how many days you’re staying, you won’t run out of places to visit in Palm Springs, especially if you rent a car and don’t mind driving outside the city.
From nature trails to mountains, hot springs, and iconic art installations in the middle of the desert, Palm Springs sure knows how to make the most out of its unique location.