If you’re looking for a fun-filled getaway, Palm Springs is the perfect destination. Set in the Sonoran desert, this city is known for its year-round warm weather, stunning mountain views, and abundance of things to do. From world-famous tourist attractions to lesser-known gems, Palm Springs has something for everyone. In this post, I’ll share a list of the 18 Top Things to Do in Palm Springs that you don’t want to miss. Read on!
Things to Do in Palm Springs, California
1. Ride the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
If you’re looking for exciting tourist attractions in Palm Springs, look no further than the Aerial Tramway. This is a gondola lift that takes visitors on a ride up the face of Chino Canyon. The journey starts at the Tramway base station and climbs over 8,500 feet up to the Mountain Station.
The views from the tramway are simply stunning and well worth the ride. On a clear day, you can see as far as the Los Angeles and San Diego metropolitan areas to the west and the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts to the east. The journey ends at the Mountain Station, which has a variety of attractions, including restaurants, observation decks, historical displays, and a gift shop.
There are also miles of hiking trails waiting to be explored, ranging from easy to strenuous. The park also has a visitor’s center with exhibits and information about the park. The tramway is open year-round, with varying hours depending on the season.
The Aerial Tramway is a must-see attraction for any visitor to Palm Springs and is one of the most popular things to do in the city. So whether you’re looking for an easy way to get up to the mountains or want to enjoy some great hiking trails, this is a must-do attraction.
2. The Indian Canyons
Just a few miles south of Palm Springs is the oasis of the Indian Canyons. This park is made up of three canyons: Andreas, Palm, and Murray. These beautiful areas are filled with waterfalls and palm trees. There are also a variety of hiking trails to choose from, ranging from easy to strenuous.
I recommend starting at palm canyon and working your way up. This canyon is the most popular, and it is lined with California fan palms, which are some of the largest in the world. The hike to the top of the canyon takes about two hours and is a strenuous climb. But the views from the top are well worth it. The Andreas Canyon is a great place to visit if you love bird watching, while Murray canyon is a great place for spotting dear and other wildlife.
In general, The Indian Canyons are a great place to hike, relax, and take in the natural beauty of Palm Springs. There are a variety of trails to choose from, so you can find the perfect one for your abilities and interests. And with three different canyons to explore, you’ll never get bored. So if you’re looking for some of the top tourist attractions in Palm Springs, be sure to check out the Indian Canyons.
3. Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center
The Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center is a fascinating place that should definitely be on your list of things to do in Palm Springs. The museum is dedicated to showcasing architecture and design from all over the world, with a special focus on modernist and desert-themed design.
The museum is housed in the iconic Palm Springs Desert Modernist building designed by architect Stewart Williams. The building, which was completed in 1960, features a distinctive steel-and-glass design and has been called “the best example of desert modernism in Palm Springs.” The museum has a number of permanent exhibits as well as rotating exhibits.
There are often special events such as film screenings, home tours of architecturally significant structures, and more. Overall, this is a must-see for anyone interested in architecture and design. It is definitely one of the top tourist attractions in Palm Springs not to miss.
4. The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens
The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens is a great place to visit for anyone who loves animals and the outdoors. This zoo and botanical garden are located in Palm Desert, just a few miles from Palm Springs.
The zoo is home to over 500 animals representing more than 150 species from around the world. The gardens have more than 1,400 plant species from all over the world. There are also several demonstration gardens with interactive exhibits.
One of my favorite parts of the zoo was the petting zoo, which is home to a variety of animals, including llamas and giraffes. Kids (and adults) can pet and feed these animals. I recommend visiting the zoo early in the morning when the animals are most active.
The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens is a great place for kids and adults alike, with lots of interesting things to see and do. I had a great time coming here and recommend it to anyone visiting Palm Springs.
5. Palm Springs Air Museum
The Palm Springs Air Museum is one of the top Palm Springs attractions for aviation fans. It is home to one of the largest collections of flying World War II aircraft in the world. The museum is located on the grounds of the old Palm Springs airport, which was an important training base for pilots during the war.
The museum has a wide variety of aircraft on display, including a B-17 bomber, a P-38 fighter, and a Japanese Zero fighter. There are also dozens of other aircraft on display, along with exhibits about aviation history and Palm Springs’s role in the war.
The Palm Springs Air Museum is a great place to learn about the early days of aviation and experience some of the most famous World War II aircraft up close. I had a great time exploring the museum and learning about these amazing airplanes. It’s definitely one of the top things to do in Palm Springs, and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in aviation or history.
About an hour’s drive north of Palm Springs is the picturesque mountain town of Idyllwild. This town is a popular destination for hikers, as it is surrounded by the San Jacinto Mountains, which have many trails of varying difficulties.
Idyllwild also has a charming main street with a variety of shops and restaurants, and it’s a great place to wander around and take in the mountain scenery. The town hosts several music festivals throughout the year, as well as an annual art show.
If you’re looking for a place to stay in Idyllwild, check out the Strawberry Creek B&B. This charming B&B has been around since the 1920s and is located right on Strawberry Creek. It’s also dog-friendly!
Idyllwild is a great place to relax and take in the beautiful mountain scenery. If you’re a hiker, there are plenty of trails to explore in the area. And if you’re looking for a charming mountain town to wander around, Idyllwild is a great choice. All these make Idyllwild one of the top tourist attractions in Palm Springs to check out.
7. Explore the Coachella Valley Preserve
If you’re looking for a more nature-focused attraction in Palm Springs, the Coachella Valley Preserve is a great option. This large nature preserve is home to a wide variety of desert plants and animals, as well as some impressive geological features.
The highlight of the preserve for me was the Thousand Palm Oasis, a large (and very green!) oasis in the middle of the desert. It’s definitely worth a stop to take a break from the sun and enjoy the shade and greenery. There are also several hiking trails in the preserve, ranging in length and difficulty.
Keep an eye out for wildlife while you’re exploring the preserve. I saw lizards, snakes, rabbits, and birds during my visit. This is a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of Palm Springs and really enjoy some peace and quiet in nature.
8. Attend the VillageFest Weekly Street Party
No visit to Palm Springs is complete without a trip to the VillageFest weekly street party. This event takes place every Thursday evening from 6-10 pm on Palm Canyon Drive in the heart of downtown Palm Springs. The street is closed to traffic and filled with booths selling a variety of items, from arts and crafts to food. There’s also live music and entertainment, making it a fun place to people watch and enjoy an evening out.
I enjoyed checking out all the different booths and listening to the music. There’s a great variety of food available, from Indian cuisine to Mexican to barbecue. You can also find beer, wine, and cocktails at the various booths. This is a great opportunity to check out some local businesses and meet people from the community.
Attending The VillageFest street party is one of the best things to do in Palm Springs. It’s a great way to experience the local culture and get a taste of the many different types of food available in the area. Be sure to come hungry and enjoy.
9. Palm Springs Art Museum
Another one of the top tourist attractions in Palm Springs you must visit is the Palm Springs Art Museum. This museum is home to a large and diverse art collection, with works from ancient to modern times. The museum is housed in a distinctive architectural building designed by famed architect and Palm Springs resident E. Stewart Williams.
The museum was founded in 1938 and has grown to become one of the most respected art museums in the country. The museum features a variety of rotating exhibitions, as well as a permanent collection that includes paintings, glass, photography, pottery, and architecture and design.
One of the highlights for me was the architecture building itself. The building is made up of several unique geometric shapes and is said to be inspired by the surrounding desert landscape. The museum offers guided tours of the building and docent-led tours of the art collection.
10. Playing Golf
Palm Springs is also a great place to play Golf, with many world-class golf courses. One of the most popular is the Tahquitz Creek Golf Resort, which offers two 18-hole courses. The courses are both challenging and well maintained, with stunning mountain and desert views.
The resort also has a pro shop, restaurant, and bar, as well as a pool and tennis courts. If you’re looking for a golfing getaway, the Tahquitz Creek Golf Resort is a great place to go.
Other world-class golf courses in Palm Springs include The Westin Rancho Mirage Country Club, Escena Golf Club, and Indian Wells Golf Resort. These are all excellent courses that will provide a challenging and enjoyable experience for golfers. These are all excellent courses that will provide a challenging and enjoyable experience for golfers.
Overall, Palm Springs provides a good atmosphere for golfers, with plenty of top-rated courses to choose from. Anyone looking for a golfing vacation should definitely consider Palm Springs as an option.
11. Tahquitz Canyon
Tahquitz Canyon is well worth a visit if you’re looking for more active Palm Springs attractions. This park is located in the Coachella Valley, just minutes from downtown Palm Springs.
Tahquitz Canyon is a great place for hiking, and there are a variety of trails to choose from, ranging in difficulty and length. The canyon is also home to a 60-foot waterfall, which makes for a great sight (and photo opportunity) on the hike. In addition to the hiking trails, Tahquitz Canyon also has a visitor’s center with displays about the canyon and its history. There is also
This is a great place to visit for a peaceful nature hike and some stunning views of the Palm Springs area. I definitely recommend it if you’re looking for something fun to do in Palm Springs.
12. El Paseo Shopping District
If you’re looking for some retail therapy during your visit to Palm Springs, be sure to check out the El Paseo Shopping District. This upscale shopping area is home to many high-end stores, as well as restaurants and art galleries. The district stretches for over a mile, making for a nice walking tour.
Some of the stores you’ll find here include Gucci, Burberry, and Ralph Lauren. There are also a few well-known chain stores, such as Lululemon, Pottery Barn, and Sephora. The district has a number of popular restaurants, including Wilma & Frieda’s Cafe, il Corso, and Mastro’s Steakhouse. And if you’re in the mood for some art, there are several art galleries to check out.
There are also several events that take place in the El Paseo district throughout the year, such as art walks and wine tastings. So if you’re looking for some fun things to do in Palm Springs, be sure to check out the El Paseo Shopping District. It’s a great place to find some high-end shopping, as well as some nice restaurants and art galleries.
13. Moorten Botanical Gardens and Cactarium
No trip to Palm Springs is complete without a visit to the Moorten Botanical Gardens and Cactarium. It’s one of the most popular tourist attractions in Palm Springs, and for a good reason.
The gardens are home to over 3,000 different types of cacti and succulents from all over the world. The gardens were started by Patricia and Chester and have been open to the public since 1938. There’s also a small cactarium on site displaying some of the most unusual and rare cacti in the collection.
The gardens are a great place to walk around, relax, and take in the beauty of these fascinating plants. The staffs here are also very knowledgeable about cacti/succulents and are happy to answer any questions you may have. So if you’re interested in cacti and succulents, the Moorten Botanical Gardens are a must-see attraction in Palm Springs!
14. Taking a Jeep Tour of the Desert
Jeep tours are a popular way to explore the Palm Springs area desert. Offering both half and full-day tours, these Jeep safaris take you through the scenic and rugged backcountry of Palm Springs. You’ll see some amazing views and have the opportunity to explore off the beaten path, making for a truly unique experience.
The Jeep guides are very knowledgeable about the area and its history, and they’ll be happy to answer any questions you have. They’ll also give you plenty of tips on where to stop and take pictures, so be sure to have your camera ready!
I had a great time on my Jeep tour and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for an exciting way to explore the desert. You’ll see things you would never have seen if you were just driving around on your own, and it’s a great way to learn about the area and its history. Generally, this is one of the best things to do in Palm Springs that is sure to please everyone.
15. Palm Springs Historical Society
The historical society is next on my list of top tourist attractions in Palm Springs. This society is dedicated to preserving the history and culture of Palm Springs and its surrounding area. They offer a variety of exhibits and programs that allow visitors to learn about the history of Palm Springs and the people who have lived there.
The society is housed in two preserved 19th-century buildings that have been restored and are now open to the public as a museum. The society also offers tours of other historic sites in Palm Springs, such as the Palm Springs Air Museum, Desert Hot Springs Mineral Spa, and Tahquitz Canyon. They also offer a variety of educational programs for both children and adults.
If you’re interested in learning more about the history of Palm Springs, the Palm Springs Historical Society is a great place to start. Be sure to check out their website for more information on exhibits, tours, and programs.
16. Visiting a Date Farm
Did you know that Palm Springs is the date capital of the US? There are many acres of date farms in the area, and the locals know how to enjoy them! And one of the best ways for you to experience that feeling is by visiting one.
There are a few different types of date farms to visit. Some are more like tourist attractions, with lots of activities and things to do, while others are more about the experience of seeing a working date farm and learning about the process of growing dates.
Many date farms have gift shops where you can buy all sorts of Dateland-branded goodies, from dates themselves to date shakes and other date-based snacks and treats. You can also buy date-related items like honey, jam, and soap.
I had the opportunity to visit The Shields Date Garden, one of the most popular date farms in Palm Springs. Shields is a working farm with a gift shop and restaurant on site. They offer tours of the farm, and you can watch the workers shaking the trees to harvest the dates. They also have a tasting room where you can try all sorts of date-based goodies.
Date farms are a fun and unique experience that I highly recommend to anyone visiting Palm Springs. Be sure to bring your appetite, as you’ll definitely want to try some of the delicious dates!
17. Tour the San Gorgonio Wind Park
If you’re looking for an activity a bit more off the beaten path, consider touring the San Gorgonio Wind Park. This wind farm is one of the top tourist attractions in Palm Springs, located in the nearby San Gorgonio Pass. It consists of more than 2700 wind turbines that were built in the 1980s, and it’s the largest wind park in the United States, encompassing 5500 acres.
The wind park is open for public tours, and I highly recommend it if you’re interested in renewable energy or just want to see some really big turbines up close. Palm Springs Windmill Tours is the only company authorized to give tours of the wind park. The tour includes a bus ride to the park, a stop at the visitor’s center, and a walk around the park. The walk takes you past a few of the turbines and gives you some great views of the surrounding area.
The tour company also offers a “behind the scenes” tour, including a visit to the control room. I didn’t do this tour, but it sounds pretty cool and gives you a better understanding of how the wind park works.
18. Joshua Tree National Park
Another great option for Things to Do in Palm Springs is a visit to Joshua Tree National Park. This park is located about an hour east of Palm Springs and is known for its namesake Joshua Trees, as well as its boulder-strewn landscape and desert wildlife.
There are lots of things to do in the park, depending on your interests. For example, if you’re a fan of hiking and nature walks, there are plenty of trails of varying difficulties and lengths. If you’re more into climbing and bouldering, the park has many rocks to climb and areas to explore. The park is also home to some great scenic drives, and there are plenty of picnic areas.
One of my favorite things in Joshua Tree National Park was wandering around and exploring. There are so many cool things to check out, and it’s always easy to see something new you can spot.
So there you have it, some of the top tourist attractions in Palm Springs. Whether you’re looking for a place to hike, a charming town to wander around, or a waterfall to see, Palm Springs has something for everyone. So be sure to add these places to your list of things to do while in Palm Springs!