There are some absolutely incredible things to do in Palm Springs while visiting. It’s one of the best desert weekend getaways in California. Home to design hotels, amazing restaurants, and some great attractions, you won’t want to miss these things.
When it comes to a weekend in Palm Springs, whether you fly in or road trip, everything is very centrally located. My top tip is to book a hotel that is centrally located, as you may find yourself popping out frequently.
With the San Jacinto Mountains in the backdrop, this desert enclave is my ideal relaxed getaway. Here’s a look at some incredible things to do in Palm Springs.
Incredible Things to Do in Palm Springs
Helpful Posts to Plan Your Trip
- A Weekend Guide to Palm Springs
- The 10 Coolest Airbnbs In Palm Springs — there are some gems on this list!
- 20 Best Restaurants In Palm Springs, California
- The Best Hotels In Palm Springs
Ride the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
The world’s largest aerial tramway takes you up 2.5 miles up into Chino Canyon. The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway may be one of my favorite things to do in the area as the views are incredible (it’s a popular tourist attraction). Certain times of the year, you’ll even have snow. You can purchase tickets up to two weeks in advance, adults are $26.95 and children are $16.95. It’s a destination that you could easily spend an entire afternoon.
I’d recommend packing a lunch or snacks and hitting some of the trails here for beautiful hikes. Their new safety protocols allow the experience to be socially distanced and a great way to get outdoors in Palm Springs.
Visit the Palm Springs Art Museum
The Palm Springs Art Museum is a favorite for rotating exhibits. The building itself is absolutely stunning and located a few blocks from Canyon Drive. When it comes to an art museum, this immersive experience for me is one not to miss.
It is planning on reopening this fall, so I’d recommend checking their website prior to planning. In the meantime, they’re offering online exhibitions to experience.
Go Hiking in Indian Canyons and Palm Canyon
Not too far from downtown, Indian Canyons and Palm Canyon are one of the best options for getting outdoors quickly in Palm Springs. It’s set in the desert, and this area is known for its cluster of palm trees and beautiful hikes. Not only is it an outdoor haven, but it’s also a special home of Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians.
You will need to pay to get in at entrance, but it is well worth the money.
Eat Some Incredible Food in Palm Springs
I think one thing that often gets overlooked in Palm Springs is just how amazing of a foodie destination it is. Some of my favorite restaurants in California are here. You’ll want to make reservations in advance, especially on weekends.
My favorites include King’s Highway at the Ace Hotel and Workshop Kitchen & Bar.
Find all of my recommendations here: 20 Best Restaurants In Palm Springs, California
Explore the Coachella Valley Preserve
Located out in the Coachella Valley, another popular place to get outdoors is the Coachella Valley Preserve. It’s home to the Palms Oasis and it just reopened this month. It does get rather busy, so I recommend arriving early for this 17,000 acres preserve.
Stroll through Moorten Botanical Garden
One of the best attractions in Palm Springs is Moorten Botanical Garden. It has become a ritual every time we go to Palm Springs to tour through the desert-inspired gardens. There are a variety of desert plants here and is just an all-around scenic spot located not far from the downtown. You can also purchase cactuses here, so we always come home (they’ll even box it for the plane!)
Take a Day Trip to Joshua Tree National Park
Famous around the world for its Joshua trees, Joshua Tree National Park is a must-see. Though I would recommend staying a night or two there, you can also take a day trip. The national park is truly a natural wonder and is home to scenic sights and hiking trails. You could spend a day here driving the loop and stopping along the way.
Shop Locally in Downtown Palm Springs
The downtown area of Palm Springs is home to a plethora of home design shops, curated boutiques, and some great antique stores. It’s some great shopping, plus you can stroll the whole street in one long shot.
A few of my favorite stores in Palm Springs are Thick As Thieves, Christopher Anthony, Peepa’s, and Greetings.
Experience Architecture Tours or Ride Bikes to See Them Yourself
Palm Springs is home to one of the largest concentrations of midcentury modern homes in the state. It’s well-known for architects like Albert Frey and Donald Wexler. There are a few ways to experience the homes yourself: either sign up for a home tour and pay a guide, or you can rent bikes and ride around the neighborhoods and see them from the outside. There are a ton of home tours available, like the Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway, so it’s up to you!
This guide was one of my favorite compilations of architectural homes in Palm Springs