24 Best Things to Do Near Palm Springs | 2023 (with Photos)
Welcome to the mesmerizing region of Palm Springs and its surrounding areas. Known for its stunning desert landscapes and vibrant art scene, this Southern California destination offers a plethora of relaxing activities to rejuvenate your mind, body, and soul.
Whether you're seeking cultural experiences, outdoor adventures, or relaxation in tranquil surroundings, Palm Springs has it all. Join us as we explore 25 delightful activities that will captivate your senses and create lasting memories in this desert oasis.
Most Recommended Thing to Do
Visit Joshua Tree National Park.
Top Choice Hotel
Top Choice Hotel in Palm Springs: The Ritz-Carlton
Our Top Choice Restaurant
Our Top Choice Bar for Nightlife
Best Time to Visit
Sunny, warm, desert oasis. Perfect vacation destination.
Hot desert climate with scorching summer temperatures.
Car rentals, taxis, ride-sharing, biking, public buses available
Average Cost ($, $$, $$$)
My Top Recommendation
Palm Springs, known for its year-round sunshine and stunning desert landscapes, is a hidden gem in the United States. Take a leisurely stroll down Palm Canyon Drive, where you can shop at charming boutiques and indulge in delicious local cuisine.
For a unique experience, make sure to visit the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, where you'll be whisked away on a breathtaking ride to the top of Mount San Jacinto, offering panoramic views of the Coachella Valley below. Don't forget to bring your hiking shoes and explore the stunning trails and picnic spots in this natural oasis. Whether you're looking for a relaxing getaway or an adventurous outdoor excursion, Palm Springs has something for everyone.
What You'll Need to Bring
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Hat or cap
- Light and breathable clothing
- Portable charger
- Any necessary medications
- Travel guide or map
Table of Contents
1. Discover Artistic Marvels at Palm Springs Art Museum
Palm Springs Art Museum is pride of place on this list as a cultural gem of California. Immerse yourself in a world of creativity and expression at the Palm Springs Art Museum in Downtown Palm Springs.
This striking museum showcases an impressive collection of modern and contemporary art, captivating visitors with its diverse exhibits and thought-provoking installations.
From renowned masterpieces to emerging local artists, the Palm Springs Art Museum offers a captivating journey through various artistic styles and mediums.
Whether you appreciate paintings, sculptures, or photography, this museum is a must-visit destination that will inspire and ignite your passion for the arts.
2. Soar Above the Desert on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
A close second on the list is the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. Embark on an unforgettable adventure and witness the awe-inspiring desert landscape from a whole new perspective at the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.
As you ascend the towering cliffs of the Chino Canyon, breathtaking views unfold before your eyes. The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is a popular tourist attraction in Palm Springs.
Marvel at the rugged terrain, cascading waterfalls, and sprawling vistas as you glide through the sky. Once you reach the Mountain Station, explore walking trails, enjoy panoramic vistas, and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the San Jacinto Mountains.
This exhilarating experience of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is a true highlight of any visit to Palm Springs.
3. Journey Through Aviation History at Palm Springs Air Museum
Step back in time and delve into the fascinating world of aviation at the Palm Springs Air Museum. This remarkable institution pays homage to the brave pilots and their iconic aircraft that played a pivotal role in history.
From World War II fighters to modern jets, the museum's extensive collection showcases a wide array of beautifully restored planes. As you explore the exhibits, you'll gain insight into the triumphs and challenges of aviation history, appreciating the ingenuity and courage of those who took to the skies.
4. Experience the Unique Beauty of Joshua Tree National Park
Venture beyond Palm Springs and immerse yourself in the unique beauty of Joshua Tree National Park. This otherworldly desert landscape is characterized by its iconic Joshua Trees, rugged rock formations, and diverse flora and fauna. Joshua Tree National Park is a must-visit destination for all nature lovers.
Hike through the winding trails, discover hidden oases, and marvel at the star-studded night sky. Joshua Tree National Park offers endless opportunities for adventure and solitude, providing a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
5. Explore Downtown Palm Springs
Indulge in the lively atmosphere of Downtown Palm Springs, where vibrant energy and charming aesthetics converge. Stroll along the palm-lined streets, adorned with boutique shops, art galleries, and trendy eateries.
Submerge yourself in the rich culture of Downtown Palm Springs as you explore its unique architectural gems and discover hidden courtyards brimming with artistic flair.
Whether you're shopping for unique souvenirs, enjoying a delightful meal, or simply people-watching from a sidewalk café, downtown Palm Springs offers a delightful blend of entertainment and charm.
6. Unwind in the Serene Oasis of Palm Desert
Escape to the tranquil haven of Palm Desert, a city where relaxation and natural beauty converge. Immerse yourself in the serenity of this desert oasis, surrounded by picturesque landscapes and breathtaking mountain views.
Palm Desert is just a 20 minute drive from Palm Springs, so if you are in town, it is well worth the short journey. Indulge in world-class spas, luxurious resorts, and rejuvenating wellness retreats in Palm Desert that offer a blissful respite from the everyday hustle.
Explore the pristine hiking trails, discover the vibrant desert flora, and revel in the peaceful ambiance that permeates Palm Desert city. In Palm Desert, serenity awaits, ready to soothe your senses and restore your inner balance.
7. Rejuvenate Your Senses in the Natural Hot Springs of Desert Hot Springs
Embark on a journey of rejuvenation and bliss in the enchanting desert town of Desert Hot Springs. Known for its therapeutic mineral-rich waters, this hidden gem offers a sanctuary of relaxation and healing. Immerse yourself in the warm embrace of natural hot springs, where stress melts away and tranquility takes hold.
Let the soothing waters revitalize your body and mind as you bask in the therapeutic benefits of this unique oasis. Experience the ultimate rejuvenation as you unwind and immerse yourself in the healing powers of Desert Hot Springs.
There are organized tours and horseback riding trails waiting for you at sunset if you are looking for some romance.
8. Take a Leisurely Stroll Along Palm Springs Walk
Embark on a leisurely stroll along Palm Springs Walk and discover the charm and vibrancy of this iconic promenade. Meander through the palm-lined streets, dotted with boutique shops, art galleries, and inviting cafes.
Here you can experience the lively atmosphere as you browse unique treasures and savor delicious culinary delights. Experience the pulse of the city as street performers captivate your attention, and the energy of Palm Springs comes alive.
From stylish fashion boutiques to captivating art galleries, Palm Springs Walk offers a delightful experience for every visitor.
9. Shop and Dine on the Iconic Palm Canyon Drive
Indulge in a delightful shopping and dining experience along the iconic S Palm Canyon Dr.
At Palm Canyon Drive, discover a world of eclectic boutiques, trendy fashion stores, and unique artisanal shops. Unleash your inner fashionista as you peruse the latest trends and one-of-a-kind pieces at Palm Canyon Dr.
After an exhilarating shopping spree, treat your taste buds to a culinary journey at the renowned eateries lining Palm Canyon Drive. From upscale dining establishments to cozy cafes, Palm Canyon Drive invites you to savor delectable flavors and enjoy a truly memorable shopping and dining escapade.
There are some great shops along North Palm Canyon Drive if you need souvenirs. No trip to Palm Springs, California is complete without an afternoon spent on Palm Canyon Dr.
10. Cathedral City and Rancho Mirage Day Trip from Palm Springs
Cathedral City is a desert resort city in Riverside County, California. Cathedral City is a very short drive south east of Palm Springs. In under 20 minutes, you can soak up all that Cathedral City has to offer.
From Spanish-style architecture to stunning palm trees, this city is a marvel. It is also part of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians reservation land.
Just another 5 minutes down the road, you can visit Rancho Mirage, California, where you can visit the Sunnylands historic estate. A trip to Cathedral City and Rancho Mirage is a great way to see more of California while you're visiting Palm Springs.
11. Delve into the Majestic Beauty of Palm Canyon
When you visit Palm Springs, you should embark on an awe-inspiring journey into the heart of Palm Canyon in the greater Palm Springs area.
Drive along the scenic Palm Canyon Drive, immersing yourself in the captivating landscapes that surround you. Marvel at the rugged beauty of the Colorado Desert, where the desert floor comes alive with a vibrant tapestry of desert flowers and plants.
Enhance your Palm Springs trip with an exhilarating Jeep tour, venturing deep into the Santa Rosa and San Bernardino Mountains. Delve into the majestic beauty of Palm Canyon, an unforgettable experience in the oasis of greater Palm Springs, CA.
12. Traverse the Spectacular Indian Canyons
Thrill seekers will love the Indian Canyons in the greater Palm Springs area. Embark on a remarkable adventure as you traverse the spectacular Indian Canyons, a true gem of Palm Springs, California.
Hike through the picturesque Indian Canyons, surrounded by towering rock formations and striking landscapes. Discover the rich biodiversity of the region, with desert flowers and plants dotting the landscape.
Marvel at the breathtaking vistas of the Santa Rosa Mountains and the San Bernardino Mountains from Indian Canyons, providing a stunning backdrop to your journey.
Part of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians reservation, the Indian Canyons have epic trails where visitors can enjoy horseback riding, biking, hiking, or running. This area of Palm Springs makes for exciting exploration.
13. Encounter the Untamed Wonders of Joshua Tree
Prepare to be captivated by the untamed wonders of Joshua Tree, a mesmerizing destination nestled in San Bernardino County, near Palm Springs, California.
Visit Palm Springs and embark on an unforgettable journey to Joshua Tree National Park, where desert landscapes and surreal rock formations create a surreal landscape.
Immerse yourself in the rugged beauty of the Colorado Desert, home to a diverse array of desert flowers and plants and captivating wildlife. Explore the iconic Joshua Tree, an emblem of this unique ecosystem.
Discover nearby attractions such as Palm Canyon, Indian Canyons, and the breathtaking Santa Rosa Mountains. Encounter the magic of Joshua Tree and let its untamed beauty leave an indelible mark on your soul.
14. Seek Information and Inspiration at Palm Springs Visitor Center
At the Palm Springs Visitor Center, a treasure trove of knowledge awaits you. Open from 7 am, this informative hub is your gateway to discovering the wonders of the Palm Springs area and its surrounding attractions.
At the Visitor Center, you can gain insight into the rich history and diverse offerings of this captivating region, including the majestic San Bernardino Mountains, enchanting desert gardens, and the scenic beauty of the California desert.
Let the Visitor Center teach you about the exhilarating adventures that await, such as exploring the Indio Hills, experiencing the natural wind tunnel, and embarking on a tour of the picturesque Rancho Mirage.
At the Visitor Center, you can also get important information about the Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve and the serene beauty of the San Jacinto State Park.
Find inspiration as you gather information about tours to the magnificent Ladder Canyon and the awe-inspiring Tahquitz Canyon. There is an impressive waterfall at Tahquitz Canyon, so it is worth asking at the Visitor Center about tours to this beauty spot.
Don't miss the opportunity to plan your excursion to the nearby attractions, including the vibrant city of San Diego. Let the Palm Springs Visitor Center be your guide to uncovering the hidden gems of the Palm Springs, California area.
15. Embark on Breathtaking Hiking Trails in the Desert
Unleash your adventurous spirit as you embark on breathtaking hiking trails in the captivating landscapes near Palm Springs, California.
Explore the diverse wonders of the desert gardens and the natural wind tunnel, immersing yourself in the raw beauty of the Southern California desert.
Discover the hidden treasures of the San Bernardino Mountains and the enchanting deserts of the Palm Springs area. Indulge in the rugged allure of the Indio Hills and the serene tranquility of the Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve.
Let the untouched beauty of the desert floor and the majestic allure of the Colorado Desert guide your path as you explore Palm Springs, California.
16. Explore the Fascinating World of Desert Plants
Embark on a captivating journey as you delve into the fascinating world of desert plants in the Palm Springs area and its surrounding deserts. From palm trees to cacti, flowers, and succulents, it's time to learn about plants in Palm Springs, California.
Discover the diverse botanical wonders at the San Jacinto State Park, where an array of desert plants thrives amidst the arid landscape. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the Tahquitz Canyon, home to indigenous flora that has adapted to the harsh desert environment.
Explore the scenic trails at the Coachella Valley Preserve, where desert gardens showcase the resilience and beauty of desert plant life. Venture further into the enchanting deserts, such as the Colorado Desert to witness the thriving ecosystem of desert plants in their natural habitat.
Expand your knowledge and appreciation for these remarkable plants as you explore the fascinating world they inhabit in Palm Springs, California.
17. The Coachella Valley Preserve
As you can see Palm Springs, California makes a great place for nature lovers. If you own a mountain bike now is the time to get it out. Immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of Coachella Valley Preserve, a hidden gem nestled near Palm Springs, California.
This enchanting oasis offers a sanctuary for desert wildlife and plants, showcasing the resilience of the delicate ecosystem. Explore the diverse hiking trails that wind through the preserve, granting you glimpses of desert gardens and captivating rock formations.
Located in the heart of the valley, this preserve allows for easy access to nearby attractions, such as the vibrant Downtown Palm Springs, the awe-inspiring Joshua Tree National Park, and the serene Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve.
18. Revel in the Magnificence of the San Jacinto Mountains
Indulge in the sheer magnificence of the towering San Jacinto Mountains near Palm Springs, California. These majestic peaks, part of the San Bernardino Mountains, offer a breathtaking backdrop for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.
Embark on exhilarating hiking trails that lead you through the diverse landscapes of the mountains, where you'll encounter stunning vistas, cascading waterfalls, and panoramic views of the surrounding desert.
Don't miss the opportunity to ride the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, ascending 8,516 feet to experience the mountain's grandeur from a different perspective.
Nearby attractions include the charming village of Idyllwild, known for its artistic flair and scenic beauty, and the picturesque Lake Hemet, where you can enjoy boating and fishing adventures.
Allow yourself to revel in the awe-inspiring beauty of the San Jacinto Mountains, where nature's splendor knows no bounds.
19. Find Tranquility at Thousand Palms Oasis
Escape the hustle and bustle and find tranquility at Thousand Palms Oasis near Palm Springs, California. This hidden oasis in the desert offers a serene retreat amidst lush palm trees and tranquil pools.
Immerse yourself in the peaceful ambiance as you stroll along the meandering trails, observing the abundant birdlife and desert flora. Take a moment to relax and rejuvenate in this natural oasis, where the soothing sounds of nature provide a calming respite.
Nearby attractions include the Coachella Valley Preserve, where you can explore this unique desert landscape and encounter diverse wildlife. Discover the serenity of Thousand Palms Oasis and let its beauty wash over you.
20. Indulge in Retro Vibes at Purple Room Supper Club
Indulge in the retro vibes and sophisticated ambiance of the Purple Room Supper Club. Located in the heart of Palm Springs, this iconic establishment offers a memorable dining experience infused with live entertainment and old-school glamor.
Savor delectable dishes inspired by classic American cuisine while enjoying captivating performances by talented musicians. From swinging jazz to soulful melodies, the Purple Room Supper Club sets the stage for an unforgettable evening.
Whether it's a romantic dinner or a night out with friends, immerse yourself in the nostalgic charm and timeless allure of this legendary venue.
21. Discover the Wonders of Nature at Living Desert Zoo
Embark on a captivating journey through the wonders of nature at the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert, California. This remarkable zoo combines wildlife conservation with educational exhibits, providing a unique experience for visitors of all ages.
Explore the diverse habitats and encounter fascinating desert creatures, including bighorn sheep, giraffes, and meerkats. Stroll through the tranquil botanical garden, featuring a wide variety of desert flowers and plants.
Engage in interactive exhibits and educational programs that highlight the importance of wildlife preservation. The Living Desert Zoo offers a glimpse into the intricate web of life in the desert and fosters a deeper appreciation for the natural world.
22. Marvel at the Exquisite Flora of Moorten Botanical Garden
Immerse yourself in the enchanting beauty of Moorten Botanical Garden in Palm Springs, California. This desert oasis showcases an exquisite collection of desert flowers, including the iconic California fan palms.
Wander through the garden's diverse landscapes, where you'll encounter unique species such as agaves, cacti, and succulents. Learn about the fascinating adaptations of desert flora and the importance of conservation.
Take a moment to relax in the serene surroundings, listening to the gentle rustle of palm fronds. Moorten Botanical Garden offers a captivating experience that celebrates the vibrant flora of the desert.
23. Experience the Essence of Southern California
Discover the essence of Southern California in Palm Springs, where sun-kissed landscapes and vibrant culture converge. Bask in the warm sunshine as you explore the greater Palm Springs area, renowned for its luxurious resorts, world-class golf courses, and breathtaking desert vistas.
Indulge in outdoor adventures such as a thrilling jeep tour through the Coachella Valley or a hike along the scenic trails of the Coachella Valley Preserve System.
Delve into the rich art scene at the Palm Springs Art Museum and immerse yourself in the region's natural wonders, including the majestic San Andreas Fault and the serene Tahquitz Canyon.
Southern California invites you to experience its boundless energy and endless possibilities. The region boasts both cultural and historic landmarks, as well as natural beauty and fantastic weather.
24. Plan a Memorable Visit to Palm Springs Villagefest
Experience the vibrant atmosphere of Palm Springs Villagefest, a lively street fair that takes place every Thursday evening in Downtown Palm Springs, California.
Stroll along Palm Canyon Drive, lined with an array of vendors offering handmade crafts, local artwork, and delicious food. Explore the unique shops and galleries, showcasing the creative spirit of the community.
Take in the lively entertainment, including live music and street performances in PalmSprings, CA. Sample the flavors of the Coachella Valley, from gourmet food trucks to international cuisine.
Palm Springs Villagefest is the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and create lasting memories.
FAQs About Things to Do in and Near Palm Springs, CA
Now let's see some frequently asked questions about things to do in and near Palm Springs. CA.
What are the best attractions in Palm Springs and nearby areas that can be visited during spring?
The best attractions in Palm Springs and nearby areas during spring include the mid-century modern architecture, the Palm Springs Air Museum, the San Bernardino Mountains, and enjoying the beauty of Palm Canyon and Palm Canyon Drive. There are also tennis courts in Palm Springs, CA that are fun in spring before the weather gets too hot.
What is the best Palm Springs attraction for families with kids?
For families with kids, the best Palm Springs attraction is the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, which offers breathtaking views and outdoor activities. Other family-friendly options include visiting the Living Desert Zoo, exploring the Palm Springs Art Museum, and enjoying the playgrounds and parks in the area.
What are the best tours from Palm Springs, CA, and what can be seen there?
The best tours from Palm Springs, CA include a visit to the Greater Palm Springs Resorts, where you can indulge in luxury and relaxation. Explore the Coachella Valley Vista Point for stunning views, take a jeep tour to explore Chino Canyon and the rugged landscapes of Mecca Hills Wilderness, or discover the rich history of the region at the Palm Springs Resort and San Jacinto State Park. The San Bernardino Mountains are also amazing during the winter.
What are the best winter attractions in or near Palm Springs CA?
During winter, enjoy the beauty of the snow-capped San Jacinto Mountains, go horseback riding in the picturesque Palm Springs area, visit the Palm Springs Air Museum to learn about aviation history, and hike through the stunning Ladder Canyon in Mecca Hills Wilderness. Embrace the charm of mid-century modern architecture and take in the natural wonders of Palm Canyon, Palm Canyon Drive, and Tahquitz Canyon.
Summing Up: Best Things to Do Near Palm Springs
As our journey through Palm Springs and its neighboring attractions comes to a close, we hope you've discovered an array of enticing activities that will inspire relaxation and wonder.
From immersing yourself in contemporary art to venturing into the breathtaking landscapes of Tahquitz Canyon, Palm Springs offers a unique blend of culture and natural beauty.
Whether you prefer tranquil walks, exploration of national parks, or indulging in vibrant city life, this captivating region has something for everyone.
So, pack your bags and embark on an unforgettable adventure in the picturesque paradise of Palm Springs and its surroundings. You can't say you visited Palm Springs until you visited these attractions.