DIVEIN.com’s Complete Guide to:

50 Things To Do In Palm Springs In 2022

When one thinks of the perfect getaway destination, some very specific things come to mind: warm weather, an idyllic town, pristine beaches–all of these wrapped in a hazy, dreamlike sun-soaked atmosphere, and maybe Santo & Johnny’s “Sleep Walk” is playing in the background. Or maybe none of these things come to mind.

Certainly, there are other iterations of the ultimate getaway destination, and we’re not in the business of telling you what your ultimate getaway destination should be. However, one thing remains clear–the ultimate getaway destination represents escape from the mundane, or a break from reality, even for just a few days. Palm Springs offers just that, and more. Palm Springs may not have any beaches, but its pools, hiking trails and desert scenery more than make up for this.

Consistently warm and dry all year round, the city is bordered by the Little San Bernardino Mountains, the Santa Rosa Mountains, and the San Jacinto Mountains. On top of its natural beauty, Palm Springs is known for its history, architecture, and arts scene!

Palm Springs is many things, but one thing it’ll never be is boring. Below are 50 of the many things to do in Palm Springs.

50 Things to do in Palm Springs

Category
Price

Explore the Indian Canyons

What’s special about this place?

Located at 38520 S Palm Canyon Drive, the Indian Canyons is a nature preserve that features more than 60 miles of hiking trails, and includes Palm Canyon, Andreas Canyon, and Murray Canyon. The Indian Canyons is part of the ancestral home of the Agua Caliente Cahuilla Indians, and as such, it holds high cultural and historical significance. It is a major hiking destination, and is frequented by tourists and locals alike.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Outdoor enthusiasts, tourists traveling either with family or in small groups, and nature lovers would love it here. There are plenty of trails to choose from, each of which offers scenic routes that allow hikers to see the beautiful wildlife of the Sonoran Desert, and its diverse flora.

What to do here?

Take a hike through Palm Canyon and check out the abundant California Fan Palm found in the area. A foot path leads to a stream that is perfect for family picnics! Pass through Andreas Creek in Andreas Canyon, and try to spot some of the unique wildlife living in the area, such as the Mearns’ Rock Lizard! You can also go on horseback, if hiking isn’t for you. Make sure to check out the other canyons around the area!

Best time to visit

Indian Canyons admission hours are from 8 AM to 4 PM. As Indian Canyons is a major hiking destination, expect it to be at least moderately busy at any time. That said, it’s best to get there early so you can spend a few hours exploring the trails.

Learn more about Indian Canyons here!

Check out Ruddy's General Store Museum

What’s special about this place?

Located at 221 S Palm Canyon Drive, Ruddy’s General Store Museum is a museum that recreates a 1930s-era general store, complete with groceries and medicines from that time period. With its extensive collection of relics from a quieter time, it is a window to a pre-WW2 America.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

American history buffs, guests who are curious about the design and packaging of early processed food and medicines, and tourists looking for a dose of nostalgia or a sense of what it was like in the early 20th century would all find something to enjoy within the museum.

What to do here?

Inspect history! Check out the design of the overall store, and think about how it differs from pharmacies and grocery stores of today. Take photos of the products displayed in the store. Check out the medicines sold during the Great Depression.

Best time to visit

As of this writing, Ruddy’s General Store Museum is temporarily closed due to the pandemic. Under normal circumstances, it’s open Thursdays through Sundays, from 10 AM to 4 PM. It’s best to go there on Thursday, as it might get busier on weekends!

Check out the Cabazon Dinosaurs

What’s special about this place?

Located at 50770 Seminole Drive, in Cabazon, just 20 minutes northwest of Palm Springs, Cabazon Dinosaurs is a roadside attraction/museum-cum-playground that showcases two steel-and-concrete dinosaurs: Dinny the Dinosaur (a 46-meter-long Brontosaurus), and Mr. Rex (a 20-meter-tall Tyrannosaurus rex). The two dinosaurs represent the two features in the area. Dinny’s gift shop features dinosaur merchandise: t-shirts, toys, decals, and plushies. Mr. Rex’s Dinosaur Adventure features robotic and static dinosaurs, and replica bones and fossils!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

The Cabazon Dinosaurs is a well-known, long-standing attraction not only near Palm Springs, but throughout California. Children will love the place’s interactive robotic dinosaurs and selection of dinosaur toys. Adults will love the place for the nostalgia factor (the Cabazon Dinosaurs was featured in the movies, The Wizard andPee-wee’s Big Adventure) and retro vibe!

What to do here?

Take pictures of the iconic Cabazon Dinosaurs! Comb Dinny’s gift shop for shirts and toys to commemorate your time in this iconic roadside attraction. Make sure to pass by Mr. Rex’s Dinosaur Adventure and check out the robotic dinosaurs and go inside the mouth of Mr. Rex!

Best time to visit

Cabazon Dinosaurs is open daily, 8 AM to 8 PM on Saturday and Sunday, and 8:30 AM to 8 PM the rest of the week. It’s usually quite busy on weekends, so it’s best to visit the place on weekdays. However, if you have to visit over the weekend, it’s best to get there around 9 AM!

Learn more about Cabazon Dinosaurs here!

Visit the Palm Springs Art Museum

What’s special about this place?

Located at 101 Museum Drive in downtown Palm Springs, the Palm Springs Art Museum is a regional art, natural science, and performing arts museum. It houses a permanent collection of over 24,000 objects that include Native American art, ceramics, tools, fine art, fossils, mounted specimens, and photographic archives. It also houses the Annenberg Theater, which hosts a variety of visual and performing arts.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Tourists looking to see some regional art in Palm Springs, or explore a natural exhibit with an emphasis on desert organisms, or explore Native American history, would love the Palm Springs Art Museum. There’s something for everyone here, and it’s a good place for tourists traveling with family.

What to do here?

Catch a show at the Annenberg Theater. Explore the museum’s Architecture & Design Collection and check out archives of Arthur Elrod, Albert Frey, and E. Stewart Williams, among others. While you’re there, don’t forget to check out the Faye Sarkowsky Sculpture Garden that features 14 outdoor sculptures, and over 60 desert plants!

Best time to visit

This depends on what your plans are. The Faye Sarkowsky Sculpture Garden is open from sunrise to sunset, and it’s best to visit that at around those times. However, the museum itself is open Thursday through Sunday, from 10 AM to 5 PM (10 AM to 7 PM on Thursdays). It’s recommended to get there early and allot at least an hour to explore the museum.

Learn more about Palm Springs Art Museum here!

Partake in VillageFest

What’s special about this event?

VillageFest, also known as the Palm Springs Street Fair, takes place every Thursday night in downtown Palm Springs on Palm Canyon Drive. During VillageFest, the street is closed to vehicular traffic, and is transformed into a pedestrian street fair! Various specialty shops line the streets, and tourists and locals alike get to enjoy a night of great food, music, and entertainment!

Who’ll enjoy this?

Tourists looking for a local event that embodies the spirit of Palm Springs would love VillageFest! Whether you’re visiting Palm Springs for the first time or the hundredth time, VillageFest is an important part of the Palm Springs experience!

What to do here?

Check out the various food stalls and specialty shops. Walk through Palm Canyon Drive and try to strike up a conversation with fellow tourists or locals. VillageFest is a time-honored Palm Springs tradition, so be sure to take pictures (or videos) of your experience.

Best time to do this

There is no bad time to attend VillageFest. It’ll always be quite busy, and it’ll always be one of the most touristy things to do in Palm Springs. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing! Just make sure you come prepared for the festivity. On second thought, it might be best to get acclimated to the Palm Springs vibe first before attending VillageFest.

Learn more about VillageFest here!

Take a walk among mid-century modern structures at the Historic Tennis Club neighborhood

What’s special about this place?

Directly adjacent to the downtown commercial area of Palm Springs, the Historic Tennis Club neighborhood is the site of many architecturally significant properties. Some of the structures in the Historic Tennis Club area are American modernist masterpieces of A. Quincy Jones and Paul R. Williams. One of the oldest neighborhoods in Palm Springs, the area borders Tahquitz Canyon and as such, has access to popular hiking trails!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Tourists who appreciate architecture and the American modernist movement would enjoy a tour of the Historic Tennis Club. For tourists traveling with family, this area is an ideal place for hiking and cycling. It’s a great place to unwind and to appreciate the harmonious combination of nature and modern architectural design.

What to do here?

Take a walk or a bicycle ride through the modernist hotels and condominiums in the area. Check out the Palm Springs Tennis Club. Take a dip in its pool built right into the mountainside, or dine at the club’s dining room that melds the indoors with the outdoors (architects, am I right?).

Best time to visit

If it’s a neighborhood in Palm Springs, to be honest, there’s really not a bad time to visit the area. It is probably best to visit the neighborhood during the day, though, so the modernist designs are more visible. That said, regardless of the time of your visit, be sure to respect the privacy of the homeowners in the area!

Learn more about Historic Tennis Club here!

Pass by the Edris House

What’s special about this place?

Located at 1030 W Cielo Drive, the Edris House was built by modernist architect E. Stewart Williams for his close friends William and Marjorie Edris. One of the desert modernist gems in Palm Springs, the Edris House was designed, as per Williams, to look “as if it grew from the ground rather than falling from the sky.” Williams succeeded in this, building the timber-clad Edris House on a rocky outcrop.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Architecture enthusiasts, and tourists who love the “desert modernist” structures popularized by desert communities such as ones in the Coachella Valley, would enjoy passing by the Edris House. That said, the house has such a distinct style that, architecture knowledge notwithstanding, it’s always a hit among tourists.

What to do here?

As it’s private property, there’s really not much to do except to pass by the area and take pictures of the historic house. Check out the well-preserved house and how its materials mesh well with the typically hostile desert environment.

Best time to visit

It’s best to pass by the area during the day to be able to appreciate the house’s design more. This way, one can see how the light passes through its floor-to-ceiling glass walls, welcoming the desert outdoors, and visually meshing with it.

Learn more about Edris House here!

Visit Sunnylands

What’s special about this place?

Located at 37977 Bob Hope Drive in Rancho Mirage, just 21 minutes southeast of Palm Springs via East Palm Canyon Drive, the historic Sunnylands is a 200-acre estate that has served as a retreat venue for U.S. Presidents and world leaders, as well as noted intellectuals and celebrities. On many occasions, guests at Sunnylands have engaged in dialogue that led to efforts to enhance international understanding and civil discourse. It is regarded as “Camp David of the West.”

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Tourists who appreciate the architecture design of A. Quincy Jones, and visitors who are looking to explore one of the few places on the planet that exist solely to promote international relations and diplomacy–see where the magic happens, so to speak, would enjoy a tour within the estate.

What to do here?

Check out the nine-acre Sunnylands Center & Gardens and learn about the history of Sunnylands. This area is open free to the public, so take advantage of it! As for Sunnylands, take a guided tour within the historic estate. Check out the rooms where numerous presidents and other public officials have stayed.

Best time to visit

This depends on your itinerary. Tickets to guided tours within Sunnylands are only available online and are released in monthly blocks at 9 AM Pacific time on the fifteenth of the preceding month, so plan accordingly!

Learn more about Sunnylands here!

Catch a movie at Smith's Ranch Drive-In Theater

What’s special about this place?

Located at 4584 Adobe Rd in Twentynine Palms, just 51 miles northeast of Palm Springs, Smith’s Ranch Drive-In Theater is an old-school, cash-only drive-in movie theater that features new films and classic concessions like popcorn and hotdogs. This historic drive-in has served tourists and locals alike for more than 50 years! The history alone is worth the 51-mile drive from Palm Springs!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Cinephiles, and tourists traveling with family or with a date would love the Smith’s Ranch Drive-In Theater. There’s nothing like a good old-fashioned drive-in experience to cap off family night or date night. Also, while the movie selection may be limited, cinephiles should enjoy the classic experience the drive-in offers–a hallmark of American culture.

What to do here?

Catch a movie or two at Smith’s Ranch Drive-In Theater. Enjoy the outdoor movie-watching experience with your family and friends. Try some of the classic concessions offered by the cinema, and try to mingle with locals and other tourists at the drive-in!

Best time to visit

As of this writing, Smith’s Ranch Drive-In Theater is temporarily closed due to COVID. However, under normal circumstances, the drive-in opens at 7 PM and starts shows at 7:30 PM. It’s best to get there at least an hour before your movie starts so you can park your car at a nice spot.

Learn more about Smith’s Ranch Drive-In Theater here!

Take pottery classes at Silica Studios

What’s special about this place?

Located at 752 Williams Road in the heart of Palm Springs, Silica Studios is a 3,000 square foot ceramic studio that offers pottery classes and features ceramic art from local ceramic artists. Silica Studios allows students, novices, and professional artists to communicate with each other and develop their craft!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Tourists who are looking for a nice creative activity to fill a good part of their day, aspiring artists who like to work with clay, and visitors just looking for ceramic art in Palm Springs would love Silica Studios.

What to do here?

Take pottery classes at Silica Studios and learn about the subtle yet primal art of pottery from local ceramic artists. Check out the studio’s gallery and buy a piece of ceramic art! Check out the studio’s raku kiln!

Best time to visit

This depends on your itinerary. Studio and gallery hours are from 8 AM to 4 PM on Mondays through Fridays, and 8 AM to 2 PM on Saturday. If you plan on taking lessons, lessons are held every Sunday morning from 8 AM to 10 AM, or 10 AM to 12 PM.

Learn more about Silica Studios here!

Explore Joshua Tree

What’s special about this place?

Just 48 minutes away from Palm Springs if you take its west entrance, the Joshua Tree National Park is an American national park that includes 429,690 acres of designated wilderness. Though it is named after the Joshua trees native to the Mojave Desert (which aren’t really trees but are in fact part of the lily family), the Joshua Tree National Park is more known for straddling the Colorado Desert and the Mojave Desert; and for its hiking trails, rock climbing spots, and campgrounds. It’s considered one of California’s natural treasures.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Outdoor enthusiasts, nature lovers, tourists traveling with family and/or friends, or just tourists who love to take Instagram-worthy pictures of the desert wilderness, would all love the Joshua Tree National Park. With its assortment of hiking trails and campgrounds, there’s no lack for outdoor activities here. It’s a must-visit not only when you’re near the area, but if you’re in California in general.

What to do here?

Hike through the park’s famed trails. There are trails for every level of ability, so there’s no need to worry if you’re a beginner! If you’re up for it, try rock climbing at Joshua Tree’s granite rock formations. Camp overnight at one of the nine campgrounds within the park and do some stargazing! Take pictures of the park’s wildlife, as there are many animals and plants here that you won’t get to see anywhere else!

Best time to visit

This largely depends on your itinerary. The park is open 24/7, but some animals can only be seen during certain months, and some flowers bloom only in specific seasons. Also, you’ll have to ask a ranger on haze conditions if you’re planning to go to Keys View, Joshua Tree’s highest point.

Do some serious golfing at La Quinta Resort & Club

What’s special about this place?

Located just over 23 miles southeast of Palm Springs, at 49-499 Eisenhower Drive in La Quinta, the La Quinta Resort & Club is a 4-star luxury hotel in the Coachella Valley, and is the premier golfing destination within the area. It features amenities like a world-class spa, 41 climate-controlled pools, 7 restaurants, 5 premier golf courses, and 41 tennis courts where world-class tennis players like Sharapova and Djokovic once played!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Golfers, tennis players, and tourists traveling with family would love the La Quinta Resort & Club. It’s a bit pricey, but you won’t find better amenities all in one place elsewhere! For what it offers, it’s a bargain!

What to do here?

Choose from the resort’s wide variety of rooms and suites. Take golf classes at the PGA West Golf Academy, or go golfing at one of the resort’s five award-winning golf courses. Unwind at the resort’s Spa La Quinta, or take tennis lessons from USPTA-certified professional trainers!

Best time to visit

This depends on your itinerary, but it is ideal to visit the La Quinta Resort & Club during non-summer seasons to avoid the heat. As it is also a popular desert resort, it does get crowded in the summer, when everyone’s visiting the area.

Learn more about La Quinta Resort & Club here!

Visit Moorten Botanical Garden

What’s special about this place?

Located at 1701 S Palm Canyon Drive, the Moorten Botanical Garden is a privately owned 1-acre arboretum that specializes in cacti and other desert flora. The arboretum features thousands of specimens ethically sourced from all over the world. The species are categorized geographically, which gives visitors a tour through the different deserts of the world!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Nature enthusiasts and those interested in desert flora would love it here. It’s a unique garden that showcases life in the harshest, most arid places in the world. That said, the arboretum is also ideal for tourists traveling with family.

What to do here?

Spend an hour exploring different deserts and the plants that not only survive, but thrive in them! Check out the garden’s exhibits of crystals, fossils, and gold-mining relics! If you want to take home a plant, they’re available for purchase at the garden’s nursery. The Moorten Botanical Garden is also available as a wedding venue, for those looking for a desert-themed venue!

Best time to visit

The garden is open from 9 AM to 1 PM, Fridays through Sundays. It’s best to visit early, around 9 AM to avoid the heat. It’s recommended to spend at least an hour exploring the whole garden!

Learn more about Moorten Botanical Garden here!

Take a tour through the San Andreas Fault Zone in the Palm Desert

What’s special about this?

The San Andreas Fault is a 28-million-year-old continental transform fault (basically a crack in the earth where two tectonic plates meet) that extends roughly 1,200 km through California. There are many places in California from which to view the San Andreas Fault. The best way to view the part of the San Andreas Fault near Palm Springs is to take a tour through the San Andreas Fault Zone in the Palm Desert!

Who’ll enjoy this?

Aspiring geologists, and tourists looking for a highly educational desert adventure would love exploring the San Andreas Fault. While not necessarily the cause of earthquakes, an understanding of the San Andreas Fault is crucial in predicting earthquakes in California! This tour is ideal for families and children.

What to do here?

Take an educational jeep tour through the San Andreas Fault Zone. Take in the sights and smells of the desert, and check out the San Andreas Fault Zone. Check out the geographical features of the fault and take pictures!

Best time to do this

This depends on your itinerary. It’s best to inquire about San Andreas Fault tours near Palm Springs ahead of time so you can plan ahead. That said, the tours should take around 4-5 hours, so make sure to take that into consideration when you’re planning your Palm Springs visit!

Learn more about Palm Desert here!

Have a blast at Boomers Palm Springs

What’s special about this place?

Boomers Palm Springs is located at 67-700 E Palm Canyon Drive within the Canyon Plaza Shopping Center in Cathedral City, just 11 minutes southeast of Palm Springs. It’s an amusement center that features attractions like mini-golf, go-karts, bumper boats, and a rock wall!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Boomers Palm Springs is great for tourists traveling with family! It’s one of the most popular places near Palm Springs dedicated to good old-fashioned family fun. There’s nothing like spending a day Go-Kart racing with your kids!

What to do here?

Spend a day trying out all the attractions at Boomers. Check out the state-of-the-art game room. Refine your batting form at the batting cages. Try one of the miniature golf courses! You can also book Boomers for birthday parties and team building activities!

Best time to visit

Boomers is open daily; 2 – 8 PM Mondays through Thursdays, 2 – 10 PM on Fridays, 12 – 10 PM on Saturdays, and 12 – 8 PM on Sundays. To avoid large crowds, it’s best to visit on weekdays!

Learn more about Boomers Palm Springs here!

Get your sushi fix at Sandfish

What’s special about this place?

Located at 1556 N Palm Canyon Drive, Sandfish Sushi & Whiskey is a small upscale restaurant that combines Japanese and Scandinavian elements, with an emphasis on Japanese sushi. It’s owned by award-winning chef Engin Onural, and is famous for its signature rolls like the Venue Roll.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Tourists looking for their seafood and/or sushi fix in the middle of the desert would love it here. It’s one of the best sushi places in Palm Springs, and it has an extensive whiskey selection!

What to do here?

Check out Sandfish’s signature rolls. The Venue Rolls is a fan-favorite, as well as The Experiment. If it’s available, try Sandfish’s Hamachi Kama. If you’re feeling adventurous, try Sandfish’s Omakase! Make sure to check out their whiskey selection as well!

Best time to visit

Sandfish is open daily; from 4 – 10 PM Sundays through Thursdays, and from 4 – 11 PM on Fridays and Saturdays. It usually starts to get busy at around 6 PM, so it’s probably best to get there around 5 PM. That said, you can also just book a table ahead of time.

Learn more about Sandfish here!

Explore the Palm Springs Air Museum

What’s special about this place?

Located at 745 N Gene Autry Trail, the Palm Springs Air Museum is an 85,000 square foot living history museum dedicated to externalizing the role of the World War II combat aircraft and their pilots in winning the war. The museum houses over 59 vintage flying and static aircraft, and was named as one of the top 14 aviation museums in the world by CNN Travel in 2014.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Aircraft enthusiasts and war history buffs would love the Palm Springs Air Museum. The museum is particularly suited for families, as it offers highly educational tours and flight simulators for guests of all ages to enjoy.

What to do here?

Take a guided tour through the museum. Check out all four of the hangars within the museum and explore the history behind each aircraft. Check out The Berger Foundation Youth Exploration Center. Lastly, pass by the museum’s gift shop and check out World War II/aviation/military-related items!

Best time to visit

The museum is open daily, from 10 AM to 5 PM. Its peak hours are usually anytime around noon, so it’s best to visit the museum at around 10 AM or 2 PM onwards. Make sure to allot at least an hour and a half to explore the museum!

Learn more about Palm Springs Air Museum here!

Check out the Palm Springs windmills

What’s special about this place?

Adjacent to Highway 111 and the I-10 just under 19 miles northwest of Palm Springs, the San Gorgonio Wind Park is a wind farm that stretches from the eastern slope of the San Gorgonio Pass to North Palm Springs. The park is home to over 2,700 wind turbines built in the 1980s. The windmills produce 600 million kilowatt-hours annually, and provide enough energy to power almost the entire Coachella Valley!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Tourists looking to explore one of the iconic landmarks of California, as well as those who are into all types of structures and machines that provide alternative sources of energy, would enjoy a tour through the wind farm.

What to do here?

Take a tour through the San Gorgonio Wind Park. The original wind turbines are slowly being replaced by new state-of-the-art wind turbines, so make sure to check out the old wind turbines and take pictures. While you can explore the wind farm on your own, there are also numerous guided tours being offered in Palm Springs!

Best time to visit

This depends on your itinerary. If you’re passing through the I-10 on your way out or into Palm Springs, you’re bound to pass by the wind farm! Tourists usually spend a few minutes to half an hour in the area.

Attend the Lavender Festival at Highland Springs Ranch

What’s special about this place?

Located at 10600 Highland Springs Avenue in Cherry Valley, just under 30 miles northwest of Palm Springs, the Highland Springs Ranch & Inn is a 2,400-acre ranch hotel that features an organic farm, a restaurant, and an inn. Considered as Riverside County’s first historical landmark, the ranch was frequented by the likes of Wyatt Earp, Ernest Hemingway and Albert Einstein. The ranch’s 123 Farm hosts an annual Lavender Festival!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Tourists who are traveling with family and/or looking for a more rustic, bucolic setting would love the Highland Springs Ranch. Moreover, guests who are into lavender and all its applications would enjoy the Lavender Festival at the ranch’s 123 Farm.

What to do here?

Attend the Lavender Festival and try out all the lavender-infused food and products! The lavender cheesecake, lavender lemonade and lavender brisket are especially good! If you’re in the area before the harvest season, consider staying in the hotel. The ranch is considered an underrated gem among tourists and locals alike!

Best time to visit

Lavender usually blooms around the end of May, and tours through the Lavender Fields at 123 Farm are available from late May to July–a perfect start/end to your Palm Springs summer trip! That said, it’s recommended to allot at least one whole day in the ranch.

Learn more about Highland Springs Ranch here!

Go on a ghost town adventure at Salton City

What’s special about this place?

Over 60 miles south of Palm Springs, Salton City is a census-designated place in Imperial County, California. It is the largest development along the coast of the Salton Sea. Originally planned and developed as a resort community, Salton City remains, to this day, largely undeveloped. This is primarily due to the rising toxicity level of the Salton Sea nearby. While rather bleak, Salton City is one of the most fascinating areas near Palm Springs.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Environmentalists, and tourists curious as to what a modern ghost town or a post-apocalyptic world would look like, would find a trip to Salton City rewarding. Both Salton City and Salton Sea do not fall short on delivering the weird.

What to do here?

Walk through the shores of Salton Sea and check out the art pieces scattered along the beach (DO NOT attempt to swim/go in the water, though). Check out the abandoned houses and try to imagine what the area was like in its heyday. Make sure to take pictures of this one-of-a-kind ghost town in California!

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Salton City and Salton Sea would largely depend on your itinerary. It’s a bit out of the way, so it’d be best to visit the place towards the end of your Palm Springs trip. That said, it’s always better to visit a ghost town during the day.

Check out Backstreet Art District

What’s special about this place?

Located at 2600 Cherokee Way, the Backstreet Art District is an art complex that features a unique community of artists’ working studios & galleries, as well as businesses that provide artistic services. The Backstreet Art District is perfect if you’re looking for any kind of local art–whether it be paintings, ceramics, photography, mixed media, and even jewelry!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Tourists who are looking to shop for artsy souvenirs or just art pieces they want to add into their collection of local and regional art, would love the Backstreet Art District. It’s also great for tourists looking for great deals on artistic services!

What to do here?

Walk through the art district and check out the wide variety of galleries within the complex! Stop by the David A. Clark Studio, or the Artize Gallery, or the Gary Wexler Serigraph Studio. The district has a Monthly Art Walk on the first Wednesday of each month, so if you’re around the area, make sure to check that out as well!

Best time to visit

This depends on your itinerary. Studio hours may vary, but if you want to attend the Monthly Art Walk, make sure to be in the area on the first Wednesday of the month. The art walk is from 5 PM to 8 PM, so plan your trip accordingly!

Learn more about Backstreet Art District here!

Try the sound baths at the Integratron

What’s special about this place?

Located at 2477 Belfield Blvd in Landers, just under 43 miles northeast of Palm Springs, the Integratron is a one-of-a-kind 38-foot high, 55-foot diameter, wooden dome that was designed to be an electrostatic generator for the purpose of rejuvenation and time travel. Yes, you read that right. Realistically speaking, the Integratron can do one of those things, through musical sound baths–60-minute sessions where guests lie on beds while listening to 20 quartz crystal bowls!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Tourists looking for an otherworldly experience and deep relaxation in the middle of the desert would absolutely enjoy the Integratron. More than its sonic offerings, the Integratron is also an unconventional architectural wonder; so, tourists just visiting California to check out weird structures should enjoy this trip as well.

What to do here?

Take part in the Integratron’s Signature Experience–its sound baths, and experience the healing properties of sound! Check out the Integraton’s impressive dome and take pictures. Make sure to check out the Integratron gift shop as well!

Best time to visit

Since this is a little out of the way, it really depends on your itinerary. You can opt to go to the Integratron without a reservation, or rent it out for a few hours or for a whole day! The Integratron can host up to 15 people, so make sure to inquire in advance so the place can accommodate you and your family/friends!

Learn more about the Integratron here!

Stop by the Palm Springs Visitor Center

What’s special about this place?

Located at 2901 N Palm Canyon Drive, the Palm Springs Visitor Center is a former gas station called the Tramway Gas Station that now serves as a visitor center. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and is a prime example of mid-century modern architecture! It has a well-stocked gift shop where guests can buy Palm Springs souvenirs, and is a great introduction to the mid-century modern architecture the area is famous for.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Architecture enthusiasts, as well as tourists looking for Palm Springs-related souvenirs and postcards, would enjoy stopping by the Palm Springs Visitor Center. Tourists going into Palm Springs in need of a specific plan would also find the visitor center incredibly useful. The staff are knowledgeable, and can provide guests with maps and information on the best spots in Palm Springs, touristy or otherwise!

What to do here?

Check out the building’s architecture and take pictures of the building and the surrounding scenery. Try to make out the remnants of the Tramway Gas Station within the complex. Check out Palm Springs-related merch and souvenirs at the gift shop!

Best time to visit

The Palm Springs Visitor Center is open daily from 10 AM to 5 PM. The best time to visit the visitor center would be any time during weekdays. However, regardless of the day of your visit, it’s best to stop by here first if you don’t have a clue as to your Palm Springs destinations. Whether or not you’re stopping by here could define your Palm Springs experience!

Catch a movie at Camelot Theatres

What’s special about this place?

Located within the Palm Springs Mall at 2300 E Baristo Road, Camelot Theatres is an iconic old school movie theatre that shows art, foreign & independent films! The facility houses three theatres, a performance platform for live performances, a lecture stage, and a cafe with an extensive offering of sandwiches, fresh salad, and gourmet coffees! It is generally regarded as the best venue for art films in Palm Springs.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Cinephiles, and casual movie fans who want to unwind and enjoy a few hours of cinematic bliss would enjoy Camelot Theatres. The movie and documentary curation are top-notch, and the tickets and concessions are reasonably priced. Plus, it’s a great way to escape the heat, as the theatres are freezing!

What to do here?

Watch an award-winning movie or two at one of the facility’s theatres. While waiting for your movie to start, check out Ric’s Cafe and try some of their gourmet coffee and sandwiches. Be on the lookout for events held in Camelot Theatres, and try to participate in them!

Best time to visit

This depends on what movie or event you want to attend. The hours may vary, so be sure to check out Camelot Theatres’ Facebook page, or the Palm Springs Cultural Center website for more info on movie schedules.

Explore The Living Desert

What’s special about this place?

Located at 47900 Portola Avenue in Palm Desert, just over 16 miles southeast of Palm Springs, The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens is a non-profit zoo and desert botanical garden spread over 80 acres. While 80 acres are for its zoo and gardens, The Living Desert is set on 1,200 acres of the Colorado and Sonoran Desert that include nature preserve trails! It is home to over 500 animals and is dedicated to the conservation of endangered species.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Nature enthusiasts, conservationists, and tourists traveling with family should find The Living Desert extremely enjoyable and educational. Between the zoo/botanical garden and the nature trails, there is something for tourists of all ages and temperament here.

What to do here?

Take a guided tour through the zoo and botanical gardens. Take picture of unique desert animals in their natural environment, and check out the interactive animal hospital within the zoo! If it’s open, go on a trek to Eisenhower Peak! Don’t forget your camera, as the trip within The Living Desert presents incredible photo ops!

Best time to visit

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens is open daily, from 7 AM to 1:30 PM. It’s best to visit on weekdays, as early as possible, since it is in the desert, and temperatures can reach extreme highs. That said, it’s also recommended to avoid going there during the summer months. In any case, make sure to hydrate and dress appropriately for the desert environment!

Learn more about The Living Desert here!

Grab a bite at King's Highway

What’s special about this place?

Located at the Ace Hotel & Swim Club, at 701 E Palm Canyon Drive, King’s Highway is a roadside diner that offers a Cal-Mexican menu that highlights locally sourced ingredients. It’s known for its casual atmosphere and great breakfast option, and is one of Palm Springs’ most popular restaurants.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Hungry tourists of all ages would love this casual Palm Springs institution. It’s a welcoming place that echoes the spirit of the Wild West, and showcases the best ingredients that Palm Springs and the Colorado Desert has to offer.

What to do here?

Try some of their breakfast staples, like their Avocado Toast and King’s Highway Breakfast. If you come in a little later for lunch, try out their Farmer Salad and Twin Palms Burger. For dinner, try their Short Rib. The food at King’s Highway is quite simple, but it’s a Palm Springs icon for a reason!

Best time to visit

This depends on your itinerary and on what you’re craving for. King’s Highway is open daily, from 8 AM to 9 PM. It’s generally quite busy during lunch hours, so try to get there earlier, or late in the afternoon!

Learn more about King’s Highway here!

Engage your mind at the Desert Chess Club

What’s special about this place?

Located at 74700 CA-111 In Sonoma Grille at the Embassy Suites in Palm Desert, about 15 miles southeast of Palm Springs, the Desert Chess Club is a USCF-affiliated chess club in the Coachella Valley that welcomes chess players of all levels in a relaxing, and very welcoming environment! While it’s a private club, everyone can play at their weekly meetings at the Sonoma Grille, and at the Palm Springs Public Library!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Okay, we know what you’re thinking: why would I spend a few hours playing chess on my getaway trip? Well, it provides a reprieve from the outdoorsy, touristy things tourists do in the area. It’s also a great intellectual activity that’s open to everyone! Chess players and tourists traveling with family who are looking for a new way to mingle with locals would find the Desert Chess Club thoroughly enjoyable!

What to do here?

Play a round of rapid or blitz games with the club members and fellow visitors. If you’re new to the game, ask if you could play casually without a clock. If you want to get some serious training in, and you love the game of chess, it’s best to sign up as a member (it’s free!), as the club offers instructions in a group setting to members!

Best time to visit

The Desert Chess Club meets twice a week. On Sundays 1 PM to 5 PM at the Sonoma Grille, and on Wednesdays, 12 PM to 3 PM. at the Palm Springs Public Library. There’s really no bad time to visit the chess club, and playing chess is a great way to pass the time and escape the heat of the Sonoran Desert!

Take a tour through the Shields Date Garden

What’s special about this place?

Located at 80225 CA-111, Indio, California, just under 23 miles southeast of Palm Springs, the Shields Date Garden is a lush, 17-acre date farm that features Biblical-themed sculptures and a restaurant. The Shields Date Garden is the only place in the world where Floyd Shields’ (one of the owners of the farm) hybrid date varieties, blonde and brunette dates, grow. The date farm’s restaurant uniquely incorporates dates in its menu as well. It is known for its signature date shake!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Tourists who enjoy dates and are looking for a unique culinary experience in an iconic Coachella Valley spot would love the Shields Date Garden! It’s a great family-friendly place to try California-grown dates, and exploring the garden is a great way to pass the time before you head to your next Palm Springs trip stop.

What to do here?

Take a hike through the 17 acres of date farm. Check out the Biblical sculptures and try out their signature date shake at the garden’s restaurant! If you can’t get enough of their dates, buy their signature date crystals and their gift boxes at the garden’s restaurant!

Best time to visit

Shields Date Garden is open daily, from 8 AM to 4 PM. Its cafe is open from 8 AM to 2 PM. It’s best to get there as early as you can, as the desert heat can be too intense at noon and it might end up spoiling your visit! In any case, make sure to stay hydrated when you walk through the garden!

Learn more about Shields Date Garden here!

Check out That Pink Door

What’s special about this place?

Located at 1100 E Sierra Way, Villa Sierra – That Pink Door is a short-term and commercial rental that features, well, that pink door. While the villa itself offers amazing mountain views and a private outdoor pool, the one thing that sets this vacation rental apart from other houses is its distinct pink door. It’s one of Palm Springs’ most recent attractions (made wildly popular by Instagrammers), and, while it’s literally just a door, it is worth passing through East Sierra Way.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Tourists who are looking for something new to add to their Palm Springs itinerary, or some activity to pass the time before heading to their next destination would probably enjoy passing by this vacation rental. Its pink-chocolate-bar-door is one of the quirkier features of the area.

What to do here?

Take a leisurely stroll through East Sierra Way. Check out the exterior design of the house that accentuates That Pink Door. Make sure to be respectful and keep your distance from the house, as it is private property, and the owners have complained repeatedly about tourists getting too close to the house, or taking pictures. Get as touristy as you want to be, but rise above the toxic side of Instagram-culture!

Best time to visit

This depends on your itinerary. To better appreciate the iconic pink door, it’s best to pass by the house in the morning. It shouldn’t take more than a few minutes, and you’ll be rewarded with a great view of the San Jacinto Mountains!

Ride the historic Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

What’s special about this place?

Located at 1 Tram Way, just under 4 miles west of the Palm Springs Visitor Center, the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is the world’s largest rotating tramway. It can accommodate up to 80 passengers! Its stations were designed by mid-century modernist architects Albert Frey, Robson C. Chambers, and E. Stewart Williams. The tram car travels over two-and-a-half miles from the floor of the Coachella Valley, along Chino Canyon, to near the top of San Jacinto Peak!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

A ride in the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is a must for every tourist that visits Palm Springs. All types of tourists would definitely enjoy the ride through the rugged Chino Canyons and the amazing view in the tram car, and on the Mountain Station.

What to do here?

Ride the tram car from the Valley Station, and enjoy the view of Chino Canyon and the Palm Springs landscape below! The ride from Valley Station to Mountain Station takes about 10 minutes. Make sure to take pictures! At the Mountain Station, check out the restaurants and observation decks, and if you’re up for it, hike through one of the 50 hiking trails within the Mt. Jacinto State Park!

Best time to visit

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway hours are as follows: Monday – Thursday–First Tram up – 10 AM, Last Tram up – 6 PM, Last Tram down – 8 PM; Friday – Sunday–First Tram up – 8 AM, Last Tram up – 7 PM, Last Tram down – 9 PM. It’s best to take the ride around Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday!

Learn more about Palm Springs Aerial Tramway here!

Go on a desert adventure at the Thousand Palms Oasis

What’s special about this place?

Located at 29200 Thousand Palms Canyon Road, Thousand Palms, just under 16 miles east of Palm Springs, the Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve is a palm-filled nature reserve that features McCallum Pond, and 880 acres of protected desert wilderness! It is contiguous with other conserved areas that are collectively known as the Coachella Valley Preserve System. It has many hiking trails that feature different parts of the desert ecosystem!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Conservationists, outdoor enthusiasts, and tourists looking for a nice desert preserve with plenty of palm shaded area should enjoy the trip through the Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve! Aspiring and professional herpetologists, should enjoy the trip as well, as the whole preserve system was designed to protect the endemic Coachella Valley fringe-toed lizard!

What to do here?

Walk through over 25 miles of trails through the Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve. Take a guided tour of the preserve and learn about desert birds, native desert plants, and other wildlife that thrive in the preserve. Hang out at McCallum Pond and try to see if you can spot some desert pupfish! Obviously, take pictures of the preserve, and try to spot the elusive Coachella Valley fringe-toed lizard!

Best time to visit

The best time to visit the preserve would largely depend on your itinerary, and which trails you’re planning to take. While some trails are open 24/7, others have set opening and closing hours, so be sure to inquire at the visitors’ center before heading to the preserve! As with other places inside or near Palm Springs, it’s recommended to go there during non-summer months.

Learn more about Thousand Palms Oasis here!

Go shopping at Downtown Palm Springs

What’s special about this place?

The downtown Palm Springs area extends from Ramon Road to Vista Chino at the north and south end, and spans East Tahquitz Canyon Way from Museum Drive to up to Avenida Caballeros from west to east. It’s one of the best-known shopping districts within Palm Springs, featuring one-of-a-kind stores and boutiques. It is also the site of the weekly VillageFest!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Tourists keen on doing an all-out shopping spree in one area in Palm Springs, especially tourists traveling with family, would love Downtown Palm Springs. Tourists can find everything they need here–from restaurants and casual diners, to high end boutiques and small mom-and-pop shops; and the best part about it is that everything is within walking distance!

What to do here?

Shop for clothes and accessories at Chico’s boutique and Johnny Was, or at Free People or Francesca’s. Check out Thick As Thieves and West Elm Palm Springs for all kinds of home décor, furniture, and dinnerware. Once you’re done shopping, explore the many restaurants in the area–some of which will be mentioned separately in this list.

Best time to visit

This depends on your itinerary, as store hours may vary. That said, it is recommended to spend at least half a day here if you want to explore all the shops! Since this is a popular shopping district, expect a lot of foot traffic.

Try the small plates at Counter Reformation

What’s special about this place?

Located within Parker Palm Springs at 4200 E Palm Canyon Drive #5230, Counter Reformation is a not-so-secret wine bar that features small plates (more than a bite, less than an entree) of eclectic global fare and an extensive wine selection! While it’s not cheap, the food is reasonably priced.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Counter Reformation is ideal for date nights, so guests traveling with their dates, or those going on a date with a Palm Springs native, would love Counter Reformation. The noise level can get quite high, and the place only offers bar seating, but the food quality and the cozy atmosphere more than make up for it!

What to do here?

Try out their smoked Greek octopus and Hen of the Woods mushrooms. Their Charred Black Pepper Beef Carpaccio and Cabernet Short Rib & Poached Egg are fan-favorites as well. This goes without saying, but check out their world-class wine selection!

Best time to visit

Counter Reformation is open daily. 10 AM to 6 PM on weekdays, and 9 AM to 7 PM on weekends. As this is a small wine bar, expect it to be quite busy on the evenings. That said, there’s no one stopping you from going there for breakfast or brunch! While walk-ins aren’t discouraged, to make sure you get a table, it’s recommended to make a reservation ahead of time.

Unwind at Knott's Soak City Water Park

What’s special about this place?

Located at 1500 S Gene Autry Trail, Knott’s Soak City Water Park, now known as Wet’n’Wild Palm Springs (under CNL Lifestyle Properties), is a 16-acre water park that offers over 20 attractions, including a 600-foot lazy river and an 800,000-gallon wave pool!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Wet’n’Wild Palm Springs is ideal for families looking to escape the summer heat and just spend the day lounging around 16 waterlogged acres! There are plenty of attractions to choose from, and you only have to pay for admission!

What to do here?

Dive into the park’s lazy river. Check out the park’s Pacific Spin, a multi-person raft ride that includes a 132-foot long tunnel that drops riders 75 feet into a six-story funnel! For a more thrilling experience, check out Tidal Wave Tower!

Best time to visit

As of this writing, the park is closed throughout 2021 and is undergoing renovation. However, it plans on reopening in 2022. The park normally operates from March through October; however, specific days and operating hours may vary. It’s best to contact the park and inquire ahead of time if you’re planning to visit!

Check out the trippy Robolights

What’s special about this place?

Originally located at 1077 E Granvia Valmonte in Palm Springs, Robolights is a two-acre outdoor sculpture park that combines psychedelic sci-fi elements with religious holiday themes! It’s filled with robots, nuclear elves, and robotic three wise men! Due to its popularity, it’s been the subject of litigation regarding neighbor complaints about trash and unruly crowds. As a result, Robolights will soon be moved to a new location in Desert Hot Springs, around 12 miles north of Palm Springs.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Artists and tourists looking for that good old-fashioned California quirkiness that’s fun for both children and adults, would love Robolights! Robolights is a colorful spectacle that is one of the best examples of what recycled art can accomplish in the modern world!

What to do here?

Make an appointment and take a guided tour through this unique display of reclaimed art. Talk to the artist about his creative process and the history behind Robolights. As always, don’t forget to take pictures!

Best time to visit

This depends on your itinerary. As of 2020, Robolights is open by appointment only, and it’s soon moving to a new location. That said, it’s best to spend at least an hour here, and it’s recommended to take a tour at night to get the full experience!

Get modern Vietnamese fare at Rooster And The Pig

What’s special about this place?

Located at 356 S Indian Canyon Drive, Rooster And The Pig is a Vietnamese restaurant that offers a modern take on traditional Vietnamese cuisine. The restaurant also offers sake, a small variety of wines, and their own craft cocktails!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Tourists craving for Vietnamese food, and even tourists who aren’t very adventurous eaters, would love Rooster And The Pig. As it’s conveniently located in the downtown Palm Springs Area, it’s ideal for tourists who’ve just spent a few hours shopping and are looking for a nice, unconventional, and reasonably priced meal.

What to do here?

Try out the restaurant’s Vietnamese Crispy Rolls and their Lump Crab Roll. Their Lemongrass Pork & Shrimp Noodle Bowl is especially good, as well as their Whole Tiger Prawns. To wash that all down, try out some of their craft cocktails!

Best time to visit

As of this writing, Rooster And The Pig is closed for the summer, but they’re reopening in September. However, they’re normally open daily, from 4 PM to 8 PM. That said, as the place is quite small, and it’s hard to find decent parking in the area (if you’re bringing a car), it’s best to get there early!

Learn more about Rooster And The Pig here!

Visit Mecca Hills

What’s special about this place?

Located in Chuckwalla, just under 48 miles southeast of Palm Springs, the Mecca Hills are a low mountain range located in the Colorado Desert section of the Sonoran Desert, east of the Coachella Valley. The 26,242-acre Mecca Hills Wilderness is managed by the BLM’s Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office. One of the more unusual geological sites of its kind, it offers numerous hiking trails among narrow, steep-walled canyons!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Outdoor enthusiasts, nature lovers, and all sorts of adventurous tourists would love a trip to the Mecca Hills Wilderness. The wilderness offers numerous sites for hiking, RV camping, and tent camping; and it is home to a variety of desert plants and wildlife!

What to do here?

Check out Painted Canyon, and take a relatively easy hike through the Mecca Hills Trail. For those not keen on taking hikes in the desert, off-highway vehicle use is permitted over much of the area! Try camping out in one of the campsites in the area, and take in the magnificent sights and smells of the desert wilderness.

Best time to visit

The Mecca Hills Wilderness is open year-round. However, some parts may be closed due to weather conditions. It’s best to consult a local ranger regarding the availability of the trails you’re planning to explore. That said, as with all desert destinations, it’s best to visit the area during non-summer months!

Pass by the Lee R. Baxandall Bridge

What’s special about this place?

Located at 1500-1648 North Indian Canyon Drive, the Lee R. Baxandall Bridge, also known as “The Naked Bridge,” is a 140-foot overpass that connects two sides of the Desert Shadows Inn Resort and Villas (now known as the Desert Sun Resort), an adults-only, clothing-optional resort. The overpass is outfitted with five-foot canvas panels so that only the heads of naked hotel guests crossing the bridge can be seen. While the bridge protects the modesty of its crossers, it is a shining beacon of nudist culture.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Tourists keen on observing how architecture is affected by a certain local culture, even if it’s a niche one, would enjoy passing by the Lee R. Baxandall Bridge. It is one of the architectural wonders of Palm Springs in its own right, and its purpose as a bridge is two-fold–a physical bridge (from point A to point B), and a cultural bridge that bridges the gap between nudist culture and the rest of the world.

What to do here?

Pass by the iconic bridge and take pictures! Engage in a discussion on nudist culture with Palm Springs locals. That said, be sure to stay respectful, and don’t stare at the people crossing the bridge!

Best time to visit

This depends on your itinerary. There isn’t really a bad time to pass by the bridge, and it should take no more than 5 minutes. Just make sure that when you do visit, don’t bother the people crossing the bridge!

Do some horseback riding at Smoke Tree Stables

What’s special about this place?

Located at 2500 S Toledo Avenue, Smoke Tree Stables is a family-owned and family-operated horseback riding and boarding stables that features over 150 miles of breathtaking riding trails. Smoke Tree Stables has provided horses for various shows and major networks like Oprah and Playboy TV.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Tourists who want to get away from the crowded streets of Palm Springs and just want to engage with nature on horseback, would love it here. Smoke Tree Stables offers group riding sessions, so this is ideal for families as well. It is important to note, though, that guests have to be 7 years old and above to be able to ride; and that the weight limit is at 240 lbs.

What to do here?

Try the stables’ One Hour Trail Ride along the base of the Santa Rosa Mountains, or try out the Murray Canyon Haul Ride. Private Guided Rides can also be arranged, reservations are required, though. If you’re traveling with a group, the stables also offer a customized service that include cookout lunches and western-themed events!

Best time to visit

This depends on your itinerary, and the package you want to avail. Smoke Tree Stables is open from 8 AM to 3 PM, Fridays through Tuesdays. The hours and pricing for each package varies, so it is best to call ahead of time and inquire as to the availability of horses and the schedule of each package.

Learn more about Smoke Tree Stables here!

Visit the lawless Slab City

What’s special about this place?

Located 85 miles southeast of Palm Springs, within the Salton Trough area of the Sonoran Desert, Slab City, or the Slabs, is an unincorporated, off-the-grid, 640-acre squatter community consisting of hardcore “Slabbers” (what the locals who actually live there call themselves) and the occasional snowbirds, or tourists who want to immerse themselves in the nomad lifestyle without actual commitment. While notorious for being a lawless place, it’s an iconic tourist destination near Palm Springs.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Tourists who want to see and experience a nomad community would love Slab City. While it does have its own set of challenges, the community does thrive without government interference. As for its reputation for being lawless, that’s only in the traditional sense; the Slabbers still have a leader that calls the shots for the community!

What to do here?

Check out one of its main attractions, Salvation Mountain! Head over to the Library and engage some Slabbers in conversation. Learn about the community’s history and struggles, and how they remain a fully independent community despite being lawless. If you’re up for it, try living in Slab City for at least a week!

Best time to visit

Slab City is smack dab in the middle of the desert; so, as always, the best time to visit would be during the non-summer months. Regardless of your time of visit, it’s best to travel with a group, and it’s best to explore Slab City in a car!

Shop at the Uptown Designs District

What’s special about this place?

Spanning North Palm Canyon from Vista Chino to Alejo, the Uptown Designs District is yet another shopping district in Palm Springs that features a mix of local boutiques, antique and retro shops, contemporary art galleries, and trendy restaurants! While not as popular as the downtown area, it’s one of the must-shop destinations in Palm Springs!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Tourists looking to scratch that shopping itch, or just do some window shopping, would love the Uptown Designs District! This shopping district specifically caters to modernism fans, as its shops offer designs, art, and fashion that have come to define Palm Springs.

What to do here?

Check out desert modernist home decor at Christopher Kennedy. For those interested in mid century art, stop by Shag Art Gallery. Trina Turk is also one of the iconic shops in the district, offering a selection of chic desert clothing! After a day of shopping, dine at one of the restaurants in the district–Sandfish and 1501 Uptown gastropub are conveniently located nearby!

Best time to visit

This depends on your itinerary, as shops within the Uptown Designs District may have varying hours. That said, it’s best to visit during non-summer months, and it’s recommended to get there early, so you have at least an hour to explore the district!

Dine at The Barn Kitchen at Sparrows Lodge

What’s special about this place?

Located at 1330 E Palm Canyon Drive, Sparrows Lodge is a rustic hotel that features 20 rooms, a massage tent, and the iconic The Barn Kitchen. It’s a restored 1950s retreat that aims to maintain a simple, relaxing atmosphere in the spirit of inns in the 50s; while it has wi-fi, it has no televisions or phones in any of its rooms.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Tourists looking for that authentic getaway experience would love Sparrows Lodge. Its simplicity, as well as its iconic restaurant, are two of its main selling points. It is, however, an adults-only hotel. As such, this is ideal for couples and tourists 21 and over traveling in small groups!

What to do here?

If you’re staying at Sparrows Lodge, check out its modern rustic architecture! If you’re just stopping by to eat at The Barn Kitchen, try to strike up a conversation with other diners, as The Barn Kitchen is famous for its communal dining atmosphere. Don’t forget to try their supper and lunch items! The Barn Kitchen offers simple, uncomplicated food that showcases the best local ingredients!

Best time to visit

This depends on your itinerary. For non-guests, The Barn Kitchen is open for lunch and dinner daily, from 11 AM to 4 PM, and 5 PM to 8 PM, respectively. The bar remains open until 11 PM every day.

Learn more about The Barn Kitchen at Sparrows Lodge here!

Check out the Palm Springs Walk of Stars

What’s special about this place?

Located at 10 N Palm Canyon Drive, the Palm Springs Walk of Stars is a walk of fame (basically, stars with names of famous people are embedded into the sidewalk pavement) that honors Palm Springs notables. The extensive Walk of Stars includes portions of Palm Canyon Drive, Tahquitz Canyon Way, La Plaza Court, and Museum Drive.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Tourists who are fans of certain Palm Springs celebrities would love walking the entirety of the Walk of Stars. This destination is ideal for historians as well. It essentially gives tourists a comprehensive list of everyone who’s ever lived in Palm Springs, and made an impact in fields like literature, the arts, and politics.

What to do here?

Whether you’re shopping near the area, or just window shopping, walk the entirety of the Palm Springs Walk of Stars. Look down every once in a while, if you’re in downtown Palm Springs. Find your favorite Palm Springs celebrity’s star and take pictures!

Best time to visit

There isn’t really a bad time to pass by the Palm Springs Walk of Stars. It can easily be done whenever you’re in downtown Palm Springs, and it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes!

Grab a few bites at the iconic TKB

What’s special about this place?

Located at 44911 Golf Center Pkwy in Indio, just over 24 miles southeast of Palm Springs, TKB Bakery & Deli is an iconic family-owned deli in the Coachella Valley that offers a variety of sandwiches and provides custom catering!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

TKB Bakery & Deli is ideal for hungry tourists passing by Indio, or tourists staying near the area. While you do have the option to dine in, deli sandwiches are traditionally made for pickup or delivery, and are great on-the-go meals!

What to do here?

Try some of TKB’s top sellers. The Trump Card and the Mexican Marilyn Monroe are particularly good. Also, try out their TKB’s BBQ options, like the Smoked Brisket Sandwich, or the Brooklyn Smoked Pastrami!

Best time to visit

TKB is open Monday through Saturday, from 8 AM to 6 PM. It’s usually very busy around noon, so it’s best to pass by TKB a few hours before 12 PM. That said, you can always have your favorite sandwiches delivered if you’re in the area! For those with catering requests, it’s best to call TKB at least 24 hours ahead of time.

Learn more about TKB here!

Stop by the Children's Discovery Museum of the Desert

What’s special about this place?

Located at 71701 Gerald Ford Drive in Rancho Mirage, just under 11 miles southeast of Palm Springs, the Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert is a children’s museum with over 50 interactive exhibits. The exhibits are grouped by theme. Themes include science, how things work, and exploration. The museum also has a magnetic sculpture wall and a miniature rock-climbing area!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

The Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert is ideal for families and tourists traveling with children. While the museum has activities for guests of all ages, it’s a great place to let children just have fun and engage their curiosity for a few hours.

What to do here?

Check out the museum’s interactive exhibits! Explore the museum’s Annenberg Gallery that features attractions like Toddlertown, MakerSpace, and Brain Buster Road! If you’re more into outdoor activities, the museum also has outdoor exhibits like the Rancho Mirage Trike Track, and the Harvey Tortoise Habitat!

Best time to visit

As of this writing, the Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert is indefinitely closed. That said, it does intend on reopening in 2022. The best time to visit the museum would be during the non-summer months to avoid large groups of tourists!

Learn more about Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert here!

Get some artisanal ice cream at Kreem

What’s special about this place?

Located on 170 E Palm Canyon Drive, Kreem is a boutique, artisanal, vegan friendly ice cream shop known for unique flavors like Rosemary and Turmeric-Ginger. All ice creams from Kreem are hand-made in-house and are made with organic and natural ingredients. Vegan options include coconut-based ice creams as well as all-natural seasonal sorbets!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Tourists who are looking for great hand-made ice cream, especially tourists traveling with children, would love Kreem! There’s really nothing like enjoying ice cream on a hot summer day in the middle of the desert!

What to do here?

Check out Kreem’s selection of unique and classic ice creams and sorbets. Their Vietnamese Coffee ice cream, Lemon Meringue ice cream and Rosemary ice cream are particularly good. If you’ve had your fill of ice cream (even though that doesn’t make sense), Kreem also offers coffee!

Best time to visit

Kreem is only closed on Tuesdays, and is open from 12 PM – 8 PM from Sunday to Thursday, and 12 PM – 9 PM on Fridays and Saturdays! It’s the least busy on Mondays, but a great time to visit Kreem on any other day of the week would be around 3 PM!

Learn more about Kreem here!

Explore the Noah Purifoy Outdoor Desert Art Museum at Joshua Tree

What’s special about this place?

Set in Joshua Tree, at 62975 Blair Lane, the Noah Purifoy Outdoor Desert Art Museum is a ten-acre, open-air desert museum that displays Noah Purifoy’s assemblage sculptures made from found materials such as bowling balls, tires, folding chairs, wood, and all sorts of discarded appliances. Many of the pieces are designed to be entered.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Artists and tourists who happen to be in Joshua Tree, and who are looking for something other than the great desert wilderness, would love this thought-provoking museum. While many of the pieces have severely deteriorated under the extreme conditions of the desert, this is what Purifoy had intended, in defiance of what he referred to as institutionalized art.

What to do here?

Interact with all the assemblage art. Most pieces are made to be part assemblage, part architectural installations, so try to treat them as such. Observe and take pictures of all the discarded “junk” that make all the pieces in the museum.

Best time to visit

The museum is open to the public 24/7, all year round. That said, it’s recommended to visit the museum in the non-summer months. It is also advisable to ask a local ranger about desert weather conditions before heading out into Joshua Tree.

Learn more about Noah Purifoy Outdoor Desert Art Museum here!

Have a culinary adventure at La Copine

What’s special about this place?

Located at 848 Old Woman Springs Road in Yucca Valley, just over 36 miles northeast of Palm Springs, La Copine is described as a culinary oasis in the middle of the desert. La Copine offers simple New American cuisine prepared impeccably and made with the best ingredients. It’s part of Eater’s 2018 list of California’s 38 Essential Restaurants, and is a must-visit when you’re near the area.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Tourists who are up for a culinary adventure in the middle of the desert would not be disappointed with La Copine. In fact, some tourists even visit Palm Springs just to dine at La Copine. It’s that good.

What to do here?

Relax. Take in the sights, smells, and sounds of California’s high desert while you wait for your food. Try La Copine’s crispy buttermilk chicken and grits; or their gazpacho and ceviche; or even their salads. La Copine is one of California’s hidden gems, and a trip here is worth traversing the harsh desert environment.

Best time to visit

As of this writing, La Copine is on summer break. It should reopen around October, though. It’s normally open Thursdays through Sundays, from 11 AM to 4 PM. Orders are taken on a first come, first served basis. It’s best to get there early, way before they open (around 9:30 AM).

Learn more about La Copine here!

Visit Whitewater Preserve

What’s special about this place?

Located at 9160 Whitewater Canyon Road in Whitewater, Whitewater Preserve is a 2,851-acre nature preserve that includes the Whitewater River and rich riparian habitats that is home to the endangered southwestern willow flycatcher and least Bell’s vireo. It also occasionally hosts migrating summer tanagers and vermilion flycatchers! It’s surrounded by the San Gorgonio Wilderness, and is an important wildlife corridor between the San Bernardino and San Jacinto Mountains.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Outdoor enthusiasts, avid birdwatchers, and conservationists would love the Whitewater Preserve. It’s also an ideal place for families to go camping, hiking, wildlife watching, and picnicking!

What to do here?

Go hiking on one of the many trails in the Whitewater Preserve. Take pictures of the wildlife in the area, and try to spot the endangered southwestern willow flycatcher! The area is home to bears, rattlesnakes, and mountain lions as well, so be careful and just stick to the marked paths!

Best time to visit

The Whitewater Preserve is open daily, from 8 AM to 5 PM. It’s best to go there on weekdays, as it’s significantly busier over the weekend. That said, it is a popular tourist destination, so get there as early as possible so you can still enjoy a few hours of peace and quiet!

Stop by The Sugarloaf Cafe

What’s special about this place?

Located at 70111 CA-74 in Pinyon Pines, over 28 miles southwest of Palm Springs, The Sugarloaf Cafe is a historic cafe that has been serving some of the best homemade American food in California since the 1930s! Despite its history, it’s considered to be one of the hidden gems near Palm Springs!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Tourists looking for some good, old-fashioned American home cooking (e.g. pies, BBQ, sausage and eggs with toast) would love The Sugarloaf Cafe. Tourists traveling from Palm Springs to Pinyon Pines or to the Santa Rosa Reservation would find this historic roadside diner a very welcome pitstop!

What to do here?

Try their famous buttermilk biscuits. Check out their Key Lime Pie and Whiskey Peach Crumble. Don’t forget to try their smoked meats as well. The Sugarloaf Cafe is well-known for their brisket. Its location also allows for great photo ops, so make sure to take pictures while you’re there!

Best time to visit

As of this writing, The Sugarloaf Cafe is currently closed due to the recent bush fire. They’re bound to reopen soon, though, and normally, they’re open on Saturdays and Sundays, from 10 AM to 3 PM. It’s best to get there early to enjoy the brisk morning mountain air while you’re having your breakfast/brunch!

Learn more about The Sugarloaf Cafe here!

FAQ

FAQ – Frequently asked questions about Palm Springs:

Is Palm Springs safe?

Yes. Palm Springs is generally safer than other cities in the state of California, which is saying something, since cities in California are already relatively safer than other cities in other states.

Is Palm Springs expensive?

Unfortunately, yes. Palm Springs’ housing expenses, transportation expenses, and some grocery prices are all higher than the national average. However, if you ask a local, there are always ways to lessen expenses in Palm Springs.

What’s so great about Palm Springs?

Palm Springs was once an exclusive getaway for Hollywood stars. That said, it has since transformed itself into a culturally rich oasis that celebrates both the desert landscape, and the arts.

Go to Frontpage

close