When you’re checking off the list of reasons why you should plan a visit to Palm Springs, make sure to include, the sunshine, great resorts, shopping, outdoor adventures, museums, and spectacular scenery. This beautiful oasis in the Mojave Desert has it all.
While Palm Springs is often associated with beautiful rolling green golf courses, condos, and millionaires, visitors often miss the more “close-in” experience that the area has to offer.
Ever since movie stars first appeared here in the 1930s, laying claim to ranch estates and filling up the numerous five-star resorts, Palm Springs has been a place to vacation and play.
The clean dry air and sunshine, just 120 miles east of Los Angeles, have made Palm Springs irresistible to the California attraction. Travel time from Orange County is only 90 minutes.
With the massive Mount San Jacinto Mountains hovering over its sprawling suburban lifestyle, Palm Springs embodies an eclectic mix of Spanish Colonial and mid-twentieth-century modern architecture.
Located at the center of the downtown core, nestled along Palm Canyon Drive and intersecting side streets is the main shopping district with its numerous designer shops, boutiques, art galleries, restaurants, museums and one-of-a-kind stores.
It’s all within walking distance and offers visitors a chance to discover some of the country’s most exquisite art, and exclusive commodities while enjoying the unique cuisine at one of the many sidewalk cafes.
One of the better ways to explore the downtown experience is Villagefest. This outdoor extravaganza is more than 16 years in the making and is sure to entice you with a new experience each time, as it does to thousands of visitors each week.
Weekend Activities Guide
Many of the shops stay open late, and you can cap off the day with a pub crawl to one of the many upscale nightclubs that are scattered along Palm Canyon Drive, including The Hair of the Dog, a small English pub and favorite hangout of late entertainer, and former mayor of Palm Springs, Sonny Bono.
As you weave your way throughout the downtown Palm Springs, you will find 330 sidewalk stars honoring various show business celebrities, pioneers, civic leaders, humanitarians, and congressional medal awardees.
Things to do in Palm Springs
The world famous Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is a must do on any day trip to Plam Springs.
Take a journey up to the top of the San Jacinto mountains and enjoy an amazing view of Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley.
Moorten Botanical Gardens are a little-known secret of visitors to Palm Springs.
The gardens afford guests an opportunity to peacefully stroll and view this vast and amazing collection of more than 3,000 varieties of desert plants.
The Palm Springs Air Museum is home to one of the nation’s largest collection of World War II flying aircraft.
The Palm Springs Air Museum is a great place to bring the kids, and they are encouraged to explore and take part in the various programs that are geared for children.
Palm Canyon Drive is located in the heart of Palm Springs and offers dining and shopping for both locals and tourists.
Palm Canyon drive is home to the “Walk of Stars,” 329 to be exact on the sidewalks. Who needs to go to Hollywood?
— Daytrippen.com (@Trippen) January 15, 2017
Hiking in Palm Springs
Indian Canyons is just a short drive from downtown Palm Springs, the Indian Canyons are four canyons preserved by the Agua Caliente Cahuilla Indians
The canyons are open – for a fee – to the general public for hiking, horseback riding and picnicking.
It is a moderate hike good for the entire family, with a gradual grade and partially paved footpath that weaves its way down into the canyon.
The trail features several groves of the California Fan Palm beside a stream that makes for a perfect picnicking spot.
Before leaving the area, another great spot to explore is Tahquitz Canyon. A short, easy two-mile loop hike that has some nice scenery to a spectacular seasonal 60-foot waterfall. Families could easily do this hike with children and it takes less than two hours.
Parking is free, but there is a small admission price. They offer complimentary hiking sticks and the Visitors Center near the entrance.
Day Trips From Palm Springs
As you leave the downtown area, you will begin to discover that Palm Springs and the surrounding desert cities – makes up the outdoor recreational playground of Southern California.
Whitewater Preserve is a natural treasure is also a great place to escape with miles of hiking trails.
Wildlife enthusiast will get their fill as they will enjoy catching a peep of Big Horn sheep, bobcats, coyotes, bear and deer that live on the Preserve lands.
Shields Date Garden is a historic landmark that has been at the same location since 1924.
Opening its doors on Christmas Day of that year, they have continuously offered quality date, citrus, and organic food products to customers all over the world.
Desert Hills Outlet Mall is only 20 minutes and has shops to suit every taste and budget.
Anchored by Nieman Marcus’s Almost Last Call and Saks Fifth Avenue Off Saks, Desert Hills is the perfect place to find upscale merchandise at affordable prices. The shops are set up in two blocks, the West Village, and the East Village.
The Living Desert Zoo & Gardens is located 15 miles southeast of Palm Springs, California.
This family-friendly attraction is a breathtaking experience nestled at the foot of the Santa Rosa Mountains and is a worthwhile destination for any weekend day trip.
Desert Hot Springs is a relaxed spa town, supplied with abundant streams of hot mineral water that are piped to the surface.
Soaking in hot mineral water is just one of the activities you can do in the Desert Hot Springs.
Pioneertown is a little off the beaten track but if you’re a fan of the old west it’s worth checking out.
On weekends, you might catch a free western show in front of the saloon with cowboys doing some trick shooting and roping.
Oasis Date Gardens are a 175-acre date ranch dedicated to growing Organically Certified Medjool Dates. Located along Highway 111 about 30 minutes from Palm Springs.
Joshua Tree National Park covers nearly 800,000 acres. The main park entrance is just over 40 miles from Palm Springs. The park contains two deserts each with its own ecosystem that varies according to the elevation. The Mojave Desert part is the higher elevated section and is drier and cooler. Plan on a full day to explore this huge desert park.
Getting to Palm Springs
Palm Springs is about a two-hour drive from Los Angeles or San Diego.
With so many things to do and see in Palm Springs, one day is not enough. Consider a weekend getaway to explore all the attractions Palm Springs has to offer.