With seemingly endless sunshine, this desert oasis is returning to its glory days as a Hollywood playground, a central gathering spot modern architectural design aficionados, musicians and artists drawn by nature’s inspiration, epicureans and an increasing crowd of cool-seekers.
Palm Springs and the surrounding desert cities make up the recreational playground of Southern California. From tennis tournaments to balloon rides to date shakes, there are plenty of things to do in Palm Springs during your stay. Whether you’re lifting up iconic Mount San Jacinto in the world famous Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, chilling out in a wave pool at Knott's Soak City, touring the San Andreas fault or getting up-close and personal with nature and animals at The Living Desert, you'll find a variety of attractions to check out within the relaxed desert environment.
Greater Palm Springs has some of the best hiking in the West. Whether you hit the trail on foot - or choose a jeep tour - you're invited anytime to explore the mountain ranges and state parks.
Known as the Capital of Golf in the western United States, Palm Springs and the surrounding desert cities are home to 110 world-class golf courses. If you’re looking for challenging designer golf courses set before spectacular mountain views, book your tee times and pack your clubs, hit the road and enjoy your day in the sun.
Sure, they love golf, and Greater Palm Springs may be best known for the sport, but the desert oasis has enjoyed a love affair with tennis ever since celebrities flocked to the courts of Charlie Farrell's famed Palm Springs Racquet Club for an afternoon of doubles followed by an evening of martinis.
Today, tennis continues to thrive in the desert as perpetual sunshine and near perfect playing conditions draw avid and amateur tennis buffs alike to state-of-the-art public, semi-private and private facilities throughout the Greater Palm Springs area. Few places can match the top-flight tennis facilities in the desert - home of the two-week BNP Paribas Open in March.
Bike paths take you through star-studded neighborhoods or along verdant golf courses and bucolic washes. The City of Palm Springs provides a map of bike paths, available on the city’s website.
Indulge in a fabulous spa treatment at one of the desert’s exclusive celebrity hideaways, day-use facilities, facial studios, or full-service resorts. Experience miracle healing waters, tapped from the ground and found at more than 20 properties in Desert Hot Springs, famous for rejuvenating bodies and souls for nearly a century.
Casinos & Entertainment
Greater Palm Springs casinos offer big-time action and gaming in the heart of the desert. Feeling lucky? Visit and stay in one of the area casino hotels or resorts. And when you are done at the slot machines, or playing poker, blackjack, bingo or craps — first-class entertainment awaits including satellite horse racing or live entertainment such as concerts, sporting events and comedy shows.
Since its early days, the arts in the Palm Springs area has thrived, thanks to noted artists (and talented amateurs!) who make the stunning vistas their muse. An impressive number of art galleries dot the valley ... and there are unique-to-the-desert options, including celebrations of Indian culture, homages to architecture and monuments dedicated to nature. Children will delight in the Children’s Discovery Museum, which offers hands-on fun. History buffs will be impressed by the collection of antique planes at the Palm Springs Air Museum and visitors flock to the desert each season to see the fabulous Palm Springs Follies with celebrity guest stars and top vaudeville acts.
Popular museums, galleries and artful events include:
-Modernism Week each February puts a spotlight on this stylish curbside appeal.
-The creative works exhibited at Palm Springs Art Museum, with a nationally acclaimed collection of Contemporary, Western and Mesoamerican works. In March of 2012, the museum opened The Galen, a LEED certified, 8,400-square-foot gallery in Palm Desert. The museum showcases international new media, photography, painting and sculpture, including large outdoor installations displayed throughout the surrounding four-acre Faye Sarkowsky Sculpture Garden.
-Within the last decade, the commercial zone located on the south side of Palm Springs was transformed into the world-renown Backstreet Art District, a mecca of up and coming artist studios and boutique galleries. The first Wednesday of every month you can meet the artists and peruse their open studios during an Art Walk from 6 to 9pm.
-Lovers of antiques and American impressionist art should visit Stewart Galleries in the La Plaza District .
-Head to Palm Desert to admire the stunning collections in Christian Hohmann Fine Art or Heather James Fine Art.
Palm Springs Art Districts
Here you will find several galleries lining Palm Canyon Drive, as well as the illustrious Palm Springs Art Museum that is set back against the mountains on Museum Drive. With a permanent collection that includes the likes of Chagall, Picasso, Warhol, Lichtenstein, and Rauschenberg, a museum excursion is a must. Don't miss Backyard Oasis: The Swimming Pool in Southern California Photography, 1945-1982. This exhibition premiering is part of the Getty Foundation's Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. regional arts initiative.
Design District Housed in a 1929 landmark building, the 7,000 square-foot Michael H. Lord gallery showcases an unparalleled contemporary art collection. This standout gallery is among the dozen or more that you can check out in the Midtown/Uptown Design District. A shopping bonanza awaits in this ultra hip section of Palm Canyon Drive north of downtown. In addition to art and design galleries, modernist boutiques – including Trina Turk's flagship store – and consignment stores, you'll dig the great food, drinks and scenery in the area's chic restaurants and outdoor cafes.
Backstreet Art District
After your uptown art junket, head about five miles south on Palm Canyon Way to the Backstreet Art District situated off Cherokee Way. Called "SoDo" for its south of downtown venue, this fascinating collective of nine artist-owned galleries is making a name for itself with several noted artists engaged in painting, sculpture, photography, ceramics, mixed media and other artistic pursuits. See and meet the artists; the Backstreet Art District hosts an Art Walk the first Wednesday evening of each month.
A foray into the art world in the renowned El Paseo Drive shopping district starts and ends with the immense sculptures you'll spot in the beautifully manicured medians. Of course, they're not for sale since they belong to the City of Palm Desert's colossal public arts collection. But you'll find plenty to pique your interest in the more than 25 museum-quality art galleries representing countless artists in all mediums.
The Art Place Palm Desert
Don't let the mundane office park location throw you; The Art Place at 41-801 Corporate Way features some of the finest galleries, artisans and home furnishing boutiques in the Greater Palm Springs area. Plan your visit for a first Friday of the month when this creative enclave hosts an evening Art Walk that includes live music, fine food, and refreshments.
Not to worry if collecting art is not in the budget right now – you don't need to spend a dime to fully appreciate the desert art scene. Nearly every Greater Palm Springs city has public art collections that can be enjoyed for free.
For instance, Palm Springs' collection features several major installations, including Jungle Red, a 25-foot long steel sculpture named for the nail polish color Joan Crawford wore in the 1939 movie, The Women.
Mid-valley, forty-four pieces of art in mostly original media adorn the interiors of the luxurious IW Club at the Indian Wells Golf Resort. The works from nationally known artists range from floor and wall-mounted sculptures to paintings, pottery, poster artwork, and more. And, from giant abstract sculptures to functional pieces like city bus shelters, more than 150 stunning works proliferate throughout Palm Desert's landscape. Free guided tours are available on the second Saturday of each month from September through June.
Greater Palm Springs has emerged as a mecca for major festivals and events. Whether it’s watching the world’s tennis elite vie for the BNP Paribas Open trophy or checking out the incredible concert scene at “Coachella” and Stagecoach, special events take center stage throughout the year. The desert oasis also hosts PGA and LPGA golf tournaments; top competitive running and cycling events; celebrations of art, architecture and fashion; Native American pageants and holiday happenings; a bevy of film, music, food and wine festivals; winter polo and even a golf cart parade! Why not plan your trip around one of Greater Palm Springs’ world-class events?
When it’s gloomy or rainy elsewhere, chances are the sun will be shining in Greater Palm Springs making it the perfect all-season destination to explore the great outdoors. The Santa Rosa and San Jacinto National Monument, Palm Springs Indian Canyons, Coachella Valley Preserve and nearby Joshua Tree National Park offer awesome opportunities to get one-on-one with nature by foot, off-road adventures and backcountry camping. The desert oasis is also an ideal place for golfers, hikers, bikers, runners, equestrians and all types of sporting enthusiasts, but you don’t need to be a fitness buff to appreciate the spectacular beauty of the Southern California desert.
Whatever your speed, you’ll find something unique:
-Get an aerial perspective of the Coachella Valley from the open cockpit of a 1940 Stearman Biplane or the basket of a hot air balloon, where the orange sunrise magically illuminates the San Jancinto Mountains framing the horizon.
-Board the world’s largest rotating tramcar, Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, carrying you up the cliffs Chino Canyon to 8,516 feet above sea level, where you can set out on an invigorating hike.
-Off-road tours in a Hummer take you to the Canyons of the San Andreas Fault to climb to Summit Point in Joshua Tree National Park for a view as far-reaching as Mexico.
-Soak tired muscles in one of the many famed mineral springs responsible for the city’s namesake. Just east of the city in Desert Hot Springs you will find the largest cluster of these natural hot water attractions said to restore the body with prized minerals. But pampering can also be found right in your hotel, with a relaxing massage awaiting you at top properties such as The Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa in Rancho Mirage.
The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands Sunnylands
A high-level retreat center, historic house, education center, and art gardens with tours and information on art, architecture, history, philanthropy, landscape, and sustainability. Sunnylands was the estate of Ambassador Walter and Leonore Annenberg who entertained Presidents, royalty, political figures, and cultural icons in this mid-century modern home.
Palm Springs Art Museum and Annenberg Theater
The Palm Springs Art Museum has two locations: the flagship property is located in the heart of downtown Palm Springs and 150,000 square feet of climate-controlled galleries featuring a wide variety of modern, contemporary, glass, Western art, and photography art. The museum also has a location in Palm Desert on Highway 111 at El Paseo. Both locations offer compelling temporary exhibitions that change throughout the year and are supplemented by the museum's vast permanent collection that includes works from Chagall, Warhol, Lichtenstein, Moore, Frankenthaller, Kapoor, Judd, Morris, Adams, and Rauschenberg.
Palm Springs Air Museum
One of the largest collections of flying WWII aircraft. Focus on history and education about WWII aviation. Three hangars; 56,000 square feet of space available for private functions.
Coachella Valley History Museum
The Coachella Valley History Museum seeks to share the unique history of the desert and the Cahuilla Indians and pioneers who forged through the difficult environment to create the community it is today. Its campus contains the Smiley-Tyler House, a 1926 adobe home, which houses the main exhibits; the fully restored, historic 1909 Indio Schoolhouse; and the only Date Museum world-wide. The spacious grounds contain a Memorial Date Garden, a Japanese Garden, and the oldest Cork Oak tree in the Coachella Valley. Other highlights consist of a Submarine house, a Blacksmith shop, and an archive.
Cabot's Pueblo Museum
A Hopi inspired Pueblo that is a unique treasure to the Coachella Valley, located in the heart of Desert Hot Springs. The Museum is close to Joshua Tree, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, and Palm Springs. This Southern California landmark is within 10 minutes of the exit from the 10 Freeway.
Built by Cabot Yerxa (b. 1883) on property he homesteaded in 1913, he worked on the property until his death in 1965. Cabot journeyed through the desert; gathering reclaimed materials for 10 years; from as far east as the Salton Sea, north to Morongo Valley, south to Palm Springs and west to White Water.
The structure is hand made, created from reclaimed and found objects. The Pueblo is four-stories, 5,000 square feet and includes 35 rooms, 150 windows and 65 doors. Visitors will notice many unique features: including windows and doors collected and reassembled from abandoned homesteads, old telephone poles, buck board wagon parts, and many other materials used creatively.
Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert
The Children's Discovery Museum is where children and parents can learn and discover over 60 hands-on activities together, including Build Your Own Race Car, Lie Detector, Crack the Safe, Vet Pet Station, Paint the Car, and so much more! Situated on 6.5 acres, CDMOD also offers outdoor play space, family picnic areas, and a grass maze to wander through. Children learn and have fun while creating, exploring, and experimenting in a safe, caring environment.
A combination of perfect weather, Hollywood glamour and an intimate village atmosphere keep Palm Springs on the A-List of great destinations. Visitors enjoy fine dining, shopping, and world-famous boutique hotels in a unique setting surrounded by celebrated mid-century modern architecture.
Desert Hot Springs
Located in the foothills just north of Palm Springs, Desert Hot Springs is situated above natural underground hot mineral water streams that feed into its multiple spa properties. The city’s unique geology has made it a world famous destination for relaxation and rejuvenation.
Cathedral City is conveniently located in the center of all Coachella Valley activities! The city is a center of family oriented fun, unique dining, hiking, and one of a kind shopping, from vintage collectibles to the new and trendy. The Desert IMAX Theater is the only large format screen in the Valley.
Unique for its designation as the “Playground of Presidents,” Rancho Mirage’s stellar golf courses, lushly landscaped estates, first class shopping and fine dining remind visitors why the likes of Frank Sinatra, Lucille Ball and President Ford and former First Lady Betty Ford chose to call this city home.
Palm Desert has evolved into the region’s cultural, educational, and retail center featuring the “Rodeo Drive of the Desert” — El Paseo Drive. The city also claims the renowned McCallum Theatre, The Living Desert Zoo & Botanical Gardens, excellent hiking trails, multiple golf resorts, and shopping for every taste.
Residents and visitors enjoy an unparalleled array of amenities in this premier luxury resort destination. Attractions include the top-ranked Indian Wells Golf Resort and stunning IW Club, world renowned Indian Wells Tennis Garden, four outstanding hotels, sensational spas, shopping, dining, and year-round recreational activities.
La Quinta charms visitors from around the world with phenomenal golf at PGA WEST, La Quinta Resort & Club and SilverRock Resort, while outdoor aficionados explore the scenic trails of the Santa Rosa Mountains. Art lovers indulge in the abundance of art and culture, and everyone enjoys fabulous dining, shopping, and hospitality!
Indio is as much at home with agriculture as world recognized entertainment, blue-blooded polo tournaments and gaming. The increasing popularity of the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival and Stagecoach Music Festival, as well as the Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival, Southwest Arts Festival, and International Tamale Festival, draw thousands of visitors each year.
Celebrating its multi-generational Mexican American culture with annual events, Coachella is also home to a popular weekly Saturday morning farmers market featuring plentiful crops, such as grapes, citrus, corn, carrots, artichokes, and peppers. Coachella marks the easternmost city in Greater Palm Springs and holds the distinction of being one of the fastest-growing cities in California.
With more than 600 Palm Springs restaurants in the valley, the dining possibilities are endless — chic little bistros, poolside cafes, exquisite resort fare and casino buffets boasting everything from steamed shrimp to prime rib and a dozen flavors of cheesecake. And when the sun fades behind majestic Mt. San Jacinto, the desert's "cool" surfaces in our nightlife! Visitors enjoy fabulous options every evening of the week, from the famous downtown Palm Springs bar scene and dance venues to piano bars, coffee houses, jazz clubs and more!
Some list worthy dining options include:
-Start your day with foie gras brioche French toast at Norma’s, an institution for creative breakfast fare.
-Farm-to-table restaurant, Jiao, in the Uptown Design District literally takes an artful approach, siding their Asian cuisine with art installations.
-Breakfast and lunch favorite, Cheeky’s, a reservation is recommended, as it’s been a popular table since opening in 2012.
-Another one of the city’s latest additions, Workshop Kitchen + Bar opened within the historic El Paseo Building. Sourcing ingredients from local farmers in the Coachella Valley, Chef Owners Michael Beckman and Joseph Mourani elevate family-style dining to another level, with creative works of culinary genius served on large format plates meant to share.
-You can design your own progressive small plate menu at Tinto, a Spanish inspired eatery or select from one of the 125 different tequilas at El Jefe.
-If the decorative swirl of a flavorful reduction suits your palate, then lock in one of the nine coveted tables at DISH Creative Cuisine, where courses reinvent traditional fine dining with deconstructed dishes and whimsical extras like push-up pop amuse-bouche.
Whether you want to shop at unique local businesses that you won't find anywhere else or are hunting for a great deal on something special, the Coachella Valley is filled with distinctive shopping. From outlet malls to street fairs, chic boutiques to independently owned galleries, it’s a sure bet you’ll find just what you want.
Spend the day exploring the best of Palm Springs' shopping scene with visits to retro-fabulous vintage stores and interesting eateries along Palm Canyon Drive in downtown Palm Springs; check out nationally known brands and fun local shops at Palm Desert's El Paseo District; enjoy some retail therapy, entertainment and dining at The River in Rancho Mirage; or enjoy big savings and special deals on luxury labels at the Desert Hills Premium Outlets in Cabazon.
Palm Canyon Drive
From regional novelties and resort wear (downtown) to antiques and home furnishings (uptown), Palm Canyon Drive provides an excellent alternative to big-box shopping. Over the last few years, North Palm Canyon has drawn a significant number of retailers and businesses, creating the Uptown Design District: an eclectic group including Tchotchkes, Trina Turk, Modern Way, and more. Further south, you’ll find clothing and lifestyle stores, such as Crystal Fantasy, Chico’s, and Mr. G’s for Kids. The Corridor at Alejo Road offers up Pawz Palm Springs, Just Fabulous, and more.
The River at Rancho Mirage
The River at Rancho Mirage flows with haute couture and nearly 2 million gallons of H2O. Specialty shops include Bobby Chan, Hats Unlimited, Optica, Tulip Hill (for the wine lovers in your group), Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, and others. There’s also a whole spectrum of health and beauty offerings, such as Bath & Body Works.
El Paseo tantalizes shoppers with jewelry, fashion, fine art, home décor, spas, salons, and more. Stops along the elegant boulevard include The Shops on El Paseo (Burberry, Gucci, St. John, Ralph Lauren, and more); The Centre on El Paseo, featuring established boutiques (Frasca Jewelers, Mr. Marcus, The Upper Crust, and more); The Gardens on El Paseo, offering acres of good taste (Saks Fifth Avenue, Coach, Tiffany & Co., Louis Vuitton, and more); luxurious El Paseo Village (Juicy Couture, Banana Republic, Bebe, Lucky Brand Jeans, the Apple Store, and more); and El Paseo Collection, boasting more than 20 art venues proffering everything from Western to modern to Renaissance.
Westfield Palm Desert
Mall walkers love Westfield Palm Desert, which offers a wide selection of retail outlets, including major department stores and chains such as Macy’s, Express, Foot Locker, and JCPenney to trendy fashion outlets Hot Topic, Forever 21, Hollister Co., and others. Techies head toward Brookstone, Gamestop, or one of several electronic communication kiosks. There’s also a selection of affordable jewelry stores.
Cabazon Outlet Stores
Located 20 minutes west of Palm Springs on Interstate 10, Cabazon Outlets is a popular outlet shopping spot with great deals at hot stores such as adidas, Puma, Oakley, and others.
Desert Hills Premium Outlets
Situated near Cabazon Outlet Stores, Desert Hills offers one of the largest collections of designer outlets in the country, including Prada, Burberry, Michael Kors, Giorgio Armani, and Dolce & Gabbana. And that’s just for starters.