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Top things to do in Palm Springs

Top things to do in Palm Springs

Palm Springs is an oasis in the desert, easily accessible from Los Angeles and well worth a weekend (or longer!) visit

Palm Springs is home to more LGBT resorts than anywhere else in the world, with 23 including one that is all female, and has long been known for its host of fantastic events including Dinah Shore Weekend, Cinema Diverse, Palm Springs Pride Festival and the famous White Party.

But what is there to do in Palm Springs in between the excitement of some of the best parties in the world? A lot as it turns out!  Not only can you stay in some exquisite properties, and dine on delicious food, but you'll never be without something to do. From unforgettable hiking, to shopping, art and architecture, here's a selection of just some of the exciting, interesting, and eye opening things to do in Palm Springs:

Palm Spring Aerial Tramway

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

Open 10am "" 8pm; tram leaves every 20 minutes

Climb aboard the world's largest rotating tramcar and experience a breathtaking journey up the sheer cliffs of Chino Canyon. Depart on a 10-minute ride at the 2,643 ft. Valley Station and rise to the Mountain Station at 8,516 ft. Discover over 54 miles of hiking trails through a pristine wilderness when you reach the top.

Boutique Modern Stores in the Uptown Design District

Located between Vista Chino Drive and Alejo Drive

Explore the "hippest half-mile" of Palm Springs, running along North Palm Canyon Drive between Alejo Road and Vista Chino Drive. This burgeoning retail corridor is the epicentre of Palm Springs' mid-century modern mystique, boasting more than two dozen antique, consignment, resale and nouveau retro galleries and boutiques. But it's not only what's inside the boutiques that thrill mid-century modern fans "" true believers will note that many of these hip shops are housed in pedigree mid-century buildings. Visit Modern Way, SHAG, House 849, Trina Turk, a la Mod, Design Within Reach etc.

Backstreet Art District

Located between Cherokee Way and S. Palm Canyon Drive

Discover the Backstreet Art District, one of the coolest, hippest art destination's in the desert. Stroll through a dozen artist-owned galleries and working studios featuring exciting collections of original, contemporary art by nationally and internationally recognised artists including paintings, sculpture, photography, jewellery, ceramics as well as performing arts.

Rich & Famous Tour

Travel through the beautiful city, and learn history and facts about the playground of the stars. An entertaining guide will drive through the famous neighborhood of Las Palmas, regale you with stories and play a fun and often hilarious game of "Guess The Stars Homes". This area is comprised of all custom homes and boasts an amazing collection of fascinating architecture including the popular mid-century modern homes.

Gay couple in Palm Canyon

The Walk of Stars

Over 300 stars can be found along the sidewalks of Palm Canyon Drive (similar to Hollywood's Walk of Fame). There are also some nice cafés and boutique shops lining Palm Canyon Drive.

Moonlight Hike

Launched in 2012, Trail Discovery, a desert safari outdoor guide service, offers an unforgettable evening tour under a moonlight sky: The Full Moon Hike. This memorable walk journeys to a spectacular area in the foothills of Palm Springs, where visitors can enjoy the moonrise and panoramic views of the valley and city lights. The tour includes backpacks, flashlights, drinks and snacks, along with experienced guides who will teach participants about local plants, animals, geography and the history of the desert resort.


Spend an evening touring this free outdoor street festival in the heart of downtown Palm Springs on Palm Canyon Drive, which runs every Thursday night. Browse more than 200 booths offering beautiful art, handcrafted items and unique food.

Indian Canyons

Pack a picnic and hike the world-famous Indian Canyons which were first discovered centuries ago by the ancestors of today's Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla (pronounced Kaw-we-ah) Indians. The spectacular Indian Canyons "" Palm, Murray, Andreas, Tahquitz and Chino Canyon "" are tribal lands and home to the world's largest California Palm Oasis. Discover over 100 miles of hiking trails past scenic streams, ancient palm groves and stunning canyons that offer incredible views and plenty of outdoor adventure.

Architecture Tour with Robert Imber

Palm Springs has one of the largest collections of mid-century modern architecture in the world. Over three hours, learn about the masters of modern architecture on a fascinating tour of Palm Springs' extraordinary mid-century modern homes and buildings. Discover the history of Palm Springs, the Hollywood stars who played and built homes in the city, and the architects/builders/designers who from the late 1930s through to the early 1970s, developed the "desert modernism" style for which Palm Springs is famed.

Jeep Safari to San Andreas Fault

Enjoy a jeep safari through the San Andreas Fault line "" the world-famous sliding boundary between the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate "" with Desert Adventures. The jeep safari journeys to an exclusive, private 840-acre adventure ranch and enables visitors to travel deep into the centre of the earthquake's system, where the amazing scenery shows evidence of previous collisions between the two tectonic plates. This experience in Palm Springs is the only one of its kind along the fault line. 

Palm Springs Art Museum

Open from 10am "" 5pm, 101 Museum Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92262-5659

The Art Museum currently has 28 galleries, five art storage vaults, two sculpture gardens, four classrooms/resource centers, a 90-seat lecture hall, 433-seat Annenberg Theater, Museum Store and Café in an architecturally significant building designed by architect E. Stewart Williams at the base of Mount San Jacinto. The Museum's permanent collection of more than 55,000 objects features art of the Americas and 20th-century California art. The collection includes modernist and contemporary painting and sculpture, Western American art, Native American and Mesoamerican art and artefacts, contemporary studio glass art, photography, modern architecture and design, and graphics/works on paper.

Day trip to Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park is located about one hour from Palm Springs, where the Mojave and Lower Colorado deserts join to form the park. Established as a national park in 1994, Joshua Tree Park encompasses nearly 800,000 acres in Southern California including two deserts comprised of two large ecosystems that come together at Joshua Tree National Park. Below 3,000 feet, the Colorado Desert encompasses the eastern part of the park and features natural gardens of creosote bush, ocotillo, and cholla cactus. The higher, moister, and slightly cooler Mojave Desert is the special habitat of the Joshua tree. In addition to Joshua tree forests, the western part of the park also includes some of the most interesting geologic displays found in California's deserts. Five fan palm oases also dot the park, indicating those few areas where water occurs naturally and wildlife abounds.

Desert Hills Premium Outlet Center

Stop by Desert Hills Premium Outlet Center on your departure from Palm Springs. Located on the 10 freeway west about 20 minutes outside of Palm Springs (next to Casino Morongo), it's a great place to pick up some bargains on the way out of town. Visitors will find 130 designer and name brand stores at discounted rates.

Where to Stay in Palm Springs

Riviera Palm Springs resort

There are so many wonderful resorts in Palm Springs it would be foolish for us to choose our favourite and there are plenty we could recommend. Think about the Riviera Palm Springs or La Quinta Resort.

Enquire now about a trip to Palm Springs or browse our suggested itinerary for Los Angeles and Palm Springs or Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Palm Springs and the Canyon.

Riviera Palm SpringsMORE INFO
Related Itinerary:
Los Angeles and Palm Springs

Combine glamorous Los Angeles with the desert town of Palm Springs, where beautiful resorts are combined with great entertainment, bars and restaurants.

Known for its hot springs and stylish hotels, Palm Springs also features vintage boutiques, hip interior design shops and buzzy restaurants. The surrounding Coachella Valley offers biking, hiking and horseback riding.


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