The Ultimate List of Things to Do in Palm Springs, California

Palm Springs sprang to fame in the 1960s when it was a popular vacation spot for the glitzy celebrity crowd from LA. Today, it attracts a range of holidaymakers who are seeking diverse experiences. With numerous excellent things to do in Palm Springs, here’s how you can spend your days and nights to make the most of your time in the desert city.

1. Have a Flutter in the Casinos

Palm Springs is known for its lively casinos that offer a wide selection of table and arcade games. Try your chances on the roulette well, practice your poker face, or go retro on the one-armed bandits. Most offer food and drink, and some host cool shows and have pumping nightclubs. Agua Caliente, Fantasy Springs, Spotlight 29, and Casino Morongo are a few to check out.

2. Catch the Cable Car up Mount San Jacinto

Admire the sweeping views and relax as you take the cable car up San Jacinto Mountain. Although it doesn’t go all the way to the top you can still enjoy pretty awesome views as well as being able to visit the interpretive centre when you alight from the cable car. It is also, however, possible to hike the rest of the way to the top if you’re feeling energetic.

3.  Play a Few Games of Golf

Many visitors head to Palm Springs’ golf courses to relax and enjoy a bit of friendly competition. Most courses are open to non-members and all offer pleasant scenery. Tahquitz Creek Golf Resort, Escena Golf Club, Cathedral Canyon and Seven Lakes Country Club are among the varied golfing options.

4. Go Hiking in the Coachella Valley

Not just a destination for the annual Coachella Festival, the Coachella Valley is a great place for hiking enthusiasts at all times of the year. See the local flora and fauna, soak up the views and feel in awe of the vast and arid desert.

5. Visit the Indian Canyons

The nearby Indian Canyons are also top spots for people who love to get active in the great outdoors and explore natural attractions. Of spiritual importance to Native Americans, the beautiful canyons include the Murray Canyon, Palm Canyon, Tahquitz Canyon and the Andreas Canyon.

6. Experience Desert Life at the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

One of the most popular things to do in Palm Springs, the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens lets you easily see the diverse creatures and plants that live in the world’s deserts. Follow the walking trails and see an array of animals from North America and Africa in the zoo.

7. Chill Out at Moorten Botanical Garden 

Moorten Botanical Garden and Cactarium is another great place in Palm Springs for fans of botany. The peaceful atmosphere makes it ideal for taking a stroll, admiring the plant life and taking a break.

8. Spend a Few Hours at the City’s Museums

Palm Springs is home to several good museums. Art lovers should check out Palm Springs Art Museum with its modern pieces and collections about the desert. Palm Springs Air Museum houses a number of historic planes and tells the story of fighter pilots during the World War. If you’re into anthropology and love learning more about the peoples of the world and their heritage, check out Agua Caliente Cultural Museum. You can also book a tour of the Sunnylands Estate, a historic mansion set in lush gardens.

9. Drive Past the Unusual Cabazon Dinosaurs

Towering over the road, the gigantic Cabazon Dinosaurs are rather a surreal sight when traveling around Palm Springs.  

10. Cool Off at Wet ‘n’ Wild

If you love water parts you’re sure to enjoy a day at Wet ‘n’ Wild. There are various pools, including a wave pool, and an assortment of slides and chutes. Want to chill and take it easy? Drift along the lazy river or relax in a private cabana. Craving a bit more excitement? Have a go at surfing at the FlowRider attraction.

11. Stroll Along the Palm Springs Walk of Stars and see Statues of Stars

The Palm Springs Walk of Stars remembers famous faces that had a strong connection with the area. You’ll see stars dedicated to actors and actresses, musicians and singers, sports people, ex politicians, military veterans, early pioneers and writers, artists and poets. Look out for statues of famous people as you walk around downtown. Sonny Bono, Frank Bogart, Marilyn Monroe and Lucille Ball are a few people who have been immortalized around Palm Springs.  

12. Eat Your Way Around the World

Palm Springs has a fabulous selection of restaurants with cuisine from diverse parts of the world. Of course, you’ll find plenty of places that sell good old American fare too. Whether you’re hankering after Chinese, Mexican, Vietnamese, Italian, French or more, you’re sure to find something to tempt you.

13. Enjoy a Nostalgic Dining Experience

As well as global dining, Palm Springs also has several eateries that transport you back in time. Dine in a once-favorite haunt of the Rat Pack at Melvyn’s, lap up the ambiance of a historic estate at Copley’s and experience Mob history at the Purple Palm.

14. Try a Range of Active Adventures

From hot air ballooning over the dessert, cycling through the landscapes, racing around on a quad bike, or discovering the scenery by horseback, there are many ways to discover Palm Springs.

15. Take Day Trips to Nearby Places of Interest

There are several interesting destinations within easy reach of Palm Springs, allowing you to add even more to your vacation. Visit the gaping San Andreas Fault and explore the splendid Joshua Tree National Park.      

16. Enjoy the Local Nightlife

Palm Springs offers lots of choices when the sun has gone down. There are lively nightclubs where you can dance the night away. Perhaps you’d like a chilled out bar where you can appreciate the lilting sounds of jazz as you sip your drink. Maybe watching a live band would appeal more. Sophisticated piano bars, fun karaoke joints, and entertaining cabaret shows all add to the diverse night scene. 

17. Sleep Well in a Top-Notch Accommodation

There are many excellent Palm Springs vacation rentals to ensure that you have a great night’s sleep each and every night of your vacation in Palm Springs. Catering to a variety of budgets and expectations, why settle for second best when the perfect Palm Springs’ accommodation is right there just waiting for you?

With so many cool things to do in Palm Springs, pack your bags and booking your trip!