With so many things to do in California, it is hard to believe that a beautiful destination area like Palm Springs could be overlooked. Palm Springs is home to delicious restaurants, busy casinos, and endless shopping. Golfers get a little taste of heaven with the immaculate golf courses located around Palm Springs. Tourists take advantage of the many mid-century vacation homes welcoming guests throughout the year. With so much to do spread out across the desert, take advantage of Royal American Tours and some of the tour packages it offers around the Coachella Valley. There are weeks worth of activities to do in Palm Springs, but since you likely only have a few days, stick to this guide and you are in for one memorable vacation.
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
A cannot miss activity for anyone visiting Palm Springs, jump aboard this canyon hugging gondola ride. The rotating car will give you some breathtaking views of the desert city. Visitors will be shocked by the double-digit temperature drop experienced once the gondola is in motion. Take photos of the expansive Coachella Valley, make a pit stop at the mountaintop restaurant, or take a hike deeper into the San Jacinto Mountains.
Living Desert Zoo And Gardens
This zoo is unlike any zoo you have ever visited in the past. The Living Desert Zoo & Gardens looks like you are walking on the Sonoran Desert. Located just outside of Palm Springs, visitors will enjoy the display of North American and African environments. Take a tour of the grounds to interact with some of the most exotic animals on the planet. They even offer camel rides for $6 and giraffe feedings for $7.
Palm Springs Air Museum
For history buffs, this is a cannot miss destination. Combat aircraft from World War II, along with the Korean-Vietnam era, are on full display. Travel through three warehouses and view over 40 flyable and static planes. You will be in awe as you stand in front of the B-17 flying fortress and the F-4 fighter jet. Then head out to the tarmac and check out the C-47 and PBY Catalina Flying Boat. For a hefty price, visitors can take a ride on a few of their scheduled flights.
How many people can say that they have seen flowing water in the middle of a desert? If you decide to take a hike through the Tahquitz Canyon, you will be able to cross that off your bucket list. Hiking through the two-mile loop will lead you straight to a 50-foot waterfall tucked into the canyon. A $12.50 admission fee is charged as the falls are located within the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians reservation. Prepare to be in awe of the sheer beauty of this waterfall.
Palm Springs Art Museum
Sometimes the heat in Palm Springs can be unbearable. On days like this, it is best to hang by the pool or seek air conditioning within some of Palm Springs’ most unique museums. The Palm Springs Art Museum showcases contemporary paintings, sculpture and glass art from legends Henry Moore, Robert Motherwell, and Helen Frankenthaler. The exhibitions focus on the desert and cultures with which its associated, emphasizing Modernism, Native Americans, and the American West.
The former winter retreat of the wealthy Annenberg family, Sunnylands was a popular summit location for many American Presidents. Residing on a 200-acre plot of irrigated desert in the Rancho Mirage neighborhood of Palm Springs — Sunnylands showcases 12 acres of public gardens with a visitor center full of artwork from the Annenberg’s private collection. Tours of the mansion tend to sell out months in advance.
Looking for a place to take a cool picture? The entrance to the Creationist-themed dinosaur museum will stop you in your tracks as you look up at the 100-ton Brontosaurus and T.Rex sculptures. Do not pass up on this opportunity to pose with massive creatures for Instagram and pass through a museum filled with alternative takes on the world of dinosaurs.
Sandfish Sushi And Whiskey
As previously mentioned, Palm Springs is home to some of the most amazing restaurants in the country. Do not pass up the opportunity to dine at Sandfish Sushi & Whiskey. Traditional Japanese technique is blended with modern global flair. Sashimi, carpaccios, and squash blossoms take the form of tostadas, agua chiles, or sushi at this desert food oasis. In addition to their unique food selection, whiskey lovers will be in awe of their wide selection.
One more restaurant worth mentioning on this list is Mr. Lyons. This swanky, retro spot will remind you of legends Frank Sinatra and Bob Hope, who spent their later years in the Palm Springs area. Enjoy classic steak frites, prime rib, lobster mac and cheese, tomahawk steaks, burgers, wedge salads, and so much more at this classic steak house. The restaurant’s beautifully designed back bar, Seymour’s, awaits those interested in libations.
If you are heading to Palm Springs in the near future, these nine adventures await you. Palm Springs offers an experience uniquely different from other tourist destinations throughout California. Do not be surprised if after just one visit to Palm Springs, you will want to return, or even consider getting a second home there. It really is the perfect getaway no matter the time of the year!
Great article! It’s very helpful, because I visit Palm Springs often.