What to do and see in Palm Springs, United States: The Best Places and Tips

August 6, 2017 Cedrick Jardin

Looking to relax in the sun? Palm Springs, with 354 days of sunshine per year, might be the place for you. Relax poolside or visit one of the many area spas… or tour some fantastic examples of mid-century modern architecture.
Restaurants in Palm Springs

1. San Jacinto Mountain

Mountain Station, Palm Springs, Greater Palm Springs, CA +1 909-659-2607
Excellent
82%
Good
16%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 805 reviews

San Jacinto Mountain

Reviewed By Donna H - Toronto, Canada

I completed this hike on Easter (when tram operated as early as 5:45). We started our hike to the peak around 7:30, checked-in at the park ranger's office and slowly made our way to the top. It took about 3.5 hours to summit and there is very little traffic when you go early in the day. We noticed many more people going up as we headed back down. The views are amazing from the top and worth every energy. There were many parts that were still icy and snowy so bringing proper gear is important.

2. Palm Springs Air Museum

745 N Gene Autry Trl, Palm Springs, Greater Palm Springs, CA 92262-5464 +1 760-778-6262
Excellent
74%
Good
22%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

Palm Springs Air Museum

Rated by CNN as one of the top 14 Air Museums in the World. This facility Gives visitors an up-close look at the legendary fighters and bombers of WWII, Korea, and Vietnam.

Reviewed By Kyle G - Calgary, Canada

If you’re looking for something to do for an afternoon, I would recommend the air museum. They have lots of planes and many exhibits. The view of the mountains when you go outside is breathtaking. I’ve been here twice and I will go again when I’m back in PS. I would highly recommend this place.

3. Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

1 Tramway Rd, Palm Springs, Greater Palm Springs, CA 92262-1828 +1 760-325-1391
Excellent
73%
Good
22%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 7 reviews

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

Climb 8,000 feet from the desert to the San Jacinto Mountains, in less than 15 minutes, by tram.

Reviewed By Lauralanglois - Hudson, New Hampshire

Took the 10am tram up to hike for the day and it was COOL! A wee bit scary, but that's half the fun. It goes up quickly to the top, in 10 minutes, and rotates so you can get a good view all around. They pack people in, but we had no problem seeing out the windows. Fun!!

4. Indian Canyons

38500 S Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, Greater Palm Springs, CA 92264-9332 +1 760-323-6018
Excellent
73%
Good
23%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

Indian Canyons

Reviewed By Thomas K - Cape Elizabeth, Maine

After all the glitz of Palm Spring and Palm Desert here is a magical oasis. Peaceful, beautiful, unexpected, etc are appropriate adjectives. Walking along the canyon is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.
Palm Springs and Palm Desert are certainly wonderful places to go to for vacation. Visiting the Indian Canyons is a way to experience the real nature of this place.

5. Painted Canyon

Palm Springs, Greater Palm Springs, CA
Excellent
78%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
0%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 178 reviews

Painted Canyon

A variety of colors paint the rocks here, giving this unique location its name.

Reviewed By 8Peter - Vancouver BC

Out of the way, past Mecca, long bumpy dirt road, soft sand parking lot. The surrounding mountains have differing shades of green and brown and orange and blue colors, probably changing with time of day. You can hike up the San Andreas Canyon fault, climbing over rocks, going up 10 foot ladders on occasion, then take a 2 hour circle route to arrive back at start.

6. Indian Canyons Hiking Trails

S.Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, Greater Palm Springs, CA +1 760-323-6018
Excellent
75%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 227 reviews

Indian Canyons Hiking Trails

Reviewed By GrandmaAudrey - Rochester, Michigan

My husband and I decided to hike the Tahquitz Canyon Trail upon the recommendation of someone who lives in the area. He said if he had to pick one thing to do in the Palm Springs area, this would be it. So off we went. I am in my mid-seventies, have a heart condition, and two hip replacements. It was not easy, and I could not have done it without my husband's help. The trail is not flat; you gain approximately 350 feet in elevation with rock steps as high as a foot or more. . It is not only beautiful canyon, with a waterfall at the top, but doing something like this always fills me with a sense of accomplishment. I am so glad I did it. Next time in the area, I plan to try one of the other trails.

7. Palm Canyon

Palm Springs, Greater Palm Springs, CA +1 800-790-3398
Excellent
73%
Good
23%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 200 reviews

Palm Canyon

Reviewed By 3trvlrs - Columbus, Ohio

We read previous reviews and decided to go there to walk to the waterfalls. After the falls, we looked down into the palm canyon and thought we'd hike down. So glad we did!!! I had never been to a true oasis and this was gorgeous! Worth the walk down and up. The path down/up is smooth - no scrambling over rocks or stairs - just a steady incline up on the way out.

8. Palm Springs Art Museum

101 N Museum Dr, Palm Springs, Greater Palm Springs, CA 92262-5659 +1 760-322-4800
Excellent
69%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

Palm Springs Art Museum

Located in downtown Palm Springs (with a branch location in Palm Desert, CA), the Palm Springs Art Museum offers compelling art exhibitions from national and international artists. The museum's extensive permanent collection includes significant works by modern and contemporary artists, western, contemporary and glass artists, and features several temporary exhibitions throughout the year. The museum is open free every Thursday night and the second Sunday of every month. It also offers a range of theatrical and musical performances in its Annenberg Theater. Throughout all these programs, the museum is dedicated to creating memorable and inspiring interactions through educational and cultural opportunities.

Reviewed By LisaLovesTravel1013 - La Crescenta, California

The previous reviews of this museum are spot on. This relatively new spacious building house quite a variety of art, mainly contemporary pieces. We were fortunate to visit during a huge Andy Warhol exhibit. The adult ticket price was only $12.

We visited on Friday afternoon on Easter weekend. It was not crowded, and the art pieces were given the proper amount of space to appreciate without standing shoulder to shoulder with a bunch of people.

We took a docent-led tour which we highly recommend. Our docent was very knowledgeable and gave a fun and informative key highlights tour.

We highly recommend this museum!

9. Agua Caliente Indian Canyons

E Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, Greater Palm Springs, CA 92264-1642 +1 760-323-6018
Excellent
70%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 482 reviews

Agua Caliente Indian Canyons

Considered sacred to the Cahuilla Indians and of historical importance to scientists and nature lovers, these canyons provide a range of outdoor recreational activities for visitors.

Reviewed By Burbanker - Burbank, California

We hiked these trails in late October and it was no hotter than 84 degrees. About 3.5 miles and 400 foot elevation gain. Amazing trail through a palm oasis that is the historical home of the native Americans in this part of the Palm Springs area. Take plenty of water!

10. Coachella Valley Preserve

29200 Thousand Palms Canyon Road, Palm Springs, Greater Palm Springs, CA +1 760-343-1234
Excellent
67%
Good
27%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 570 reviews

Coachella Valley Preserve

Formed by a system of sand dunes, this 20,000-acre sanctuary is home to several species of rare wildlife and a number of palm oases.

Reviewed By MN_on_the_road - Rockville, Maryland

Originally we were going to do the Tramway and hike at the top Day 1 and Coachella Valley Preserve Day 2. Due to high winds on Day 1, we swapped them and that was better. You could also do the Preserve in the morning and the Tramway in the afternoon or evening. The Preserve is a lovely stop - even for non-hikers you can drive right up near the entrance and easily step into the palms - and I recommend the vista point above McCallum Pond as well as the pond itself. But even from the vista you can't compare to the views from the top of the mountain so it might be a disappointment to do that after. We also enjoyed spotting wildflowers, lizards and fish in the pond. The area was quite crowded in the morning (the parking lot is small so you likely have to park on the road) but not enough to reduce enjoyment of the area. We are a family with teenagers but I'd say this is good for visitors of all ages - just stay hydrated!

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