What to do in Palm Springs
Planning a trip to Palm Springs? We’ve created the ultimate itinerary, “What to do in Palm Springs,” so you’ll see all the highlights.
Friends, rest assured, if you’re planning a trip to the Palm Springs area, this post includes the best things to do in Palm Springs, California! Let us help take the stress and hassle out of planning, so you can enjoy your time.
What to do in Palm Springs
This post will tell you about our 5 weeks in the desert earlier this year–where to eat, and many activities to keep you busy. If you love the great outdoors, you will love this post. I say, everyone needs to experience the Palm Springs area at least once in their lifetime. So take it all in …
My husband and I enjoyed a five week stay in LaQuinta, California, and took in the experience of sunny Palm Springs.
PGA West, La Quinta, California
We stayed at PGA West in a rented condo, but there are many places to stay in the area. Located in La Quinta, Ca, PGA West is known as “The Western Home of Golf in America,” and is a preferred destination of the greater Palm Springs area. Old town in La Quinta is lovely, too, with many quality restaurants.
You may remember reading my post in Palm Springs, where I stayed downtown with my sisters at the Kimpton Rowen Hotel. That is a more “city-life” experience.
Where to stay in La Quinta
We recommend several places to stay in La Quinta.
You can rent through Air B&B here, and here.
You can rent condos and houses at PGA West. The prices are spendy in the winter, because the weather is perfect. This is the time where snowbirds go to the desert. We now know why. It’s truly lovely durng this time of year. We swam every day, grilled on the back patio, and really enjoyed the condo that we rented.
My husband and I both work from home, so of course we worked our normal work week, but just in warmer weather!
The flowers smell so good, everywhere you go there is beauty.
We fished the big pond (huge bass fish!)
Enjoyed the evenings with our new friends/neighbors. So lovey!
We loved staying out in LaQuinta, a paradise for sure. In March, the big horn sheep would come off the mountain almost daily, and being there in the springtime, we got to see a lot of babies.
Up every morning for cofee and this beautiful sunrise, the early months of the year are the best time to visit Palm Springs!
We also enjoyed the citrus trees (grapefruit, lemons, lime, oranges) that were plentiful.
Best things to do in Palm Springs
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
Topping the list of must-do Palm Springs activities is the Aerial Tramway, which carries visitors from the desert floor up to an Alpine forest. It goes up more than 8500 feet. The slow, ten-minute ride gives you a chance to take in the Coachella Valley from above. Linger with a stop at the mountaintop restaurant, café or lounge, or hike deeper into the San Jacinto Mountains. Stunning!
Golf & tennis
Palm Springs is known today as the Golf Capital of the World, but the initial sport associated with the area was tennis. It’s still popular today!
A day trip to Joshua Tree
With peaks and climbable boulders, we took our Sprinter van out for the day to enjoy Joshua Tree.
Since you cannot have dogs, we had to leave Alder behind. Joshua Tree National Park is a popular destination for overnight campers, but you can explore plenty in a single afternoon, hiking around the Hidden Valley to vistas from 5,000 feet up at Keys View.
My husband rode his bike there, and we picked him up along the way (a 50-mile ride!) We brought dinner, hiked around, and enjoyed the sunset. Beautiful country. A must-see if you’ve never visited Joshua Tree National Park.
Take a DIY architecture tour
We loved this tour of all the handsome mid-century modern homes. Even though the homes are private, we cruised around some notable neighborhoods and learned a lot about the architecture (Sandy ADD MORE)
Eat good food
- Boozehounds Palm Springs (bring your own dog)
- Tac/Quila (same owners at FARM)
- FARM (French-inspired–our favroite eating out experience on the trip!)
- El Patio
- The Heyday
- Rooster and the Pig
- Chef Tanya’s Kitchen
- La Quinta Cliffhouse
- Stuffed pizza bar and grill
- La Brasserie Bistro & Bar
- Fortun’s Kitchen & Bar
- Downtown at the Kimpton: Juniper Table
- Biscuit and Counter at the Tiki Hotel
- Workshop Kitchen + Bar
- Sherman’s Deli and Bakery – best desserts!
- Lavendar Bistro
- The Grill on Main
- Cork & Fork
Our first meal and our last meal was at Tampico Meat Market in old town La Quinta in old town.
It’s a fish market, and we love their food!
Visit LaQuinta and see the big horn sheep
Bighorn sheep meander along neighborhood streets and love feasting at golf courses in La Quinta! Where we stayed, they love to eat the grapefruit that fall from the trees.
Since we were there in springtime, babies were everywhere.
How many bighorn sheep are in Coachella Valley?
Behind Palm Springs in the San Jacinto Mountains is a population of about 80 adult sheep.
Join a cycling group
Joining a riding group was easy. Paul just went online and found group rides that fit his schedule and ability level. Paul hadn’t done that kind of group ride in almost 10 years, and it reignited his love for road bike riding again.
Walk and walk and walk and walk
Stop and smell the roses! Take a lot of photos and enjoy the pools, heat, palms, and beauty!
Surrounded by four different mountain ranges (San Bernadino, Santa Rosa, San Jacinto, and Little San Bernadino), the incredible terrain of Palm Springs and the sheer natural beauty of the surrounding Coachella Valley make for some great hiking.
Tahquitz Canyon Loop Trail is a 1.9 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Palm Springs, California that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels. But here are more hikes to look up and try!
- Palm Canyon Trail
- Hahn Buena Vista Trail
- Tahquitz Canyon Trail
- Cactus to Clouds Hike
- San Jacinto Peak Hike
- Araby Trail
- Berns Trail
- Palm Springs Museum Trail
- South Lykken Trail
- The Cross Hike
Feed a giraffe at the Living Desert Zoo & Gardens
Oh, I love the zoo. You can read more about my experience with my sisters, here.
Located a couple of miles outside of Palm Springs, the largely outdoor locale is broadly split into North American and African environments. My favorite? The giraffe feedings!
Enjoy your family and friends in Palm Springs
We had friends come and stay with us. I made a Strawberry Brie Crostini appetizer board one night, we ate outside, rode bikes, went to the pool, and also hiked around and LOVED the big horn sheep and the new babies!
Don’t forget you can SHOP until you DROP in Palm Springs. There are so many shopping areas and places to eat.
A sunny, bright, refreshing experience, especially in the winter. We loved having our Sprinter van with us (easy to transport bikes)!
The evening walks are amazing!
A trip we will do again someday! Maybe you could too!
(This post was not sponsored by any brands, but I’m sharing my own personal tips and recommendations for the travel section of RE.)
What a wonderful travel guide for Palm Springs! Very kind of you to impart your wisdom – makes me really ache to plan a trip very soon. Thanks and Happy New Year!