What To Do In Palm Springs, California

Whether you’re looking for a fun weekend getaway or an extended vacation, Palm Springs is the perfect destination. This popular desert city in California offers an abundance of attractions, activities and scenery to enjoy during your stay. From its impressive mid-century architecture, dramatic mountain ranges and numerous resorts, this desert town is full of incredible experiences for travelers. If you are ready for a memorable adventure in this amazing city, read our tips to make the most of your time in Palm Springs!

Why Visit Palm Springs?

Mid-century architecture, dramatic scenery and world class gold courses and a thriving arts and culture scene make this desert oasis a must-visit. Be warned though it is located in the desert, so we recommend visiting in fall, winter or spring – the last time we visited it was summer and it was so hot the wheels of our suitcase melted!


Palm Springs is a city located in the Sonoran Desert of southern California, United States. It is situated in Riverside County, approximately 110 miles (177 kilometers) east of Los Angeles and about 140 miles (225 kilometers) northeast of San Diego. Palm Springs is known for its year-round warm weather, stunning desert landscapes, golf courses, luxury resorts, and as a popular retreat for vacationers and retirees.

How to get to Palm Springs

There are several ways to get to Palm Springs depending on your starting location and preferences.

  1. By Air: If you’re coming from a distant location, flying into Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) is a convenient option. The airport serves various domestic and international flights. Once you arrive, you can rent a car at the airport or use other ground transportation options to reach your destination in Palm Springs.
  2. By Car: Palm Springs is easily accessible by car as it is located near major highways. If you are coming from Los Angeles, you can take Interstate 10 (I-10) eastbound, which will lead you directly to Palm Springs. From San Diego, you can take Interstate 15 (I-15) northbound and then connect to I-215 northbound, which will eventually merge with I-10 eastbound. Alternatively, if you are coming from other parts of California or neighboring states, you can plan your route accordingly.
  3. By Bus: Several bus companies operate services to Palm Springs from various locations. For example, Greyhound offers routes to Palm Springs from different cities within California and across the United States. You can check their schedules and book tickets in advance.
  4. By Train: Although Palm Springs does not have its own train station, you can take an Amtrak train to the nearby cities of Indio or Palm Desert, which are within a short drive of Palm Springs. From there, you can use other modes of transportation such as taxis, ride-sharing services, or rental cars to reach your final destination in Palm Springs.
  5. By Shuttle Service: Some shuttle companies provide transportation services specifically to and from Palm Springs. These shuttle services operate from nearby airports or major cities in the region. You can look for shuttle providers online and make a reservation in advance.

How to Get Around Palm Springs

Once you arrive in Palm Springs, there are various transportation options available, including rental cars, taxis, ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft, and local bus services. Having your own transportation is often convenient for exploring the area, as Palm Springs and its surrounding attractions are spread out.

What to Do

Palm Springs has a rich history, visitors can tour the city’s famous mid-century modern architecture and visit the Palm Springs Art Museum, which features contemporary art, modern and contemporary art, and art of the west. The region is also known for its hot springs and spas, where visitors can relax and rejuvenate. Golfers can play on some of the area’s best golf courses and in the evening, experience a vibrant nightlife and dining scene, with a wide range of options from stylish bars, lounges and music venues to fine dining restaurants.

The town is a popular desert oasis that offers a wide variety of activities and attractions. Visitors can take a scenic drive through the nearby San Jacinto Mountains, or take a hike in the nearby Joshua Tree National Park. The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is also a must-see, offering panoramic views of the surrounding desert landscape.

Where To Stay

One of the best areas to stay in is the vibrant Downtown area. This lively district is filled with an array of boutique hotels, trendy restaurants, and stylish shops, all within walking distance. It’s the perfect choice for those seeking a great atmosphere, as it is known for its buzzing nightlife and exciting events. Another excellent option is the serene and upscale neighborhood of Palm Desert. Located just a short drive from Palm Springs, it offers luxurious resorts, world-class golf courses, and upscale shopping and dining experiences. This area is ideal for those seeking relaxation and a more tranquil ambiance. Whether you prefer the energetic vibe of downtown or the refined atmosphere of Palm Desert, both areas offer an unforgettable experience and serve as great bases to explore the beauty of Palm Springs.

Palm Springs is known for its luxurious resorts, many of which offer spa services, golf courses, and fine dining options. Some popular resorts include The Parker Palm Springs, The Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage, and The Colony Palms Hotel. For those looking for more space and privacy, vacation rentals such as private villas, apartments and houses are a great option. Websites such as VRBO and Airbnb offer a wide variety of rental options in Palm Springs. If you are looking to experience the great outdoors, there are several camping and RV parks nearby, including the Joshua Tree National Park, Indian Canyons, and Palm Canyon Campground.

Marilyn Monroe Statue, Palm Springs


Palm Springs is renowned for its distinct and captivating architecture, which is an intriguing blend of mid-century modern and desert modernism styles. The city’s architectural heritage is a testament to the vision of renowned architects like Albert Frey, Richard Neutra, and Donald Wexler, who embraced the unique desert landscape to create stunning structures. Explore the iconic landmarks like the Kaufmann Desert House, designed by Richard Neutra, with its clean lines and seamless indoor-outdoor integration. The Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center, housed in a repurposed mid-century bank, showcases exhibitions and collections that celebrate the region’s architectural legacy. The Sunnylands Center and Gardens, designed by A. Quincy Jones, is another must-visit, offering an opportunity to experience the elegance of mid-century design in a beautiful desert setting. Whether strolling through residential neighborhoods or taking architectural tours, Palm Springs offers an unique experience for enthusiasts and admirers of mid-century architectural marvels.

What to Eat and Drink

Don’t miss the opportunity to try the famous date shakes, a local specialty made with fresh dates blended with creamy ice cream—a perfect treat to beat the desert heat. Palm Springs is also known for its outstanding Mexican cuisine, and indulging in flavorful tacos, enchiladas, and authentic guacamole is a must. The city also boasts a thriving farm-to-table culture, with numerous restaurants highlighting fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Explore the weekly farmer’s markets and discover artisanal cheeses, organic produce, and other local goodies. With its fusion of flavors and a focus on quality ingredients, Palm Springs promises a memorable culinary journey for food enthusiasts.

For more information see visitpalmsprings.com