Palm Springs, a desert oasis nestled in Southern California, is a perfect place for a getaway. Its natural beauty, combined with a rich history and vibrant culture, makes it a great place to explore. From the iconic Palm Springs Art Museum to the breathtaking Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, there's something for everyone.
Especially when you have a home base like Lux Life Palm Springs, all of the wonder of the desert is yours for the taking.
Here are the top 10 must-see attractions in Palm Springs.
#1 Palm Springs Art Museum: A Cultural Oasis in the Desert
(Photo by: Palm Springs Art Museum)
Nestled in the heart of downtown Palm Springs, the Palm Springs Art Museum is a beacon of culture and creativity in the Southern California desert. This must-visit attraction is more than just a museum; it's a vibrant hub where art, history, and community intersect.
The museum's impressive collection spans several artistic disciplines, making it a great place for all art enthusiasts. Whether you're a fan of contemporary art, captivated by Native American art, or intrigued by performing arts, the Palm Springs Art Museum has something to pique your interest.
One of the museum's highlights is its collection of contemporary art. The museum is home to works by world-renowned artists, reflecting the diverse and dynamic nature of contemporary art. As you explore the galleries, you'll encounter thought-provoking pieces that challenge conventions and push boundaries.
The museum also boasts an extensive collection of Native American art. These pieces provide a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of the indigenous peoples of North America. From intricate beadwork to striking sculptures, each artifact tells a story of tradition, resilience, and creativity.
But the Palm Springs Art Museum isn't just about visual arts. It's also a hub for performing arts. The museum hosts a variety of performances throughout the year, from live music to dance performances to theatrical productions. These events bring the community together and celebrate the transformative power of the arts.
The museum's architecture is a work of art in itself. The building, designed by E. Stewart Williams, is a prime example of mid-century modern design. Its clean lines and minimalist aesthetic blend seamlessly with the surrounding landscape, making the museum a standout feature on the Palm Springs skyline.
No visit to the Palm Springs Art Museum would be complete without a stop at the gift shop. Here, you can find a wide range of items, from art books to jewelry to home decor. Whether you're looking for a unique souvenir or a gift for an art-loving friend, the gift shop has you covered.
The Palm Springs Art Museum is more than just a tourist attraction; it's a testament to Palm Springs' deep appreciation for art and culture. It's a place where locals and visitors alike can come to explore, learn, and be inspired. Whether you're a long-time art lover or new to the art world, the Palm Springs Art Museum is a must-see on your Palm Springs itinerary.
#2 Palm Springs Aerial Tramway: A Journey to New Heights
(Photo by: Greater Palm Springs)
One of the most thrilling experiences in Palm Springs is a ride on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. This unique attraction offers an unforgettable journey from the desert floor to the cliffs of Chino Canyon, culminating at the stunning San Jacinto Peak. It's not just a tram ride; it's a ticket to some of the most breathtaking views in Southern California.
The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is the world's largest rotating tram car. As you ascend over two and a half miles along the cliffs of Chino Canyon, the tram car slowly rotates, offering a 360-degree view of the surrounding area. From the rugged beauty of the San Andreas Fault to the sprawling Coachella Valley, the views from the tram car are nothing short of spectacular.
Once you reach the Mountain Station at the top, located at an elevation of 8,516 feet, you'll find yourself in the midst of the pristine wilderness of the Mt. San Jacinto State Park. Here, you can explore over 50 miles of trails, ranging from leisurely walks to challenging hikes. Whether you're a seasoned hiker or just looking for a peaceful stroll, there's a trail for you.
The park is also home to a variety of wildlife. Keep an eye out for bighorn sheep, mountain lions, and other animals that call the San Jacinto Mountains home. Remember to respect the wildlife and keep a safe distance.
The Mountain Station also features two restaurants, a gift shop, and a natural history museum. The Peaks Restaurant offers fine dining with a view, serving a menu of locally sourced, sustainable cuisine. For a more casual dining experience, Pines Café offers a variety of dishes to enjoy.
One of the best times to visit the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is at sunset. As the sun dips below the horizon, the desert landscape is bathed in a warm, golden light. It's the perfect opportunity for some stunning photos.
The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is more than just an attraction; it's an experience. From the thrilling tram ride to the natural beauty of the San Jacinto Mountains, it offers a unique perspective on Palm Springs and its surrounding area. Whether you're a nature lover, an adventure seeker, or just looking for a great place to enjoy the view, the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is a must-visit on your Palm Springs trip.
#3 Joshua Tree National Park: A Desert Wilderness Like No Other
(Photo by: Visit California)
Just a short drive from Palm Springs lies Joshua Tree National Park, a vast wilderness that captures the rugged beauty of the desert like no other. This unique national park, straddling the Colorado Desert and the Mojave Desert, is a must-visit for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.
The park is named after its most iconic resident, the Joshua Tree. These unique trees, a type of yucca, dot the landscape, their twisted, spiky forms creating a surreal and captivating scenery. The Joshua Tree is more than just a plant; it's a symbol of survival and resilience in the harsh desert environment.
Joshua Tree National Park offers a variety of activities for visitors of all ages and interests. With over 800,000 acres to explore, there's no shortage of adventures to be had.
One of the best ways to explore the park is by hitting the trails. The park boasts over 300 miles of hiking trails, ranging from easy nature walks to challenging treks. As you hike, you'll encounter a variety of landscapes, from stark desert plains to rugged rock formations. Keep an eye out for the park's diverse flora and fauna, including desert tortoises, bighorn sheep, and a variety of bird species.
For a different perspective, consider a guided tour. These tours, led by knowledgeable park rangers, offer insights into the park's geology, ecology, and history. You'll learn about the Native Americans who once inhabited the area, the geologic forces that shaped the landscape, and the unique adaptations of the park's plants and animals.
Joshua Tree National Park is also a haven for rock climbers, with over 8,000 climbing routes to choose from. The park's unique rock formations, sculpted by wind and water over millions of years, offer a variety of challenges for climbers of all levels.
But perhaps one of the best things about Joshua Tree National Park is its dark skies. With minimal light pollution, the park is one of the best places in Southern California for stargazing. On a clear night, you can see thousands of stars, the Milky Way, and even the occasional meteor.
Joshua Tree National Park is more than just a park; it's a place of discovery and wonder. Whether you're hiking through the desert, climbing a rock formation, or simply gazing at the stars, you'll find yourself captivated by the park's raw, untamed beauty. It's a reminder of the wild, rugged spirit that defines not just Joshua Tree, but the American Southwest as a whole.
#4 Palm Springs Air Museum: A Soaring Tribute to Aviation History
(Photo by: NBC Palm Springs)
The Palm Springs Air Museum is a must-visit for history buffs and aviation enthusiasts alike. Located in the heart of Palm Springs, this world-class museum is dedicated to preserving and celebrating the United States' aviation history, particularly during World War II.
As you step into the museum, you'll be transported back in time. The museum houses one of the world's largest collections of flyable World War II aircraft. From the iconic P-51 Mustang to the B-17 Flying Fortress, each aircraft tells a story of courage, innovation, and resilience.
But the Palm Springs Air Museum is more than just a collection of aircraft. It's a living history museum, where the stories of the men and women who served come to life. Through a variety of exhibits, you'll learn about the pilots who flew the planes, the mechanics who kept them running, and the many others who contributed to the war effort.
One of the museum's highlights is its collection of vintage cars and military vehicles. These vehicles, meticulously restored to their original condition, offer a glimpse into the past. From jeeps to ambulances to tanks, each vehicle tells a story of its own.
The museum also offers a unique glimpse into the lives of Hollywood stars who served in the military. Did you know that Hollywood legends like Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley served in the military? The museum's Hollywood Stars in Service exhibit pays tribute to these and other stars who traded the glamour of Hollywood for the grit of military service.
For young children and families, the museum offers a variety of interactive exhibits and activities. Kids can climb into a cockpit, try on a pilot's jacket, or even take a simulated flight. It's a great way to spark a child's interest in history and aviation.
The Palm Springs Air Museum is more than just a museum; it's a tribute to the men and women who served and a testament to the power of flight. Whether you're a history buff, an aviation enthusiast, or just looking for a fun and educational outing, the Palm Springs Air Museum is a must-visit on your Palm Springs trip.
#5 Moorten Botanical Garden: A Desert Eden
(Photo by: Moorten Botanical Garden)
Tucked away in the heart of Palm Springs is the Moorten Botanical Garden, a living museum of desert plants. This enchanting garden is a testament to the beauty and resilience of desert flora, making it a must-visit for nature lovers and plant enthusiasts alike.
The Moorten Botanical Garden was established in 1938 by Patricia and Chester "Cactus Slim" Moorten. Chester, a former Hollywood actor, and Patricia, a biologist, shared a love for the desert and its unique flora. Today, their legacy lives on in this one-acre garden, home to over 3,000 desert plants.
As you wander through the garden, you'll encounter a variety of plants from deserts around the world, including the Sonoran Desert of North America, the Great Karoo of South Africa, and the Thar Desert of India. Each plant is carefully labeled, providing information about its name, origin, and unique adaptations for survival in the desert.
One of the garden's highlights is the world's first Cactarium, a greenhouse dedicated to cacti and succulents. Here, you'll find a variety of cacti, from the towering saguaro to the tiny pincushion cactus. The Cactarium is a testament to the diversity and beauty of these desert dwellers.
But the Moorten Botanical Garden is more than just a collection of plants. It's a place of tranquility and beauty, where you can escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Whether you're strolling along the garden paths, sitting in the shade of a palm tree, or simply enjoying the desert sunshine, you'll find yourself captivated by the garden's serene beauty.
The garden also hosts a variety of events throughout the year, from plant sales to workshops to guided tours. These events offer a chance to learn more about desert plants, meet fellow plant lovers, and even take a piece of the desert home with you.
The Moorten Botanical Garden is a hidden gem in Palm Springs, a place where the beauty of the desert is on full display. Whether you're a seasoned botanist, a budding gardener, or just looking for a peaceful retreat, the Moorten Botanical Garden is a must-visit on your Palm Springs trip.
#6 Living Desert Zoo: A Desert Adventure Awaits
(Photo by: The Living Desert Zoo)
The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens is a unique attraction that combines a zoo, botanical garden, and conservation center into one. Located in Palm Springs, this desert oasis is a must-visit for families, nature lovers, and anyone with a sense of adventure.
The Living Desert Zoo is home to a variety of desert-dwelling animals from around the world. As you explore the zoo, you'll encounter bighorn sheep, mountain lions, and many other fascinating creatures. Each animal exhibit provides information about the species, its habitat, and conservation efforts to protect it.
One of the zoo's highlights is the Village WaTuTu, an authentic replica of a village found in the African Congo. Here, you can see African animals such as giraffes, cheetahs, and warthogs. Don't miss the giraffe feeding experience, where you can get up close and personal with these gentle giants.
The zoo also offers a variety of interactive exhibits and activities. The Petting Kraal allows you to interact with friendly goats and sheep, while the Wildlife Wonders Show showcases the natural behaviors of some of the zoo's most interesting animals.
But the Living Desert Zoo is more than just a zoo. It's also a botanical garden, showcasing the diverse flora of the world's deserts. As you wander through the garden, you'll see a variety of desert plants, from towering cacti to vibrant wildflowers. Each plant is carefully labeled, providing information about its name, origin, and unique adaptations for survival in the desert.
The zoo also offers guided tours, perfect for families and groups. These tours, led by knowledgeable guides, offer insights into the zoo's animals and plants, as well as the unique desert ecosystem.
The Living Desert Zoo is more than just an attraction; it's a testament to the beauty and resilience of life in the desert. Whether you're watching a cheetah sprint, feeding a giraffe, or simply enjoying the desert sunshine, you'll find yourself captivated by the wonders of the desert.
#7 Downtown Palm Springs and Palm Canyon Drive: The Heart of the City
(Photo by: Visit Palm Springs)
Downtown Palm Springs and Palm Canyon Drive are the vibrant heart of the city, pulsating with life and energy. This bustling area, filled with shops, restaurants, and art galleries, is a must-visit for anyone coming to Palm Springs.
As you stroll down Palm Canyon Drive, you'll be greeted by a variety of shops and boutiques. Whether you're looking for the latest fashion trends, unique souvenirs, or local artisan crafts, you'll find it here. The shops along Palm Canyon Drive offer a shopping experience like no other, blending the charm of small-town shopping with the sophistication of a city center.
But Palm Canyon Drive isn't just about shopping. It's also a food lover's paradise. The street is lined with a variety of restaurants, offering everything from fine dining to casual eateries. Whether you're in the mood for gourmet cuisine, comfort food, or international dishes, you'll find it here.
Art lovers will also find plenty to enjoy in downtown Palm Springs. The area is home to numerous art galleries, showcasing a variety of art forms, from contemporary art to Native American art. These galleries offer a glimpse into the vibrant art scene in Palm Springs, making downtown a cultural hub in the city.
One of the highlights of downtown Palm Springs is the Palm Springs Walk of Stars. This tribute to the city's celebrity residents features over 400 stars embedded in the sidewalks. As you walk down the street, you'll see the names of Hollywood luminaries like Marilyn Monroe, Lucille Ball, and Elvis Presley, who once called Palm Springs home.
Downtown Palm Springs also hosts a variety of events throughout the year. One of the most popular is the weekly VillageFest, held every Thursday evening. This street fair features live music, food stalls, and local artisans selling their wares. It's a great way to experience the local culture and mingle with the locals.
Downtown Palm Springs and Palm Canyon Drive are more than just a shopping and dining destination; they're the lifeblood of the city. Whether you're shopping for the perfect souvenir, enjoying a meal at a local restaurant, or simply soaking up the city's vibrant atmosphere, downtown Palm Springs is a must-visit on your Palm Springs trip.
#8 Indian Canyons: A Journey Through Time and Nature
(Photo by: Visit Palm Springs)
The Indian Canyons, located just a short drive from downtown Palm Springs, offer a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural history. These canyons, once home to the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, are a must-visit for anyone seeking a peaceful retreat from the city.
As you explore the Indian Canyons, you'll be captivated by the stark contrast between the rugged desert landscape and the lush greenery of the canyons. Palm Canyon, the largest of the Indian Canyons, is home to the world's largest California Fan Palm oasis. The sight of these towering palm trees against the backdrop of the desert is truly breathtaking.
But the Indian Canyons are more than just a beautiful landscape. They're also a place of cultural significance. The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians have lived in these canyons for centuries, and their presence is still felt today. As you walk along the trails, you'll see signs of their life in the canyons, from ancient rock art to irrigation ditches.
The Indian Canyons offer a variety of trails for all levels of hikers. Whether you're looking for a leisurely walk or a challenging hike, you'll find a trail that suits your needs. As you hike, keep an eye out for wildlife, including bighorn sheep, coyotes, and a variety of bird species.
One of the highlights of a visit to the Indian Canyons is the Trading Post. Located at the entrance to Palm Canyon, the Trading Post offers a variety of Native American arts and crafts, books, and souvenirs. It's also a great place to learn more about the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and their history in the canyons.
The Indian Canyons are more than just a natural attraction; they're a place of history and culture. Whether you're exploring the trails, learning about the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, or simply enjoying the tranquility of the canyons, a visit to the Indian Canyons is a journey through time and nature.
#9 Coachella Valley Preserve: A Desert Oasis
(Photo by: Parkzer.com)
The Coachella Valley Preserve, located just outside of Palm Springs, is a desert oasis that offers a unique blend of natural beauty and ecological significance. This 20,000-acre preserve, managed by the Bureau of Land Management, is a must-visit for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.
The preserve is home to the Thousand Palms Oasis, one of the largest naturally occurring palm oases in the United States. As you explore the oasis, you'll be surrounded by towering California Fan Palms, creating a stark contrast to the surrounding desert landscape. The sight of this lush greenery amidst the arid desert is truly a sight to behold.
But the Coachella Valley Preserve is more than just a beautiful landscape. It's also an important ecological site. The preserve is home to the Coachella Valley fringe-toed lizard, a species that is found nowhere else in the world. The preserve's unique sand dune ecosystem provides a critical habitat for this and other desert species.
The preserve offers a variety of trails for all levels of hikers. Whether you're looking for a leisurely walk or a challenging hike, you'll find a trail that suits your needs. As you hike, keep an eye out for wildlife, including desert tortoises, roadrunners, and a variety of bird species.
One of the highlights of a visit to the Coachella Valley Preserve is the Paul Wilhelm Grove, named after the preserve's first manager. This grove features a rustic log cabin, which serves as the preserve's visitor center. Here, you can learn more about the preserve's ecology and history.
The Coachella Valley Preserve is more than just a natural attraction; it's a place of ecological importance and natural wonder. Whether you're exploring the trails, learning about the preserve's unique ecology, or simply enjoying the tranquility of the oasis, a visit to the Coachella Valley Preserve is a journey into the heart of the desert.
#10 Palm Springs Visitor Center: Your Gateway to the Desert City
(Photo by: Visit Palm Springs)
The Palm Springs Visitor Center is more than just a starting point for your Palm Springs adventure. It's a hub of information, a historical landmark, and a welcoming gateway to this vibrant desert city.
Located at the foot of the San Jacinto Mountains, the Palm Springs Visitor Center is housed in a mid-century modern building that was originally a gas station designed by Albert Frey, a pioneer of desert modernism. Its distinctive "flying wedge" roof and large glass windows make it a standout architectural gem and a fitting introduction to Palm Springs.
Inside, you'll find a wealth of information to help you make the most of your Palm Springs visit. The friendly and knowledgeable staff can provide recommendations on attractions, restaurants, shopping, and more. Whether you're looking for the best hiking trails in Joshua Tree National Park, the hottest shops on Palm Canyon Drive, or the most exciting exhibits at the Palm Springs Art Museum, the Visitor Center has you covered.
The Visitor Center also offers a variety of maps, brochures, and guides to help you navigate the city and its surrounding areas. Whether you're planning a scenic drive, a walking tour, or a day of exploration, these resources will help you plan your itinerary and ensure you don't miss any of the city's highlights.
But the Palm Springs Visitor Center is more than just a source of information. It's also a retail store, offering a variety of Palm Springs merchandise. From postcards to t-shirts to unique souvenirs, you can find the perfect memento of your Palm Springs trip.
The Palm Springs Visitor Center is your first stop on your Palm Springs adventure. With its wealth of information, friendly staff, and unique architecture, it's more than just a visitor center - it's a part of the Palm Springs experience. So make sure to stop by as you start your journey into this desert paradise.
Exploring the wonders of Palm Springs and its surrounding areas is an adventure like no other. From the captivating art at the Palm Springs Art Museum to the breathtaking views from the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, from the natural beauty of Joshua Tree National Park to the cultural significance of the Indian Canyons, there's something for everyone in this desert oasis.
But to truly immerse yourself in all that Palm Springs has to offer, you need a comfortable and convenient base. That's where LLStays.com comes in. Our luxury short-term rental in Palm Springs provides the perfect home away from home as you explore Palm Springs.
(Photo by: LLStays.com)
Located in the heart of the city, our rental offers easy access to all the attractions. After a day of exploring, you can return to the comfort of your comfortable oasis, relax, and prepare for the next day's adventures. With all the amenities you need, our rental offers the perfect blend of comfort and convenience.
(Photo by: LLStays.com)
So why wait? Start planning your Palm Springs adventure today. With so much to see and do, and with the perfect base at one of our short-term rentals, your Palm Springs trip is sure to be an unforgettable experience. We look forward to welcoming you to Palm Springs and helping you explore all the wonders this desert paradise has to offer.