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The Oasis Guide: Discovering Palm Springs

A compact guide to Palm Springs

· 6 min read

Palm Springs, located in Southern California's Coachella Valley, is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, culture seekers, and foodies alike. With its close proximity to Los Angeles, it also makes a good stop for a short getaway from the city. From hiking trails and nature walks to cultural and historical attractions, shopping experiences, and dining options, Palm Springs has something for everyone.

Source: Patrick Pelster
Source: Patrick Pelster

How to Get to Palm Springs

The easiest way to get to Palm Springs will be to fly into the Palm Springs International Airport. It is also possible to drive to Palm Springs from major cities like Los Angeles (approx. 2 hours) and San Diego (approx. 2 hours). Alternatively, you can take a bus, train, or hire a private shuttle.

Outdoor Activities in Palm Springs

Palm Springs is a picturesque desert oasis that offers a plethora of outdoor activities for visitors of all ages. From hiking trails and nature walks to golf courses and tennis clubs, Palm Springs has something for everyone. Here are some of the best outdoor activities to enjoy in Palm Springs:

Hiking Trails and Nature Walks

Source: Martin Haeusler
Source: Martin Haeusler

Palm Springs is surrounded by majestic mountains, making it an ideal destination for hiking and nature walks. The Indian Canyons, for instance, is a popular hiking trail that offers stunning views of the desert landscape, rock formations, and waterfalls. Tahquitz Canyon is another popular hiking trail that features a 60-foot waterfall, rock art, and stunning vistas. For visitors who prefer a leisurely stroll, Palm Springs boasts several nature reserves like Murray Canyon, which features lush vegetation and serene streams.

Biking Adventures

Source: Bureau of Land Management
Source: Bureau of Land Management

Exploring Palm Springs on two wheels is a thrilling experience. With several bike rental shops scattered throughout the city, visitors can easily rent a bike and hit the trails. The challenging ride to the top of Southridge Drive offers panoramic views of the Coachella Valley, while the flat and scenic paths near the Whitewater River are ideal for beginners. For those who prefer mountain biking, the nearby Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains offer some of the best trails in the region.

Golf Courses and Tennis Clubs

Palm Springs is known for its world-class golf courses and tennis clubs. The city boasts over 100 golf courses, ranging from lush green fairways to challenging desert landscapes. The Indian Wells Golf Resort, for instance, is a popular destination for golf enthusiasts, featuring two championship courses and stunning views of the Santa Rosa Mountains. Visitors can also enjoy a game of tennis at one of the many courts, including the famous Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

Horseback Riding and Desert Tours

Going horseback riding or taking a desert tour is another popular outdoor activity in Palm Springs. Visitors can explore the rugged terrain and stunning vistas on horseback or marvel at the natural beauty of the Coachella Valley on a ATV, Jeep, or Hummer tour. For some of the best places for horseback riding in Palm Springs , head over to the Smoke Tree Stables. And for jeep and hummer tours, the Red Jeep tour** or the Adventure Hummer Tours **are the more popular ones. For those who prefer a more adventurous experience, hot air balloon rides are also available, offering stunning views of the desert landscape from above.

Aerial Tramway and Scenic Views

Source: Don Graham
Source: Don Graham

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway takes visitors on a breathtaking ride from the desert floor to the top of San Jacinto Peak, which stands at over 10,000 feet. The tramway offers panoramic views of the desert landscape and the surrounding mountains, making it a popular attraction for visitors of all ages. At the top, visitors can enjoy a meal at the Peaks Restaurant or explore the hiking trails and observation decks.

Cultural and Historical Attractions

Palm Springs is a city steeped in history and culture, and there are plenty of attractions to explore that offer a glimpse into the area's rich past and present. From art museums to aviation exhibits, there is something for everyone in this vibrant city.

Palm Springs Art Museum

Source: Palm Springs Art Museum

If you're an art lover, the Palm Springs Art Museum is a must-visit destination. The museum boasts an extensive collection of contemporary and modern art, including works by renowned artists like Picasso, Warhol, and Lichtenstein. In addition to its impressive permanent collection, the museum also hosts several temporary exhibits throughout the year, showcasing the work of up-and-coming artists from around the world. The museum's outdoor sculpture garden is also worth exploring, featuring stunning works by artists like Alexander Calder and Joan Miró.

🗺️ **Address: **101 N Museum Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92262, United States

Palm Springs Air Museum

Source: Palm Springs Air Museum
Source: Palm Springs Air Museum

If you're an aviation enthusiast, the Palm Springs Air Museum is a must-visit attraction. The museum houses a vast collection of World War II-era aircraft, including rare planes like the P-51 Mustang and the Spitfire. Visitors can explore the planes up close, and even climb into the cockpit of some of them. The museum also offers flight exhibitions and interactive experiences, making it an engaging visit for all ages.

🗺️ **Address: **Parking, lot 745 N Gene Autry Trail, Palm Springs, CA 92262, United States

Sunnylands Center and Gardens

Source: Sunnylands Center
Source: Sunnylands Center

The Sunnylands Center & Gardens is a stunning cultural destination that celebrates art, history, and nature. The center's centerpiece is a sprawling mid-century modern Estate, which has hosted several heads of state and celebrities over the years. Visitors can take a guided tour of the estate, learning about its history and architecture, as well as view stunning works of art and furniture from the 20th century. The estate's gardens offer visitors a serene escape, featuring several exotic plants and stunning sculptures. Visitors can also take part in educational programs and events, including art exhibits, lectures, and workshops.

🗺️ **Address: **37977 Bob Hope Dr, Rancho Mirage, CA 92270, United States

Shopping and Dining Experiences

Whether you are a shopaholic, a foodie, or just love exploring new places, Palm Springs has a lot to offer. Here are some of the top shopping and dining experiences in the city.

Source: Visit Palm Springs
Source: Visit Palm Springs

Downtown Palm Springs

Downtown Palm Springs is a vibrant and bustling area home to several eclectic boutique stores, art galleries, and souvenir shops, where visitors can find unique and one-of-a-kind items. You can also find several restaurants and cafes in the area, including the famous Lulu California Bistro and the Workshop Kitchen + Bar. These restaurants offer a variety of cuisines, from American to Italian, and are perfect for a quick bite or a leisurely meal.

El Paseo Shopping District

If you are looking for high-end shopping and dining, the El Paseo Shopping District is the place to be. This premier destination boasts several luxury boutiques, including Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Escada, as well as several upscale restaurants and cafes. The district is known for its beautiful architecture and picturesque surroundings, making it a popular spot for both locals and tourists alike.

Uptown Design District

The Uptown Design District is a must-visit destination for art and design enthusiasts. The district features several furniture stores, art galleries, and vintage shops, showcasing the best of mid-century modern design. Visitors can also dine at several trendy restaurants and cafes, including the popular Cheeky's Restaurant and Birba Restaurant. The area is also known for its vibrant nightlife scene, with several bars and clubs that offer live music and entertainment.

Local Farmers' Market

If you are a foodie at heart, you won't want to miss out on Palm Springs' local farmers' markets. These markets offer visitors a taste of the city's fresh and organic produce, as well as artisanal cheeses, homemade baked goods, and other delicious treats. The Certified Farmers' Market at Palm Desert is one of the most popular markets in the area, boasting over 80 vendors and a lively atmosphere that is perfect for a weekend outing.

Unique Dining Options and Local Cuisine

Palm Springs is a melting pot of cultures, and this is reflected in its diverse dining scene. Whether you are in the mood for Mexican, Mediterranean, or Asian cuisine, you can find it all in Palm Springs. The city is home to several restaurants that showcase the region's unique flavors and ingredients, including the popular Birba Restaurant and Tac/Quila Restaurant. And if you are looking for a sweet treat, don't forget to try the city's famous date shakes, made from locally grown dates.