Palm Springs travel guide

Palm Springs Tourism | Palm Springs Guide

You're Going to Love Palm Springs

There’s a reason why Palm Springs was once the number one vacation resort for movie stars, writers, musicians, and politicians: Sunshine. But there's a lot more to enjoy than just wonderful weather.

Palm Springs is a true desert oasis. This beautiful Californian city is located within an easy drive of Los Angeles, but it feels worlds apart. It’s the kind of place where you can relax on a different golf course every day, hike to secluded desert beauty spots, or splash around with your kids at massive water parks. In other words, it’s got something for everyone.

Entertainment is another huge draw. Dine out at fantastic French restaurants like Le Vallauris, sip cocktails at Melvyn’s Restaurant or Birba, hit the slots and poker tables at Agua Caliente Casino, or dance until dawn at Zelda’s.

Palm Springs can satisfy everyone – from groups of friends looking to party, to nature lovers wanting to retreat to the desert, or seniors wanting a golfing escape.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Palm Springs

1. Sunshine

Palm Springs is almost always sunny. Monthly average temperatures never dip below 70 degrees Fahrenheit and rain is a rarity. Most of the year, the sun is constant, while not too hot to make the resort uncomfortable. Overall, it has a great climate – which is why people have been flocking there for over 70 years.

2. Golf

Some cities have football, others have baseball. Palm Springs has golf. High-quality local courses include Indian Canyon, Tahquitz Creek, Escena, and the Classic Club, designed by Arnold Palmer.

3. Desert Scenery

Palm Springs is a desert resort, and gorgeous scenery is just a few minutes’ drive away. Step on the San Andreas Fault, head out ATV driving at Borrego Springs or take the Aerial Tramway 8,500 feet above the desert.

4. Shopping

Palm Springs is a retail oasis in the California desert. You’ll find craft stores, small boutiques, major labels, florists, bridal stores, and jewelers along Palm Canyon Drive and major stores like J.Crew, Sak’s, and Tiffany’s at Westfield Palm Desert.

5. Hollywood Glamor

Back in the 1920s and 30s, Palm Springs was the favorite resort for Hollywood's elite. Major world stars like Frank Sinatra purchased homes here. You can tour them in the Movie Colony district or follow the Walk of Stars in Downtown Palm Springs, which features all of the town’s prominent residents.

What to do in Palm Springs

1. Mount San Jacinto: Breath in the Mountainous Air at the "Hotspot of Biodiversity"

Rising 10,834 feet above sea level, the majestic terrains of Mount San Jacinto have spawned a plethora of diversified habitats hospitable to all lifeforms including endangered wildlife such as the Southern Yellow Bat. This State Park branches out into the Santa Rosa Mountains creating an environment of two extreme climates: unbearably hot summers and cold snowy winters. Take a friend or hike alone along its canyon trails. Maybe you'll be lucky and come across a peeking Bighorn Sheep eyeing you in pure marvel. Read, meditate or simply sit on a grinding stone as you work on your art, take the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway and ponder in wonderment as you gaze at the magnitude of nature's enigmatic milieus.

2. Living Desert Zoo and Gardens: Home to Endangered Habitats and Species

Walk into the interactive discovery center and explore the history of the Coachella Valley's endangered animals. If adventure calls, ride a camel or see the Jaguar Exhibition. If you love animals, then interact with Australian Birds and Birds of the Australian Outback. See hornbills, weaver finches, meerkats, rock hyrax and warthogs and exotic African plants at the African desert sanctuary, or you can attend one of the many tours.

3. Palm Canyon Drive: Visit Palm Springs' Core

Shopping Malls, galleries, restaurants and movie theaters are amongst the serendipitous attractions you'll find in uptown Palm Springs. Interact with the locals, artists and artisans flowing the streets every Thursday, or shop for fruit and vegetables alongside the Palm Springs Certified Farmers Market. Local farmers sell fresh produce, flowers, and plants. Villagefest in Downtown Palm Springs runs every year. The streets are closed off to traffic and become home to booths selling art, handmade crafts and a mixture of food.

4. Palms to Pines Shopping Center: Spend a Day Splurging in Palm Desert

Scurry away from Palm Springs and head out to Pines Plaza West Shopping Center. This business community is made up of a diverse range of stores near El Paseo Shopping District, Indian Wells Tennis Garden and Aerie Art Garden, with mid-range hotels and restaurants everywhere. Visit museums such as the Palm Springs Air Museum and become enthralled by exhibited aircrafts like the P-51 Mustang, which dates back to WWII and Korean Wars.

5. The Gardens on El Paseo: A Day to Wine and Dine

Venture 14 miles outside Palm Springs to The Gardens on El Paseo in Palm Desert. Located between Larkspur and Lupine, this outdoor shopping center is a hotspot for tourists and natives alike. The mall's light-brown-pebbled architecture is adorned by little stone covered islands. Palm trees decorate the garden style infrastructure. Go out for a romantic dinner at Mastro's Steakhouse and have a mouth-watering 18 oz. Bone in Fillet. Dine under low lights - this elegant, colorful, abstract and romantic restaurant offers a place to cuddle under the glimmering lights or groove to live entertainment.

1. Mount San Jacinto: Breath in the Mountainous Air at the "Hotspot of Biodiversity"

Rising 10,834 feet above sea level, the majestic terrains of Mount San Jacinto have spawned a plethora of diversified habitats hospitable to all lifeforms including endangered wildlife such as the Southern Yellow Bat. This State Park branches out into the Santa Rosa Mountains creating an environment of two extreme climates: unbearably hot summers and cold snowy winters. Take a friend or hike alone along its canyon trails. Maybe you'll be lucky and come across a peeking Bighorn Sheep eyeing you in pure marvel. Read, meditate or simply sit on a grinding stone as you work on your art, take the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway and ponder in wonderment as you gaze at the magnitude of nature's enigmatic milieus.

2. Living Desert Zoo and Gardens: Home to Endangered Habitats and Species

Walk into the interactive discovery center and explore the history of the Coachella Valley's endangered animals. If adventure calls, ride a camel or see the Jaguar Exhibition. If you love animals, then interact with Australian Birds and Birds of the Australian Outback. See hornbills, weaver finches, meerkats, rock hyrax and warthogs and exotic African plants at the African desert sanctuary, or you can attend one of the many tours.

3. Palm Canyon Drive: Visit Palm Springs' Core

Shopping Malls, galleries, restaurants and movie theaters are amongst the serendipitous attractions you'll find in uptown Palm Springs. Interact with the locals, artists and artisans flowing the streets every Thursday, or shop for fruit and vegetables alongside the Palm Springs Certified Farmers Market. Local farmers sell fresh produce, flowers, and plants. Villagefest in Downtown Palm Springs runs every year. The streets are closed off to traffic and become home to booths selling art, handmade crafts and a mixture of food.

4. Palms to Pines Shopping Center: Spend a Day Splurging in Palm Desert

Scurry away from Palm Springs and head out to Pines Plaza West Shopping Center. This business community is made up of a diverse range of stores near El Paseo Shopping District, Indian Wells Tennis Garden and Aerie Art Garden, with mid-range hotels and restaurants everywhere. Visit museums such as the Palm Springs Air Museum and become enthralled by exhibited aircrafts like the P-51 Mustang, which dates back to WWII and Korean Wars.

5. The Gardens on El Paseo: A Day to Wine and Dine

Venture 14 miles outside Palm Springs to The Gardens on El Paseo in Palm Desert. Located between Larkspur and Lupine, this outdoor shopping center is a hotspot for tourists and natives alike. The mall's light-brown-pebbled architecture is adorned by little stone covered islands. Palm trees decorate the garden style infrastructure. Go out for a romantic dinner at Mastro's Steakhouse and have a mouth-watering 18 oz. Bone in Fillet. Dine under low lights - this elegant, colorful, abstract and romantic restaurant offers a place to cuddle under the glimmering lights or groove to live entertainment.

Where to Eat in Palm Springs

Eating out is one of Palm Springs’ biggest attractions. If you love meat dishes, this is the place to be. Check out the burgers at Tylers, recognized as the best burger joint in town. Dine on surf and turf at Riccio’s or the meat feasts at Kaiser Grille in the city center. La Perlita is the city’s best Mexican restaurant, Kiyosaku is an excellent sushi option, while Le Vallauris is a classic up-scale French eatery. Good mid-range meals will cost around $10-15 and sit-down gourmet meals cost anything up to $100.

When to visit Palm Springs

Palm Springs in August
Estimated hotel price
$111
1 night at 3-star hotel
Palm Springs in August
Estimated hotel price
$111
1 night at 3-star hotel

Palm Springs is a year-round resort. The weather is almost universally sunny and warm (sometimes a little too warm in late July and August), so there’s never a bad time to visit. Peak season is between January and May, when the weather is warm, and the climate is ideal for golf, swimming, hiking, sunbathing – whatever visitors want to do. Music fans can time their trip to coincide with the Coachella Festival in April.

Data provided by weatherbase
Temperatures
Temperatures
Average
Celcius (°C)
Data provided by weatherbase

How to Get to Palm Springs

Plane

The easiest way to get to Palm Springs is by catching a flight to Palm Springs International Airport. The airport is a couple of miles from the center of town, and there are shuttle buses to the major resort hotels (check with your accommodation before you arrive to see if they provide a transfer).

Train

Palm Springs Amtrak station is located at 300 North Indian Canyon Drive and is a stop on the Sunset Limited service, between New Orleans and Los Angeles. You can also reach the city from Sacramento and San Joaquin via local trains, but an Amtrak bus transfer will be needed to get from the station to Palm Springs itself.

Car

To get to Palm Springs from LA, just take I-10 eastwards, then change onto Highway 111. I-10 also connects the city to cities to the east, including Phoenix and Las Vegas.

Bus

If you want to travel to Palm Springs by bus, your best option will be to take a Greyhound service which connects the city to almost every major American destination. For local journeys, Sun Bus links Palm Springs to other towns in the Coachella Valley.

Airports near Palm Springs

Airlines serving Palm Springs

United Airlines
Good (2,834 reviews)
Lufthansa
Good (2,143 reviews)
American Airlines
Good (4,378 reviews)
KLM
Good (347 reviews)
Air France
Good (395 reviews)
British Airways
Good (1,411 reviews)
Delta
Excellent (3,043 reviews)
Turkish Airlines
Good (1,321 reviews)
SWISS
Good (454 reviews)
Qatar Airways
Good (1,201 reviews)
Iberia
Good (914 reviews)
Air Canada
Good (1,398 reviews)
Austrian Airlines
Good (278 reviews)
Etihad Airways
Good (307 reviews)
Singapore Airlines
Excellent (319 reviews)
TAP AIR PORTUGAL
Good (536 reviews)
Brussels Airlines
Good (100 reviews)
Finnair
Good (693 reviews)
LATAM Airlines
Good (773 reviews)
Alaska Airlines
Excellent (2,594 reviews)
Show more

Where to stay in Palm Springs

Downtown Palm Springs – Palm Springs doesn’t really have a classic city center, but the heart of the city is at the intersection of Indian Canyon Drive and E Tahquitz Canyon Way. This is where you’ll find the major convention center, so it’s a popular spot for business travelers, but it’s also the town’s cultural hub, hosting the Palm Springs Art Museum.

Popular Neighborhoods in Palm Springs

Cathedral City – To the southeast of the city center you’ll find Cathedral City. This is where most of the resorts are situated, and it’s totally designed for tourists to enjoy. Families can splash around at Wet’n’Wild water park, while golfers can test their skills against four local courses. Then there’s the Canyon Plaza Shopping Center, the city’s premier mall.

The Movie Colony – In the 1940s, Palm Springs became the vacation destination of choice for huge movie stars like Bing Crosby and Bob Hope. Nowadays, the Movie Colony is where you’ll find their gorgeous homes. Gathered around Ruth Hardy Park, the Colony hosts some of the city’s best restaurants, like the Mediterranean Purple Palm and Workshop Kitchen, a great cocktail bar.

Most popular hotel in Palm Springs by neighbourhood

Where to stay in popular areas of Palm Springs

How to Get Around Palm Springs

Public Transportation

Public transit isn’t extensive in the Palm Springs area, but Sun Bus does run a network of public buses from the city center to major hotels. However, if you plan to get around the city for more than a few days, it makes sense to book taxis or have your own vehicle.

Taxis

Standard taxi fares in Palm Springs are $3 for the flag drop, then $3.12 per subsequent mile, with a waiting charge of $24 per hour. Getting around with Uber can be far cheaper, with a base fare of $1 and a charge of $1.15 per mile.

Car

Renting your own car is easily the best way to get around Palm Springs and the San Jacinto Valley. You’ll find plenty of rental firms represented at the airport, including Avis, Thrifty, and Enterprise. Parking can be a problem, as spaces in the center are limited. Check out the Downtown Palm Springs Parking Garage on W Baristo Rd, or try to find a spot on a side street if possible. Expect to pay around $10 per hour to park.

The Cost of Living in Palm Springs

Shopping Streets

Palm Canyon Drive is Palm Springs’ main shopping street, with charming boutiques like Just Modern and Dazzles alongside specialist stores like the Palm Springs Florist. If you want clothes or craft souvenirs, it’s a good place to look. There’s also a number of shopping malls to explore, including Smoke Tree Village and Rimrock Shopping Center (both to the south of the city center).

Groceries and Other

If you want to splurge on gourmet food, Palm Springs is the place to do it. You can get delicious fresh meat at Baja Meat Market, visit the certified farmers’ market on E Baristo Rd or shop at delicatessens like Go Deli for organic and international foods. There are also plenty of supermarkets, including Ralph’s, Walmart, Stater Bros, and Jensen’s. The cost of living isn’t excessive, but Palm Springs isn’t cheap either. Expect to pay $3.20 for 12 eggs. Then again, wine is very cheap indeed, with a good bottle costing as little as $6.

Cheap meal
$19.35
A pair of jeans
$69.85
Single public transport ticket
$1.81
Cappuccino
$6.45