Palm Desert Guide: A List of Top Attractions and Things to Do

Palm Desert, Palm Springs, and the entire Coachella Valley is home to a diverse array of things to do no matter what you’re into. From stunning nature to picturesque golf courses to world-class shopping, Palm Desert is a hotbed for unique attractions and activities.

While the list is long, we certainly have our favorites. If you only have a short period of time in the Coachella Valley, use this Palm Desert guide to make the most of your time.

 Hot Air Balloon Rides

hot air balloon ride

There’s truly no better way to view the Coachella Valley and surrounding mountain ranges than on a hot air balloon ride. Local companies offer a variety of different types of experiences, so you’ll be able to find the one that suits your needs and budget. Magical Adventure Balloon Rides and Fantasy Balloons are two local favorites offering sunrise, engagement, private rides, and more specialty experiences.

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

palm springs aerial tramway

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is one of the most popular attractions in the area, which offers 360-degree views of Mt. San Jacinto State Park, Chino Canyon, and more. This is the world’s largest rotating tramcar. It travels more than 2.5 miles to an elevation of 8,516 feet. Once you’re at the top you can hike the trail system of more than 50 miles, enjoy a meal at one of two restaurants, visit the natural history museum, or snap photos on the observation deck.

Golf

palm springs golf course

Golf is a way of life here, making this area one of the finest for golf lovers of all experience levels. Palm Desert, Palm Springs, and beyond is home to championship golf and award-winning courses like Indian Wells Golf Resort, Tahquitz Creek Golf Resort, and Desert Willow Golf Resort. The area is also home to a variety of golf events as well if you prefer to be a spectator.

National Parks & Forests

joshua tree national park at sunset

Palm Desert is a gateway to Joshua Tree National Park and the San Bernardino National Forest, both of which feature extensive networks of hiking trails for all levels, rock climbing, horseback riding, mountain biking, and more. Be mindful of weather patterns when traveling to these parks, especially when you’re getting into higher elevations. If you’re exploring during the warmer months, be sure to get out on the trails as early as possible to avoid the high heat of the desert in the afternoon.

Shopping

el paseo in palm springs

Whether you’re looking for new or old, clothes or furniture, Palm Springs is a haven for retail therapy. Shops on El Paseo features many designer boutiques and luxury stores selling the best top-of-the-line goods. This high-end retail district is also home to public art, dining, and seasonal events. If you’re more into vintage goods, the Palm Springs Vintage Market is a must. This market takes place from October – May on the first Sunday of the month. You’ll find furniture, jewelry, clothing, art, and more.

Museums

palm springs art museum

If you’re looking for an indoor activity, there are several museums in Palm Springs to wander. The Palm Springs Art Museum and Palm Springs Air Museum are vastly different but equally fascinating. You can ride in a historic military plane and learn about the history of aviation during World War II, Vietnam, and more.

If you’re looking for a more creative afternoon, the Palm Springs Art Museum hosts local, national, and international work in a modern space. The art museum has three locations, including the Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center and Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Desert, which is home to the Faye Sarkowsky Sculpture Garden.

Plan Your Palm Desert Vacation

Start planning your Palm Desert vacation today. We offer a wide variety of accommodations, including villas, condos, and private studios to fit your needs. Shadow Mountain Resort is home to exquisite tennis and pickleball amenities, a spacious pool area, and so much more. Book your Palm Desert rental with us today.

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