This magical desert oasis captivates everyone from outdoor enthusiasts to architecture buffs to families, singles, and couples with its relaxed atmosphere and stunning scenery.
Take a hike in Oswit Canyon in South Palm Springs and you might spot some bighorn sheep. In 1998, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the species as endangered, but thanks to recovery efforts their populations are expanding again.
The best way to enjoy the beautiful ecosystem is on foot. Hiking trails abound, including the Skyline Trail, which begins behind the downtown art museum; Indian Canyons, the ancestral home to the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians; Tahquitz Canyon, where you'll encounter a 60-foot waterfall; and the Araby Trail, which offers stunning views of the valley—and you'll pass right by the iconic Bob Hope house (now owned by billionaire investor Ron Burkle).
Joshua Tree National Park is less than an hour's drive from Palm Springs. It contains more than two dozen trails that vary in length and difficulty. Depending upon which one you choose, you'll come across incredible views of the San Andreas Fault and the Salton Sea, old gold mines, native desert plants, and, of course, hundreds of the park's iconic Joshua trees.
The Palm Springs Art Museum features an international roster of modern and contemporary art, as well as contemporary Native American art, in a building that was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2016. The Architecture and Design Center—housed in a beautiful glass pavilion that was originally built in 1961 as a bank—has rotating exhibitions that focus on architecture and design. On an entirely different note, check out the Palm Springs Air Museum.
Best Day Trip
For a change of scenery, take a drive to the small town of Idyllwild, which is set among pine trees in the San Jacinto Mountains above Palm Springs. Enjoy lunch at one of the town's quaint restaurants and spend the afternoon browsing the gift shops and people-watching.
Off the Beaten Path
The Salton Sea is the largest lake in California. The only problem is that its water has been evaporating since the 1970s and the amount of new water flowing in has been reduced. What's left is a mounting ecological disaster, a problem that the state has been trying to solve for years. But the beauty of once was remains.
Most Iconic Place
The Moorten Botanical Garden located in South Palm Springs is a 1.5-acre horticulturalist's wonderland filled with 3,000 species of cacti and desert plants that are grouped by geographic regions. The facility was founded in 1938 by Patricia and Chester Moorten and is now overseen by their son, Clark.
In the heart of downtown are two of the city's oldest buildings that are together known as the McCallum Adobe-Cornelia White House Museum. The White House was built in 1893 and the McCallum Adobe in 1884. Today, both are operated by the Palm Springs Historical Society and offer a glimpse into the city’s past through a vast array of exhibits. In the same plaza is the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum whose collections focus on the history of the local Cahuilla tribe.
It's hard to believe that a door could become a tourist attraction. But this is Palm Springs, so a pastel pink front door has taken on celebrity status. It's so famous, it has its own hashtag on Instagram (#thatpinkdoor). You'll find the house where the door is located on East Sierra Drive between South Camino Real and South Caliente Drive.
Every Thursday night, three blocks of South Palm Canyon Drive are closed to traffic and packed with people wandering through VillageFest—a celebration of local foods and arts and crafts. After taking a stroll, grab a seat at a nearby restaurant or café and enjoy the parade.