What is there to do in Palm Springs? There’s a lot more to this desert getaway than lounging by the pool. Discover these secret spots in Palm Springs as well as some popular Palm Springs attractions you might have missed.
11 Secret Spots in Palm Springs
Let’s explore Palm Springs off the beaten path and these fun but weird things to do in Palm Springs.
Ruddy’s General Store Museum: Visit this old-timey grocery store museum and see what it was like to shop for your necessities in the 1930s and 40s. All the vintage grocery items were collected by Mr. Ruddy and are unopened and unused.
Go Hiking in Palm Springs: There are many beautiful hiking trails around the city that are ideal way to spend a sunny winter day. One of the most popular places for Palm Springs hiking is at Indian Canyons. However there are also many other trails in the area. Check this website for more information. If you would like to explore more of the desert, visit nearby Anza Borrego State Park, it’s the best kept secret in Palm Springs and a magical place after the winter rains.
Camelot Theatre: Beat the heat and watch independent films at this classic theater in Palm Springs Mall. You can also catch film festivals at the Camelot Theatre.
Moorten Botanical Garden: These one acre gardens were established in 1939 by Patricia and Chester “Cactus Slim” Moorten, and are still family owned today. The Moorten Botanical Garden is open year round. Check here for opening hours and ticket information.
That Pink Door: One of the most Instagrammed places in Palm Springs, this house has a beautiful front door that looks like a pastel pink chocolate bar. It even has its own hashtag on Instagram. (#thatpinkdoor) If you want to see more of Palm Springs’ fabulous doors you can go on a Palm Springs Door Tour that takes place in February during Modernism Week. Check here for more information.
Palm Springs Aerial Tram: Ride two and a half miles in a little capsule up Mount San Jacinto to beat the heat. Travel from the desert to alpine environment in less than 15 minutes. The cable car floor rotates as it climbs so you don’t have to move to get a good view. At the top you can go hiking, eat at the restaurants or even play in the snow in the winter months. Get your tickets here.
Shields Date Garden: Delicious dates. Did you ever think someone could make a whole Palm Springs attraction out of them? Stop by here to learn all about dates and date farming by watching the film Romance & Sex Life of the Date, and don’t miss trying the world famous date shake.
Image © Indian Canyons
Robolights: This crazy colorful sculpture garden surrounds a private home in a residential neighborhood. It is definitely one of the weird things to do in Palm Springs, especially around the Christmas holidays when the sculptures are festooned with lights. You can call the artist, Steve Irwin Jr, to make an appointment to see the displays outside of the holiday season.
Walk of Stars: You’ve heard of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Did you know that Palm Springs has their own version? You’ll find stars for US Presidents like Ford, Eisenhower and Reagan. You’ll also find movie stars, architects and musicians. Check out the list of stars here. Where is Palm Springs Walk of Stars? You’ll find the stars in downtown Palm Springs along Palm Canyon Drive, Tahquitz Canyon Way, La Plaza Court and Museum Drive.
Palm Springs Art Museum: If you are looking for Palm Springs off the beaten path, an art museum might not be the first place you would go. But you might be surprised at the collection that includes contemporary American paintings, photography, desert landscape paintings and Native American art.
Go Horseback Riding: Since I was a little girl I have loved to go horseback riding when I visit Palm Springs. I think the first time I was with my grandparents and I rode a little pony. Check in with Smoketree Stables and take off on the trails for one of the best Palm Springs outdoor activities. Explore the beautiful Tahquitz canyon. Just be aware that you might be rather sore the next day if you aren’t used to riding.
Joshua Tree National Park: Not in Palm Springs proper but still an amazing place to explore, Joshua Tree is a fantastic national park with strange plants and huge boulders creating an otherworldly landscape. Drive the 45 minutes out of town to get there and stop by Pioneertown to step back in time to the wild west. Find a cool place to stay near Joshua Tree here.
Are you looking for unique places to stay in Palm Springs? Check this list of fun hotels in Palm Springs.
Weird Things To Do Near Palm Springs
Fancy a road trip? Check out these weird places to visit see near Palm Springs.
- Slab City is a decommissioned Marine base where many people live or camp for free in RVs, shacks and tents off the grid. Be sure to check out art installations Salvation Mountain and East Jesus.
- The Salton Sea was an inland lake created by fluctuation in movement of the Colorado River. In the 1950s it was a popular resort area but agricultural pollutants and rising salinity poisoned the waters and it became a stinky wasteland. It is an interesting place to explore with abandoned boats and crumbling houses.
- Check out the Cabazon dinosaurs. I’ve been obsessed with these guys since I was a kid. You can see Dinny the Dinosaur and Mr. Rex (yes those are their names) from the 10 freeway. Perhaps even more bizarre is that the dinos are now home to a Creationist museum.
- Will you be in the Coachella Valley in 2019? Don’t miss the Desert X Art Festival where artworks are created in response to the surrounding landscape.
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