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11 Palm Springs Attractions You Need To See ASAP

11 Palm Springs Attractions You Need To See ASAP

Visiting Palm Springs and wondering what not to miss in the beautiful city? Here are 11 Palm Springs attractions you need to see ASAP. Team


4 min read

December 13, 2023

A getaway to Palm Springs is always a great idea. The luxurious desert oasis has been praised for its incredible architecture, amazing resorts, great championship golf courses, and a wide array of places to dine and shop for almost a century. But what if you just want to be very touristy and dedicate a trip to checking the best Palm Springs attractions off your list? Well, we have just the itinerary for that.

Zoos, waterparks, gardens, museums, and a lot more typical tourist attractions are abundant in the Greater Palm Springs area. So, put on your bucket hat, grab your camera, and gather your eager friends—the best Palm Springs attractions are a desert road trip away.

These Are The Top Things To See In Palm Springs

1. Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

As the largest rotating aerial tramway in the world, the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is on everyone’s bucket list. Perhaps the most popular of all Palm Springs’ attractions, the aerial tramway is a true bucket list experience. At the very top of the ride, you’ll find two restaurants, observation decks, a small museum, over 50 miles of hiking trails, and more awesome Palm Springs tourist attractions to enjoy.

Experience Palm Springs from a bird's eye view aboard the largest rotating aerial tramway in the world.

2. Living Desert Zoo and Garden

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Springs is easily among the best of the zoos in Southern California. Active in conservation research, breeding programs, habitat protection, and education initiatives, this incredible Palm Springs zoo hopes to make a difference regarding how wild desert animals are treated around the world. As one of the most popular attractions in town for over 50 years, the Living Desert Zoo in Palm Springs will inspire, entertain, and educate you with a single visit.

3. Tahquitz Canyon Waterfall

Indian Canyons in Palm Springs is home to a beautiful cascading waterfall every nature lover needs to see. If you enjoy hiking, then you should absolutely trek the trail leading to the waterfall in SoCal. Besides the 60-foot falls, you’ll also find a host of other natural Palm Springs attractions in Tahquitz Canyon such as rock art, ancient irrigation systems, native wildlife, and desert plants.

4. Moorten Botanical Garden and Cactarium

The Moorten Botanical Garden and Cactarium is a one-acre family-owned garden specializing in cacti and other desert plants. Despite being fairly small in size, this botanical garden in Palm Springs is a famous tourist attraction, welcoming about 200 visitors a day on average. Book a guided tour, walk through the gorgeous botanical garden, take pictures, and get up close and personal with the beautiful desert flora—you’ll have an absolute blast. 

5. Palm Desert Aquatic Center

If you're planning a family trip to Palm Springs, consider spending a day at the Palm Desert Aquatic Center. This popular waterpark is equipped with three pools, multiple slides, diving boards, and a host of other entertaining features suitable for all ages. It's a favorite spot for many to cool off and escape the summer desert heat, offering a fun-filled day for the entire family. Whether you're looking to relax in the water or seek some thrilling slide adventures, the Palm Desert Aquatic Center has something to offer everyone.

6. Downtown Palm Springs

What would a getaway to Palm Springs be without a stroll through its famous downtown? Offering fine and casual dining, cool boutiques, inspiring museums, and so much more to enjoy, Downtown Palm Springs is a must-add to your itinerary. In fact, many of the Palm Springs attractions on this list are located in and near the downtown area, so you’ll be heading there one way or another.

From fine foods to one-of-a-kind boutiques, Downtown Palm Springs is your one-stop-shop for everything you need.

7. Downtown Palm Springs Walk of Fame

Similar to the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame, Palm Springs also has a star-studded walkway. With over 400 names of well-known celebrities and notable personalities etched in stars on the ground, this Palm Springs tourist attraction aims to honor presidents, authors, screenwriters, humanitarians, and other people who have lived or worked in the Palm Springs area for a significant time.

8. Palm Springs Art Museum 

The Palm Springs Art Museum is the largest and most popular cultural institution in the Greater Palm Springs area. This awesome Palm Springs museum showcases a collection of over 12,000 objects in the realm of modern and contemporary art, architecture, and design with roots in local history, culture, and place. There are a few other branches of this Palm Springs museum you should check out if you have the time, the Architecture and Design Center and Frey House II being two major ones.

The Palm Springs Art Museum is committed to harnessing the rich legacy, diverse creative opportunities, and philanthropic support of the museum.

9. El Paseo Shopping District in the Palm Desert

Known as the Rodeo Drive of the desert, El Paseo is an amazing place to indulge in a little retail therapy in the heart of Palm Desert. Featuring over 300 world-class shops, boutiques, galleries, jewelers, restaurants, and more awesome things to see in Palm Springs, this high-end street is every shopping lover’s paradise.

10. Palm Springs Windmills

Just outside the city of Palm Springs, the San Gorgonio Pass is one of the windiest places in the country, which is why it makes total sense for it to be filled with windmills. Located on both sides of Interstate 10, the constantly spinning windmills are one of the most unique things to see in Palm Springs—some even have photoshoots at this iconic spot. 

If you’re merely watching the windmills, then pull off Interstate 10 at the Indian Canyon exit. If you’re getting up close, book a tour with Palm Springs Windmill Tours and you’ll get an unforgettable behind-the-scenes experience of the Palm Springs attraction.

It goes without saying that Palm Springs is a modernism mecca for mid-century architecture and design.

11. The Famous Mid-Century Modern Neighborhoods 

Last but certainly not least, we couldn’t conclude a Palm Springs attractions list with no mention of its incredible mid-century modern homes. Make note of the coolest, most expensive, and most unique neighborhoods in the city and cruise around to admire them up close. You’ll come across incredible mansions, celebrity homes, and more interesting architectural Palm Springs attractions. Be mindful of the fact that these are residential streets; some people might not want their doorways being photographed outside of Modernism Week.

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