What to Do in Greater Palm Springs

Five things to experience including a stay at The Monkey Tree Hotel, a visit to Joshua Tree National Park and a mid-century modern architecture tour.
 

Joshua Tree National Park, photo by Steve Collins

Greater Palm Springs is comprised of nine cities, stretching from Desert Hot Springs to La Quinta, each with its own unique persona. Find private golf clubs in Indian Wells and family-friendly attractions that include The Living Desert in Palm Desert. The California desert region flanks these cities and offers outdoor adventure, with Joshua Tree National Park to the northeast and the Salton Sea to the southeast.

Here are five more things to do in Greater Palm Springs. 

Stay at a boutique hotel

Many boutique hotels in Palm Springs were designed by trail-blazing architects such as legendary modernist Albert Frey who created The Monkey Tree Hotel in 1960. Its guests have included Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, Katharine Hepburn, JFK and Marilyn Monroe. This 16-room hotel charms with personalized touches such as breakfast in the dining room prepared by the proprietors.

Explore the desert

Hike, bike and camp at Joshua Tree National Park, where the Mojave and Colorado deserts meet. The rugged park’s namesake, a tree-like yucca plant, grows in abundance on the park’s arid hills and in its valleys. There’s also plenty of opportunity for desert exploration right in the city of Palm Springs. At Indian Canyons, just minutes from downtown, you’ll find a series of canyons, among them, Andreas, Murray and Palm. Hike into Palm Canyon to view indigenous flora and fauna, including the Washingtonia filifera, commonly known as the California fan palm.

See mid-century modern architecture

Palm Springs City Hall, photo by Steve Collins

Mid-century modern architecture reigns here—think glass walls, angled “butterfly” roofs and indoor-outdoor living. Find these mid-century modern stylings in the Tamarisk Rancho neighbourhood in Rancho Mirage and at Sunnylands Center & Gardens, an estate designed by architect A. Quincy Jones. Tour this former home of a U.S. ambassador that has hosted presidents, royalty and celebrities. On The Modern Tour Palm Springs, get a crash course in mid-century modern architecture on this two-and-a-half-hour, citywide tour. View celebrity homes, including Frank Sinatra’s Twin Palm Estate and Palm Springs City Hall, which was designed by Albert Frey.

Visit quirky attractions 

The Coachella Valley desert region attracts the unconventional. Visit the Moorten Botanical Garden in Palm Springs to view the self-proclaimed world’s first “cactarium.” Southeast of Coachella, find Salvation Mountain, a man-made butte covered in bright art and religious symbols, and the International Banana Museum, the world’s largest museum dedicated to a single fruit.

Go shopping

Located in Palm Desert, El Paseo Shopping District is known as the Rodeo Drive of Palm Springs, and for good reason. There are more than 300 high-end boutiques, art galleries and restaurants along this immaculate 1.5 kilometre promenade. For your own piece of mid-century modern design, head to Palm Springs’ Uptown Design District. Its many one-of-a-kind boutiques and galleries carry hard-to-find vintage home decor items. 

Read more: Where to Shop in Palm Springs’ Uptown Design District 


View our photo gallery on glamorous Palm Springs fashion: 

Getting there: WestJet flies to Palm Springs 46 times a week from Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Toronto.

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