Top 10 Things To Do in Palm Springs
1. Take the Tram. A "must see" while visiting Palm Springs, you'll be taken on a genuine Swiss tram car to the top of Mount San Jacinto – 8,516 feet above the valley. There you are transported to the threshold of the 13,000 acre Mt. San Jacinto Wilderness State Park, with 54 miles of biking trails, cross country skiing, and magnificent views of Coachella Valley below.
Also at the top is an alpine restaurant, cocktail lounge, and a 22 minute film documenting the history of the tramway. Take Palm Canyon Drive north to Tramway Road near I-10(760-325-1391).
2. Visit Villagefest. Every Thursday evening from 6-10 PM glamorous downtown Palm Springs is transformed into a vibrant old fashion street fair, complete with musicians, local arts and crafts, food, and a farmer's market. Villagefest is located between Baristo and Amado Roads on Palm Canyon Drive( 320-3781).
3. See The City. Learn of the rich history of the area, view the city's distinctive architecture and see how the rich and famous live, including 30-40 homes of famous Hollywood stars. Both Celebrity Tours(770-2700) and Grayline Tours (329-9609) provide an
entertaining and informative tour of the city and the valley.
Palm Springs also has miles of well marked and maintained biking trails. The Coachella Valley Cycling Association sponsors group rides on weekends and some weekdays (360-0761), or you can rent a bike at Canyon Bikes(327-7688-free delivery) or take a tour with Bighorn Bikes(325- 3367).
For the more adventurous there is also horseback riding(327-1372), and
ballooning, a spectacular way to see the valley (Desert Balloon 346-8575 , Sunrise Balloons
4. See The Natural Splendor. Some of Southern California's most breathtaking scenery can be found in the Palm Springs area. Joshua Tree National Park offers 870 square miles of splendid wonder, including hiking, rock climbing, picnicking and more (367-7511). The Indian Canyons are 3 magnificent canyons 5 miles south of the town center on South Palm Canyon Road with amazing plant life and lush vegetation among rock formations and waterfalls(325-5673).
The Living Desert is an incredible 1,200 acre reserve combining the delights of a zoo, botanical garden, and scenic wilderness in one facility (Palm Desert- 346-5694). And the
Moorten Botanical Gardens feature over 3000 varieties of cacti and desert plants from all over the world (327-6555).
5. See The Arts. Palm Springs has always been associated with the Creative Arts. Here are a few of the area's top venues. The world famous Palm Springs Desert Museum offers an excellent permanent collection of Western and Native American art, as well as fine traveling collections (325-7186). The McCallum
Theater (1,125 seats) features top rated entertainment in all areas of the performing arts (346-6505). Don't miss the Palm Springs Follies -- A long running smash hit featuring music and magic from the 30's, 40's, and 50's. "Vital, vibrant, even sexy," says The New York Times(864-6514). The Annenberg Theater is a wonderfully intimate (450 seats) theater
presenting top rated theater, dance, and musical entertainment (325-7186). And among the top art galleries in the area are: B. Lewin Galleries (325-7611), Coda Galleries (800-700-4661), Heusso Gallery (322-8957), and The Art Place (836-0742).
6. Enjoy World Class Golf And Tennis. Whether you golf for fun or serious sport, Palm Springs has a course for you. The area boasts over 90 different golf courses, many designed by international legends such as Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer. Some of the best courses open to the public include: Mesquite Country Club (323-1502), Tahquitz Creek Golf Resort (328-1005), Westin Mission Hills (Rancho Mirage 328-3198), Palm Desert Country Club(345-2655), and The Woodhaven Country Club (345-7636).
Excellent tennis is also available at many of the golf and tennis resorts located throughout the valley, and free court time can be found at Demuth Park (4 courts), Palm Springs High School (6 courts open on weekends and the summer) and Ruth Hardy Park (8 courts) in Palm Springs.
7. Enjoy the Outdoors. Palm Springs has 354 days of sunshine every year. Bring along plenty of
sunscreen (15 or higher) and enjoy the breathtaking scenery from your nearest pool or jacuzzi. During the warm summer months one of the most popular attractions is the Oasis Water Park, featuring 13 water slides, a huge wave pool, and the Whitewater River Ride (Open March to October, 327-0499).
The Palm Springs area also offers many excellent spa facilities, including several that feature natural hot mineral waters from springs beneath the desert floor. Among the best are: Hot Springs Spa (Desert Hot Springs 251-7000), Spa Hotel and Casino (325-1461), Givenchy Hotel and Spa (770-5000), and the Spa at the Ritz-Carlton (Rancho Mirage 321-8282).
8. Shop Till You Drop. Shopping in the Palm Springs area offers something for everyone. From the exclusive specialty stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue at The Desert Fashion Mall on Palm Canyon Drive in downtown Palm Springs
0-8282) to El Paseo in Palm Desert, often referred to as "The Rodeo Drive of the Desert" (341-4888). For bargain hunters there is the Desert Hills Factory Stores, featuring over 100 outlet stores (Take I-10 west, Exit Apache Trails 909-849-6641). And finally bargins abound at the consignment shops, where you can buy everything from art to furniture to jewelry, often uncovering real treasures at a fraction of their original cost. One of the best is The Estate Sale, 4148 E. Palm Canyon Drive (321-7628), open Thursday thru Sunday).
9. Casino And Gaming. Because literally half of Palm Springs is still owned by Indian tribes, gambling is legal in the area. Most of these casinos offer slots, cards, and high stakes bingo. Even is you are not a big gambler, their frequent dinner specials and big name
entertainment can be a real value. Fantasy Springs Casino (800-827-2WIN), Spa Hotel and Casino (800-258-2WIN), and Spotlight 29 Casino (775-5566) are among the most popular.
10. Explore Southern California. Palm Spring's excellent location, right off I-10, offers a great opportunity to explore other parts of Southern California and still return back to the safety and charm of a small town in the evening. Los Angeles is just 100 miles west on I-10, Disneyland about 95 miles, San Diego 110 miles, and Las Vegas and Scottsdale/Phoenix only 275 miles away.
Other day trips from Palm Springs include Pioneertown, an old west town built in the 40's by Roy Rogers and Gene Autry to film their movies (I-10 to Highway 62, about 40 minutes). Idyllwild, a mountain community nestled in a pine forest with unique shops, galleries, and
hiking (I-10 to Banning, then south on Highway 243 - about 90 minutes), and Lake Arrowhead Village, another alpine mountain resort in the San Bernardino mountains via Highway #18 (909-336-3274).