Weekend Adventures: Things to do in Palm Springs
After our two weeks in Paris, we were home for a few days and then headed to Palm Springs where Mr. Misadventures attended a workshop. We hadn't been to the area since we spent 2 weeks there in the RV over Christmas and New Year's so we were looking forward to spending some time in the Palm Desert. We packed a lot into the free weekend before Mr. Misadventures' workshop and my regular workdays began and I wanted to share some things to do in Palm Springs.
Take Pictures of the Palm Springs Signs
Looking for a photo to encapsulate your weekend? Want a good Instagram shot? There are 3 Palm Springs signs that you can hit.
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First and foremost is the Palm Springs sign right near the Palm Springs Visitors Center (2901 N Palm Canyon Dr).
It was super windy when we were there and just after we showed up we were joined by a couple trying to do their wedding photos there, but the poor bride's veil (and dress) was getting whipped all over! After you take your shots, stop by the visitor center. The building's retro style is very fun. The Visitor Center also is right on the corner of Tram Road where you turn for the entrance to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.
Next is the Palm Springs sign by Gateway Park at the corner of Vista Chino and Gene Autry Trail. We turned into the housing area on E Chia Road and scoped out some of the houses there. We parked on E Avenida Fey Norte (it's a court) but could have also done the same on E Paseo Barbara (another court) and walked to the sign. Just checking out the houses on the way to the sign is part of the fun of taking this shot.
There is another “less official” Palm Springs sign on West Mesquite Avenue where it meets S. Palm Canyon Drive.
A little cruder, but fun all the same, and I definitely felt “good vibes” over my weekend!
Palm Springs home tours
My absolute favorite thing to do in Palm Springs is gawking at houses! I love the mid-century modern minimalist homes in this area and there is nothing better than checking out the adorable neighborhoods including Las Palmas Estates, Desert Park, Indian Wells, and many, many more! We are hoping to get tickets to Modernism Week in February when many of these houses are open for tours. (There is a Fall Sneak Peek in October we will try to get tickets for as well!).
Of course, everyone takes photos of #ThatPinkDoor at 1100 Sierra Way…
But there are SO many gorgeous homes it is a great way to spend a few hours! Trust me, you don't have to be an architecture geek to enjoy yourself.
It's also a good place to get out of your car and walk, you can see the homes closer and get some steps in. On the weekend, you might even get to peek into an Open House going on!
Pam Springs Hotel Pools
Like any other resort town, there are lots of great resorts. But in judging a hotel in Palm Springs, the end all be all of a great accommodation is its pool. The hotel pool scene is competitive here and the competition for your spot on the lounge chair is fierce. Good news. Some of these spots are open to the public without a room reservation!
The pool was in full-on party mode (hence the borrowed photo above, I think you have to be there at 6 in the morning when everyone has a hangover to get a shot of it empty!), so we walked around it checking out the rest of the grounds.
One such spot (at least Monday through Friday) is the colorful Saguaro Hotel. We went for a drink and checked out the grounds. It's wild with pops and flashes of pigmentation everywhere and the pool was jam-packed. It's an old Holiday Inn that got quite the makeover and it is seriously hard to be anything but cheerful when visiting this Candyland.
I wanted to sit in one of those hammocks and read a book, but alas we other stops on our agenda.
Other iconic pools in Palm Springs:
- Ace Hotel – live DJ, cool cocktails.
- Parker Meridien with its awesome lemonade stand (otherwise known as a bar, but they are known for darn good martinis.
- ARRIVE Palm Springs – fun pool toys! (Open to the public)
- Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs – the only rooftop pool in town. Not free, but you can buy a day pass.
Palm Springs Art Museum
If you are visiting when it is on the hot side (although the high 80's and low 90's we experienced were 20 degrees color than what we were getting in Phoenix at the time) then cooling off for a bit by visiting the Palm Springs Art Museum will be right up your alley. We actually started at the annex which is known as the Architecture and Design Center. It's downtown housed in a former bank, a 1961 savings-and-loan building designed by desert architect E. Stewart Williams. We took in an exhibition and shopped the museum store that is the bank's old vault!
From the center, we walked through downtown towards the main art museum. We checked out the Andy Warhol exhibit and the sculpture garden and felt refreshed with our respite from the sun.
Other Museums in Palm Springs:
- Palm Springs Air Museum – the space geek in me loves this spot (we visited on a previous trip).
- Art Pop Gallery promotes local artists, pop-up style.
Art Installations & Murals
There are a few spots in town where you can see art installations either as part of commercial space, like this Orange Twist by Delos Van Earl which is located at 1492 N. Palm Canyon Drive, a small mid-century building designed by William Krisel. Or in shopping areas like the #pspinkwall at The Shops at Thirteen Forty-Five, 1345 N. Palm Canyon Drive.
A few of the hotels (Parker Meridien, Ace, ARRIVE) and the Art Pop Gallery have murals. There is a fun one next to the Palm Greens Café, 611 S. Palm Canyon Drive. If you are willing to drive a little to Coachella there are quite a few murals (1604 6th Street and Shady Lane Mural across from Dateland Park).
Palm Springs Life has a great list of murals in the area and where you can find them.
Other Spots to Visit in Palm Springs
We didn't get to these 2 spots, but they are totally on my radar for our next trip to Palm Springs!
Moorten Botanical Garden
I keep hearing about their amazing “world's first” Cactarium with over 3,000 species of cacti. Apparently, the golden light inside is said to be absolute perfection. I'm intrigued!
This is the former home of some famous mucky-mucks. Tours have to be booked in advance and you can't take photos outside, but there is supposed to be a plethora of pink walls (dating back to the 1960s) that make awesome photos. The grounds are supposed to be quite nice as well.
A Word on Food & Drink
Palm Springs has a fabulous restaurant and bar scene, however, for this trip, we were staying in an Airbnb and did our own meals. After all, we had just come back from a decadent 2 weeks in Paris! The only time we stopped anywhere was for a caffeine stop at Koffi Coffee near the Ace Hotel.
How about you? Have you been to Palm Springs? Do you have other suggestions of things to do?
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WE have Palm Springs on our list of possible places to visit next year. This is so helpful!
Looks like Palm Springs has a lot of things to do. I really want to go on a vacation soon, this looks like the place to be!
Only been to Palm Springs once, and that was to take my in-laws golfing there. I guess I missed out on not visiting more while we were there!
Oh wow the houses look gorgeous. I’ve never been to California. I would love to visit Palm Springs.
Palm Springs looks so inviting! Everywhere you look is colorful! Just by looking at your photos, I already felt that happy vibe! I have to add this to our bucket list.
Really interesting! Those homes look so new, very similar to those we have in tropical Australia today, and yet they’re old. My Palm Springs story, we had a free hotel stay there years ago on a W coast road trip. This was long before I was a travel blogger, my husband worked for Marriott. We accidentally drove straight through Palm Springs and didn’t realise for hours. By which time we couldn’t face going back. So we’ve never been!
I love house gawking at the best of times. Modernism Week sounds like so much fun, to be able to get in and see the interiors of those amazing homes. That pink door looks like a bar of delicious strawberry chocolate!
Palm Springs really looks like a great place to just spend some time and chill. Point me to the nearest pool with a pink flamingo, please!
Palm Springs is one of those places I have heard about all of my life, but have never visited. I love the mid-century “modern” houses! Just strolling and taking photos of those could easily keep me busy for a full morning or afternoon. The art museum would definitely be on must-visit list.
I would like to visit the Sunnyland pink walls for pictures. I have wanted to visit Palm Springs for a good long while-
I would like to go to Sunnyland for pink wall pictures. Palm Springs has been on our list for awhile.
I’d like to take pictures in the Sunnyland pink wall room to take pictures. Palm Springs is a place that’s been on our list for awhile.
Fun to see all these different hotels and spots. I’ve been many times but not to many of these. Great idea about saving money and time by cooking at your Airbnb too.
Great pics. The “less official” Palm Springs sign looks fantastic. I too like modern minimalist homes, they have a different charm.
And I am in love with that hotel pool. Hope to get to Palm Springs some day!
The hotel pools are definitely attractive to me! Good thing that even if someone isn’t checked in, they can still have an access to enjoy it! How fun and colorful! The hammocks are indeed super cute! Would love to spend a day there and take photos for ig , of course , lol sadly for you, you had other itS to on the list! Well, maybe next time! I’m sure you did have great time here in Palm Springs!
Palm Springs looks very beautiful. I would surely like to visit it sometime. I am always for the minimalist anf functional houses and apartments . It also looks like a photographers paradise. Btw, off topic, what model is that Sony camera? 🙂 🙂
The pool and hammock scenes look absolutely heavenly! I think it’s nice that you stayed in an Air B&B though – I’m sure you felt a lot more like a local that way, especially if you did your own cooking!
Oh I love the idea of pool hopping around all the hotels. Some of those pools look like a lot of find like you I love the unique housing in Palm Springs. Such a beautiful retro feel to the area
Loved this post. Love Palm Springs so much – I need to go back.