Credit: The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

7 Things to Experience in Greater Palm Springs When You’re Not Inside the Music Festival

Make the Most of Coachella and Stagecoach With Active Hikes and Replenishing Massages

Your daily ensembles are all picked out, the Airbnb is booked and you are patiently waiting for an epic festival weekend! But, what you may not have thought of is how to spend your mornings before the music starts—especially if your Airbnb doesn’t have a pool. Lana del Rey and Doja Cat won’t be taking the Coachella stage—nor Morgan Wallen at Stagecoach—until long after the sun goes down. That means you’ll have the whole morning to experience all there is to do in Greater Palm Springs. Make the most of your festival weekend with these seven Greater Palm Springs activities!

 

Shop for Festival Attire

Chartwell Properties | Shops
Credit: Chartwell Properties | Shops on El Paseo

Festivals require looking like the main character at all times. Complete your look with a little shopping spree at one of Greater Palm Springs’ renowned shopping destinations. El Paseo in Palm Desert is a mile-long street lined with OG designers like Ralph Lauren and luxury local brands that showcase the destination’s fashionable flair. Eye-catching printed pieces at Grayse dazzle with sequin embellishments while Summer Colony Living boasts designers from across the globe. For unique vintage finds, head to the Uptown Design District of Palm Springs where you’ll find funky boutiques full of colorful apparel like The Frippery and Gypsyland, a fun, retro shop in Uptown Palm Springs. The Palm Springs Vintage Market, open from now through May on the first Sunday of every month, is also home to a collection of retro trends, while Palm Desert’s THRIFTOLOGY is the perfect place to snag a few festival-worthy accessories. So, get in—we’re going shopping! 

 

Visit The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

Best Palm Springs Activities
Credit: Visit Greater Palm Springs

Roadrunners and lizards are not the only animals found in Greater Palm Springs. The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens houses species of all kinds! Two of the zoo’s most iconic mammals are their black rhinos, Nia and Jaali. Get to know their personalities and learn how to protect rhino species with morning meet-and-greets. If you come into town early, visit the zoo at night to watch spectacular illuminated displays come to life at the Glow in the Park lantern festival (March 16-April 28, 2024). Hundreds of lanterns light up the night in celebration of wildlife around the world.

 

Play a Round of Golf

Clear skies and temps in the 80s not only makes for perfect festival weather, but it’s also ideal for golf. Tee up for a morning round at one of the many renowned golf courses in Greater Palm Springs. Classic Club originally opened for the PGA Tour in 2006 and features sweeping views of the Santa Ana Mountains. Nearby, Desert Willow Golf Resort offers two levels of play: the Firecliff Course’s natural hazards test golfers’ advanced skills, while the Mountain View Course was designed for relaxing rounds of play. Indian Wells Golf Resort, which is home to two 18-hole championship courses, is also a renowned destination for players of all skill levels. Practice your swing on the Celebrity Course, which features undulating fairways, winding streams and beautiful water features, or play a round on the Players Course, complete with challenging bunkers and sprawling green fairways.

 

Take a Ride on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
Credit: Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

See Greater Palm Springs in its entirety with 360-degree views from the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. As the world’s largest rotating tram car, this tramway transports riders over the rugged cliffs of Chino Canyon into the wilderness of San Jacinto State Park. The 10-minute journey takes guests up an elevation of 8,516 feet to Mountain Station. At the peak, take in breathtaking views of the valley, grab a bite at Peaks Restaurant, explore the natural history museum and find over 50 miles of hiking trails.

Local Insight: Dress in layers because Mountain Station is 30-40 degrees colder!

 

Explore Palm Springs Art Museum

Credit: Marco Carocari

Festivals are intended to celebrate art and culture, so embrace the theme of the weekend with a morning at the Palm Springs Art Museum. The building is art in itself with a simplistic design that highlights the surrounding landscape. Inside, the museum’s art collection showcases contemporary California artwork mixed with historical Native American pieces and American photography. Prelude to the night ahead with Los Angeles-based artist Alake Shilling’s Outburst Project, which draws inspiration from childhood memories of animated characters. Her whimsical pieces in this exhibition utilize an array of artistic and unconventional materials and are influenced by California Funk art, Pop art and other modern artistic movements.

Local insight: To see what else is on display at the Palm Springs Art Museum this season, click here!

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Take an Architecture Tour

Best Palm Springs Activities
Credit: Jake Holt Photography

Modernism Week is an annual celebration of midcentury architecture and design that takes place in February. And in case you weren’t able to make it this year, they’ve teamed up with Palm Springs architecture expert Trevor O’Donnell to create captivating tours through Greater Palm Springs’ most beautiful neighborhoods. O’Donnell and his select team of guides talk guests through Greater Palm Springs’ legendary history and events that led to the city’s current look and feel. Gasp at the region’s most iconic homes and learn about the celebrities who put them on the map!

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Detox at Spa Desert Springs

Best Palm Springs Activities
Credit: JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa

There’s no better way to recuperate after dancing the night away than with a spa day. The newly redesigned Spa Desert Springs at JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa offers just the detox needed to bring you back to life! The space now features relaxation lounges, a Finnish sauna, a Turkish steam room, an outdoor saltwater lap pool and a spa bistro. Cure those aches and pains from being on your feet all day with the Back on Your Feet massage, which features an exfoliating and nourishing foot treatment, followed by a scalp, neck and shoulder massage. Then, sweat it out in the sauna, refresh in one of the rain showers and relax poolside for the ultimate recovery day.

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Lover of the beach, food and fitness, Emily enjoys exploring all sunny Southern California has to offer! She has a passion for sharing about her favorite local gems and began writing for Locale in 2022. On the weekends, find her creating recipes for her food blog or out in Laguna!

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