Best Palm Springs Activities
Credit: Shop on El Paseo
Best Palm Springs Activities
Credit: Shop on El Paseo

8 Things to Experience in the Desert When You’re Not Inside the Music Festival

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

Your daily ensemble is all picked out, the AirBnB is booked and you are patiently waiting for festival weekend! But, what you may not have thought of is how to spend your mornings in the desert—especially if your Airbnb doesn’t have a pool. Bad Bunny and Frank Ocean won’t be taking the Coachella stage–nor Luke Bryan at Stagecoach–until long after the sun goes down. That means you have the whole morning to experience all there is to do in the desert. Make the most of your festival weekend with these eight Greater Palm Springs activities!

Shop on El Paseo

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 on El Paseo. This mile-long street is lined with OG designers like Ralph Lauren and luxury local brands that showcase the destination’s desert flair. Eye-catching printed pieces at Grayse dazzle with sequin embellishments while Summer Colony Living boasts designers from across the globe. Beat the heat (and save your shoes) by catching a lift on one of El Paseo’s courtesy carts, which are available now through May. 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 the desert. 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. 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 high 70s 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 courses in Palm Desert. 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.


Take a Ride on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
Credit: Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

See the desert 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 than the desert floor. 


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 Phillip K. Smith III’s Instagramable neon light exhibits, Light and Change. Inspired by the sunrise and sunsets of the desert, works in the gallery shift hues for an elusive effect.



Hike in Joshua Tree National Park

Victor Yuyang Luo
Credit: Victor Yuyang Luo | Unsplash

A whopping 800,000 acres of desert landscape and hiking trails are waiting to be explored at Joshua Tree National Park. The Skull Rock Loop is a 1.7-mile hiking trail for all abilities. During festival season, it’s lined with bright desert florals that juxtapose the regular desert landscape. Spot the signature skull rock amongst the piled rock formations that gives this trail its name. For more challenging terrain and the best rock scrambling, hike 49 Palms Oasis. This three-mile hike heads uphill for picturesque views of Twentynine Palms.



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 the desert’s most beautiful neighborhoods. O’Donnell and his select team of guides talk guests through the desert’s legendary history and events that led to the city’s current look and feel. From now until May 31, gasp at the desert’s most iconic homes and learn about the celebrities who put them on the map! Small group van tours depart from the Visitor Center at 9:30 a.m.


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. Spa Desert Springs at JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa offers just the detox needed to bring you back to life! Ancient healing methods replenish the body, and the calming minimalist spa design presents an oasis of tranquility. Relax and rejuvenate with a 60-minute all-Organic Microgreens Facial to feel good inside and out. Then, sweat it out in the sauna, refresh in the desert rain shower and relax poolside for the ultimate recovery day.

+ posts
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!


12 Waterfront Restaurants in Orange County With Unforgettable Views
Bare It All: Here Are 8 of the Best Nude Resorts in California
Poolside or Ocean Views? 8 Sunny Spots to Sip Cocktails This Summer



Related Content

Skip to content