Photo by Justin Scocchio on Unsplash
Photo by Justin Scocchio on Unsplash

Experience the 10 Best-Kept Secrets in Greater Palm Springs

You Won’t Miss the Pool

Don’t get us wrong, we love our poolside cocktails, but when it comes to things to do in the desert, there are plenty of unexplored hidden gems. From retro furniture shopping and aerial tram rides to botanical gardens and local art, Greater Palm Springs is so much more than its abundance of luxury resorts. Here are 10 things to do in the desert that don’t involve a pool and a drink. Palm Springs Activities


1 | Experience the Land Down Under

In late 2020, The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert debuted an all-new Australian Adventures exhibit. In this immersive habitat, you’ll find wallabies roaming freely, budgies flying above and emu playing throughout! And besides The Living Desert Zoo’s abundance of wildlife, there are three nature preserve hiking trails that guests can explore. These include The Discovery Loop (less than a mile), The Adventure Loop (one mile) and The Wilderness Loop (five miles).

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

Book a nearby hotel

Location: Palm Desert

EXP 1/9


2 | Get a Taste of Old Town Charm Palm Springs Activities

Take a stroll through the streets of Old Town La Quinta, a charming village nestled at the foot of the Santa Rosa Mountains. In this quaint town, you’ll discover a variety of cafes, boutiques, salons and shops in a historic setting.

Old Town La Quinta
Location: La Quinta


3 | Take a Ride Up for Incredible #Views

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is the world’s largest rotating tram car! This 10-minute ride takes you up to Mt. San Jacinto State Park. Take in gorgeous views of the valley, then explore mountaintop restaurants, observation decks and more!

Local Insight: Advance online ticket purchase required.

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
Location: Palm Springs


4 | Go Retro Furniture Shopping

Get your thrift on at Revivals! This local shop is home to new and upcycled furniture and a variety of home accessories and vintage clothes that can brighten up any space or wardrobe. Plus, when you shop at Revivals, 100% of your purchase goes directly to supporting the DAP Health—a non-profit organization committed to ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030.


Locations: Palm Springs | Palm Desert | Cathedral City


5 | Tee Off Like the Pros Palm Springs Activities

Whether you’re a golf pro or novice, SilverRock Resort is the ideal destination for a day on the green. The course features a seamless blend of fairways, challenging bunkers and gorgeous water features. Palm Desert’s Classic Club is another great spot for a round; this Arnold Palmer-designed course boasts an on-site clubhouse, shop and restaurant.

SilverRock Resort
Location: La Quinta

Classic Club
Location: Palm Desert


6 | Get a Dose of Local Artistry

Consider yourself an art enthusiast? The Palm Springs Art Museum is home to an evolving collection of over 12,000 objects rooted in contemporary art, architecture and design.

Palm Springs Art Museum
Location: Palm Springs


7 | Stroll Through This Garden; You’ll Dig It

Moorten Botanical Garden is set on an acre of family-owned land that features a trail lined with over 3,000 native plants. Be sure to pop inside the Cactarium—a makeshift greenhouse of rare cacti and succulents.

Moorten Botanical Garden
Location: Palm Springs

8 | Take a Joy Ride Palm Springs Activities

Calling all adrenaline junkies! The BMW Performance Center features a fleet of brand new BMWs that you can take for a spin. An open track and you in the driver’s seat—it doesn’t get better than that.

BMW Performance Center
Location: Thermal


9 | Camp Under the Stars

In Joshua Tree National Park, you can explore the natural beauty of Greater Palm Springs. Set up camp among the rugged rock formations and bristled Joshua trees and sleep under the stars.

Joshua Tree National Park
Location: Joshua Tree


10 | Make a Pit Stop Palm Springs Activities

Located just off of Route 66 sits the quirky Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch—a “recycled” forest of tree-shaped sculptures made from glass bottles and vintage treasures. Elmer, the man behind the creation of Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch, passed away, but his art lives on! This spot is also a great pit stop if you’re on a budget because admission is free.

Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch
Location: Oro Grande

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