Before I ever visited Palm Springs, California I had envisioned it to be stuck in the 1960’s. I had thoughts of old cars with “fins” riding up and down the palm tree-lined streets. I assumed that every home was painted pink or neon green (or both). And, that the sounds of Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin were heard on stereos everywhere you turned.
You know what? I wasn’t that far off with my “visions”. You see Palm Springs is a quirky city. Parts of it are hipster 2022 while much of it seems stuck in the decade of Marilyn Monroe. In fact, the streets are often named after presidents who lived or vacationed in the area or mega-watt celebrities of past eras. And… I love it!
If you decide to visit Palm Springs (or are returning) – here are some tips on how to maximize the fun factor.
Book ahead. You can save a heap of $$ if you book ahead using one of the many discount websites. You know that I love TripAdvisor for just this reason.
We stayed at the Shadow Ridge Resort in the Palm Desert/ Rancho Mirage area, a Marriott property. This is a timeshare resort that offers apartments, when available. You can always trust that a Marriott will be top-notch with quality amenities – like golf, pool, spa, and more. For more information go here.
(Plus, many more suggestions below)
This place is actually 45 minutes or so outside of Palm Springs. Known for being an old movie set converted to part artist colony and part honky tonk village – Pioneertown is sure to please most people. Please note that there is a lot of sand in Pioneertown. This will make mobility carts/ wheelchairs tough to get around. But, you can access the fun and delicious Pappy and Harriet’s restaurant without any problem. This place is reason alone to go to the high desert. Plus, you are very close to Joshua Tree – so consider that a bonus to your visit!
Scenes from Pioneertown
#2 The PALM SPRINGS TRAMWAY!
I absolutely love this tramway! The people are exceptionally nice and knowledgable. (A Shout-Out to a staff member – Gil!) The ten-minute tramway ride takes you to over 8 thousand feet above sea level. There are two restaurants at the top building. Plus, you can see miles and miles from the balconies and the building. The gift shop is really chocked full of fun and interesting items for all ages. And, the tramway is accessible for people who need mobility equipment. On the way down to the base building, our tramway conductor put on music, and collectively the riders sang to Neil Diamond’s, Sweet Caroline!
Call ahead for your tickets here.
Ride the tramway in this video!
#3 THE LIVING DESERT
The Living Desert combines a wonderful eco-friendly zoo with lovely botanical gardens. It is small enough to visit in just a few hours or discover in small bites. We went with friends when it opened because the Palm Springs afternoons can be brutally hot. Easy access and multi-lingual information is available. Great for couples, families, or solo travelers! Visit their website here.
Runner-Ups for my “Best of Palm Springs” list:
The Cabazon Dinosaurs. A fun park intended for families with young children. Great for Instagrammers!
The Palms to Pines Scenic Ride (and a visit to Lake Hemet)
Agua Caliente Casino – Actually there are three! Photo credit: Agua Caliente
Whitewater Preserve– This is a great place to rest, relax, and have a picnic!
Wait there is more!
Click on the links below to discover more about Palm Springs
Great Restaurants on Palm Canyon Drive
Traveling with disabilities to Palm Springs
Palm Springs Road Names (yes, many are in memory of celebrities!)
For more about Palm Springs and area hotels, restaurants, and more go to VisitPalmSprings.com