10 Things to Do in Palm Desert That You Shouldn't Miss

February 27, 2018 Enriqueta Cusson

Relax and sight-see in this southern Californian oasis. Located in the center of the Coachella Valley, Palm Desert is a vibrant city featuring top notch resorts, world class golfing, shopping, and entertainment that appeals to many types of consumers. Hike, bike or ride horseback through the desert trails. Or, soak in some culture with seasonal festivals, stylish art galleries, and a thriving music and nightlife scene.
Restaurants in Palm Desert

1. Living Desert Zoo & Gardens

47900 Portola Ave, Palm Desert, Greater Palm Springs, CA 92260-6156 +1 760-346-5694
Excellent
65%
Good
26%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 2 reviews

Living Desert Zoo & Gardens

The botanical gardens of this park offer great opportunities to see desert vegetation.

Reviewed By SUZSVE

Living Desert Gardens was a worthwhile trip in Palm Desert for adults and kids alike. It's a good walking experience or sign up for the $6 all day shuttle if you don't have much time or need help with mobility. The cost is reasonable per person and Costco had a coupon for a cheaper rate when we attended. Also, there's a senior and military rate. Children under two and younger are free. There are many animals to see along with feedings and different demonstrations. Start your day early there, as it gets busy quickly and you need the time if you hope to see it all. When we attended, there was a most impressive model train exhibit which was one of the best I've ever seen.

2. Sunnylands

37977 Bob Hope Dr, Rancho Mirage, Greater Palm Springs, CA 92270-2008 +1 760-202-2222
Excellent
78%
Good
17%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 577 reviews

Sunnylands

Sunnylands, a 200-acre midcentury modern estate, opened March 2012 for high-level retreats of leaders seeking solutions. The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization devoted to building international understanding, advancing world peace, improving the functioning of government and other purposes through high-level retreats for global leaders from a spectrum of fields.The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands welcomes national and international leaders for high-level retreats and meetings that address and seek solutions to serious issues facing the nation and world. Sunnylands, the former winter residence of Ambassadors Walter and Leonore Annenberg, is available also for limited public tours with purchase of a ticket. The adjacent Sunnylands Center & Gardens, open free to the public, features exhibitions, films, and educational programs; and visitors can enjoy a nine-acre garden. The historic house and Sunnylands Center & Gardens opened March 1, 2012. Sunnylands Center & Gardens is closed June 5 through September 13, 2017. Reopens September 14, 2017.

Reviewed By TTSGarden - Cerrillos, New Mexico

My husband and I were vacationing here for just one weekend. There were no tickets available for the home tour but we decided to show up to do the garden tour. It is well worth it. Our tour guide Grace was fabulous and informative.

3. Indian Wells Tennis Garden

78200 Miles Ave, Indian Wells, Greater Palm Springs, CA 92210-6803 +1 760-200-8400
Excellent
83%
Good
14%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 417 reviews

Indian Wells Tennis Garden

Reviewed By Katy R

My husband and I had a trip scheduled to this tournament for some time and it did not disappoint.

Starting from the beginning, purchasing tickets was simple. The tickets weren’t the cheapest, and to do a full day you must purchase both day and night tickets, but the seats I selected were worth the money (4 rows up from the VIP...which meant on the day I visited, I shared air with both Will Ferrell and Pete Sampras!). I also bought parking ahead of time for $25, we didn’t need to do this as our hotel offered a shuttle and you can turn up on the day and pay $25 cash (we know for next time now!)

The stadium and venue is new and it shows. The facilities are well kept and the restrooms were some of the best public restrooms I have used (as a woman this is a vital thing). There were plenty of food & beverage stands to cater for all tastes and picnic bench seating, which seemed to be available when we needed it. The stadium seats were pretty comfortable and gave you plenty of leg room so that you didn’t feel like you were going to knee the person in front of you in the back of the head. However, the stadium had a close, almost intimate feel, where you are close to the tennis. I have been to Flushing Meadows, and it is definitely not the case there. An important thing was that the venue never felt crowded. I have been to Wimbledon a handful of times, and every time I go it seems they are trying to squeeze as many people into the grounds as possible, which isn’t pleasant.
Another pro of Indian Wells over Wimbledon is that restaurants are available to non-VIPs. My husband and I enjoyed a fantastic meal at Wolfgang Puck’s pop up restaurant, Spago. We had a short wait, but it was worth it.

We were totally sold on both the event and venue. We will definitely be back!

4. Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Desert

72567 Highway 111, Palm Desert, Greater Palm Springs, CA 92260-3306 +1 760-346-5600
Excellent
62%
Good
29%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 212 reviews

Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Desert

Reviewed By MurrayTripp - Sheffield, United Kingdom

A lovely small gallery currently housing the interesting 'Lost and Found' exhibit. Great room of yellow felt to add to, our toddler loved adding some of his own pieces.

5. Indian Wells Golf Club

46000 Club Dr, Indian Wells, Greater Palm Springs, CA 92210-8870 +1 760-345-2561
Excellent
83%
Good
13%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 127 reviews

Indian Wells Golf Club

Reviewed By SimoneCanada - Canada

Manicured to perfect , one of the most scenic golf courses in Palm Springs. Apparently has been rated in the top 25 golf courses in California. PGA skins events have been held here

A beautiful facility , friendly efficient staff and a fairly challenging course. Good food in the Vue restaurant

6. Children's Discovery Museum

71701 Gerald Ford Dr, Rancho Mirage, Greater Palm Springs, CA 92270-1934 +1 760-321-0602
Excellent
72%
Good
23%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 145 reviews

Children's Discovery Museum

An interactive museum with hands-on exhibits allows children to explore and learn.

Reviewed By Martha A - Rancho Mirage, California

OMG!! This museum makes for a marvelous family outing. We visited (5 adults and one 5 year old) and would have stayed longer except we were getting hungry, and it was time for grandparents and child to head back to LA area. The museum is very interactive, has many levels of enjoyment and educational focus. Adults with youthful energy and balance can engage in many of the activities along with the children. There are thought provoking scientific exhibits. Children of all ages, as well as adults of all ages will be fascinated by the variety of the exhibits. I strongly recommend this wonderful venue in Rancho Mirage. It was so much fun, we nearly all forgot about engaging with our cell phones the entire time we were at the museum. At the time we left, I asked if adults were allowed to return without children. That's how much fun the adults had along with my 5-year old grand nephew.

7. El Paseo Shopping District

73472 El Paseo, Palm Desert, Greater Palm Springs, CA 92260-4268 +1 877-735-7273
Excellent
59%
Good
32%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 896 reviews

El Paseo Shopping District

A unique shopping district filled with over 200 delightful discoveries... Shops, restaurants, art and more! Don't miss all the special events like Art Walk (1st Friday, Nov-May), Cruise Night (1st & 3rd Fridays through April), Jazz Concerts (Jan-Apr), Fashion Week (Mid-March) and so much more! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and online.

Reviewed By HappyTravels5251 - Edmonton, Canada

This district has everything you could ask for shopping, good restaurants, entertainment, coffee shops etc. Starting in January each year there is a “Concert In the Desert” series on the grass area with local artists performing. We have been to three and all exceeded our...MoreThank you for taking the time to share your El Paseo experience! We love the Gardens Concert Series too... and agree, the Starbucks corner is the BEST for people watching! We hope to see you back again soon!

8. The Nest

75188 US Highway 111, Indian Wells, Greater Palm Springs, CA 92210-8333 +1 760-346-2314
Excellent
50%
Good
34%
Satisfactory
11%
Poor
3%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 185 reviews

The Nest

Reviewed By SanDiegoW_traveler - San Diego

Finally got around to eating at The Nest after many years spending time in the desert. The bar scene is "happening" and fun if you like that kind of thing, but this review is really about the dining.

I had heard good things about the food and was pretty disappointed. The menu has an Eastern European flair, but the food wasn't great. I had the mousakka which was pretty tasteless and uninteresting. My companions were similarly unimpressed.

Service was good, however. Overall, fine for dinner before the "show" if you don't have high expectations.

9. Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center

51500 Highway 74, Palm Desert, Greater Palm Springs, CA 92260-7335 +1 760-862-9984
Excellent
67%
Good
28%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 113 reviews

Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center

The Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains rise from the desert floor, reaching an elevation of 10,834 feet at the summit of Mount San Jacinto. Providing a picturesque backdrop to local communities, the National Monument contributes to the Coachella Valley's lure as a popular resort and retirement community. It is also a desirable backcountry destination that can be accessed via trails from both the valley floor and the alpine village of Idyllwild. The Monument was created on October 24, 2000 and is a cooperative effort of the Bureau of Land Management, the US Forest Service, and the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, state agencies and local governments. The Visitor Center has exhibits on desert wildlife and cultural history, provides information on the Monument hiking trails and vistas. The Friends of the Desert Mountains volunteers operate a gift shop and bookstore at the Visitor Center and also offer hikes, lectures, and host classroom programs and projects.

Reviewed By chitownsam - Chicago, Illinois

Helpful volunteers inside. Some trail books, water and other things for sale. When you first enter, lots of pamphlets, brochures, etc. available. Ample parking. Many of the adjacent plants/trees have name tags and some other info given. Shorter Randall Henderson trail is on the Center side while the much longer Art Smith trail which connects to other trails is on the other side of 74.

10. The City of Rancho Mirage Public Library

71100 Highway 111, Rancho Mirage, Greater Palm Springs, CA 92270-4123 +1 760-341-7323
Excellent
89%
Good
11%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 61 reviews

The City of Rancho Mirage Public Library

Reviewed By Glenn H - Thousand Oaks

This library has everything one would want or should expect. Great selection of videos, magazines as well as the expected offerings in a libraries' main attraction - books. Also, Rancho Mirage's library offers wonderful programs featuring speakers and musicians. This is definitely a unique oasis of information, enjoyment and enlightenedment in the desert.

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