Palm Springs Air Museum
745 N. Gene Autry Trail
You can’t help but stand in awe when you walk through the five climate-controlled hangars at Palm Springs Air Museum, home to more than 70 aircraft from World War II and the Korean, Vietnam, and Cold wars. The latest addition: the F-117 Nighthawk Stealth Bomber that flew during Operation Allied Force and Desert Storm (pictured, below left).
Memorabilia, an expansive library, and interactive displays, including flight simulators, round out the experience for all ages. Plus, there’s a children’s area with airplane and helicopter cockpits to explore.
Volunteer docents, many of whom have flown these planes, are available to answer any questions.
Some share stories from their own experiences during museum lecture events, which supplement signature annual programming such as the Props & Hops Craft Beer Festival and the Memorial Day Air Fair & Flower Drop.
Care to experience one of these planes firsthand? Warbird rides start at $125.
38520 S. Palm Canyon Drive
A short drive from downtown Palm Springs, past the bustle and through the vast open desert, a beautiful oasis rises from the San Jacinto foothills.
In a region that has been preserved by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, more than 60 miles of trails switchback through pristine scenery, from gorges and barren desertscape to waterfalls and the world’s largest grouping of Washingtonia filifera palm trees, also known as the California or desert fan palm.
The Indian Canyons comprise the Palm, Andreas, and Murray canyons. This sacred land was once inhabited by the ancestors of the Agua Caliente people, who were drawn to the shelter of its jagged cliffs, the shade of its lush palm groves, and the perennial water flows. Remnants of irrigation ditches, rock mortar grounds, and rock art remain in the area today.
You can pick up a trail map at the Palm Canyon Trading Post, as well as mementos and collectibles, such as artisan pottery, baskets, and jewelry.
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
1 Tram Way
The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway — with the world’s largest rotating tram cars — travels more than 2 ½ miles along the cliffs of Chino Canyon, transporting visitors to the pristine setting of the Mount San Jacinto State Park and Wilderness. You begin the 10-minute ride at the Valley Station — elevation 2,643 feet — and end at the Mountain Station—elevation 8,516 feet. During this journey, tram cars rotate slowly, offering spectacular vistas of the valley below and close-up views of the rugged Chino Canyon.
At the Mountain Station, breathtaking views and delectable food at two restaurants provide a perfect alpine escape with temperatures up to 40 degrees cooler than the desert floor.
Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy hiking more than 50 miles of picturesque trails, ranging from beginner to experienced. Overnight camping is available with advance reservation.
In the winter (snow conditions permitting), enjoy snowshoeing or cross-country skiing in a forest wonderland.
Sponsored Agua Caliente Cultural Plaza
100 N. Indian Canyon Palm Springs
Opening in 2023, the Agua Caliente Cultural Plaza in downtown Palm Springs will be a cultural heritage destination celebrating the history, culture, traditions, and modern life of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians.
This 5.8-acre complex features the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum with an education garden and The Spa at Séc-he, a state-of-the-art spa fed by the ancient Agua Caliente hot mineral spring. They are joined by the Gathering Plaza and Oasis Trail, activated with flowing water, Washingtonia filifera palm trees (the only palm tree native to the California desert), and stunning rock formations that capture the essence of the Indian Canyons and Tahquitz Canyon, the Agua Caliente people’s ancestral home.
The 48,000-square-foot museum will offer exhibits and programs covering topics ranging from Agua Caliente history and culture to contemporary land stewardship and conservation. Galleries will focus on the creation and migration stories, the Indian Canyons, Tahquitz Canyon, archaeology, and artistic expressions such as ollas and baskets. Many artifacts, including projectile points, were recovered from the site during construction in 2018 and will be on display. Incredibly, some items were radiocarbon-dated to be more than 8,000 years old.
For the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, no site is more significant than the hot mineral spring on its ancestral land, in what is now downtown Palm Springs. Its pure mineral water provided a place for ritual bathing, social activity, physical healing, and spiritual connection. They have called the spring Séc-he, the Cahuilla term for “the sound of boiling water,” since the beginning.
The Agua Caliente people have been sharing the healing water with visitors for more than 130 years, even before the turn of the 20th century, making it the valley’s first tourist attraction.
With so many areas to reflect, learn, and experience aspects of Cahuilla heritage, the Agua Caliente Cultural Plaza will be a peaceful area to ponder the place the Agua Caliente people call home.
500 W. Mesquite Ave.
Beautiful and serene Tahquitz Canyon has long been cared for by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. Today, this 2-mile canyon trail near downtown Palm Springs is a popular hiking spot, steering explorers from its opening at West Mesquite Road to a majestic desert waterfall a mile up the rocky trail. Discover native wildlife such as Peninsular bighorn sheep meandering through their natural habitat, then find respite at the 60-foot-tall Tahquitz Falls — an ancient place of power that rejuvenates.
Tahquitz Visitor Center
Located at the entrance to the canyon, the Tahquitz Canyon Visitor Center offers educational and cultural exhibits along with an observation deck and a theater room showing The Legend of Tahquitz, about the canyon's name.
Agua Caliente Casino Palm Springs
401 E. Amado Road
Open 24 hours, the downtown casino features slots, table games, and high-limit gaming along with a sports bar and a steakhouse. Evenings heat up on the dance floor at Cascade Lounge, known for Latin music nights every Sunday.
Palm Springs Surf Club
1500 S. Gene Autry Trail
Surf’s up in the desert. Wait, what? Professional surfers Kalani Robb and Cheyne Magnusson are among the team that purchased the defunct Wet ’n’ Wild water park to transform it into a 21-acre inland surfing resort. That’s right bruhs, you will be able to escape to the desert without dealing with barrel withdrawal. The soon-to-open club will also feature a lazy river, a restaurant and bar, and a spa to help bring the stoke.
201 N. Palm Canyon Drive
The pulse of every city feeds off the heartbeat of its downtown district, and Palm Springs is no exception.
Smack in the center, the walkable cross section from North Palm Canyon Drive to North Museum Drive and East Tahquitz Canyon Way to Museum Way showcases some of the city’s best shopping, dining, and entertainment alongside rich history and modern architecture. Outdoor art punctuates the space — including the brushed-steel “Isabelle” sculpture by Julian Voss-Andreae — while street performers in the outdoor gathering area near the Kimpton Rowan hotel and Starbucks often animate it with live music.
Culinary options abound, from delectable grab-and-go meals at Haus of Poké and On the Mark to homemade Italian at Il Corso to rooftop dining and drinks at the Kimpton Rowan’s 4 Saints and aptly named High Bar.
You’ll find a free public parking lot behind the Kimpton Rowan off East Tahquitz Canyon Way, just west of Belardo Road.
Smoke Tree Stables2500 S. Toledo Ave. Palm Springs 760-327-1372 smoketreestables.com
These family-owned stables have been in operation since 1927, offering guests the opportunity to experience a slice of the desert’s early dude ranch days. Giddyup for a guided ride through the gorgeous desert landscape through such scenic destinations as the Indian Canyons, with flowing streams and palm oases. Horseback rides are available by the hour or for the entire day. Adventures can be customized with a Western cookout or picnic lunches along with entertainment. Need a place to board your own galloper? Call for rates, which include daily feeding and cleaning of stalls.
Understanding the power of horses to help heal the soul, Smoke Tree Stables also facilitates equine therapy sessions. The programs are designed to build self-esteem and work through trauma.
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY PRO VR USA
Pro VR USA
905 Crossley Road
Escape the real world at this family-friendly virtual reality venue with more than 30 single- and multiplayer arcade-style VR experiences, as well as Ubisoft VR escape games based in the realms of Assassin’s Creed and Prince of Persia.
Moorten Botanical Garden
1701 S. Palm Canyon Drive
There’s far more to Moorten Botanical Garden than nailing the perfect Instagram snapshot inside the Cactarium, although you’ll definitely come away with a ton of amazing photos. Founded in 1938, the garden is just over an acre. Owner Clark Moorten grew up on the property and continues to care for his parents’ thriving cactus garden. The self-guided cactus tour is a must, as is visiting with the resident tortoises and doves. This is a special place, so take your time. The plants are priced well — you may find your own cactus (or 20) to remember the visit.