Don't miss any of these things on a trip to Palm Springs. 

Ellie Storck

Palm Springs, a Southern Californian oasis in the Sonoran Desert, has been attracting Hollywood-weary travelers eager to relax since the 1920s. And though leisure is the hallmark of this laid-back city, there is no shortage of fun things to do in Palm Springs. 

A-listers have long known that Palm Springs is perfect for hot air balloon rides, playing 18 holes, and lounging poolside. Clocks here seem to tick forward at a decidedly slower pace. Whether you're dropping in on your next road trip to the Golden State, or planning a perfect long weekend, this is the best of Palm Springs.

What to do in Palm Springs to get your bearings is take a sky-high tour above the rust red desert on the Aerial Tramway. Linking downtown Palm Springs with Mt. Jacinto State Park, the tram cruises over two miles through the breathtaking Chino Canyon to an altitude of 8,516 feet. Once you’re at the top, you can take in the surrounding vistas on a hike, and then enjoy dinner—with a seriously impressive view.

Pool party, anyone? One of the best features of Palm Springs is the city’s thriving pool party culture. Escape from the dry desert heat and head to hotels like Hacienda Cantina and Beach Club or the new L'Horizon (which, like the city itself, was recently reborn) to check out Instagrammable swimming holes and their cocktail bars, poolside bungalows, and hip parties.

One of the most iconic features of Palm Springs is the area's modern architecture. America’s mid-century architecture boom is responsible for the way much of Palm Springs’ homes look today. You can get up close to these stuck-in-time residences during Modernism Week or on an architecture tour.

Once upon a time, Palm Springs was the stomping grounds for the Rat Pack and a slew of Hollywood stars. Head to the Riviera and discover the city’s star-studded history (think Marilyn Monroe and Frank Sinatra). Of course, Palm Springs is still a Tinseltown hideout, meaning you may stumble into Leonardo DiCaprio, for example, who owns a home here. 

Before you take your leave, get to know the area's contemporary art scene. Highlights include the Palm Springs Art Museum and the Architecture and Design Center.

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