Palm Springs Travel Guide
Palm Springs, California is located about 100 miles east of Los Angeles in the Coachella Valley area of the Sonoran Desert. A popular resort city for many years, Palm Springs is known for its natural hot springs, hotels, restaurants, golf courses, and sunny weather. It's been a favorite destination for Hollywood stars since the 1930s, and many celebrities maintain homes in the Palm Springs area.
The climate is one of the most attractive features of Palm Springs, and desert communities have spread eastward as the demand for homes has increased. Until relatively recently, many Palm Springs hotels, restaurants, and attractions closed during the hot summer months. Now, however, Palm Springs and the nearby communities are home to year-round residents as well as snowbirds and second home owners.
Palm Springs is a welcoming community with one of the largest numbers of same-sex households in the country. A number of resorts cater to LGBTQ+ tourists, and the city hosts the annual White Party in April and the Greater Palm Springs Pride Celebration every November with a parade and a number of events.
Downtown Palm Springs is always evolving, with new shops, restaurants, hotels, and neighborhoods, like the development of the north end as the Uptown Design District. The annual Coachella and Stagecoach Festivals have brought attention to the desert cities, and the January Palm Springs International Film Festival attracts top names and a growing number of visitors.
Pacific Standard Time. (Daylight Savings Time is observed seasonally)
Best Time to Go
The weather is sunny and dry most of the year, and temperatures are mild from October through May, with cooler nights during the winter months. Summer temperatures are typically around 100℉ and can reach as high as 115℉, with humidity less than 10%. Many visitors enjoy the hot, dry summer weather, especially if there's a pool nearby.
High season is from December through April, when snowbirds arrive from Canada and cold parts of the U.S. Hotel prices are generally higher, and restaurants, golf courses, and attractions are more crowded. December, January, and February are considered the rainy months, but precipitation is normally around just an inch or so, although there have been years with heavier rains.
Festivals like the Palm Springs International Film Festival in early January, Coachella and Stagecoach Festivals in April, Pride events in November, the PGA Tour's American Express Men's Golf Tournament in January, and the LPGA ANA Inspiration Tournament in April bring in more visitors during those times. The BNP Paribas Tennis Open is held annually at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
Things to Know
"Greater Palm Springs" encompasses eight cities in addition to Palm Springs: Desert Hot Springs, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, LaQuinta, Indio, and Coachella.
Tourism is the area's largest employer and the number one contributor to the local economy.
Dates have been cultivated in the Coachella Valley since the early 1900s, and 95% of the U.S. dates come from this area. Other agricultural products are grapes, citrus, artichokes, lettuce, carrots, and many others.
Mid-century modern homes, inns, hotels, and even a former gas station make Palm Springs popular with fans of the era. The annual February Modernism Week celebrates mid-century modern design, architecture, art, fashion, and culture, with a fall preview in October.
The Greater Palm Springs area is home to nearly 125 public, municipal, and private golf courses.
More than 2,000 years ago, Palm Springs' first residents were the ancestors of today's Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. Today, they are the largest landowners in Palm Springs with nearly 6,700 acres within city limits. Many major hotels and facilities are located on leased tribal lands.
How to Get Around
Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) is about 20 minutes from downtown.
AM-PM Shuttle Service: Provides transportation in Greater Palm Springs area.
Skycap Shuttle Service: Provides luxury SUV, town car, and van service.
Prime Time Shuttle: Provides service from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Palm Springs.
Things to Do
Greater Palm Springs Area Attractions
Greater Palm Springs Shopping Malls
Neighborhoods to Know
The Movie Colony: This neighborhood is named for the film stars, studio heads, and celebrities who vacationed and built homes in this area that became known as "Hollywood's Playground."
Old Las Palmas: Close to downtown, this neighborhood also attracted Hollywood elites. The area was once a citrus grove and home to the Cahuilla Indians.
Andreas Hills: This neighborhood in the southwest corner of the city is elevated, so many of the homes boast spectacular views of the San Jacinto Mountains and the lights of the city. Hiking trails originating in the area lead to mountain trails, and one path leads to the former estate of Bob Hope.
Araby Cove: This hillside area, encircled by a nature preserve, offers stunning mountain and desert views as well as plentiful wildlife including bobcats, coyotes, rabbits, snakes, and lizards.
Demuth Park: This neighborhood overlooks a 60-acre recreation area, the city's largest greenspace consisting of tennis and pickleball courts, baseball diamonds, soccer fields, walking paths, and basketball courts.
El Mirador: Once home to a plush hotel and later a favorite destination for Hollywood stars, the area is now the location of Desert Regional Medical Center.
Gene Autry: Named for the famous singing cowboy and Palm Springs resident who appeared in 93 films as well as his own TV show, this residential neighborhood is close to the Whitewater Wash, a popular walking trail.
Historic Tennis Club: This neighborhood is the heart of downtown Palm Springs is named for the Tennis Club Resort where Marilyn Monroe was often seen lounging poolside. Historic homes and buildings date from the 1920s to 1950s and include today's Ingleside Inn and LeVallauris Restaurant.
Escena: This new neighborhood is a 450-acre resort community with the public Escena Golf Course and Escena Lounge and Grill. It's the first neighborhood to connect to the CV Link, a trans-valley hiking and biking path.
Palm Springs has a desert climate, with little humidity and minimal rainfall during the year. The months of April through June have virtually no rainfall at all. The weather is sunny about 350 days a year.
The winter months of December through March are cooler at night, and occasionally temperatures may drop to freezing overnight. Days begin to warm even before spring arrives, and by June, temperatures may exceed 100, with low humidity. In some areas, winds develop in spring, but the mountains generally keep precipitation to a minimum even when there's rain in coastal regions.
Summers are very hot and dry, and fall brings almost ideal weather conditions with temperatures in the 70s and 80s.
Total annual rainfall is less than five inches, occurring mostly during the months of December through February
The following are average Fahrenheit lows and highs by month.
January 45 - 74
February 48 - 74
March 52 - 80
April 57 - 88
May 64 - 96
June 71 - 104
July 78 - 108
August 78 - 107
September 72 - 102
October 62 - 91
November 52 - 78
December 44 - 69
Apps to Download
SunBus Tracker: For trip planning; check on bus arrival; general information
Palm Springs Modernism App: Guided tours of mid-century landmarks in Palm Springs
Palm Springs by Trip Bucket: Maps, hotels, restaurants, tours
Palm Canyon Drive: Interactive directions, GPS; retail, restaurants, hotels