16 Fun Things To Do in Palm Springs on a Quick Getaway from L.A.

A little bit of summer always resides in a place called Palm Springs where angelenos flock for a quick getaway year round. The town may be small but there is lots to do, some might even say too much!

We recently spent a weekend in the city hanging out there and have concluded that it’s a perfect destination to take a quick excursion from the city of angels. Normally it’ll take you just 1.5 – 2 hours to get there, so if you’re really crunched for time, you could even just make a day-trip out of it, and if you just want to spend a single night there’s loads of boutique hotels that make for an awesome one-night experience.


In any case, if you’re planning a visit and are looking for things to do in Palm Springs, check out the list below and hopefully it’ll give you some cool ideas for how you want to spend your time.

Rundown starts after the jump!

Palm Springs Sunrise
Palm Springs sunrise. Credit: Ewen Roberts via flickr

1. Antiquing, Thrifting and Consignment Shopping

You have stepped into a mid century modern jackpot! Palm Springs is known for their love of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s you can see the architectural influences scattered about the town. For fashion, this is a vintage lovers dream come true, as you can easily spend an entire day shopping for that perfect retro piece. Or maybe you’re more into home decor and vintage toys? Either way, the town has you covered.

Below is a short list of the best stores to satisfy all types of shoppers.


Benefiting the Dessert Aids Project this gem of a thrift store is more popular for their large inventory of donated mid century furniture. Look to find some gently-used clothing, vintage house ware to new merchandise.

Vintage Oasis

This modern store offers mid century furniture, art and accessories. Once you step in you will feel like you’re in modern heaven.

A La MOD Mid Century Modern

A pristine collection of mid century modern pieces A La MOD is highly curated. Their impressive home and furniture pieces include Frank Lloyd Wright lamps and Nelson benches!

Sunny Dunes Vintage Row 

A relatively new local favorite, Sunny Dunes Vintage Row is an antique mall with a bazaar feel. The selections are prices reasonably. If you want to find vintage shops all under one roof this is the place!

Bon Vivant

This small gallery has big charm. Bon Vivant carries a well curated selection of vintage pottery, glassware, home accessories and even art work. The owners have a great eye for selecting inspiring pieces.

2. Desert Hills Premium Outlets 

With steep discounts and 180 stores, Dessert Hills is a shopping destination that will appease everyone.  Shop to your hearts content! Stores include Prada, Saint Laurent, Nike, J. Crew, and Banana Republic. If you’re driving from L.A. it’s about 20-30 minutes before you hit the actual town of Palm Springs, so it could be a great place to stop first when you’re on your way out there.

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3. Breakfast at Cheekys 

Two words: Bacon Flight. Yup they serve a plate of all the different kinds of bacon (selections changes periodically) with flavors such as beer apple cinnamon, rosemary sugar, and dorito. Would suggest going early there is almost always a line, but it is well worth it. Did I mention bacon flight?

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Cheeky's Bacon Flight
Credit: Cheeky’s on Facebook

4. Brunch at L’Atelier

Owned by actual Parisians this little spot is a good choice for a low key brunch. Order their fluffy quiche or croque madame with your mimosa and finish off your meal with a macaron. Bon appetie!

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5. Go Lunch at The Sandwich Spot

Listed as one of the top 50 restaurants in the United States by The WallStreet Journal, The Sandwich Spot is a must stop in Palm Springs. Be sure to select the Dutch Crunch Bread on your sandwich. When selecting a sauce the bomb sauce seems to be a fan favorite.

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6. A Fancy Dinner at DISH

Although DISH is actually in the neighboring Cathedral City and not in Palm Springs, we couldn’t help but to include it. The classically trained chefs use seasonal produce to create unique and delectable dishes that are bucket list worthy. If you know what an amuse buches is and love it…come here, they are endless and it won’t disappoint.

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7. A Causal Dinner at Jakes

This hip restaurant is located in the chic Uptown Design District. They serve tasty American Bistro fare with a vast cocktail menu of specialty drinks, reds, whites and beer. Pro tip: People like the baby back ribs and coconut cake!

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Jake's in Palm Springs
Credit: Jake’s on Facebook

8. The Parker Hotel 

The grounds of The Parker is pretty impressive and some might say the pool is legendary. This quirky hotel’s interior was designed by Johnathan Adler and it is filled with mid-century charm! They have a spa on site and fire pits for chilly nights. I just want to throw in there for all the fashionista’s that they HOOK IT UP on toiletries! Can we say Heremes soaps?

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9. The Viceroy 

A twenty four hour pool?! Yup The Viceroy is an awesome place to kick back and relax. This Kelly Wearstler designed hotel also has a spa and restaurant on grounds. Built in the 1930’s this place is glamorous and whimsical at the same time. You might not want to leave!

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10. The Ace Hotel

This is the place where the cool kids lay their heads when in Palm Springs. You might call it Hip-tastic! Count on some famous faces to serenade you by the pool with a acoustic performance or two. Play ping pong while enjoying retro tunes and get sun dazed with a beer in hand.

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Ace Hotel Palm Springs Pool
Pool at the Palm Springs Ace Hotel. Credit: Ace Hotel on Facebook

11. Palm Springs Art Museum 

Be artsy for a few hours! Located in downtown Palm Springs this museum has an extensive permanent collection and exhibitions from some of the most influential artists around the world. Pro tip the museum is free every Thursday from 4-8pm.

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12. Bob Hope’s Iconic Home

This 23,000 square foot house was designed by famous architect John Lautner for the iconic comedian in the 70’s. It took a whooping seven years to complete! The house sits on over six acres and includes a putting green, indoor and outdoor pools, a pond and a tennis court.

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13. The Palm Springs Tramway

Take things to great height while in Palm Springs! This is the largest rotating tramcar in the world! And it is just a car ride away, how cool is that? The views are breathtaking and depending on the season people are always hiking the grounds of Mt. San Jacinto State Park, which offers 54 miles of trails located within a 14,000 acre wilderness. Several peaks are even greater than 10,000 ft. in elevation.  A true hiker’s paradise!

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Coachella Valley
View of the Coachella Valley from the tram. Credit: Raymond Shobe via flickr

14. The Living Desert 

Nestled at the foot of the Santa Rosa Mountains the 1,200 acre land includes a zoo and a botanical garden. This is where you get a closer look into the animal kingdom! Bobcats, giraffes, zebras, cheetahs and more roam the land. The zoo and garden are open year round and we suggest planning a visit during cooler hours like the morning or winter time.

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15. An Architectural Self Guided Tour 

When you head into the city of Palm Springs you might feel like you’ve stepped into an episode of Mad Men. That’s because Midcentury modern rules this city. See the coolest examples of Midcentury architecture with a self guided tour! From Elvis’s honey moon hide out to the super modern Kaufmann house. View the map in the link below.

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16. Villagefest

Every Thursday Villagefest takes over several blocks of down town transforming it into one giant independent market with over 200 booths of handcrafted items, artists showcasing their work and live entertainment. If you are there on a Thursday, do what the locals do!

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