Trek a couple of minutes onto Tramway Road as you roll into Palm Springs and you’ll come across this classic canyon-hugging gondola ride. Board a rotating car inside an angular 1963 station, and after 10 minutes—and a double-digit temperature drop—you’ll find yourself facing the entirety of the Coachella Valley below. Linger with a stop at the mountaintop restaurant, café or lounge, or hike deeper into the San Jacinto Mountains.
Considering that it sprouted into a resort destination in the early 20th century—with much of Hollywood vacationing here for a quick escape from L.A.—the best things to do in Palm Springs tend to prioritize leisure. The city beckons visitors with arid landscapes, golf courses, handsome mid-century vacation homes, and an excellent restaurant scene.
And while many will spend their weekend simply lounging by hotel pools (an essential Palm Springs activity), there are plenty of other attractions in Palm Springs to keep you entertained. Seasonally, the city becomes the epicenter of cool during Coachella, while annual spectacles like the design-focused Modernism Week and Robolights (a quirky holiday light display) keeps things interesting. The desert city buzzes year-round, but it’s especially popular between December and April when that infamous dry heat dips (no matter what, plan to pack plenty of water and sunscreen, and be sure to arrange accommodations with a pool).
But no matter when you visit Palm Springs, activities can include fun home tours, botanical gardens, and one-of-a-kind mountaintop tram rides—follow our guide to make the most of it.
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