7 Top Things to Do in Palm Springs in Summer
These top Palm Springs summer activities are perfect for staying cool and entertained in the desert.
Some like it hot! Palm Springs, California, can frequently reach over 100 degrees in the summer, but nice swimming pools, fabulous hotels and cool activities make it a fun place to get away for a weekend or even spend a week unwinding. From museums to botanical gardens, homemade gourmet ice cream to mile-high fun, Palm Springs is the perfect luxury getaway in summer. These 7 activities in Palm Springs will help you get the most out of your relaxing desert escape.
1. Legendary Swimming Pools. In Palm Springs, the pools are legendary. Imagine an oasis with hundreds of sparkling pools, each one with its own personality. Alcazar's saltwater purified pool is surrounded by misters and shaded by palms, while The Santiago's huge swimming pool (it's 20 feet by 50 feet) is the largest hotel pool in the city.
Once a month, Arrive, in association with the Palm Springs Film Society, presents a Dive-In Movie, with flicks starting at dusk. Open to the public (21+), there are seats available poolside, and if you get there early enough, you can grab a float and watch the movie from the pool. This summer's selection includes Risky Business (July 27) and Grease (August 31). There is a fee for drinks, but the movie and popcorn are free.
2. Desert Plant Life. The Moorten Botanical Garden is home to more than 3,000 types of cacti and desert plants grouped by geographic locations. To keep guests cool, it's only open in the summer from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. "The Moorten Botanical Garden is so cute," says Kathy Friedle, owner of The Monkey Tree Hotel. "If you're not from this area and haven't seen cactus life, go there."
3. Beautiful Views. In just 10 minutes, the rotating Palm Springs Aerial Tramway lifts visitors up to the top of Mt. San Jacinto State Park, where the temperatures are always lower and the views are unparalleled. Grab dinner at the Peaks Restaurant or Pines Café, and stop for a drink at the Lookout Lounge. Several Palm Springs boutique hotels, including Los Arboles and La Maison, offer tram packages to eliminate having to wait in line to purchase tickets.
4. Cool Museums. Felipe Castañeda, owner of Los Arboles Hotel, recommends visiting the Palm Springs Air Museum, which boasts 59 flyable and static planes located inside four air-conditioned hangars. "You can look at the planes, and if you're lucky, some of the servicemen who flew them hang out there and when they see you are interested, start telling stories," he says.
Another suggestion: Check with the hotel host for summer recommendations. Boutique hoteliers often distinguish themselves by offering an insider's perspective to Palm Springs' hidden summer treasures.
5. The Restaurant Scene. Palm Springs is home to a vibrant restaurant scene with hip new eateries as well as classic restaurants that will bring you back to the days of Old Hollywood and the Rat Pack era. Melyvn’s Restaurant will transport you to the days of Hollywood glamour complete with nightly entertainment. Or grab a drink at Tonga Hut, a retro tiki bar with island-inspired drinks. The Rat Pack era comes alive at The Purple Room, a sophisticated supper club with world class cuisine, classic cocktails and live entertainment.
6. Mid-Century Modern Style. We love the mid-century architecture, furniture and art that is everywhere in Palm Springs. Stop by the Palm Springs Visitor’s Center to grab a map and take a self-guided tour of some of the most famous mid-century locations, including The Wexler Steel Houses, The Kaufmann House and Elvis’ Honeymoon Hideaway.
7. Top Spas. With so many fabulous spas to choose from, a relaxing weekend of pampering and lounging by the pool will have you feeling incredibly refreshed. Some stellar options include Estrella Spa at the Avalon Palm Springs, Palm Springs Yacht Club at The Parker, The Ritz-Carlton Spa and The Spa at Desert Springs, to name a few. La Maison has partnered with Studio M Salon and Spa to provide guests with a selection of in-room services. Relax in nature and enjoy the world-famous mineral hot springs at Two Bunch Palms, where you can try treatments including Craniosacral Therapy, Chakra Balance Massage, Desert Detox Clay Wraps and Water Shiatsu.
Thank you to Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels for the Palm Springs tips! From quirky, to charming, mid-century modern to clothing optional, Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels has got your stay covered.