When the winter blues hit and you’re looking for a long, warm-weather getaway, look no further than Palm Springs, California. Nestled in the sunny Coachella Valley, Palm Springs is the ideal winter escape.
Known most for its sunny weather and natural beauty, Palm Springs is the perfect place to escape the freezing temperatures of winter—offering an oasis of sunshine and warm weather. You’ll find the more popular tourist attractions are a bit quieter, and that means better deals and opportunities to explore.
Most people don’t think of Palm Springs as a winter destination, but there are plenty of reasons to visit the area in the colder months. Winter is, in fact, the ideal time for all of the best activities in Palm Springs, from hiking and exploring to shopping or visiting a spa. With temperatures of highs in the mid-70s, you can explore everything this vibrant city has to offer.
Because of the sunshine and ideal winter weather conditions, Palm Springs is an amazing choice when looking for a monthly getaway. Whether you are a retired couple looking to escape the winter weather and explore more of the world or a digital nomad with the ability to work anywhere, Palm Springs makes the perfect backdrop for your next getaway.
Palm Springs is best known for it’s relaxing environment, and combined with the area’s accessibility, that makes it the perfect place for remote workers looking to escape the cold of winter for the month, or even an entire season. Monthly vacation rentals offer the most inspiring workplaces where you can relax while also getting work done.
With endless walking trails and hiking locations, world-class restaurants, and fine arts culture, there are plenty of charming ways to relax and enjoy your getaway under the warm California sun.
If you are looking for things to do during your winter stay in Palm Springs, look no further—we’ve got you covered. Here are some of our favorite Palm Springs things to do in winter:
What to Do in Palm Springs
1 - Take a Trip on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway to Mountain Views & Activities
The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway provides some of the most breath-taking views of Chino Canyon and the entire valley from the peak of Mount San Jacinto. The best way to experience this winter wonderland is by taking the Palms Springs Aerial Tramway—taking in over 8000 feet of stunning views of the Coachella Valley along the way.
Get swept up from the warm California valley in the largest rotating tram car you’ll find anywhere in the world to the cool air on top of the mountain. While this is one of the coolest places in Palm Springs no matter what time of year you visit, the views from both the tramway and the mountain are spectacular.
Once you make it to the top, temperatures will be 20-40 degrees cooler, and there’s a ski resort with skiing, snowboarding, and tubing activities as well as restaurants serving hot coffee and warm bowls of clam chowder. There are even Ride & Dine discount combos available, saving you money if you plan to eat at the lodge.
2 - Visit Coachella Valley
If you’re the outdoorsy-type that loves to go on hikes, Palm Springs is a great place to visit—especially considering it’s mostly desert. The Coachella Valley Preserve is a fantastic spot for hiking trails for any fitness level, but make sure you bring plenty of water to stay hydrated.
The best place to start your exploration of the Coachella Valley Preserve is the visitor center in the Paul Wilhelm Grove, and don’t forget to search out the Coachella Valley fringe-toes lizard—it’s the only place in the world that you’ll find one!
Remember to bring your wallet—entrance to the Coachella Valley Preserve is technically free, but they ask for donations.
Coachella Valley consists of nine cities in addition to Palm Springs—check out shopping and dining at neighboring Desert Hot Springs, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, La Quinta, Indio, and Coachella.
3 - Hike the Indian Canyons
If a scenic drive and beautiful views is most your style, the short drive to the Indian Canyons may be more your speed. Located in the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians Reservation, the landscape is absolutely beautiful—making it the perfect spot for a scenic picnic or a breathtaking hike on one of the many hiking trails.
With views of huge rock formations, enjoy the world’s largest native palm oasis where you will find palm groves, waterfalls, and oasis viewpoints. The Indian Canyons consist of multiple canyons—Andreas Canyon, Chino Canyon, Murray Canyon, Palm Canyon, and Tahiquitz Canyon. One of the canyons even includes a trading post where visitors can find Native American baskets, pottery, and other unique gifts.
Listed in the National Register for Historic Places, you can still see remnants of the Cahuilla Indians’ early life in the area. During the months of October and June, Indian Canyons even offers the opportunity for ranger-led hikes so you can learn more about the history of the area.
4 - Joshua Tree National Park
You don’t have to be familiar with California to know Joshua Tree National Park. Located an hour outside of Palm Springs, Joshua Tree National Park is an absolute must-see when you are staying in the area. Known for its surreal rock formations, this gorgeous national park offers hiking and walking trails in addition to beautiful campgrounds nestled among the rocks.
With mammoth rocks scattered throughout the landscape, Joshua Tree National Park has no lack of its namesake Joshua trees—giving you the most magical landscape to soak in on a clear evening while you look up at the stars.
5 - Explore Gorgeous Nature Trails & Take in the Views by Bike or by Foot
If smaller hikes and exploring are more your style, rent a bike and explore Palm Springs while taking in the beautiful scenery. The area is known for it’s trails laced with fantastic views, as you can tell from the last few must-dos on our list, so grab a pair of sneakers and a bike and start exploring!
Even if you’re more of a family-friendly biker, there are trails for you to explore. The City of Palm Springs has put together a map of bike loops that takes you to different parts of town, exploring parks, charming neighborhoods, and even country club golf courses.
Joshua Tree National Park
Beautiful Nature Trails
Living Desert Zoo & Gardens
6 - Have A Wonderfully Wild Experience at The Living Desert Zoo & Gardens
Plan a day on your visit to Palm Springs to see The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens. You’ll find a large variety of unique animals here—from rhinos and emu to cockatiels and yellow-footed wallabies. There are also opportunities to engage with your favorite zoo animals, like feeding the giraffes and embarking on a private safari tour.
Zoos may be more of a summer activity, but The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens is a great place to visit in winter too! A true blend of a zoo and botanical gardens, there are beautiful gardens and a nature preserve to explore that have trails to hike in addition to interacting with your favorite animals.
When you purchase a membership to The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, the proceeds help to support the zoo’s conservation efforts and education programs. As a nonprofit organization, they are dedicated to preserving the desert and bringing awareness to others on the threats to its ecosystem.
7 - Soak in the Palm Springs Culture & Arts
If you want to experience the very best on your visit to Palm Springs, don’t miss out on the art and culture of the area. Start with exploring the art galleries in the city—mostly clustered along South Palm Canyon Drive and North Indian Canyon Drive.
After visiting the art galleries, be sure to soak in more of the local culture of Palm Springs with some of the local museums.
The Palm Springs Art Museum is located downtown and features a variety of exhibits—from photography and landscape paintings to glasswork and Native American textiles. This local museum also brings in exhibits from internationally acclaimed artists as well as offering art classes and workshops for kids and adults. Admission to the museum is free every Thursday from 4-8pm and every second Sunday.
The Palm Springs Air Museum is the perfect choice for all the history buffs and aviation enthusiasts to visit. This museum has one of the world’s largest collections of World War II planes that are still flyable, and it features exhibits on how these planes were used to win the war as well as the history of aviation.
Lastly, the Architecture and Design Center is a must-visit for anyone interested in architecture and design, as the name suggests. Featuring exhibits from architecture from around the world, this museum hosts workshops and lectures with leading professionals in these fields for the public to see.
8 - Visit Elvis’ Honeymoon Hideaway
If you’re a fan of the late king of rock ’n roll, you must take a trip to visit Elvis’ Honeymoon Hideaway located at 1350 Ladera Circle in Palm Springs. Officially known at The Alexander Estate, Elvis took up residence in the 1960s at this “house of tomorrow” as a place to retreat from Los Angeles. In 1967, Elvis and his wife Priscilla celebrated their honeymoon at this location. Architecturally, this home is a unique structure due to the fact that there are no square rooms in the house.
Previously, guided tours of the home were allowed, but recently new owners purchased the property. So, you’ll just have to admire Elvis’ hideaway from afar—thank you very much.
9 - Dine at the Best Restaurants in Palm Springs
One of the best ways to soak in the local culture of Palm Springs is through your taste buds! There are countless restaurants to choose from no matter the time of day—from fine-dining restaurants to casual dining spots. No matter what you’re craving at meal time, you’re sure to find something you’ll love in Palm Springs.
Whether you are wanting to sit outside and enjoy the beautiful winter California weather or take in a renowned fine-dining experience that the city is known for, Palm Springs has something for you.
A few of the best restaurants in the area include:
- Miro’s Restaurant—an intimate restaurant serving delicious Mediterranean food in a charming atmosphere
- Elmer’s Restaurant—a classic American dining experience serving comfort food with a twist
- La Perlita—an authentic Mexican restaurant serving incredible dishes sure to hit the spot
- Copley’s on Palm Canyon—a casual restaurant serving yummy options for breakfast and lunch
10 - Relax with a Spa Day
While Palm Springs is full of things to do during the warm-weather winters, it is also a very popular destination to simply unwind and relax. What better place to enjoy a massage or facial after relaxing in the sun or hiking the local nature trails?
A few local favorites in the area include:
How to Get to Palm Springs
Okay we’ve convinced you—you’re coming to stay in Palm Springs right?! Now, what is the best way to get there? The closest airport to the city is the Palm Springs International Airport (PSP). Through the airport, you can easily access various parts of the town via rental car or train.
We highly recommend that you have access to a car during your visit to Palm Springs so that you can take full advantage of local attractions and opportunities. Car rental is available at the airport in addition to other pick-up locations in the city.
Where to Stay in Palm Springs
Looking for a fully-furnished rental for your monthly rental in Palm Springs? We’ve got you covered! Vacation rentals in Palm Springs are the perfect choice when looking for a place to stay during your short-term rental.
One of the best things about visit Palm Springs in the winter is the ability to enjoy the desert’s beautiful scenery while relaxing by the pool. Monthly Rentals by Owner partners with a number of properties in the Palm Springs area that offer deals on monthly stays at these impeccable locations for the winter.
If you’re looking for a warm, winter getaway, Palm Springs really is the perfect place to be! With plenty of warm weather and attractions to keep you busy, you’ll never run out of things to do at our favorite winter paradise.