7 Fun & Quirky Things to Do in Palm Springs

Palm Springs is one of those places I’d always wanted to visit, but for whatever reason, just never made it to.

So when the opportunity arose to spend a week in the desert, we jumped at the chance to see this different side of Southern California.

Only a couple hours’ drive from Los Angeles, Palm Springs is the perfect weekend getaway. Just enough removed from the city, with warm desert temps worthy of long pool days, it has just enough kitsch and adventure to satisfy both kids and adults alike.

If you’re looking to spend a weekend away in Palm Springs, here are a few of our favorite things to do that are both fun and a little quirky too:

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1  |  Explore the Living Desert Zoo & Gardens

A true gem nestled alongside the foothills of the San Jacinto Mountains, the Living Desert Zoo & Gardens is dedicated to the amazingly resilient desert plant and animal life.

We’ve been to plenty of zoos in our day, but this one is unique in that it’s also part botanical garden, taking you through different desert landscapes from around the world.

And of course, there’s plenty of animals too, with exhibits dedicated to both North American and African desert animals.

Don’t miss the giant model train exhibit (which may have been Evelyn’s favorite part of the whole zoo!)

2  |  Take a Ride on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

One of my favorite ways to see a new place is from above, and the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway offers just that. Hop aboard the aerial tram for a two and a half mile journey over the canyon to the heart of San Jacinto State Park at Mountain Station.

At the top, you can enjoy a meal at one of the mountain-top restaurants, take in the views from the observation decks, visit a natural history museum, or explore over 50 miles of hiking trails. Buy your tickets for the tramway in advance here.

The best things to do in Palm Springs that are fun, quirky, and so full of kitsch. #palmsprings #socal #california #familytravel #travelwithkids // Family Travel Destinations | Travel with Kids | Family Vacation Ideas | California Bucket List | Palm Springs Weekend | Top Places in Southern California | Best Cities in the US for Families | Best Things to Do in Palm Springs | Where to Stay | Family-Friendly Itinerary The best things to do in Palm Springs that are fun, quirky, and so full of kitsch. #palmsprings #socal #california #familytravel #travelwithkids // Family Travel Destinations | Travel with Kids | Family Vacation Ideas | California Bucket List | Palm Springs Weekend | Top Places in Southern California | Best Cities in the US for Families | Best Things to Do in Palm Springs | Where to Stay | Family-Friendly Itinerary The best things to do in Palm Springs that are fun, quirky, and so full of kitsch. #palmsprings #socal #california #familytravel #travelwithkids // Family Travel Destinations | Travel with Kids | Family Vacation Ideas | California Bucket List | Palm Springs Weekend | Top Places in Southern California | Best Cities in the US for Families | Best Things to Do in Palm Springs | Where to Stay | Family-Friendly Itinerary The best things to do in Palm Springs that are fun, quirky, and so full of kitsch. #palmsprings #socal #california #familytravel #travelwithkids // Family Travel Destinations | Travel with Kids | Family Vacation Ideas | California Bucket List | Palm Springs Weekend | Top Places in Southern California | Best Cities in the US for Families | Best Things to Do in Palm Springs | Where to Stay | Family-Friendly Itinerary

3  |  Go on a Palm Springs Colorful Door Tour

Palm Springs’ colorful doors have become a “thing” in recent years. It started with #thatpinkdoor: a mid-century modern home whose pink door is just too perfect. The owners of the home created an Instagram account and hashtag to promote their door, which led to a fascination into all the other colorful doors in the neighborhood.

Though the owners of #thatpinkdoor no longer welcome photography, there’s still plenty of beautiful doors to stalk see for yourself.

You can create your own Palm Springs colorful door tour by simply driving down Sierra Way (psst… #thatpinkdoor can be found at 1100 Sierra Way). Then venture into the Indian Canyons neighorhood for more mid-century mod architecture and doors that pop.

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4  |  Day Trip to Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park may be 40 miles outside Palm Springs, but being there is an otherworldly experience you don’t want to miss. With it’s wild, twisting Joshua Trees and incredible rock formations, exploring this part of the Mojave desert makes you feel like you’re on another planet.

Start at the northwest entrance of the park just outside the city of Joshua Tree, slowly winding your way through the park and exiting out to the south. With endless hiking trails (many of which are short and kid-friendly!), it’s easy to spend a whole day here (be sure to bring lots of water and snacks!)

The best things to do in Palm Springs that are fun, quirky, and so full of kitsch. #palmsprings #socal #california #familytravel #travelwithkids // Family Travel Destinations | Travel with Kids | Family Vacation Ideas | California Bucket List | Palm Springs Weekend | Top Places in Southern California | Best Cities in the US for Families | Best Things to Do in Palm Springs | Where to Stay | Family-Friendly Itinerary The best things to do in Palm Springs that are fun, quirky, and so full of kitsch. #palmsprings #socal #california #familytravel #travelwithkids // Family Travel Destinations | Travel with Kids | Family Vacation Ideas | California Bucket List | Palm Springs Weekend | Top Places in Southern California | Best Cities in the US for Families | Best Things to Do in Palm Springs | Where to Stay | Family-Friendly Itinerary

5  |  Relax by the Pool at the Saguaro

All that time exploring the desert warrants a day off, so what better way to spend it than by the pool?

At the Saguaro (that fun rainbow hotel you’ve probably seen in photos), guests can enjoy a perfect sunny day filled with poolside breakfast and endless margs (reserve a daybed in advance for some extra shade).

Rooms at the Saguaro are quite affordable and many have larger family-friendly layouts. For SoCal locals, join the Saguaro Social Club for a year’s worth of access to the hotel’s amenties.

Compare prices at: Booking.com | Hotels.com

The best things to do in Palm Springs that are fun, quirky, and so full of kitsch. #palmsprings #socal #california #familytravel #travelwithkids // Family Travel Destinations | Travel with Kids | Family Vacation Ideas | California Bucket List | Palm Springs Weekend | Top Places in Southern California | Best Cities in the US for Families | Best Things to Do in Palm Springs | Where to Stay | Family-Friendly Itinerary The best things to do in Palm Springs that are fun, quirky, and so full of kitsch. #palmsprings #socal #california #familytravel #travelwithkids // Family Travel Destinations | Travel with Kids | Family Vacation Ideas | California Bucket List | Palm Springs Weekend | Top Places in Southern California | Best Cities in the US for Families | Best Things to Do in Palm Springs | Where to Stay | Family-Friendly Itinerary The best things to do in Palm Springs that are fun, quirky, and so full of kitsch. #palmsprings #socal #california #familytravel #travelwithkids // Family Travel Destinations | Travel with Kids | Family Vacation Ideas | California Bucket List | Palm Springs Weekend | Top Places in Southern California | Best Cities in the US for Families | Best Things to Do in Palm Springs | Where to Stay | Family-Friendly Itinerary

6  |  Check Out the Cabazon Dinosaurs

Palm Springs is full of kitsch, and the Cabazon Dinosaurs (technically 15 miles out in Cabazon) are no exception. Stop by this instafamous roadside attraction on your way in or out of Palm Springs for a fun photo op with Mr. Rex and Large Marge!

We skipped paying for entry to the “museum”, as most said it’s not worth it, but I’ll leave that to your own judgement depending on your level of dino-enthusiasts.

The best things to do in Palm Springs that are fun, quirky, and so full of kitsch. #palmsprings #socal #california #familytravel #travelwithkids // Family Travel Destinations | Travel with Kids | Family Vacation Ideas | California Bucket List | Palm Springs Weekend | Top Places in Southern California | Best Cities in the US for Families | Best Things to Do in Palm Springs | Where to Stay | Family-Friendly Itinerary The best things to do in Palm Springs that are fun, quirky, and so full of kitsch. #palmsprings #socal #california #familytravel #travelwithkids // Family Travel Destinations | Travel with Kids | Family Vacation Ideas | California Bucket List | Palm Springs Weekend | Top Places in Southern California | Best Cities in the US for Families | Best Things to Do in Palm Springs | Where to Stay | Family-Friendly Itinerary The best things to do in Palm Springs that are fun, quirky, and so full of kitsch. #palmsprings #socal #california #familytravel #travelwithkids // Family Travel Destinations | Travel with Kids | Family Vacation Ideas | California Bucket List | Palm Springs Weekend | Top Places in Southern California | Best Cities in the US for Families | Best Things to Do in Palm Springs | Where to Stay | Family-Friendly Itinerary The best things to do in Palm Springs that are fun, quirky, and so full of kitsch. #palmsprings #socal #california #familytravel #travelwithkids // Family Travel Destinations | Travel with Kids | Family Vacation Ideas | California Bucket List | Palm Springs Weekend | Top Places in Southern California | Best Cities in the US for Families | Best Things to Do in Palm Springs | Where to Stay | Family-Friendly Itinerary The best things to do in Palm Springs that are fun, quirky, and so full of kitsch. #palmsprings #socal #california #familytravel #travelwithkids // Family Travel Destinations | Travel with Kids | Family Vacation Ideas | California Bucket List | Palm Springs Weekend | Top Places in Southern California | Best Cities in the US for Families | Best Things to Do in Palm Springs | Where to Stay | Family-Friendly Itinerary The best things to do in Palm Springs that are fun, quirky, and so full of kitsch. #palmsprings #socal #california #familytravel #travelwithkids // Family Travel Destinations | Travel with Kids | Family Vacation Ideas | California Bucket List | Palm Springs Weekend | Top Places in Southern California | Best Cities in the US for Families | Best Things to Do in Palm Springs | Where to Stay | Family-Friendly Itinerary

7  |  Visit the World’s Only Cactarium at Moorten Botanical Gardens

On a much smaller scale than the Living Desert Zoo & Gardens, Moorten Botanical Garden and Cactarium is a small, yet super fun place to wander amongst quirky desert plant life up close and personal. For just a few dollars entry fee, it’s totally worth it to step inside the world’s only ‘cactarium’ alone, with it’s wacky, winding cacti and beautiful flowing vines.

Where to Stay in Palm Springs

For the ultimate Palm Springs experience, stay at one of these favorite hotels in the center of town:

The Saguaro ($$) | With it’s rainbow colored balconies, the Saguaro is undoubtedly the most recognized hotel in Palm Springs. Take a desert cruiser bike on loan to admire Palm Springs mid-century architecture or relax with poolside eats and drinks.

Compare prices at: Booking.com | Hotels.com

The Ace Hotel ($$$) | From the outside, the Ace is completely unassuming, looking like an 80’s motor hotel. But on the inside, guests are greeted with boho vibes and resort-style amenities. Be sure to fit in brunch at the attached roadside diner, King’s Highway.

Compare prices at: Booking.com | Hotels.com

 

Have you discovered any hidden gems in Palm Springs?

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The best things to do in Palm Springs that are fun, quirky, and so full of kitsch. #palmsprings #socal #california #familytravel #travelwithkids // Family Travel Destinations | Travel with Kids | Family Vacation Ideas | California Bucket List | Palm Springs Weekend | Top Places in Southern California | Best Cities in the US for Families | Best Things to Do in Palm Springs | Where to Stay | Family-Friendly Itinerary
The best things to do in Palm Springs that are fun, quirky, and so full of kitsch. #palmsprings #socal #california #familytravel #travelwithkids // Family Travel Destinations | Travel with Kids | Family Vacation Ideas | California Bucket List | Palm Springs Weekend | Top Places in Southern California | Best Cities in the US for Families | Best Things to Do in Palm Springs | Where to Stay | Family-Friendly Itinerary

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