Palm Springs

Travel Guide North America USA Western United States California Southern California Palm Springs

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Introduction

Palm Springs is a city in the southern Californian desert. It became a popular holiday destinations for the rich and famous in the 1950's and although popularity slightly declined during the 1980's, nowadays it is just as popular among retired people and lately also among a younger crowd. It's warm (hot in summer) climate means it is also a popular weekend breakaway from the much cooler coast near Los Angeles, which is just 2 hours away.

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Sights and Activities

  • Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, 1 Tramway Rd, ☎ +1 760 325-1391. The one thing to do in Palm Springs if you only have a limited amount of time, and a good place to go to get away from the heat. Incredible views at night, and snow in the winter. Beware that the official address, is the address of the Visitor Center. To get to the tram car base station, you need to drive 10 minutes or walk about 2 hours. There is no shuttle. The tramway is closed until at least April 1st, 2019 due to damage caused by a storm.
  • Indian Canyons. Tahquitz Canyon, Palm Canyon, Andreas Canyon and Murray Canyon, were sacred Native sites, now open to the public for hiking.
  • Palm Springs Art Museum, 101 Museum Dr, ☎ +1 760 325-7186. Founded in 1933, the museum hosts special exhibits and work from its permanent collection which includes Ruscha, Robert Arneson, Nathan, Charles Russell, Frederic Remington and Native American and Mesoamerican Art.
  • Palm Springs Air Museum, 745 N. Gene Autry Trail, ☎ +1 760 778-6262. Nice place to go to if you have half a day to spare. Home to great condition World War II airplanes, etc.
  • Agua Caliente Cultural Museum, 219 S. Palm Canyon Dr, ☎ +1 760 778-1079. The history and culture of the Agua Caliente Tribe is on display. Admission is free.

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Events and Festivals

  • Palm Springs International Film Festival. Held the first two weeks of January. One of the largest film festivals in North America. A star-studded black tie gala, it is open to public with the purchase of gala tickets.
  • Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films. Largest short film festival in North America; second largest in the world. An Academy sanctioned festival. Fifty of the short films screened at this festival have been nominated for Academy Awards. The public can meet up-and-coming directors and actors at special parties.

Holidays

  • New Year’s Eve - The US celebrates the outgoing of the old year and incoming of the New Year quite dramatically. Every state boasts its own parties to ring in the New Year, but none is more extravagant than New York’s Time Square, which sees people overflowing into the neighboring restaurants, bars, parks, beaches, and neighborhoods.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day (officially Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. and sometimes referred to as MLK Day) is an American federal holiday marking the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around King's birthday, January 15. The holiday is similar to holidays set under the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. The earliest Monday for this holiday is January 15 and the latest is January 21. King was the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law.
  • St Patrick’s Day - March 17 celebrates the US’s large Irish population. Many cities around the country boast boisterous parades and Irish-themed parties, especially New York and Chicago, where the river is dyed green. Be wary of the drunkenness that dominates as this is definitely a party-day.
  • Memorial Day - Memorial Day is an important holiday throughout the United States, but not for crazy festivities. Parades commemorating wartime heroes are often held and the day is also the ‘unofficial’ start of summer. Most visitors follow the crowds to parks and beaches, which are capped off with informal BBQs.
  • Independence Day - Also known as the Fourth of July, Independence Day celebrates the US’s break from the British during the 18th century. Barbecues, street parties, beach trips, and weekend getaways are commonplace to appreciate freedom.
  • Labor Day is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws, and well-being of the country. It is the Monday of the long weekend known as Labor Day Weekend. It is recognized as a federal holiday. Beginning in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labor movements grew, trade unionists proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor.
  • Halloween - Halloween is a fun holiday on October 31 for all generations to dress up in costumes and relive their youth. Children walk around the neighborhood trick-or-treating for candy, while adults attend parties. Other seasonal events include haunted houses, pumpkin farms and carving, and corn mazes.
  • Thanksgiving - On the fourth Thursday in November, Thanksgiving is held in almost every home in the US. Tourists will have a hard time finding anything to do as the country essentially shuts down in observation. A typical Thanksgiving meal consists of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie commemorating the original Pilgrim’s feast at Plymouth Rock.
  • Christmas - On December 25, Christians celebrate Christmas as the pinnacle of their calendar by attending church and opening gifts from Santa Claus. Almost everything shuts down to promote family togetherness. The northern regions hope to experience a “white Christmas,” with trees and festive lights blanketed by snow.

Sport

  • Super Bowl Sunday - the world’s most watched sporting event and one of the highest grossing TV days of the year, Superbowl Sunday is a spectacular extravaganza. Held the first Sunday in February, the Superbowl is the final playoff game between the NFL’s top two teams. The venue rotates every year around America, yet the local parties seem to remain. Pubs, bars and restaurants are great places to enjoy the Superbowl or locals throw their own parties with different variations of betting.
  • The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball (MLB) in North America, contested since 1903 between the American League (AL) champion team and the National League (NL) champion team. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff, and the winning team is awarded the Commissioner's Trophy. As the series is played during the fall season in North America, it is sometimes referred to as the Fall Classic.

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Getting There

By Plane

  • Palm Springs International Airport (PSP IATA), 3400 E Tahquitz Canyon Way. In the heart of Palm Springs. Scheduled daily flight connections with major cities throughout the United States and Canada. Served by Air Canada, Flair, Westjet and all major US airlines except Southwest. Palm Springs International Airport is also popular for general aviation and business jet travelers. Has a very pleasant outdoor concourse. Air taxi and aircraft charter companies provide private aircraft charter services from this airport. You can take Palm Springs bus number 24 to go from the airport to downtown Palm Springs. The bus does not stop right at the terminal; you'll need to catch the bus one block west of the airport at Civic Drive and East Tahquitz Canyon Way.
  • LA/Ontario International Airport (ONT IATA). Located in Ontario, about 70 mi (110 km) to the west of Palm Springs along I-10, it has many more flight connections and is the next closest airport served by Southwest Airlines and internationally by China Airlines and Volaris.

By Train

  • Amtrak has a station at 300 North Indian Canyon Drive (0.6 mi south of Interstate 10), 1-800-USA-RAIL (872-7245). Amtrak's Sunset Limited route connects Palm Springs with Los Angeles and with Arizona and points eastward with three westbound and three eastbound trains per week (arriving Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday). Amtrak also provides Palm Springs with connections to and from the San Joaquins trains, which run up California's Central Valley to the Bay Area and Sacramento, via multiple daily Amtrak Thruway motorcoach runs to and from Bakersfield. Rental car agencies do not provide shuttles to the Amtrak station in Palm Springs and there is no public transportation available there. The "station" is an open platform without any building. Taxis from the Palm Springs Amtrak to the Palm Springs airport (where the rental cars are available) is $40-50 (2019). The Amtrak bus station is at 200 E Taquitz Canyon Road, and is the preferred method to get to Palm Springs via Amtrak. The LA/Orange County line runs through Fullerton and has only one stop between there and Palm Springs, at downtown Riverside.
  • Another option is to take the Surfliner train to Fullerton. Then, take an Amtrak motorcoach to Palm Springs Airport or downtown Palm Springs. The Amtrak bus stop is at 190 North Indian Canyon Drive.

By Car

From Los Angeles take Interstate 10 or Route 60 East towards Phoenix – 2 hours. From San Diego take Interstate 215 north to Route 60 East – 2 hours. From Phoenix take Interstate 10 West to Indian Canyon South – 4 hours. From Las Vegas take Interstate 15 South to Interstate 10 East (in San Bernardino) – 4 hours.

By Bus

  • Greyhound makes a quick stop at Shell at I-10 exit 120 (64200 20th Ave, North Palm Springs).
  • Flixbus provides affordable bus service to Palm Springs directly from the LA area and Arizona. Some buses stop downtown (Indian Canyon Drive north of Tachevah Drive), while others stop behind Chevron at I-10 exit 120 (6600 N Indian Canyon Dr, North Palm Springs).

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Getting Around

By Car

The main thoroughfares through downtown are one-way only between Alejo and Ramon. Palm Canyon Drive is the southern route, and the home to most restaurants, hotels, and entertainment venues. Indian Canyon Drive runs north, and also has many, though fewer, attractions. Highway 111 runs south from I-10, then east-west along the hill side and connects all the cities in the Palm Springs area. This road has lights and lots of traffic, so if you are going far, you should drive out and hop onto Interstate 10. S.

Palm Canyon Drive is usually busy and can be hard to find a parking place on the weekends and at night. There is ample free parking in the many city owned parking lots and garages, except for Thursday through Saturday nights.

Many international rental companies have a wide selection of rental cars and these include Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, Enterprise, Budget and Alamo/National. Most companies will require you are at least 25 years of age, although younger people might be able to rent cars at slightly higher rates and with some insurance differences as well. A national driver's license is usually enough, but an additional international one is recommended. Also note that it usually costs more to include lots of other extra things. For example extra drivers, GPS, the first full tank, SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance), PAI (Personal Accident Insurance, usually covered already at home), road assistance/service plan, and drop-off costs for one-way rentals.
If you want to book a car, it is recommended that you book your car before arriving in the USA. This is almost always (much) cheaper compared to just showing up. Also, try and book with a so-called 'broker', which usually works together with a few or many car rental companies and can offer the best deal. Some examples include Holidayautos, Holidaycars and Sunny Cars. Some of the cheapest deals to book from Europe, includes Drive-USA, which also has a German version.

For more information and tips about renting cars and campers, additional costs, insurance, traffic rules, scenic routes and getting maps and fuel it is advised to check the USA Getting Around section.

By Public Transport

Route 111 serves downtown Palm Springs south of Vista Chino. Route 24 servers the northern part of downtown Palm Springs (north of East Tachevah Drive).

  • Sun Bus, toll-free: +1-800-347-8628. Run by the city, has routes around the town and to some neighboring resort cities. Fares for one ride are: $1.00 for adults 18-59, 85¢ for youths 5-17, 50¢ for seniors 60+, with medicaid and disabled. A transfer that allows unlimited rides for two hours costs 25¢. A day pass for unlimited rides costs $3.00 for adults, $2.00 for youths between 5 and 17 years old, and $1.50 for seniors 60 years and older with a medicare card, DMV Driver License, Senior ID card, SunLine Half-Fare ID card. A 10-ride pass costs $10.00 for adults, $8.50 for youths and $5 for seniors.

By Foot

Palm Springs has a pedestrian-friendly downtown. Visitors can enjoy the palm tree-lined streets along Palm Canyon Drive and Indian Canyon Drive. Boutique shops, outdoor restaurant and art galleries line the streets.

By Bike

Palm Springs and the surrounding environs are mostly flat and dry and can make for good cycling during the cooler months. Numerous rental facilities can be found around town.

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Eat

The annual Palm Springs Desert Resorts Restaurant Week offers an opportunity to try a number of restaurants at a discounted rate.

  • Tyler's Burgers, 149 South Indian Canyon Dr. This small hamburger joint, famous for their sliders, is considered by locals to have the best hamburgers in Palm Springs. Only open for lunch. Be sure to get there early or be prepared to wait.
  • Kaiser Grille, 205 S. Palm Canyon Dr, ☎ +1 760 323-1003. Good American food right in the middle of downtown Palm Springs.
  • Le Vallauris, 385 W. Tahquitz Canyon Way, ☎ +1 760 325-5059. Expensive, but good French food off of S. Palm Canyon Drive.
  • Riccio's Steak & Seafood, 495 N Palm Canyon Dr. Steak and seafood from an iconic restaurant family. Patio dining on Palm Canyon Drive.
  • El Mirasol, 140 E. Palm Canyon Dr. Voted the best Mexican food in the desert by the readers of Palm Springs Life.
  • Melvyn's, 200 W. Ramon Rd. Old world style featured on "Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous. Live entertainment and happening bar scene.

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Sleep

  • Best Western Inn at Palm Springs, 1633 South Palm Canyon, ☎ +1 760 325-9177, toll-free: +1-800-222-4678, fax: +1 760 325-9177. Renovated guestrooms with features like a 24-hour outdoor pool, spa, and sundeck, and wireless broadband Internet access.
  • Best Western Las Brisas, 222 S Indian Canyon Dr, ☎ +1 760 325-4372, toll-free: +1-800-346-5714, fax: +1 760 320-1371.
  • El Rancho Lodge, 1330 E Palm Canyon Dr, ☎ +1 760 327-1339, fax: +1 760 327-7689. Small motel with some nice features. A great library of books and DVDs and DVD players in every room, friendly owners/managers, nice pool and hot tub in the courtyard and Louise, the resident dog will win over your heart.
  • Motel 6 Downtown, 660 South Palm Canyon Dr, ☎ +1 760 327-4200, fax: +1 760 320-9827.
  • Motel 6 East – E Palm Canyon, 595 East Palm Canyon Dr, ☎ +1 760 325-6129, fax: +1 760 320-9304.
  • Los Arboles Hotel & El Mirasol Restaurant, 266 Via Altamira (I-10 to Highway 111, left on Vista Chino, right on Indian Canyon Dr., left at Via Altamira.), ☎ +1 760 459-3605. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. A charming boutique hotel near downtown, built in the 1930s with a distinctive Spanish Colonial style, Los Arboles was renovated in 2011. Has a heated pool, Jacuzzi, free Wi-Fi and indoor and outdoor special event space. On-site Mexican restaurant. $120–259.
  • Desert Sun Resort, 1533 N. Chaparral Rd, ☎ +1 760 322-5800, toll-free: +1-800-960-4786. PA nudist resort in the heart of downtown, offering hotel rooms and villas. There are three pools, spa service, a restaurant and bar and nightclub.
  • Rendezvous Bed & Breakfast, 1420 N. Indian Canyon Dr (From Hwy 111, Turn L on Vista Chino, Turn R on Indian Canyon Dr., L at Stevens. Located on the corner of Stevens and Indian Canyon Dr.), toll-free: +1-800-485-2808. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Has a pool. All rooms feature a King bed, TV, DVD & CD players, mini-fridge and microwave. Some rooms have whirlpool tubs. $160–240.
  • Chase Hotel, 200 West Arenas Rd, toll-free: +1-888-320-8867.
  • Courtyard, 1300 Tahquitz Canyon Way, ☎ +1 760 322-6100, toll-free: +1-800-321-2211, fax: +1 760 322-6091.
  • Days Inn, 1983 N. Palm Canyon Dr, ☎ +1 760 416-2333. Offers comfortable rooms.
  • Terra Cotta Inn Clothing Optional Resort and Spa, 2388 E. Racquet Club Rd, toll-free: +1-800-786-6938. Considered a "mainstream" nudist resort.
  • Villa Royale Inn, 1620 Indian Trail, ☎ +1 760 327-2314, fax: +1 760 322-3794. Features spacious guestrooms, a restaurant, two heated pools, and landscaped grounds with panoramic mountain views.
  • Old Ranch Inn, 220 South Patencio Rd, toll-free: +1-877-565-3726. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Located in the Historic Tennis Club District, which is in the heart of the Downtown Village. $169-219.
  • Vagabond Inn Palm Springs, 1699 South Palm Canyon Dr, ☎ +1 760 325-7211, fax: +1 760 322-9269. Check-in: 4PM, check-out: noon.
  • Hyatt Palm Springs, 285 North Palm Canyon Drive, ☎ +1 760 322 9000.
  • Alexander Inn, 1425 S. Via Soledad, ☎ +1 760 327-4970, e-mail: info@alexander-inn.com. A secluded retreat with lush gardens, mountain views and one- & two-bedroom villas with separate living/dining areas and kitchens.
  • Colony Palms Hotel, 572 N. Indian Canyon Dr. A Moroccan themed hotel. Accommodation ranges from simple king rooms to jr suites and casitas with outdoor patios and tubs. The Purple Palm restaurant/bar is at the edge of the pool. Free Wi-Fi and self parking for guests, valet available on weekends. From $199.
  • Le Parker Méridien, 4200 East Palm Canyon Dr, ☎ +1 760 770-5000. A fancy boutique hotel with quirky art and fun modern design. Norma's is a five-star diner with a twist. $285–615.
  • Renaissance Palm Springs, 888 E Tahquitz Canyon Way (3 blocks from Palm Canyon Drive and directly linked to the Convention Center), ☎ +1 760 322-6000, fax: +1 760 322-5351.
  • The Willows Historic Palm Springs Inn, 412 W. Tahquitz Canyon Way, ☎ +1 760 320-0771. One of Palm Springs’ 10 oldest sites. Hollywood history with modern comforts. AAA Four-Diamond Award. From $275.
  • Del Marcos Hotel, 225 w. Baristo Road, toll-free: +1-800-676-1214, e-mail: info@delmarcoshotel.com. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. A 17-room boutique hotel that has been modernized and restored. It was built in 1947 out of native stone and redwood, surrounding a shimmering pool, featuring a U-shape plan which encourages socializing among guests. Designed by William F. Cody, the Del Marcos is one of the most photographed hotels in Palm Springs. Walking distance to downtown Palm Springs and nestled up against the majestic San Jacinto Mountains. The hotel features standard rooms to suites with full kitchens and private patios. Complimentary breakfast, happy hour, bikes, parking and wi-fi. $119-299.

You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

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Keep Connected

Internet

There is a very small internet bar/cafe culture in the USA. Even then most of the internet bars/cafes tend be located in major urban centers. Accessible WiFi networks, however, are common. The most generally useful WiFi spots are in coffee shops, fast-food chains, and bookshops, but also restaurants and hotels more and more have a network to connect on. Some of them might require you to buy something and you might need a password too, especially in hotels.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The general emergency phone number is 911. The USA has a great landline phone system that is easy to use. The country code for the U.S. is +1. The rest of the telephone number consists of 10 digits: a 3-digit area code, and a 7-digit number. Any small grocery store or pharmacy has pre paid domestic or international phone cards. These phone cards are very cheap and offer good rates. The once ubiquitous pay phone is now much harder to find. Likely locations include in or near stores and restaurants, and near bus stops. The cellphone network in the states is slowly getting better but is still not as good when compared to other western countries. Cell phones tend to operate using different frequencies (850 MHz and 1900 MHz) from those used elsewhere in the world (2100 MHz). This used to prevent most foreign phones from working in America. Phones must be tri- or quad-band to work in the U.S. Fortunately, technology has meant that most phones should now be able to pick up one of the U.S. networks. Prepaid phones and top-up cards can be purchased at mobile phone boutiques and at many discount, electronics, office supply and convenience stores. A very basic handset with some credit can be had for under $40.

Post

The US Postal Service is a very good and well priced mail system. There are post offices in every small and large town for sending packages internationally or domestically. Although some might keep longer hours, most are open at least between 9:00am and 5:00pm. If wanting to send a letter or postcard it is best just to leave it in a blue mail box with the proper postage. First-class international airmail postcards and letters (up 28.5 grams) cost $1.10. There are also private postal services like FedEx, UPS, TNT and DHL, which might be better value sometimes and are generally very quick and reliable too.

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Accommodation in Palm Springs

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This is version 11. Last edited at 9:42 on Jun 14, 19 by Utrecht. 2 articles link to this page.

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