STACEY LEASCA , FEBRUARY 13, 2018 | Travel + Leisure
While much of the nation (and the world) is in the midst of a cold, harsh winter, the desert oasis of Palm Springs, California is sitting pretty with an average daily temperature hovering right around 75 degrees and sunny.
Yes, the palm trees, warm desert breeze, and poolside cocktails are indeed calling your name this winter, beckoning you to come for a long weekend from Los Angeles, or an even longer stay from far off places. But once you land in paradise, hold off on sliding onto a lounge chair, because the Greater Palm Springs area, which includes Coachella, Indio, Palm Springs, and more, has much to offer beyond the pool.
Take a Jeep Tour Through the Desert
Palm Springs may look like an arid desert landscape, but there’s more to this view than meets the eye. Sit back in an open air jeep tour with Desert Adventures and learn a thing or two about Palm Springs. Things like: After tourism, its second largest industry is agriculture. (Where do you think all those yummy dates you eat come from?) And did you know that Palm Springs sits right along the San Andreas Fault? Desert Adventures will take you right up to the fault line so you can see it for yourself. Along the way you’ll learn about the different flora and fauna in the area and maybe run into a cute rabbit, owl, or field mouse sitting along your route. Just keep an eye out for rattlesnakes while you’re there as they too call the desert home.
Ride the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, which has been in operation since Sept. 12, 1963, is a favorite among locals and tourists alike for good reason: It’s super freaking cool.
According to the Tramway, an estimated 18 million people have traveled up the 10-minute, 2.5-mile ride since its opening. Each guest begins at at the Valley Station at the base (elevation 2,643 feet) and ends at the Mountain Station (elevation 8,516 feet). There, they are met with breathtaking views of all nine of Greater Palm Springs’ cities. Of course, beyond the views the top also offers guests the chance to eat at two restaurants, grab a drink at the cocktail lounge, or head out for more than 50 miles of nature trails surrounding the tram.
If you choose to add this to your Palm Springs adventure it may be best to reserve your tickets ahead of time so you can ensure you make it up and down during the timeframe you want. Roundtrip tickets are $25.95, or you can grab an annual pass for $160.
Check Out the Palm Springs Art Museum
The desert is home to many excellent artists, all of whom are worth checking out at the Palm Springs Art Museum. There, you’ll find a plethora of worthwhile permanent exhibits like their modern art room with items from around the globe and Native American art from around the American West. The museum also has some excellent rotating exhibits including their current showing of “Having a Ball” by Michael Childers. The exhibit showcases Childers’ photographs from Andy Warhols’ Interview Magazine and include Childers’ personal photographs of Warhol from the 1970s. So when you’re done with the sun, or need a little culture before cocktail hour, swing through, check out the art, and gather a little inspiration for dinner conversations.