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6 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Palm Springs

Palm Springs is less than 113 miles from Los Angeles, in the Colorado Desert. The city, along with several other surrounding communities, including Palm Desert, is a holiday haunt and winter resort for many Americans. Golf resorts and warm weather draw people here from late fall to early spring. It should also be noted that Palm Springs is a fun city any time of year, although it is seriously hot during the summer months. In the surrounding mountains and canyons are some good hikes, and there are number of attractions in town to keep visitors entertained.

1 Palm Canyon

Palm Canyon
Palm Canyon
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Palm Canyon is located about 6 miles south of downtown Palm Springs at the end of South Palm Canyon Drive. It is a 15 mile long canyon wilderness and a bit of an oasis with a creek and waterfalls. Fan palm trees grow abundantly here, giving color and life to the otherwise barren surroundings. The canyon offers some wonderful hiking and from the parking lot there are trails of various lengths. An easy trail leads through the palms and will give you an up close look at the canyon. For the more adventurous, there is a longer trail with views over the canyon and surrounding area. At the parking area there is a Trading Post selling souvenirs, Indian art, and other items.

2 Mount San Jacinto and Aerial Tramway

Mount San Jacinto and Aerial Tramway
Mount San Jacinto and Aerial Tramway
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Mount San Jacinto rises over 10,000 ft above the desert floor on the edge of Palm Springs. Most visitors only go as far as the aerial tram will take them, which is about 8,500 ft. Stepping off the tram after being at the dry and usually hot base can be a bit of a shock. The temperature is considerably cooler up here, even in summer, and in the winter there will likely be snow.

At the end of the line of the Aerial Tramway lies a mountain station which houses an interpretation center run by the state park service. The station runs a video program on the construction of the Aerial Tramway. A number of hiking trails lead off from the station, including trails to the summit of Mount San Jacinto and through the well-populated pine forests on the mountain.

The mountain offers good views of the surrounding areas, including the Palm Springs Valley, and can be a nice way to escape the heat.

3 Palm Springs Art Museum

Palm Springs Art Museum
Palm Springs Art Museum jaycross / photo modified
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The Palm Springs Art Museum is a multifaceted museum offering both displays of artwork and performing arts. The museum has been in existence since the late 1930s and formerly focused almost exclusively on the desert. However, over the years the direction has shifted to modern and contemporary art, including Native American art. Permanent collections include paintings, photography, glass, pottery, sculpture, and architecture.

Address: 101 Museum Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92262-5659, United States

Official site: https://www.psmuseum.org/

4 The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

A visit to the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert is a great way to get out and see, not only the animals, but the desert as well. The zoo features a variety of animals from North America and Africa, with zebras, giraffes, hyenas, some large cats, along with many others. The morning is generally the best time, before the heat sets in and the animals are still active. Check the zoos daily schedule to find out about guided nature walks, wildlife shows, and animal feeding times.

Official site: www.livingdesert.org

5 Palm Springs Air Museum

Palm Springs Air Museum
Palm Springs Air Museum Rex Brown / photo modified
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The Palm Springs Air Museum is known for having one of the country's largest collections of working Second World War period aircrafts. Despite this, the museum is relatively compact and can easily be seen in a relatively short period of time. Much of the collection is displayed in hangars so it is a great place to visit when the weather is too hot to be outside or you are looking for an escape from the outdoors.

Address: 745 North Gene Autry Trail, Palm Springs, CA 92262-5464, United States

6 Coachella Valley Preserve

Coachella Valley Preserve
Coachella Valley Preserve
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Located east of Palm Springs, the Coachella Valley Preserve is a great place for naturalists and outdoor types. The preserve covers 13,000 acres of desert landscape, and is home to great horned owls, lynx, hares, kestrels, lizards, snakes, and all kinds of small birds. It's also a nice place to see some of the local desert plants, including fan palms in the oasis.

Guided tours are available, which will help greatly in understanding the ecosystem. Alternatively, there are self guided hiking trails throughout the preserve.

7 Soak City

Soak City
Soak City
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Palm Springs, particularly in summer, is one of those cities where visitors can truly appreciate a water based amusement park. Soak City is a 21 acre site with numerous water slides including a 70 foot twin Scorpion. There is a wave pool and Squirt City for small children.

Address: 1500 S Gene Autry Trail

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