On a budget? Palm Springs has a lot to offer
A visit to Palm Springs doesn’t have to break the bank
If you’re looking to get away from the big city for a while, Palm Springs, California, maybe just what you need. It’s only two hours away from Los Angeles, but it’s a world away when it comes to things to see and explore.
So when is the best time to go to Palm Springs? Palm Springs is located in the desert, where the average highs in summer hover around 100 degrees. Although it’s a dry heat, you may want to avoid Palm Springs from May to August if oppressive heat is not your thing.
Winter is considered the best time to go to Palm Springs. The coolest months are December and January when the average temperature is in the high 60s to mid-70s. Nights do cool down to the mid-40s. The temperatures get warmer every month after January, so depending on your preference, you can choose what weather suits you best.
Free activities in Palm Springs
Palm Springs’ claim to fame started back in the 50s when top stars hung out and had legendary parties there. Stars such as Marilyn Monroe, Sammy Davis, Elvis Presley, and Frank Sinatra were all locals. So is Palm Springs expensive? It doesn’t have to be.
There are a variety of fun, free things to do there. The best place to start is the Palm Springs Visitor Center. It offers a list of free things to do in Palm Springs that are beyond the scope of this article. But here are the favorites for people looking to keep their vacation finances in check.
There is an active arts scene in Palm Springs. The most famous is the Palm Springs Art Museum, which boasts works by well-known artists, including Andy Warhol, Ansel Adams, and even Picasso. Free admission on Thursdays.
For those looking for a different kind of star, the Rancho Mirage Observatory was recently completed. This free and educational stop is family-friendly. Palm Springs attracts stargazers due to clear skies and wide, open spaces.
Downtown Palm Springs was recently renovated with lots of shopping and restaurants to discover. But locals will tell you Villagefest is the best way to see downtown. It’s a famous street fair that offers a farmer’s market, music, and food.
These activities have some cost, but not much
Because of the fabulous weather, hiking is super popular in Palm Springs. There are several nature preserves in the area, namely Morongo Canyon or Indian Canyon. They offer ancient rock formations to explore and animal preserves to visit. Some are free, but goodwill donations are appreciated.
One of the biggest attractions is the Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival. Many movie stars flock there to attend a variety of movie screenings. For $69, you can get a pack of six tickets and visit any of the screenings too. There’s also a Film Awards Gala, but special tickets are required for that, and no cost is listed.
The Aerial Tramway will take you on a ride up above to see the desert views and mountain views. The cost is $26, and this is undoubtedly worth the price.
“There are a variety of fun, free things to do there. The best place to start is the Palm Springs Visitor Center.”
Because there were so many movie stars that lived in Palm Springs, another fun activity is to drive around the fancy neighborhoods. For only $5, you can get a map of the famous homes. Along the way, you can see some gorgeous architecture of homes and buildings in the area. There’s also a Walk of Stars in downtown Palm Springs.
There are so many more things to do, such as Desert Hot Springs, with its natural, hot mineral pools to soak away your stress. And for music lovers, the Coachella concert is only 30 minutes away. Be prepared for crowds and craziness there.
Downloading an app about Palm Springs is probably the best way to get around. They give you directions, costs, and descriptions of all the attractions. It’s a great way to see this beautiful desert city.
A deeper dive — Related reading from the 101:
- Winter comes alive in Steamboat Springs, SkiTown USA | Vacation 101
Steamboat Springs has great skiing and an active nightlife
- Treat yourself to a budget-friendly warm travel spot | Finance 101
You don’t have to spend a lot to vacation somewhere warm. Check these places out!