Palm Springs, California, is one of the most underrated West Coast destinations for groups, students, or budget-seekers in our opinion, and for very good reason(s).
This Golden State city, as you may already know, is full of amazing hot springs, out-of-this-world golf courses, and outstanding art galleries, not to mention it's notable 'midcentury-modern' architecture, amazing shopping opportunities, and the breathtaking Sonoran Desert views. Palm Springs is considered to be 'hip and up and coming', both in the art and culture scene and in the business world.
Of course, when you visit this city you will have your common Palm Springs go-to's; the canyons, the Palm Springs Art Museum, the Tahquitz Creek Golf Resort, the shopping center downtown... but we want to give you a little bit more than that, we want to give you the top hidden gems in Palm Springs that you may not learn about anywhere else. These places are hip, fun, educational, and most importantly, unknown (for the most part).
Desert Memorial Park -
Technically located in Cathedral City, the Palm Springs Desert Memorial Park is one of the oddest, but most intriguing 'hidden' places on our list. This cemetery was built in 1956 and holds some of Hollywood's finest past residents, such as Frank Sinatra and his parents, Jolie Gabor, and Busby Berkely.
Camelot Theaters -
This is a more historic hidden gem than most, the Camelot Theaters representing old-fashioned Hollywood and old Palm Springs all in one. Enjoy Classic Hollywood Wednesdays at this independent movie house, as well as an onsite cafe and bar and unique BYOB options here.
Village Green Heritage Center -
The Village Green Heritage Center is one of the most educational spots in Palm Springs, that is if you like living history. This complex located on Canyon Drive dives you into the city history without breaking the bank, providing a great budget way to see what the 30's and 40's were like out West (there's even a preserved general store!).
Morton Botanical Garden -
If you want budget-friendly, typically crowd less, always breathtaking Palm Springs fun then you want the Morton Botanical Garden, a particularly beautiful 'hidden' gem in the area. This garden was founded in 1938 and holds over 3,000 cacti and other arid land plants, paths, and pioneer relics. Education and entertainment all in one!
Sunny Dunes Antique District -
Welcome to the most eclectic and fun place to shop in Palm Springs, in many people's opinion, the Sunny Dunes Antique District. This 3-block span of unique shops holds over 12 different stores, from vintage outfitters to mid-century furnishings. Find used books, vintage records, old instruments, and so much more at this stop!
El Campanario Restaurant -
Find some of the most delicious Mexican cuisines here at El Campanario, the spot that serves giant platters of authentic fajitas, tamales, enchiladas, seafood platters, and even 'south-of-the-border' filet mignon. Neither you nor your stomach will regret finding this Palm Springs hidden eatery.
Backstreet Art District -
The Backstreet Art District located on Cherokee Way (right behind the Mercedes-Benz Showroom) holds some of the finest artist-owned galleries in the region, plus working studios. See paintings, sculptures, jewelry, photography, and ceramics in the mix!
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway -
Maybe this spot isn't exactly unknown (by any means), but it's a real must-see here in Palm Springs and we don't want you to miss out on it. The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway will provide you with some of the most incredible views and most vast changes in the environment, the 8.5-minute ride up to 2 miles above desert floor showing you climates from arid Sonoma to Canadian Tundra.
Shanghai Red's Oyster Bar -
This Palm Springs Dive Bar has what some are calling the absolute best fish tacos, the hole-in-the-wall eatery serving up fresh seafood and strong cocktails daily. Occasional live music during the evening and a clean 'no-frills' space will await you at Shanghai's (if you can find it)!
Agua Caliente Indian Canyons -
Okay, so maybe this last item on our list won't be completely crowd-free or 'hidden', but we feel we have to include it because the locals love them. The Agua Caliente Canyons have it all; rocky walls, lush palm trees, flowing streams, and native tribal history (Cahuilla). You can hike, picnic, learn, or just admire the beauty here.