Read my other quick-trip guides for California, here. Including Hollywood, Orange County, and Palm Springs!
Visit One of California's Oldest Areas -
The Mission was once an agricultural and religious center founded back in 1776. You can tour the church, go shopping, have high noon tea, and hop on the train in and out of town.
Here’s how I recommend exploring Hollywood in one day in driving order:
Los Angeles’s Best Beaches
There are plenty of great beaches to visit in Los Angeles, and this is not a complete list, but these are ones I've visited that I enjoyed:
*Personal warning: California beaches are a bit windy and the water is always cold. If you are used to East coast or Florida beaches, these are very different.*
Where to Eat:
Plan a really special dinner and splurge on some of the highest quality meals you might ever enjoy at these places. There are always trendy new spots popping up, but these ones have been around for years, so I feel I can recommend them without issue:
I hope this helps you plan a trip to Los Angeles and the surrounding areas!
If you are looking for a quick road trip from L.A., check out my guide “48-hours in Palm Springs and Joshua Tree” for a fun desert adventure!
Checkout my other California Guides below:
This was my sister, my mom, and I's first time visiting Palm Springs. We tried our hardest to squeeze in as much as we could, but of course, we couldn’t do it all in 48 hours.
Here is what we managed to do and a few things we wish we had seen. Enjoy!
Where to Stay in Palm Springs: (read more here!)
The colorful neon theme made for the most fun atmosphere as we enjoyed the DJ by the pool and explored the playful grounds. There were hammocks, giant games, horseshoes to play, really good drinks being served from the poolside bar, plus delicious food from El Jefe as well (read more below). It really was the best hotel!
Where to Eat in Palm Springs:
We did not go here, but it was highly recommended to us. Its rooftop looks amazing and the drinks look delicious. It’s on the list for next time for sure!
See what I mean here!
Another place we couldn’t fit in was Bootlegger Tiki. It looked like the cutest happy hour spot with a nice, light menu and bright, colorful cocktails.
Checkout their menu here!
Things To Do During The Day:
It should go without saying that the desert is hot. We knew this and thought we were prepared, but it was about 115 degrees when we were there, and it was unbearable!
There was an extreme heat wave in the summer of 2021, but on average in the summer, Palm Springs gets freaking HOT.
We should have planned to be inside during the mid-afternoon instead of walking around, but we planned our trip focusing on locations instead of weather. We didn’t get to quite as much stuff done as we planned.
The top of the mountain was nice and cool, and surprisingly wooded. When walking around the Visitors Center, I learned about backpacking trails and the wildlife atop the mountain here. I will have to look more into this and plan a trip back up.
Cost: $16.95 - $28.95
Hours: Monday - Friday 10 am - 8 pm, Saturday & Sunday 8 am - 8 pm
Recommendation: Go during the heat of the day, The top of the tram is sometimes 20 degrees cooler than the desert below! This means it gets chilly in the morning.
Shopped on Palm Canyon Drive
We wandered in and out of shop after shop on the main street of Palm Springs. It was so fun looking at all the brightly colored clothing and high fashion stores!
Visit The Robo Lights
One thing we wanted to do was visit the Robolights Exhibit. It is a quirky art installation by artist Kenny Irwin.
Appointments are required to enter due to COVID-19. Please check his facebook page for contact info!
Take an Architecture Tour
One thing Palm Springs is really famous for is its architecture. It has a very distinct, modern style of white, sleek houses with colorful accents around their straight lines. The style comes from when the town was booming during the 50’s-70’s.
We could have explored town to just view the beautiful designs, but we wanted to get information from a guide who could share details about the designers and owners of the homes. We especially wanted to learn about celebrities', like Frank Sinatra’s, estates and stories!
Other Things We Did in the Area:
Joshua Tree National Park is about an hour from downtown Palm Springs, and we wanted to beat the day’s heat. We arrived in The Cholla Cactus Gardens right at sunrise. It was perfect.
We spent half the day exploring this spectacular preserve and barely scratched the surface of exploration.
If you only have a short amount of time inside Joshua Tree National Park, check out my blog post "One Day in Joshua Tree" to see all that we did!
The dinosaurs were the last thing on our road trip before we made it back home. It was a lot to cram into two days, but we did it and had a blast!
I hope this guide can help you plan your perfect getaway to Palm Springs and the surrounding Joshua Tree area especially if you only have a limited amount of time to explore.
Please let me know in the comments if you find this guide or any of my other California Guides helpful. Thank you for reading!
Talkin' 'bout Tacos:
I'm Taylor, aka Tacos! I am sharing my journeys and experiences from across the world hoping to inspire travel and adventure in all who read.