How To Spend A Perfect Day In Palm Desert

By Vanessa Rauch

Palm Desert is a whole vibe! The greater Palm Springs area includes the city of Palm Desert. This sandy cove at the foot of the beautiful Santa Rosa Mountains is a mecca for entertainment, golf, and shopping.  Whether you’re looking to hike some scenic trails or enjoy leisurely activities, Palm Desert has you covered. There are also several festivals throughout the year, you can find an event schedule here. But what should you do while in this sun-soaked desert town? Read on for how to spend the perfect day in Palm Desert, California. 

When To Visit Palm Desert

Palm Desert is a great destination year-round, however, the best time to visit is between January and April. Fall is another great time to visit for cooler temperatures. Keep in mind that visiting Palm Desert during the summer does mean heat of over 100℉. 

Where To Stay In Palm Desert

Peel Palms – month long stays

If you are looking for a month-long escape from it all, be sure to check out Peel Palms. This family and pet-friendly home is centrally located in the Coachella Valley, making it the perfect home base for exploring the greater Palm Springs area. You’ll love the casually curated living space in this beautiful and tranquil 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom, boho dream. 

The quiet neighborhood makes the backyard oasis great for relaxing and features a private pool and spa. It is also walking distance from El Paseo with its many shops and restaurants. 

*Peel Palms is currently only available for stays of 27 days or more. Inquire for more details or book

Click here to book Peel Palms today! 

How To Spend One Perfect Day In Palm Desert

8am – Grab Brunch At Wilma & Frieda

73575 El Paseo #2310, Palm Desert, CA 92260

You don’t want to miss “the” brunch place in Palm Desert, Wilma & Frieda. They offer comfort with a twist that no one can resist! The extensive menu features the perfect blend of sweet and savory breakfast items. Try the house special, Bernie’s Omelet with Chili Verde Pork and Brie or Churro Waffles topped with Madagascar vanilla creme. For other restaurant options, check out our Dining Guide – El Paseo

10am – Head To The Living Desert Zoo And Gardens

47900 Portola Avenue, Palm Desert, CA 92260 

This Palm Desert zoo and botanical park introduces you to the desert environment and the wild animal population that calls it home. The park actually has desert dwellers from all over the world, but the greatest focus is on North America and Africa. Highlights include giraffes (which you can feed!), zebras, wallabies and the new rhino exhibit. The animals are most active in the morning hours, so try to get to the park early. 

or.. Hike The Bump And Grind Trail

72440 Painters Path, Palm Desert CA 92260

Distance: 4 miles 

Rating: Moderate 

Elevation Gain: 1,105 ft 

This short but tough trail packs a lot of excitement into a moderate 4 miles. On this hike, you’ll experience vistas of two of Southern California’s highest peaks, Mt. San Gorgonio and San Jacinto. You’ll also get to visit a refuge for the endangered bighorn sheep that call the area home. There are multiple parking spaces for this hike just past the trailhead. If you choose to hike, do this in the morning while the weather is cooler and then head to Wilma & Frieda for brunch.

2pm – Visit Vista Point

Once you finish at the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens take a 15-minute drive up Hwy 74 to this stunning overlook and viewpoint. You’ll get truly beautiful views of Coachella Valley (and a great photo op!) from Vista Point

3pm – Stroll El Paseo Shopping District

What’s better than a little retail therapy on vacation? Shopping is one of the most popular activities in Palm Desert and the El Paseo Shopping District has over 250 stores selling anything and everything you can think of including jewelry, fashion, and art. If you’re looking for luxury brands, El Paseo is the place for you with shopping experiences including Saks Fifth Avenue, Louis Vuitton, and Tiffany & Co. 

5pm – Happy Hour At Pacificas Seafood Restaurant

73505 El Paseo, Palm Desert, CA 92260

Happy Hour at Pacifica is always buzzing! Join in on the fun daily from 3:30 – 6:30 pm. Enjoy discounted beer, wine, cocktails on their outdoor patio along with some amazing appetizers like their House-Made Ceviche. 

7pm – Grab Dinner At Thai Smile 

73725 El Paseo, Palm Desert, CA 92260

Thai Smile is a can’t miss if you are craving Thai food. The original location was in Rancho Mirage but they recently relocated to El Paseo (with a second location in Palm Springs). It’s hard to pick a favorite dish here but some great options including the Tom Kha Kai soup, Chicken Spicy Peanut Sauce, Red Curry, Pad Thai, and the Spicy Fried Rice. 

Other Ideas for your trip to Palm Desert:

For Adventure Lovers:

Take A Red Jeep Tour With Desert Adventures

74-794 Lennon Place, Suite B, Palm Desert, CA 92260

If you want to explore more of Palm Desert and need a bit of an adrenaline rush, consider taking a Red Jeep Tour with Desert Adventures. There are several tour options available including Palm Springs Indian Canyons, Painted Canyon, and the Mecca Hills Wilderness Area. However, the most popular is the San Andreas Fault Jeep Tour. On this tour, a naturalist guide gives you information on flora, wildlife, and the history of the San Andreas Fault.  

For Golfers:

Play A Round At Desert Willow Golf Course

38995 Desert Willow Drive, Palm Desert, CA 92260

Palm Desert is known for its amazing golf courses and this one does not disappoint. This beautiful course fully embraces the desert landscape, even the plant palette reflects the gorgeous desert surroundings at this one-of-a-kind golf experience. The Firecliff course at Desert Willow is even ranked among Golf Digest’s “Places To Play.” So get out and play a round during your time in Palm Desert! 

For History Lovers:

Visit Cabot’s Pueblo Museum 

67616 Desert View Avenue, Desert Hot Springs, CA 92240

$13 general admission

This museum is the perfect place to explore the local history of Palm Desert. This Hopi Village is located within Cahuilla Territory and holds some truly great Palm Desert stories. The 35 room structure consists of salvaged and repurposed materials. It’s chock full of relics, images, and historical artifacts and stories that will have you fascinated. 

No matter how you spend your day in Palm Desert, California you are sure to have an unforgettable time. You’ll love your time spent in this trendy desert oasis! 

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