With year-round sunshine, spectacular natural surroundings, and world-class resorts and amenities, it’s easy to chill out in Palm Desert. From spas and golf clubs, to alfresco shopping and dining; whiling the day away (at your leisure) is what this desert oasis was made for. Whether you’re on a romantic getaway, or traveling for business, here are 15 favorite ways to relax and unwind while you’re in town, from the team at TripAdvisor.
1. Book a spa day at JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa
With two golf courses, manicured grounds (with water features) and a selection of renowned restaurants on site, there’s no need to ever leave the sanctuary of JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa. Book into its top-rated wellness center for a full day of serious tlc; including signature massages, facials, and more.
2. Satisfy your sweet tooth at the French Corner Cafe & Bakery
Feast your way through moreish pastries at the French Corner Cafe & Bakery, where the tantalizing window display is impossible to walk-by! With shaded patio seating, and an authentic, wide-ranging menu, it makes for an indulgent breakfast or mid-afternoon stop whether you’re craving crepes or croissants.
3. Play a round or two at Woodhaven Country Club
Day on the fairways top of your list? Try the friendly Woodhaven Country Club; where beautiful lakes and waterfalls are surrounded by expertly-manicured greens, and backed by snowcapped mountains. With breathtaking scenery and more than 100 courses to choose from, Coachella Valley is known as the “golf capital of the world.” You’ll soon see why as you tee-off here!
4. Shop at your leisure along El Paseo
Known as the “Rodeo Drive of the Desert,” Palm Desert’s mile-long El Paseo is a fashionista’s paradise. From jewelry to clothing to art, its 300-plus shops offer everything you could wish for. Browse its alfresco outlets at your leisure; and pause at a terrace cafe, restaurant or bakery whenever the feeling takes you.
5. Explore the tranquil gardens & galleries of Palm Desert Museum
Housed in an architecturally distinctive building, the four tranquil galleries of the Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Desert, are a real joy to explore. Discover its diverse exhibits, before wandering the winding walkways of the Faye Sarkowsky Sculpture Garden outside. Set in a lushly-landscaped oasis, it features 10 magnificent works by renowned modern masters.
6. Get a style makeover at J. Russell! Salon
Covering more than 10,000 square feet, and featuring close to 50 stations and treatment rooms, J. Russell! The Salon is Palm Desert’s ultimate destination for a memorable, head-to-toe makeover. Book in for a full day of restyling and let its talented team of nail technicians, skin estheticians, makeup artists, and colorists, transform the way you look — and feel.
7. Watch the sunrise in peace from a Hot Air Balloon ride
Climb aboard a private Balloons Above charter for a peaceful panorama you’ll never forget. Covering up to 30 miles, the 90-minute flight offers unparalleled views of the desertscape below; from farms to resorts to natural landmark, the San Andreas fault. Launch just before sunrise and watch the sky change color, without a sound.
8. Ride horses through the desert with Smoke Tree Stables
With magnificent natural surroundings and an extensive trail network, Palm Desert is made for exploring on horseback.Whether you’re a novice or a riding pro, book a cowboy-led excursion with Smoke Tree Stables, and spend the morning meandering slowly through beautiful scenery, followed by lunch.
9. Float into oblivion at Mot’us Wellbeing Center
Climb into a floatation tank and feel all your tension and worries immediately slip away! Mot’us takes pampering up a notch, with state-of-the-art tanks known for their unparalleled healing properties. Bring your own music, take your pick from the center’s extensive meditation library, or simply float in silence, as the water works its magic.
10. Soak in the vistas on the Randall Henderson Trail
With countless scenery-laced trails of varying difficulty, Palm Desert is a picturesque place for a stress-reducing hike. With a well-marked route, a moderate climb, and plenty of viewpoints along the way, the Randall Henderson Trail is a great intro to hiking in the desert; or opt for the more vigorous Bump and Grind Trail, to work up a serious sweat.
11. Linger over lunch at Desert Willow Golf Resort
Take a seat on the restaurant patio at Desert Willow Golf Resort, and enjoy a delicious leisurely lunch, overlooking the number 9 and 18 greens. With attentive service and plenty of choice of the menu, it’s a memorable spot for an alfresco meal. Feast on fish tacos, cobb salad and artisan sandwiches, with a breathtaking mountain backdrop.
12. Stroll and picnic in Civic Center Park
Spanning 70 acres, Palm Desert’s Civic Center Park offers something for everyone – including the Palm Desert Aquatic Center, sports fields, a rose garden, and free music concerts May through October. Discover numerous lifesize sculptures as you stroll the grounds, and bring a picnic to enjoy on the lawns.
13. Wind down with classical music at McCallum Theatre
From hit broadway shows to ballet; the state-of-the-art McCallum Theatre is a stand-out venue for a dazzling variety of performances. Book well ahead for a night of stirring classical music or jazz; and let the intimate seating and incredible acoustics, transport you to another world.
14. Watch a movie poolside at Hotel Paseo
Nominated for Best New Hotel 2019 by readers of USA Today, Hotel Paseo is one of Palm Desert’s most stylish places to stay, with a chic outdoor area offering several laidback perks. Enjoy seasonal poolside movies, settle in for an evening of games under the stars, or unwind to live music on the intimate stage, cocktail in hand.
15. Stroll around the Public Art Trail
With a diverse public collection of more than 150 artworks, it’s easy to indulge your artistic side in Palm Desert. From lifesize sculptures to eye-catching installations, the city has been curating art for more than 30 years. Take a stroll under the sun to discover just some of its highlights. Pick up a free map from the visitor center, or download the public art tour map.