Things to Do Outdoors in Palm Springs, California

If you’re going to play golf in Palm Springs, come to Tahquitz Creek Golf Resort with the dramatic backdrop of the San Jacinto mountains
If you’re going to play golf in Palm Springs, come to Tahquitz Creek Golf Resort with the dramatic backdrop of the San Jacinto mountains | © mauritius images GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo
Despite the scorching summer heat, Palm Springs is geared up for al-fresco enjoyment. Besides desert scenery, hot springs and golf, you’ll find outdoor markets, street parties, rooftop bars and more. Check out these top tips from Culture Trip local insiders – just remember to pack your water bottle and sunscreen.

Sugar High Rooftop Lounge

Bar, Cocktails

Sugar High Rooftop Lounge – a hidden gem downtown in Azucar restaurant at Las Serenas Villas – is a great spot to catch the perfect California sunset and gaze out over the Palm Springs skyline with a sundowner or two. Come here for a romantic evening away from the main tourist beat. An outdoor fireplace, first-rate service and cocktails to die for all make this an atmospheric stop-off. Recommended by local insider Jennifer Weil

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Palm Springs Vintage Market

Market

The Palm Springs Vintage Market takes place every first Sunday of the month (except in summer, when it’s simply too hot). Come prepared to rummage for retro and vintage bargains with prices to suit all budgets. There’s also live music and a selection of food trucks so you can spend a morning here, then stay for lunch. Admission is a very reasonable $5 at the door, dropping to $3 with email sign-up. Recommended by local insider Jennifer Weil

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Smoke Tree Stables

Natural Feature

What finer way to explore the Great American West than on horseback, when you can ride into the remote desert to enjoy the scenery and canyon landscapes that lie just outside Palm Springs. Smoke Tree Stables is a fantastic starting point, with both group and private guided rides on offer, plus several trail ride packages that include picnics, barbecues and other events on your way around. Enjoy the views en route, and keep your eyes peeled for desert wildlife. Recommended by local insider Lauren Malestic

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Palm Springs VillageFest

Market

The Palm Springs VillageFest is the city’s street fair, desert-style. Every Thursday evening, Palm Canyon Drive comes alive with some of the area’s best loved arts, crafts and food vendors. So whether you’re looking for local crafts, unique souvenirs or locally produced food and ingredients, there’s something for you. Grab a bite from one of the food trucks, and stay for the live music when you’ve finished browsing. There’s no better way to pass a hot desert evening. Recommended by local insider Lauren Malestic

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Tahquitz Creek Golf Resort

Sports Center

If there’s one thing Palm Springs isn’t short of, it’s golf resorts. There are several purpose-built courses in and around the city, but if you only have time to visit one, make it Tahquitz Creek Golf Resort in the San Jacinto mountains. Your round will be accompanied by stunning views over Mount San Jacinto itself, as well as red-gold panoramas of the surrounding desert. It gets warm out there, so head to the clubhouse for the 19th hole, where 12 types of beer are on tap. Recommended by local insider Lauren Malestic

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