Just a couple of hours' drive from Los Angeles, Palm Springs is best known for one thing: Coachella. But there’s more to the resort destination than meets the eye.
The explosion of music, art and boho-chic that is the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival dates back to 1999 and has since grown into the most famous music festival in the world. Coachella takes place over two three-day weekends in April – and there’s a good reason for that. The summers in Palm Springs are hot – and when we say hot, we mean it. From June to August, the average temperatures are around the 104F (40C) mark (hardly ideal festival camping conditions). Outside summer, it’s more manageable, if still toasty year-round. Down to the success of the music festival, there are now a bunch of other events that use the site during the year; one popular attraction is Modernism Week, which takes place around Palm Springs in February. It’s a real draw for lovers of architecture, with many beautiful homes opening up for tours and a whole lot of events happening around town. Great museums are open year-round, from the Palm Springs Art Museum to the Palm Springs Air Museum, a 65,000sqft (6039sqm) space dedicated to World War II combat aircraft. The main reason the resort destination is here in the first place, though, is nature. Not only are you under an hour’s drive from the iconic Joshua Tree National Park, a short drive down Tramway Road will take you to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, a gondola ride that provides remarkable views of the Coachella Valley, and offers access to both a meal with a view up the top and a great base for a hike into the San Jacinto Mountains. Indian Canyons offers treks from the 15mi-long (24km) Palm Canyon to the shorter Tahquitz Canyon, a 1.8mi (2.9km) loop trail that will take you to a waterfall – great for all levels of hiker. There’s more than pools in Palm Springs.