Planning a quick getaway and wondering how to spend 48 hours in Palm Springs, California? Worry no more, I’ve got you covered! From where to stay, what to do, and even where to eat, I’m sharing how you can spend 48hrs in Palm Springs, CA.
Read Also: How to Spend 48hrs in Vegas
It seems as though whenever I take a trip, I also take a few months to publish. Many people wonder, how do I remember what to do, where to eat, etc.? It’s simple. I take a million photos and I usually highlight my trip on Instagram and you can find them generally in a highlight.
Why Palm Springs? Well, we initially wanted to visit Joshua Tree National Park. So why not? What I can tell you, however, is that I will not be visiting in the heat of summer, as we experienced 115-degree weather which was no fun. Even with all the sunscreen, we used on a daily basis, we still ended up with a “black girl tan”.
Anyway, let’s get into how you can spend 48 hours in Palm Springs. This truly boils down to when you can fly in, and believe me, you can do a lot in 48hrs if timed correctly. Since we were winging it, I’ve put together an itinerary so you can maximize your time there.
- Make these Palm Tree Wafers to remind you of your time spent in Palm Springs.
First: Where to Stay!
I can’t recommend staying at the 4-star hotel, The Saguaro Hotel Palm Springs enough. It’s a world of color, from the rooms to the pool all in the desert. Try and book a balcony room if you can. And if you’re there on a Tuesday or Thursday, take advantage of their Taco Tuesday/Thursday (6-9pm) where tacos cost $5 at their in-house restaurant El Jefe, and don’t forget the margaritas.
I suggest renting a car for your trip in Palm Springs. While we did see public transportation, I’m not entirely sure how reliable it is, but there’s also Uber. However, while Palm Springs is a walkable city, you’re going to need a car for day 2.
Start with brunch at Trio, a quaint little restaurant with an amazing menu. Reservations aren’t needed and I recommend sitting on the patio under the umbrellas.
Another brunch idea if you’re there for 3 days and have the time: Grand Central Palm Springs. We had brunch here on the day we left and it was just as good.
Take the Tram Overlooking Palm Springs
Quite possibly one of the highlights of our trip, The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is a must. However, if you’re deathly afraid of heights, you may not want to look down, as it can get scary looking down while on the tram. However, once you get to the top, you’ll be ok. To be honest, you really don’t need much more than ½hr to an hour here, and that’s me being generous.
Note: You do need to wear a mask when onboard the tram.
Visit the Palm Springs Art Museum
If art is your thing, then a visit to the Palm Springs Art Museum is a must. While this is a much smaller art museum than what I’m generally used to, you can still spend a significant amount of time in here going over all the art exhibits. There are 3 floors of art that you can take in, and admission is only $5 for ages 18+. If you’d rather not pay (but it’s cheap), you can visit on Thursdays from 5-7pm when they offer free admission. You can also check out the art littered around the city such as the Car Plunge and the Marilyn Monroe Statue just outside the art museum.
Visit the Faye Sarkowsky Sculpture Garden
For a totally free art exhibit, check out the Faye Sarkowsky Sculpture Garden located in Palm Desert just a 20-minute car ride away at the Palm Springs Art Museum. This garden exhibit is 100% free, consisting of four acres, featuring over 60 desert plants and 14 outdoor sculptures, and is open every day from sunrise to sunset.
Don’t Forget to Visit Robolights
Robolights is the brainchild of Kenny Irwin, an artist who decided to create art in his backyard made almost entirely of recycled materials. A reservation is needed and while it is free, donations are welcome. This place is huge as it consists of 4 acres, so you can spend about 2hrs here easily taking in all the fun “art”. We’ve heard that Christmas can be truly spectacular as he adorns his work with lights making it extra special during the holidays.
Palm Springs is what I like to call a food paradise as the options are vast. It truly depends on what you’re craving that night. We opted for Thai (as Thai food is one of my absolute favorites), Thai Smile, and had no regrets. The food was amazing and the price was right. We didn’t have a reservation and got a table easily here. However, I would recommend calling in a reservation to be on the safe side.
This is why most people visit Palm Springs. Joshua Tree! But before you visit Joshua Tree, I recommend going to Salvation Mountain. Trust me, you can do them both on the same day.
Get brunch early on this day because it’s going to be a long day. Start brunch at the Palms Cafe, just a little outside of Palm Springs, since you’re going to be on your way to Salvation Mountain. The Palms Cafe serves amazing breakfast at very reasonable prices. This is definitely going to be your budget brunch, but there’s nothing budget about the quality food.
Visit Salvation Mountain
Salvation Mountain is about 1½ hours outside of Palm Springs and a must-visit. It’s the brainchild of Leonard Knight and is a very small area. You may probably spend about 30 minutes to an hour here in total taking in the glorious artwork decided to the Christian faith, and learning about the history of the how and why it was created.
Head to Joshua Tree National Park
Now, this may be the highlight of your trip. Visiting Joshua Tree National Park and seeing those amazing Joshua Trees, or even taking in Skull Rock or the other famous rocks that are known around the park. From Salvation Mountain, it’s roughly another 2hr drive to Joshua Tree, on a rather lonely but scenic route. Be sure you’re wearing comfortable shoes if you’re looking to reach some of the more popular rocks such as Arch Rock, as you’re going to need to hike there.
End the Night with Dinner
You’ll find some of the best seafood at Sammy G’s Tuscan Grill, located in the heart of Palm Springs. While reservations aren’t needed, it’s highly recommended. Do ask for the “Off-Menu Special” if you’re a seafood lover as I am, along with a glass of sangria. And if the weather is great, as it usually is in Palm Springs, ask for outdoor seating.
We had an amazing time in Palm Springs, but I can tell you with 100% certainty that I would not revisit during the summer months. I would suggest Spring/Fall and even the Winter months may be a better time to visit Palm Springs.
While Palm Springs is no LA, you won’t miss the traffic and there is so much to see in this tiny desert oasis. From the sculpture work in the many neighborhoods to the colorful doors (don’t forget to visit The Pink Door) adorned on the numerous homes, you’ll love the vibe that is Palm Springs. But don’t take my word for it, book a mini getaway to Palm Springs today.