8 Best Things to Do in Coachella Valley, California

The Coachella Valley is known as a luxurious vacation spot for the rich and famous, featuring gorgeous natural beauty, interesting historical landmarks, and of course, the Coachella Music Festival. We have researched the eight best things to do in this stunning locale to help you plan the perfect getaway.

  1. Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
  2. Joshua Tree National Park
  3. Palm Springs Air Museum
  4. Cabot’s Pueblo Museum
  5. Elvis’ Honeymoon Hideaway
  6. Indian Wells Tennis Garden
  7. Living Desert Zoo and Gardens
  8. Old Town La Quinta

8 Best Things To Do In Coachella Valley, California

1. Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

For those who aren’t afraid of heights, a trip on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is a must. Considered the longest rotating cable car in the world, this scenic 2.5-mile ride takes guests through rugged Chino Canyon to an elevation of over 8,500 feet in the St. San Jacinto State Park and Wilderness.

Palm Springs Aerial Tram, CA
Palm Springs Aerial Tram | Photo by Don Graham

Once you’ve arrived in Mountain Station, learn more about the tramway’s remarkable history by visiting the station’s theater for an informative video presentation. There are also plenty of observation points, miles of hiking trails, and even two restaurants in the station area where you could further enjoy the views of the surrounding area.

Please keep in mind that only service animals are allowed on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. This does not include emotional therapy pets.

the largest rotating tramway in the world - each car rotates continuously throughout the 8'30" journey to the top offering views of Chico canyon and beyond.
Each car rotates continuously throughout the 8’30” journey to the top offering views of Chico canyon and beyond. | Photo by Mfield, Matthew Field

Location: 1 Tram Way, Palm Springs, CA 92262

For more information, check out their website.

Opening Hours: Mondays through Fridays from 10:00AM – 8:00PM and on weekends from 8:00AM – 8:00PM. The tramway sometimes closes due to inclement weather or maintenance work, so always check their website before visiting.

Admission Fee: Tickets cost $26.95 per adult and $16.95 per child. Senior discounts apply.

2. Joshua Tree National Park

Measuring almost 800,000 acres, the Joshua Tree National Park is a stunning natural area in SoCal that encompasses both the Mojave and Colorado deserts. Guests visiting this alluring destination will find hundreds of miles of hiking and biking trails as well as exceptional rock climbing, horseback riding, and camping opportunities.

Joshua Tree National Park

For those who are pressed for time, drive straight to the Keys View lookout on the Little San Bernardino Mountains. Keys View is so popular because it’s situated at the highest elevation in Joshua Tree, which means it offers the most impressive 360° views of Coachella Valley. Before you leave, it’s also worthwhile to hunt down the cool “Skull Rock” formation that, well, looks just like a skull!

There are camping grounds within Joshua Tree, but bear in mind this park can get packed between October and May. Also, Joshua Tree only allows non-service pets on paved roads, picnic areas, and designated campgrounds.

Location: 6554 Park Blvd, Joshua Tree, CA 92252

For more information, check out their website.

Opening Hours: The actual park is open 24/7 every day of the year, but the main visitor center opens at 8:00AM and closes at 5:00PM.

Admission Fee: FREE

3. Palm Springs Air Museum

Any history buffs visiting Coachella Valley must set aside a few hours to walk through the 70,000 sq. foot Palm Springs Air Museum (PSAM). There are roughly 30 vintage planes on display at the PSAM, all of which were originally built in SoCal. Most of the aircraft you’ll see in the PSAM’s hangars were designed for WWII, but a few were used during the Vietnam and Korean wars.

P38 with Harpoon 159
P38 with Harpoon 159 | Photo by Gillfoto

Those looking for a real thrill might want to consider booking a ride around Coachella Valley in one of the PSAM’s vintage planes. That’s right, you can experience the power of an authentic Warbird first-hand for an additional fee. To find out more about these Warbird flights, check out this webpage.

Location: 745 N Gene Autry Trail, Palm Springs, CA 92262

For more information, check out their website.

Opening Hours: Every day from 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM, excluding holidays.

Admission Fee: Adult tickets cost $17.50 per person, but there are senior and military discounts. Children cost between $10.50 – $15.50 depending on age.

4. Cabot’s Pueblo Museum

The house is a large, Hopi-style pueblo built over a period of 24 years by homesteader Cabot Yerxa.

First opened in the 1940s, Cabot’s Pueblo Museum is one of Coachella Valle’s most significant architectural achievements. Near the end of his life, 20th-century explorer Cabot Yerxa decided to build a Hopi-inspired pueblo in Desert Hot Springs to preserve his vast collection of Native American artistry. Amazingly, all of the materials used to make this homestead were taken from the surrounding area.

On your tour of Cabot’s Pueblo Museum, guides will tell you all about Cabot Yerxa’s adventurous life and why he was so passionate about Native American cultures. You’ll also get to see many rare Native American artifacts Yerxa collected on his travels across North America.

Location: 67616 Desert View Ave, Desert Hot Springs, CA 92240

For more information, check out their website.

Opening Hours: From June through September, the museum is open Tuesdays through Saturdays between 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM. From October through May, however, Cabot’s Pueblo is open between 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM Tuesdays through Sundays.

Admission Fee: $13 per adult and $11 per child. Senior and military discounts apply.

5. Elvis’ Honeymoon Hideaway

Diehard Elvis fans might already know that the “King of Rock ‘n Roll” celebrated his honeymoon with Priscilla Presley in Palm Springs’ Alexander Estate between 1966 and 1967. Luckily for music lovers, this “Honeymoon Hideaway” (aka the Alexander Estate) is still standing and offers tours year-round.

House of Tomorrow / Elvis Presley Honeymoon Hideaway Palm Springs
House of Tomorrow / Elvis Presley Honeymoon Hideaway Palm Springs | Photo by Gary Bembridge

On your tour of the estate, you will see exactly where Elvis and Priscilla slept, swam, and enjoyed quality time together away from the limelight. Depending on what time of year you visit, you might even be treated to a special Elvis tribute concert!

Although walk-ins are welcome, the Alexander Estate prefers guests call ahead of time to book a tour. You can reach Elvis’ Honeymoon Hideaway by calling (760) 322-1192.

Location: 1350 Ladera Circle Palm Springs, CA 92262

For more information, check out their website.

Opening Hours: Tours offered daily between 1:00 PM and 3:30 PM.

Admission Fee: Tour tickets cost $35 per adult or $15 per child

6. Indian Wells Tennis Garden

With over 16,000 seats in its main stadium, Indian Wells Tennis Garden is one of the world’s largest tennis complexes and a must-see attraction for sports fans in the area. If possible, try to visit this tennis garden during March when the world-famous BNP Paribas Open is in full swing.

IWTG Stadium
IWTG Stadium | Photo by IvanAndreevich

Can’t make it in time for the BNP Paribas Open? No worries! There’s always something exciting going on at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. In addition to hosting junior and adult tennis matches, this tennis complex puts together dozens of live music festivals throughout the year, so always check their online calendar for the most up-to-date details.

Location: 78-200 Miles Ave, Indian Wells, CA 92210

For more information, check out their website.

Opening Hours: Varies by event

Admission Fee: Varies by event

7. Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

Ever wanted to feed a giraffe? How about pet a goat? If so, then you must include a stop at the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert on your tour of Coachella Valley.

Yes, employees at this zoo will allow you to directly feed hungry giraffes on your tour. You could also pet a few Nigerian dwarf goats, see an elaborate model train set, and ride on an endangered animal-themed carousel. In total, there are over 400 animals from about 150 species living at this zoo, which makes this an ideal day trip for parents traveling with kids.

By the way, it’s a good idea to check out the times for the zoo’s live demonstrations before your arrival. Guests who are interested in birds should look into the Wildlife Wonders Show, but those with an interest in all things slimy might prefer the Reptile Show. You can find out more info on these and other shows on this official online calendar.

Location: 47900 Portola Ave, Palm Desert, CA 92260

For more information, check out their website.

Opening Hours: Open between October and May from 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM every day. From June through September, however, this zoo is open from 8:00 AM – 1:30 PM every day.

Admission Fee: $24.95 per adult or $14.95 per child. Senior discounts apply.

8. Old Town La Quinta

La Quinta’s Old Town may look historic, but it was actually first developed in the mid-1990s. Inspired by a mix of traditional European and Californian architectural styles, Old Town La Quinta is one of SoCal’s most picturesque outdoor shopping areas.

Besides Old Town’s gorgeous architecture, guests are impressed with this district’s commitment to community engagement. Indeed, all of the lovely beauty salons, boutiques, cafés, and restaurants throughout Old Town La Quinta are locally owned and operated.

In keeping with its strong community orientation, Old Town La Quinta hosts dozens of exciting events every month. Definitely check out Old Town La Quinta’s online calendar before your visit to see what events are going on during your stay.

Location: 8100 Main St, La Quinta, CA 92253

For more information, check out their website.

Opening Hours: Usually 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, but store times vary.

Admission Fee: FREE

Where To Stay In Coachella Valley

Usually, tourists have no problems booking a hotel in Coachella Valley…unless they’re traveling in April. In case you haven’t heard, Coachella is kind of a big deal in the music industry. Every April, hundreds of thousands of fans visit the area to take part in the now legendary Coachella Music Festival.

Even if you’re not planning on going to the Coachella Festival, it’s a good idea to book your hotel well in advance if traveling during this month. By the way, you can find out more about the Coachella Music Festival by visiting this website.

To help you with your hotel search, we’ve listed three highly reviewed destinations in Coachella Valley that range from high-class to affordable.

The Ritz-Carlton – Rancho Mirage

Travelers looking for the crème de la crème of Coachella Valley should look no further than the 5-star Ritz-Carlton – Rancho Mirage. Located a 20-minute drive from Palm Springs International Airport, this Ritz-Carlton offers most guests private balconies where they can enjoy the Palm Springs mountains from the comfort of their rooms. Other luxurious features of the Ritz-Carlton – Rancho Mirage include two pools, free yoga classes, and over 20 miles of on-site hiking trails.

Visit them on Booking.com

Hotel California

Couples who prioritize intimacy on their vacation should investigate the Hotel California in Palm Springs. Located near the pristine San Jacinto Mountains, this idyllic boutique hotel has many romantic features including a candlelit patio, a lush courtyard, and access to both a pool and hot tub. You could even rent beach cruiser bicycles or take advantage of the free BUZZ trolley on your stay here.

Visit them on Booking.com

Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Twentynine Palms

For those who are looking for a well-reviewed, budget-friendly Coachella Valley hotel, look into the Holiday Inn Express at Twentynine Palms. A nice feature of this two-star hotel is its location right by Joshua Tree National Park. A few amenities guests can take advantage of at this Holiday Inn include a fitness center, a heated outdoor pool, and continental breakfast.

Visit them on Booking.com

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