Coachella Valley is a desert oasis in Southern California. It’s famous for its music festivals, but there are plenty of things to do year-round. Whether you’re looking for indoor or outdoor activities, there’s something for everyone. Here are some of the best things to do in Coachella Valley.

Cathedral City

Cathedral City is a desert oasis situated between Palm Springs and Indio. This small town is home to various attractions, including museums, art galleries, and native plant gardens. In addition, visitors can enjoy golfing, hiking, and horseback riding. 

The Cathedral City Hot Air Balloon Festival is held each year in November and celebrates the area’s heritage with food, music, and entertainment. 

Elsewhere, Coachella Valley History Museum is another popular attraction, displaying different artifacts that tell the story of the area’s past. Cathedral City has something to offer everyone, whether they are looking for culture or relaxation.

Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival

Coachella Valley is home to some of the country’s best music and arts festivals, attracting people from all over the world. In particular, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival draws in hundreds of thousands of thanks to its mix of world-renowned musicians, up-and-coming artists, and fashion. 

The festival takes place over two weekends in April and features a different lineup of performers each year. Aside from music, there are art installations, food vendors, and other activities. 

Source: The New York Times

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens is one of the best things to do in Coachella Valley. This zoo is dedicated to desert animals and plants, from Arabian Oryx and Caracals to Coyotes and the Sand Cat. 

Animals are not the only attraction here as the zoo also has a beautiful botanical garden and hosts many educational events throughout the year. 

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park is one of the most popular attractions in the Coachella Valley. The hiking trails wind through the rocky landscape, providing breathtaking views of the surrounding desert. 

Besides the incredible scenery, hiking through Joshua Tree National Park is a fantastic way to experience nature. Several activities are available in the area, such as rock climbing and guided tours. 

What’s more, Joshua Tree National Park contains the Cholla Cactus Garden, the enigmatic Skull Rock, and Keys Ranch. The latter is an evocative, preserved remnant of Joshua Tree’s early settler past and features tours led by a park ranger.

Source: Recreation

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is one of Palm Springs‘ most famous attractions. This iconic tramway takes passengers from the Valley floor to the top of Mount San Jacinto, offering stunning views of the desert landscape. 

At the top of the tramway are several hiking trails and a restaurant, making it an excellent place to spend a day in nature.

Palm Springs Air Museum

This museum is dedicated to preserving the history of aviation and showcasing vintage aircraft. Here, you can explore exhibits on the history of flight and see aerial photographs of Palm Springs dating back to World War II. 

For a more immersive experience, the air museum offers flight simulator experiences and airplane rides, making it a must-visit for any aviation enthusiast.

Source: BringFido

Pioneertown

Pioneertown is a small town located in the Mojave Desert. It was founded in 1946 as a movie set for Western films. Today, it is a popular tourist destination, with a variety of shops, restaurants, and art galleries. 

Befitting its Western origins, you can horseback ride, check out the indie bar Pappy and Harriet’s, see the remnants of the 19th Century Lost Horse Mine, or head outdoors to stargaze at a sky relatively free of light pollution.

The Salton Sea

The Salton Sea is a saline lake created in the early 1900s when Colorado River water accidentally ended up in the area. Today, it’s a hotspot for birdwatching, as it’s home to the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge.

Palm Springs Natural Hot Springs

There are several natural hot springs located in the Coachella Valley. The most popular spot for swimming is typically Palm Springs, where there are many different hot springs. 

It’s said that the waters have healing properties. Whether or not that’s the case, it’s still a great way to relax after a long day trip.

Source: Visit Greater Palm Springs

The Agua Caliente Cultural Museum

The Agua Caliente Cultural Museum is dedicated to preserving the history and culture of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. Various exhibitions and programs educate visitors about the tribe’s history and feature artifacts dating back thousands of years. 

The museum is also home to a research library, making it an excellent resource for anyone interested in the history of the Coachella Valley.

Rancho Mirage Wine and Food Festival

The Rancho Mirage Wine and Food Festival is a yearly event attracting the area’s best restaurants, wineries, and breweries. 

Attendees can sample food and drink from around the world while enjoying live music and entertainment. Whether you’re a foodie or a wine lover, the Rancho Mirage Wine and Food Festival is an event not to be missed.

Indian Canyons

The Indian Canyons are home to various plants and animals and offer stunning views of the desert landscape. There are many hiking trails in the canyons, and visitors can also take part in ranger-led tours. 

This area was home to the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and there are glimpses of their presence dotted throughout. The Indian Canyons are open to the public from October to July. Murray Canyon features the “Indian Canyons Trading Post,” where visitors can get refreshments and purchase souvenirs.  

Source: Visit Palm Springs

Mount San Jacinto

Mount San Jacinto is the tallest mountain in the Coachella Valley, delivering stunning views of the desert landscape. Camping and picnicking are popular in San Jacinto State Park, with plenty of beautiful trails to explore. The views from the top of the mountain are breathtaking, and it’s well worth the effort to hike to the summit.

Palms to Pines Scenic Byway

Are you looking for a fun road trip to Coachella Valley? Then look no further than the Palms to Pines Scenic Byway! 

This beautiful drive takes you through some of the Valley’s most stunning scenery, from palm-lined roads to rocky mountain vistas. You’ll also pass by countless attractions, including Joshua Tree National Park, the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, the Indian Canyons, the Santa Rosa, and the San Jacinto Mountains. 

Designated a National Forest Scenic Byway in 1993, it stretches for some 67 miles. Be sure to check the weather before taking this route as there can be hazardous conditions in winter.

The Cabot’s Pueblo Museum

Cabot’s Pueblo Museum is located in a replica of an ancient Indian pueblo. It has numerous artifacts and exhibitions delving into the history of pueblos and the Cabot tribe. 

This museum is home to the “Trading Post,” a gift shop featuring indigenous art, books, toys, jewelry, and more.

Source: Wikipedia

Charles M. Schulz Museum

The Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa honors the life and work of cartoonist Charles M. Schulz. Here, you can learn about his work and life through a selection of exhibits, as well as a research library. Visitors can also take part in workshops and classes, giving people a chance to learn about the art of cartooning.

Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve

The Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve is home to a diverse population of plants and animals. In addition, it offers several hikes, such as the Desert Bird Walk, the Tour of Two Oases, and the Explore the Ecology of a Fault Line Oasis Hike.

Palm Springs Art Museum

If you’re looking for things to do in Coachella Valley, the downtown Palm Springs Art Museum should definitely be on your list! 

This family-friendly museum is a fantastic way to spend an afternoon, whether for a day trip or a weekend getaway. It features an array of exhibits, including a permanent collection of works by local artists. 

There’s also a hands-on activity area for kids and a cafe where you can grab a bite to eat. 

Source: Palm Springs

Desert Adventure

If you’re looking for a desert adventure, there’s no better place to find it than Coachella Valley. Home to the Mojave and Colorado deserts, the Valley has no shortage of attractions to keep you busy. 

Guided tours are an immersive way to explore the area and learn about the unique desert ecosystem. Many companies offer 4WD tours that take you off the beaten path and into some of the most remote corners of the desert. 

You can also find guided hikes, mountain biking tours, and even hot air balloon rides.

El Paseo Shopping District

The El Paseo Shopping District is a must-see for anyone visiting the Coachella Valley. With its upscale shops and restaurants, it has a diverse selection of places to find gifts for friends and family or to treat yourself to a new outfit. 

In addition, El Paseo is home to art galleries, spas, and boutiques, making it the perfect place to spend an afternoon exploring. And with its convenient location in the heart of Palm Desert, the El Paseo Shopping District is easy to get to from anywhere in the Valley.

Sunnylands

Found in Rancho Mirage, Sunnylands is a historic site that was once the winter retreat of US Presidents and world leaders. 

Today, it is open to the public and has much to see and do, from guided tours to picnics on the lawn. 

Sunnylands maintains a visitors center, which features exhibits on the history of the property and its famous guests.

Source: Sunset

Old Town La Quinta

Old Town La Quinta is a mid-century modern marvel in the heart of the Coachella Valley. This quaint community is home to art galleries, vintage shops, and delicious restaurants. 

Moreover, you can enjoy numerous activities, such as horseback riding, golf, and hiking. And, if you’re looking for an extended stay, there are vacation rentals right in the center of all the action! 

So, whether you’re visiting for the day or spending a week in the desert, a trip to La Quinta’s Old Town is sure to be one of the highlights of your trip.

The Coachella Valley Preserve

Coachella Valley Preserve is one of the best things to do in Coachella Valley. Situated on the San Andreas Fault lines, the preserve is home to black-tailed jackrabbits, bobcats, and sidewinders. 

Visitors can hike through the desert landscape, which is filled with cacti and Joshua trees, or take a jeep tour of the fault lines. 

The preserve has a visitor center with exhibits on the area’s history and wildlife.

Coachella Valley Vista Point

Located on Highway 74, Coachella Valley Vista Point is a great place to stop to take in the views. The vista point offers a panoramic look at the Valley, including the San Jacinto Mountains, Joshua Tree National Park, and the Salton Sea. Besides its picturesque sights, this tranquil spot is perfect for enjoying a picnic while watching the sunset. 

Source: Marriott Bonvoy Traveler

Desert Holocaust Memorial

Located in Palm Desert, this poignant memorial honors the six million Jews who were murdered during the Holocaust. 

The monument features a series of outdoor sculptures depicting scenes from the Holocaust, a meditation garden, and an audio tour that tells the story of the Jewish people during this dark time in history. 

The Desert Holocaust Memorial is open daily from sunrise to sunset, and admission is free.

The 25 Best Things To Do in Coachella Valley—Wrapping Up

There’s no shortage of things to do in Coachella Valley, whether you’re looking for adventure, culture, or just a chance to relax. For music lovers, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is a must-attend event, while the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway boasts breathtaking views of the area.

History buffs will enjoy exploring the Palm Springs Air Museum and Pioneertown, and nature lovers can’t miss Joshua Tree National Park. But, of course, no visit to Coachella Valley would be complete without spending some time soaking in the Palm Springs natural hot springs. Whatever your interests, you’ll find plenty to keep you busy in this desert oasis. 

And for the perfect place to stay during your visit, be sure to check out AvantStay. We offer a wide variety of vacation rentals in Coachella Valley, from cozy farmhouses to luxury homes. So book your stay today and start planning your perfect desert getaway!

Buena Vista by AvantStay

Published by Danielle Vito

As Senior Social Media Manager, Danielle manages AvantStay's social media platforms and writes content for the Atlas blog. Previously, Danielle was the Social Media Producer at The Points Guy where she ran TPG's Instagram and wrote articles on the most social media-worthy destinations, and tips on hacking your travels by using credit cards.

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