Free Things to Do in Palm Springs, California

You can enjoy a fun filled vacation in Palm Springs without spending a lot of money. There are several free attractions in the area that offer something for everyone. Start planning your next trip with this guide to free things to do in Palm Springs:

Things to do in Palm Springs

Village Fest

Palm Springs Street Fair, known locally as "Village Fest," is held year-round each Thursday from 6 – 10 p.m. along Palm Springs main street, called Palm Canyon Drive. Palm Canyon Drive closes to vehicle traffic for Thursday night VillageFest, a bustling street fair featuring entertainers, local artists, music, foods, arts, crafts, fresh flowers, produce and vendor carts and a certified farmer's market. It's a great treat for out-of-town guests to taste the local flavor (literally and figuratively) feel the local vibe of Palm Springs, and see the sights and sounds of downtown.

Palm Springs Art Museum

The Palm Springs Art Museum is well worth the price of admission, but every Thursday between 4 and 8 p.m. and the 2nd Sunday of every month, admission is free! Located just west of Palm Canyon Drive and Tahquitz Canyon Road, it's a great place to take in fine works of art spanning all mediums. If you're planning on attending VillageFest, the museum is just around the corner! The architecture of the museum, designed by E. Stewart Williams, is a work of art in and of itself!

Coachella Valley Preserve

Coachella Valley Preserve

Coachella Valley Preserve is a desert nature preserve is the world's third largest fan palm oasis. Explore a true desert oasis. Located north of the I-10 freeway off of Ramon Road, you'll find over 25 miles of hiking trails in and around this remarkable area.

Art Walks and Festivals

Winter and spring months welcome the open-air art fair at Crossley and Ramon Roads in Palm Springs, Street Fair at College of the Desert in Palm Desert, El Paseo Art Walk and the Backstreet Art District Walk. Scores of artists, both local and visiting, showcase their works and free refreshments are often available. Paintings, sculptures, and handcrafted items are on display and on sale!

Palm Canyon Drive

Palm Canyon Drive

Palm Canyon Drive is an attraction in itself! This main road through Palm Springs is downtown's main artery, offering shopping, dining and entertainment for everyone. If you look down, you'll notice the Palm Springs Walk of the Stars, with over 250 granite stars dedicated to the Hollywood stars of the past and present who lived, loved and played in this desert oasis. Palm Canyon Drive also hosts VillageFest every Thursday night (see VillageFest above), and becomes a pedestrian thoroughfare with local vendors proudly displaying their handiwork. A free parking structure is located at Palm Canyon Drive and Baristo Road.

Hiking Trails

Take a hike! Palm Springs and its surrounding communities boast some of the most scenic, easy to access and enjoyable trails you're likely to find anywhere. Hike up a mountain for incredible valley views or explore a lush canyon oasis with hidden waterfalls. Remember to bring appropriate attire and plenty of water. Check out a variety of hiking trails here.

Stargazing in Palm Springs


The city of Palm Springs has long been conscious of preserving its natural beauty both day and night. Minimal street lighting means less light pollution at night, which makes our nighttime sky a brilliant canvas of stars and planets. Stargazing is achievable from almost anywhere in Palm Springs, even with the naked eye. Bring your telescope for an exceptional look at the constellations!


Challenge yourself and your friends to a game of tennis at one of the many public outdoor tennis courts in Palm Springs. Grab your racquet and head to a free court for a fun way to get some exercise! Tennis put Palm Springs on the map before golf, and it's a great year-round activity. Public courts can be enjoyed at Demuth Park, Ruth Hardy Park, and Palm Springs High School.

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