10 Tips for Visiting Palm Springs on a Budget
Nestled in the Coachella Valley, Palm Springs is a beautiful desert oasis that has long been a popular destination for Hollywood celebrities and tourists alike.
With its towering palm trees, luxurious resorts, and stunning mountain views, it’s easy to see why.
The city is also home to many museums, galleries, and theaters, making it a perfect place for culture lovers. And with over 300 days of sunshine per year, it’s no wonder that so many people flock to this charming place to escape the cold winter months.
Is Palm Springs expensive to visit?
Sure, Palm Springs can be expensive to visit, but the thing is, it doesn’t have to be.
If you plan your visit carefully and take advantage of some of the city’s many free or low-cost attractions, you can enjoy all that Palm Springs offers without spending a fortune.
This guide will show you how to have a great time in Palm Springs without spending too much money.
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10 Tips for visiting Palm Springs on a budget
Visiting Palm Springs doesn’t have to be expensive.
Here are some tips on how to visit the city on a budget:
1- Look for hotels that offer complimentary breakfast
When booking your hotel, choose one that offers complimentary breakfast. This way, you’ll have a free meal every day of your stay.
Pro tip: I like to have breakfast as late as possible so that it turns into brunch!
2- Consider staying in a vacation rental rather than a hotel, as vacation rentals can often be less expensive
These rentals can be found for a fraction of the cost of a hotel room, and they often come equipped with kitchenettes and other amenities.
3-Eat at small local restaurants
Another way to save money is to eat at affordable restaurants that serve local cuisine.
Palm Springs has no shortage of excellent (and affordable) Mexican food, so sample some of the region’s signature dishes while you’re in town.
Other good affordable restaurants in palm Springs include Chicken Ranch and Sherman’s.
Of course, if you really need to eat cheap, chain restaurants like McDonald’s and Taco Bell are also available!
4- Travel during shoulder season
If you’re flexible with your travel dates, consider visiting Palm Springs during the shoulder season (April-May or September-October).
During these months, hotels and vacation rentals are typically cheaper than during peak season, and the weather is not yet overbearingly hot.
5- Don’t rent a car
If you don’t plan on leaving Palm Springs, there’s no need to rent a car. The city can be easily explored on foot, and there’s also an excellent public bus system.
You’ll save money on gas and parking fees by not renting a car.
6- Visit the Palm Springs Art Museum on a Thursday
Admission to the Palm Springs Art Museum is free every Thursday from 4-8 pm. If you’re visiting on another day, admission is only $12 for adults.
7- Bring your own drinks to the pool
If possible, bring your own drinks to the pool and enjoy them there rather than spending money on overpriced cocktails.
You can even take a Margarita Cocktail Kit like this one.
8-Check Groupon for deals
Before you do anything in Palm Springs, check Groupon to see if any deals apply to what you want to do.
There are often great discounts on things like dining, spa treatments, and activities.
9- See if your hotel offers complimentary bikes
When I stayed at the Inn at Palm Springs, it was a lovely surprise to find out that they offer free bikes to their guests!
Biking along Palm Springs is such a fun way to explore, and it’s a great way to get some exercise. If your hotel doesn’t offer bikes, you can always rent them for relatively cheap.
10- Make the most out of happy hour
Happy hour is a great way to save money on food and drinks.
Many restaurants in Palm Springs offer excellent happy hour deals, so be sure to take advantage of them! Personally, I recommend checking out The Tropicale, Trio Restaurant, The Tonga Hut Restaurant, and Tiki Bar for great deals.
Cheap things to do in Palm Springs
There are plenty of free activities to enjoy in Palm Springs, which is great news for budget travelers.
Here are some of the best things to do in Palm Springs that won’t cost you a dime:
There are numerous hiking trails in and around Palm Springs, and they’re all free to use. My personal favorite is the Art Smith Trail, which has some incredible views.
Visit a farmers’ market
Farmers’ markets are held every Wednesday in Palm Springs, and they’re a great place to find fresh produce and artisan goods.
Explore Old Town
Old Town is the historic center of Palm Springs, and it’s full of charming shops and restaurants. You can easily spend an afternoon exploring this area without spending any money.
Attend a free concert
Throughout the year, Palm Springs hosts several free concerts. Check the city’s website to see if any are happening during your visit.
Since Palm Springs is located in a desert, it has some of the best stargazing conditions in the country. Make sure to look up at the night sky while you’re in town!
Play tennis for free
You’ll find courts at DeMuth Park and Ruth Hardy Park in Palm Springs.
Visit the Moorten Botanical Gardens
The Moorten Botanical Garden is one of the most underrated attractions in Palm Springs. Admission is only $4 for adults, making it a great option for budget travelers.
Take a dip in a public pool
If you’re looking to cool off without spending any money, head to one of Palm Springs’ public pools. The Demuth Park Pool and Sunrise Park Pool are both great options.
Ride the aerial tramway
The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is one of the most popular attractions in the city, and for a good reason. It offers stunning views of the desert landscape, and it’s only $25 for adults.
Have a picnic lunch in one of Palm Springs’ beautiful gardens
Palm Springs is home to several beautiful gardens, and they’re all free to visit. Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy the serene surroundings.
Take pictures with the Cabazon dinosaurs
These massive concrete dinosaurs are located just outside of Palm Springs, and they make for great photo opportunities. They’re also free to see!
Staying in Palm Springs on a budget
There are plenty of ways to save money on accommodation in Palm Springs.
Here are a few tips for finding affordable accommodation in the city:
- Check out Airbnb: Airbnb is a great option for finding budget-friendly accommodation in Palm Springs. You can often find entire apartments or houses for rent at very reasonable prices.
- Stay outside the city center: If you don’t mind staying a bit outside of downtown Palm Springs, you’ll be able to find cheaper accommodation options.
- Look for hotels with free breakfast: Many hotels in Palm Springs offer complimentary breakfast, which can save you a lot of money.
- Check for hotel deals: If you’re flexible with your travel dates, you may be able to find some great deals on hotels in Palm Springs.
Cheap hotels in Palm Springs
Here are a few of the best cheap hotels in Palm Springs:
• Inn at Palm Springs: I absolutely loved staying here! The rooms are great, the atmosphere is lovely, and breakfast was absolutely delicious.
• The Saguaro Palm Springs: This hotel offers a vibrant pool party scene with weekend DJs and parties. The pool bar serves breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snacks, plus fresh fruit punches and boozy frozen drinks.
• Hotel Skylark Hotel: This lovely hotel is gorgeous and sooo Instagram-worthy! Plus, Some rooms provide views of the surrounding mountains and continental breakfast is served as well.
Cheapest time to visit Palm Springs
Contrary to most destinations, the cheapest time to visit Palm Springs is during the summer months. Hotel prices are at their lowest during this time, and you’ll be able to find plenty of great deals.
However, you should know that there is a reason why prices are so low during this time. The weather in Palm Springs is incredibly hot during the summer, and temperatures often exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you don’t mind the heat, summer is a great time to visit Palm Springs on a budget. However, if you’re looking for more moderate temperatures, spring or fall would be better times to visit.
How to get around Palm Springs on a budget
There are a few different ways to get around Palm Springs, and the best option for you will depend on your budget and needs.
If you’re looking for the cheapest way to get around, walking is always an option. However, it’s not always practical, especially if you’re trying to see a lot of the city.
Another cheap option for getting around Palm Springs is the SunLine Transit Agency bus system. A one-way fare is only $1, and you can purchase a day pass for just $5.
If you’re looking for a more convenient way to get around, you can always rent a car. However, this will obviously be more expensive than taking the bus.
Affordable tours to take in Palm Springs
If you’re looking for some affordable things to do in Palm Springs, consider taking a tour. There are a number of different tours available, and they’re all very reasonably priced.
Here are some of my favorite options:
Palm Springs: Legends and Icons Tour
Discover the celebrity homes of the rich and famous on a 1.5-hour tour of Palm Springs.
Traveling by comfortable minivan, see more than 50 houses, including the former residences of Bob Hope and Frank Sinatra. Go to the Rat Pack Hideaway and more.
Earthquake Canyon Express Downhill Bicycle Adventure
Take an amazing downhill bicycle ride on a paved road through the San Andreas Fault. Explore the heart of California grape country, desert vistas, and the beautiful Coachella Valley.
Joshua Tree National Park Self-Driving Audio Tour
Southern California’s Joshua Tree National Park can be a bit intimidating to take on all on your own; however, this Joshua Tree National Park Self-Driving Audio Tour lets you explore the park in your own vehicle while navigating the area with a tour that leads the way.
Just download the app on your smartphone, launch the app when you get to the park, and follow the recommended route and speed limit.
Palm Springs Windmill Tours
Opt for this Palm Springs windmill tour, and try something a little different from your typical celebrity homes or San Andreas Fault tours you’d usually do in Palm Springs.
This self-driving windmill tour allows you to explore the evolution of wind turbines on a private wind farm from the comfort of your own vehicle. The tour allows you to exit at each stop and guides you with a curated video.
Palm Springs Oasis Hike with Amazing Desert Views
Enjoy the adventure of hiking around Palm Springs without the risk of getting lost on this guided hike.
With a small group of like-minded travelers, you’ll be taken on a three-hour loop that includes fantastic viewpoints across the desert and canyons.
The hike will be at a leisurely pace, but it’s best suited to moderately fit hikers with an outdoor experience.
Wrap-up: Money-saving tips for visiting Palm Springs on a budget
That’s a wrap!
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to visit Palm Springs on a budget. With a bit of planning and some creativity, you can have an amazing vacation without spending a lot of money.
Do you have any tips for visiting Palm Springs on a budget? Let me know in the comments below!
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