The Best Time to Visit Palm Springs
With a choice of warm, hot, hot and very hot, there’s never a bad time to visit Palm Springs. But when is best?
Let’s not beat around the bush (or palm tree). Visiting Palm Spring is always a good idea. No matter what time of year, you’ll have plenty to do, but the best time to visit Palm Springs is between October and December. This is when the temperatures are less extreme and you won’t be met with waves of tourists. Although visiting between January and March is also very desirable, as is visiting between April and June, or July and September. There are a wealth of hot springs, stylish accommodation (we know all about that here at Plum Guide, what with us being the experts and everything), golf courses and spas to enjoy whenever you decide to visit, too. Not to mention the vintage boutiques, interior design shops and fancy restaurants lined up and down Palm Canyon Drive. The surrounding Coachella Valley gives you great options for hiking, biking and horseback riding too. Sold? We thought so. Read on more to find out the best time to visit Palm Springs.
January - March
Palm trees and brown mountains in Palm Springs, California, US
Wintertime is prime time in the desert. During January to March, the weather is at its very best with perfect sunshine and very pleasant average temperatures ranging between 22 to 27 degrees celsius. Naturally, this makes for a great day of getting out and hiking or riding in the valley. Alternatively, you could treat yourself to a relaxing spa day or take a stroll down Palm Canyon Drive with your bank card in hand. Of course, given the perfect weather, this period also makes it one of the busiest times of the year to visit. It’s the best time to visit Palm Springs, without a doubt.
A key January event is the annual Palm Springs International Film Festival when all the big stars arrive in town (hello, George Clooney). In February, there’s the Tour De Palm Springs where riders can voluntarily participate in a ride that’s 5, 15, 25, 50 or 100 miles long (we do stress that this is voluntary). There’s also Intersect Palm Springs - an arts festival that’s been running since 2012, presenting post-war and contemporary art alongside plenty of cocktails, obviously.
April - June
Green trees in the desert on a sunny day at Coachella Valley, California, US
Palm Spring summers are long - the antithesis of what they warned about in Game of Thrones. ‘Summer is coming’ doesn’t quite carry the same foreboding threat though, does it? In April you’ll find daytime temperatures creeping up to 31 degrees and by June, expect it to be 40 degrees. While this weather does a great job of driving out the hordes of tourists that descended on the city like a plague of winter locusts, it is very, very hot.
But perhaps that’s what you’re after? It makes for a great day of lounging around by the pool (glass of wine in hand, please). In the evenings things do cool off a little, making that the perfect time to get out and explore more of the city.
Events to look out for during April include White Party Palm Springs (an LGBT pride event) and a small, relatively unknown music festival called Coachella. You may have heard of it? This does ensure that the city is saturated with an incredibly high density of young, how-many-followers-have-you-got, selfie-taking cool kids who look like they’re dressed more for a futuristic photoshoot than a festival. You have been warned.
July - September
Through July and August, expect very much the same with searing high temperatures of 42 degrees (yes, forty-two). It’s hot. More wine, more poolside downtime. We should get that one printed on a t-shirt before you head out there.
It’s worth noting that this period does coincide with the school summer holidays across large parts of the Northern hemisphere and while that may contribute to a rise in visiting numbers, it’s healthily balanced out by the relentless heat.
If you are brave enough to tackle these temperatures, you’ll find the Desert Classic Dancesport Championships taking place in July - a four-day ballroom and Latin dance extravaganza held at the rather fancy JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort and Spa. Don’t be surprised if all that fast-paced movement and tiny (really, really tiny) costumes leave you feeling a little hot under the collar.
Perhaps Splash House would be more in line with what you’re looking for? At the peak of August when temperatures are at their very highest, there’s no better way to enjoy Palm Springs than at this pool party music festival. It takes place across three resorts over three August weekends. Time to find some new swimming costumes online.
October - December
The back end of the year is (perhaps not so secretly) the best time to visit Palm Springs. It has the preferable average temperatures of January - March (33 degrees in October, 21 degrees by December) but without as much of an influx of tourists and visitors. The best of both worlds, as they say.
During October, look out for the annual Palm Springs Tram Road challenge - this 6K run (more like walk, if you ask us) begins at the bottom of Tram Way and ends at the Tram's Valley Station. That’s an elevation gain of 2,643 feet in just 3.7 miles. We wouldn’t blame you for taking the gondola instead – the views at the top are just as great either way. Or, just lounge by the pool instead. In Palm Springs there’s always a pool to be lounged by.
In October, you’ve got the Props & Hops Craft Beer Festival which does exactly what it says on the tin. Then, to round off the year in December, there’s the Palm Springs Festival of Lights Parade which will have you feeling all Christmassy and festive. On the 31st, you’ll find plenty of great places to see the new year in too - whether you’re looking to party hard at the bars and clubs or just relax with a romantic dinner for two.