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Palm Springs on a Budget

by Eugenia Lazaris

Oct 16, 2019

Byron Moore | Dreamstime.com


Palm Springs is known for its over-the-top luxury but if you’re on a tight budget, don’t count this desert paradise out. There is still plenty of fun to be had in this great town even if you need to stretch your dollar.


One of the best ways to enjoy the city without breaking the bank is to visit during one of its numerous street fairs. Throughout the year various art shows, craft shows and food festivals make appearances, but if you aren’t lucky enough to catch one, don’t worry — there is always Village Fest. This outdoor street fair happens weekly in downtown Palm Springs and hosts vendors selling artwork, handicrafts, food and more. Village Fest runs 6–10 p.m. every Thursday night and is dog friendly.


While most people know Palm Springs as a celebrity playground filled with fancy hotels and sprawling golf courses (and no one disputes this reputation), it’s also an art lover’s paradise with plenty of fascinating galleries and workshops to explore. Not only can you peruse the numerous art galleries found along Palm Canyon Drive free of charge, but you can also explore some of its artsy neighborhoods, like the Backstreet Art District. If you are in town on the first Wednesday of the month head to this neighborhood for the RAD Art Walk, 5–8 p.m., when the galleries and workshops open their doors to the public to offer drinks and snacks while showing their work.

Palm Springs Highway. Photo: Welcomia | Dreamstime.com

If art isn’t your thing, there are also plenty of great shops along the city’s main drag complete with tons of bars, cafés and restaurants along the way. While you’ll find plenty of great things to tempt your wallet, window shopping is totally free so stretch your legs or simply grab a sidewalk table at a trendy café and soak up the sun while you do some people watching. As night arrives, the main street (Palm Canyon Drive) comes alive with people of all ages enjoying the cool night air and the local scene.


For an in-depth outdoors experience that won’t hurt your wallet, head to some of the local hiking trails to explore the desert wilderness. Local spots like Painted Canyon, Palm Canyon, Tahquitz Canyon and San Jacinto Mountain all have excellent opportunities for outdoor activities like hiking, rock climbing or horseback riding. They are not only great places to get in some free exercise, but they offer excellent opportunities to experience the natural beauty of the California desert.


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