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Palm Springs Budget Travel Guide

Happy family relaxing at the edge of the swimming pool, little boy relaxing on inflatable ring.

Enjoy trendy travel in Palm Springs on any budget.

Looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life without breaking the bank? Palm Springs is the perfect place for you. Although often thought of as an expensive destination, there are plenty of ways to enjoy all that Palm Springs has to offer without spending a fortune. From free museums and hiking trails to affordable dining and lodging options, we’ll show you how to vacation in style on a budget. So pack your bags and get ready to relax – your Palm Springs getaway awaits!

Best Time to Visit

Low season in Palm Springs is summer, a bit reversed from many other destinations. As the heat rises, the prices fall, so you’ll find some great values across all hotel and resort properties in the summer. The busiest time of year is January – March, and April weekends are busy with music festivals.  So if you want rock bottom prices, look for Sunday through Thursday stays in the summer. If you want a deal but in a cooler season, you will still find deals with Sunday through Thursday stays.

Family walking downtown Palm Springs

Find Your Value Stay

Value Boutique Hotels

This is the sweet-spot where you can enjoy more of the Palm Springs vibe and break away from the larger well-known chain brands.

When you admire the iconic architecture of our stylish hometown, you probably think, “Nope, can’t afford that.” Well, think again! You can live the midcentury modern life at throwback prices. For example, Skylark Hotel evokes a 1950s aesthetic with rates to match. They offer AAA and military discounts, so you can soak up the boutique atmosphere with a side of complimentary breakfast and Wi-Fi.

skylark hotel

Not far is another 2-story midcentury resort, Inn at Palm Springs, offering great quality service at value pricing and a Kayak Travel Award winner. You’ll love the hospitality here by owners Sam & Paul. And just down the road, another remodeled midcentury gem to check out, The Cole. They just recently opened an on-site restaurant called Freddie’s Kitchen by owner and French trained Chef Frederic Pierrel.  It’s managed by Sonder, who also manages the V Palm Springs in south Palm Springs.

cole pool

7 Springs Inn & Suites is one of the more affordable boutique resorts located downtown. While the architecture is midcentury, it offers contemporary comfort.

Mid-Size Resorts

If you like Tiki design, then you’ll love Caliente Tropics Resort that is nestled in South Palm Springs. This midcentury property has a rich history with Palm Springs with a classic A-frame entry. While you’re there, enjoy a libation at The Reef.

caliente tropics

Palm Mountain Resort & Spa in downtown Palm Springs offers the best value pricing of all the hotels that surround it. It’s a fantastic location and you can walk to everything, so you can skip the rental car (although parking is free).

palm mountain resort

Value Chain Brands

If you are not going to spend much time in your room, a basic hotel may be your best budget option. You’ll find great values with budget-wise hotel brands like Travelodge by Wyndham Palm Springs, Courtyard by Marriott, Days Inn, and Vagabond Motor Hotel. We also have three Motel 6 in Palm Springs – Motel 6 East not far from V Palm Springs, Motel 6 Downtown, and Motel 6 North off the I-10.

Staying at a property that offers a complimentary breakfast is a great way to save, especially for families. Larger budget brands that include breakfast such as Best Western Inn at Palm Springs   and Extended Stay America Suites are not far from the Palm Springs International Airport. Another option in the same category would be Delos Reyes Palm Springs close to downtown.

Home Is Where the Deal Is

Consider a vacation home all your own! It sounds like a lot, but consider you get your own room, your own kitchen, your own space, and your own pool! Peruse our fabulous (and fabulously affordable) rental properties. Summer discounts sizzling their way into September because, after all, the season never ends in Palm Springs. “Fall” into a spacious estate where you can maximize your dollar as well as your options. This is a great option when traveling with family or a group of friends to split the cost. Plus, we have a large inventory to choose from.  Full List

Poolside Vacation rental home

Take a Self-Guided Tour.

If you enjoy architecture, we created a Midcentury Architecture Self-Guided Tour. Follow the map and learn about the unique architecture that has made Palm Springs world famous. There is also another self-driving architecture map produced by the Palm Springs Modern Committee called “A Map of Modern Palm Springs” which is available for purchase at the Palm Springs Visitor Center for $5.

modernism map

While you are there, they also have a Palm Springs map of the Star’s Homes self-guided tour. This is a bit like doing the double decker bus tour in Hollywood, but now you are the driver in Palm Springs.

stars map

Another great option is to grab a bike at your hotel and explore the neighborhoods. Our colored doors are very popular and you will see many of these in South Palm Springs in the Canyon Estates neighborhood. Here’s a bike self-guided tour we put together in the Deepwell Ranch Estates neighborhood.

Girl biking

Enjoy a Walk

Downtown Palm Springs is a wonderful place to begin your exploration. There are many art installations including our colorful benches, as well as our wonderful Palm Springs downtown park.

While you’re downtown, you might notice some Hollywood stars on the sidewalks. That’s right! We have our own Walk of Stars. Find your favorites.

star on walk of stars

When the weather cools, there are so many hikes around the city that offer panoramic views. Here’s a hiking guide to get you started. Be sure to bring enough water.


Where to Dine for Less

If you love great food, but don’t want it to become a big investment, here are some great options. (We are going to stay away from fast food because you can get that anywhere.)

John’s is really loved by locals and offers good American food with healthy portions. Full range of breakfast options, hamburgers, sandwiches, salads, and even burritos and tacos. There’s hardly anything on the menu over $15.

John's burger

And for lunch or dinner, Bill’s Pizza is awesome and you can order large slices from $3.75 – $4.25.

Bill's Pizza exterior

El Taco Asado is another local Mexican you might call a “whole in the wall,” but offers authentic cuisine. It’s not fancy, but it’s good. You’ll find most entrees in the $10 range.  Guacamoles is also another “whole in the wall” (and we mean that in a good way) that’s been a long standing locally owned business. Really good burritos and a variety and house-made sauces and salsas. Almost everything under $10. Great to grab-and-go for a picnic at the downtown park.

Shop and Bop

If you don’t like the cost of a certain item, just wait a while; pretty soon, it’ll be vintage-cool. Palm Springs is the capital of collectibles – the more throwback, the merrier! Popular with Interior Designers, much of our vintage furnishings can come with a hefty price, so let’s navigate to those places you’re apt to find a better deal.

In North Palm Springs, deck yourself out with what’s “in” at Gypsyland, a groovy gallery of fashions and passion. In addition to thrift shop thriftiness, you’ll find the best of the past that’s made to last. Longevity = more bang for your buck!


In South Palm Springs, hit the Sunny Dunes Antique Mall (507 E Sunny Dunes Road). It’s a 6,000 square feet of retail happiness with more than 40 independently owned vintage shops. Here you’ll find a bit of everything, and it changes all the time, so go back often.

Just next door is the Antique Galleries, featuring a curated collection from old gas pumps and macramé to a ship’s wheel, Magnavox stereo console and ‘60s clown paintings – remember them? Plus, an ever changing inventory of vintage furniture, clothing, sculpture and glassware.

Get Happy (Hour)

Want a getaway to the South Pacific on a shoestring budget? You can enjoy a taste of the islands right here in Palm Springs! Tonga Hut offers huli chicken skewers, a wedge salad, egg rolls and a mai tai – each for under 10 bucks! And Bootlegger Tiki has a happy hour so nice, they named it twice! Beat the afternoon heat with a 3-4pm cocktail or wait until late night if that’s how you roll.

interior Tonga Hut

Another PS mainstay that’s known for their double happy hour is Zin American Bistro. Experience select vintages from their award-winning wine list for only $6 at the bar area. You must also try their Zin Bites, crispy puff pastries speckled with two cheeses and filet mignon, then drizzled with a shallot/Zinfandel reduction. Oh, and the best part: it’s only $7 from 11am to 3pm and 4:30pm to 6pm.

But happy hour evolves every day. Yay! Exhibit A: The Saguaro. From Monday through Friday, their eatery, El Jefe, serves up yummies like shishito peppers and chorizo quesadillas for $7 apiece. Wash them down with a $6 margarita or desert highball, then get ready for Taco Tuesday AND Thursday. That’s right, for two days of the week, El Jefe is the boss of baja fish tacos, vegan potato flautas and carne asada tacos, each for only $5.

el Jefe cantina at Saguaro
Credit: Josh Cho

Happy Hour Guide

Are You Free on Thursday?

Here’s a fun riddle: what’s better than a bargain? Answer: free stuff! Village Fest assembles food and festivities, serving them all up on Palm Canyon Drive every Thursday night. No admission, yes inclusion! You’ll feel right at home as music spills out into the crisp desert air, ushering you from one vendor to the next. Enjoy snacks and sips galore while you peruse the work of local artists.

While we’re on the topic, Thursdays offer yet another chance to elevate your visit without lowering your bank account. Palm Springs Art Museum boasts free admission from 5-7 pm and features international paintings, spectacular sculptures and designs for the mind.

Explore Palm Springs Care/Free.

Get the list of free things to do.

Tip: The Palm Springs Air Museum also offer free admission to kids 12 & Under.

Two woman and a man in the pool at The Marley

No matter which day of the week you prefer, our hometown has a deal for you. Check our specials page often, and check your cares at the city limits!

Palm Springs Weekend Getaway

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