And suddenly, you drive from brown desert landscapes to a colorful oasis with rainbow building palm trees and flowers. Welcome to Palm Springs, the most Instagramable city in California.
That’s a hard title to earn, considering California is so dang pretty, but there isn’t a city quite like Palm Springs that seems to go over the top in design in every way. I love Palm Springs and have been back every spring for the past few years. Basically, I know where to find all the good spots for Palm Springs photos! Keep reading for…
The Top palm springs Instagram spots (your ultimate guide to the best Instagram worthy spots in the city!)
I went to Palm Springs for the first time a few years ago to attend Alt Summit. I went with my girlfriend Gen and we spent as much time as we could running around the city hunting down all the best and secret places in palm springs for good photos.
The next year I was back for the conference (but this time speaking!) and had a lot more free time to roam and was able to fully flush out this Palm Springs Instagram spots list. We’ll be heading back again 2021 for Desert X and I’m excited to see what new gems we’ll discover! I swear it’s always getting cuter and there’s so many places to take pictures in the palm desert!
Read more: Want more Palm Springs travel tips? Check out my city travel guide packed with tips like where to eat, the best hotels, what to pack and more!
Top Palm Springs Instagram Spots
Saguaro, aka, the rainbow hotel, is probably the most Instagrammed spot in Palm Springs. I mean, how can you NOT go crazy at this hotel? There’s a wall pained in every color of the rainbow, a pretty pool usually filled with trendy floaties (like a unicorn) and palm trees everywhereeee.
I stayed here on my first trip to Palm Springs and while I adore all the Instagrammable corners here (seriously, you can spend your whole weekend just taking photos at this hotel) we had a really bad experience from a guest’s point of view. Like, really really bad. I think there’s better Palm springs hotels to actually stay at, but this is one of the best spots in Palm Springs to have a mini photoshoot so I recommend you swing by one afternoon but stay somewhere else, like the Parker, for a better night’s sleep.
These totally free to visit dinos are located next to a gas station in Cabazon (a short drive from Palm Springs, you’ll probably pass it on your way into the city!) While most of the people pulled over where families with young children, I still loved gawking at the dinos and pretending to be a kid again. Plus, it makes for a great photo op!
That Pink Door
Of course, you can’t come to Palm Springs and not visit the famous “That Pink Door“! It’s what most people picture in their head when you say “Palm Springs” because it just represents the mid-century modern architecture so well. And it’s like, really really pretty in person. The house is located at 1099 East Sierra Way.
NOTE: Apparently the owners of That Pink Door have put up a little sign that says “no photos” since we visited. Here’s my two cents on that: this house is a vacation house (I know that’s a fact) and they aren’t always living there. I also think they put up that sign because too many companies were having full-on photo shoots in front of the house without compensating the owners (not cool.) They also had some problems with the bad influencers of the world… like girls would stand in their fountain to grab a photo or do things like touching their front door.
The pink door is famous and – I hope this does get me too much heat – I think it’s perfectly ok if you want to take a photo of it (I mean, it’s not against the law.) BUT if you choose to stop by and take a photo, please be polite. Don’t have a brand campaign shoot in front of it. Don’t sit in their fountain or touch their stuff or stand on the lawn. Stay on the sidewalk, be quick and be respectful.
Aaaanddd all the other doors
Palm Springs is first and foremost known as a haven for mid-century modern architecture. There’s a big design conference held here each year and homeowners take a lot of pride in persevering that style in their houses. They also seem to really love colorful doors. There’s more than just the pink one, guys!
I spent one afternoon driving around the city and hunting down all the best colorful doors, taking their photo and writing down their addresses so YOU can have a mega list of all the best doors! Check that list out here.
Parker Palm Springs
Honestly, the Parker one of the most beautiful places in Palm Springs. It’s a whole destination in itself. Imagine what Alice in Wonderland meets a luxury California desert resort. That’s what Parker is like. Totally whimsical yet posh, colorful and full of delightful Instagram-worthy corners at every turn.
My favorite spots in the hotel is the lobby (how fun is that DRUGS sign?) and the Lemonade Stand. Yellow is my favorite color so of course I adore all the yellow umbrellas! You can read more about this hotel + see more photos in this post. You can’t enter the back gardens unless you are a guest staying (or with a guest) OR if you luck out an are attending an event that’s being held there… like Alt Summit!
Moorten Botanical Garden
Of all the “Instagram famous” places to go in Palm Springs, this cactus garden is my favorite. It cost $5 to enter and I suggest you try to be the first one to arrive when the doors open so you can have the garden to yourself before the crowds show up.
Beeline to the back “cactarium” pictured above that you probably recognize from Instagram. This spot especially will get crowded so visit here first so you don’t have people photo-bombing your pictures! Pro tip: I recommend you wear orange, yellow or red to really pop against the cacti.
Skull Rock at Joshua Tree National Park
Ok, so Joshua Tree National Park isn’t in the city. It’s about an hour drive from Palm Springs but Gen and I drove out there for sunset one evening and had tons of fun photographing in the desert. This is an utterly unique National Park that is extra stunning during golden hour and sunset (I wear the sky always turns pink here!)
My favorite spot in the park is Skull Rock. It really looks like that! But the park and the city of Joshua Tree has so many other cool corners, like a tiny crochet museum, a giant cowboy statue and more. Read my full Joshua Tree travel guide for more photos and ideas!
Every other year, the Palm Desert turns into a museum. Artists build installations everywhere from Palm Springs to the Salton Sea that are totally free to visit. We visited last year for the 2019 one and I fell in love with hunting all the art installations down. I wrote about the exhibit and shared photos of all the spots we visited in this post.
My favorites were the rainbow and the red block! These pieces are only up for the length of the exhibit and then are removed, so they are fleeting and make an extra special Instagram photo since not everyone can visit during the show to snap a photo! We’ll be back in 2021 for the next show for sure.
The Movie Colony / Robolights
Movie Colony is basically where all the mega-rich and famous live in Palm Springs. Most houses have hedges and walls so large you can even see the roofs of the houses behind them. But some of them are a bit more open for viewing (like the Twin Palms Frank Sinatra Estate located at 1145 E Vía Colusa!) This area is really fun to drive around and look at all the houses, plus some of the hedges are really fun to photograph.
While you’re over there, make sure to stop by Robolights (pictured above) at 1077 E Granvia Valmonte. I’m not sure who owns this house, but there’s 4 acres of giant sculptures and art with over 8 million lights. When we walked by, some of them were a movie or making noises As you can imagine, it’s super fun to visit in day and night for a fun photo that most people don’t take in Palm Springs.
Located on the famous Palm Canyon Drive, Frankinbun is one of my favorite restaurants in Palm Springs for three reasons. 1) the food is super tasty 2) it’s pretty affordable compared to the plethora of fancy (read overpriced) restaurants in town 3) and the wallpaper is to die for. Come on in, order some lunch one day and make sure to grab some photos in front of their cute wallpaper!
Another Instagram-worthy hotel is the Ace Hotel! Their courtyard area is usually open to the public to stroll around (aka not behind a guard and a check-in desk like at the Parker.) I recommend you come here for breakfast one day and then take a photo walk after.
The ACE sign is located in the parking lot, which can be hard to photograph around if there’s a car parked in front. The mural pictured above is inside the courtyard and I think it gets painted over from time to time, so I’m not sure if the sun is still there or what it looks like right now. I find that checking the Ace hotel Instagram account usually offers some clues!
I’m not sure why a palm springs windmills photoshoot started becoming a thing (I blame all the LA girls) but it is. I actually haven’t done a windmills shoot yet but I do have to admit, they look super pretty silhouetted against the sky at sunset.
If you are up for it, you can adventure all the way down to Salvation Mountain, but be warned that it’ll be a few hours each way so you have to set a whole day aside for that trip (it’s not a quick pop over from Palm Springs!) Another spot not featured on this list is Palm Springs aerial tram because I haven’t yet experienced that first hand, but apparently it does offer some good views of the desert.
I hope this helps you nail some great palm springs pictures for Instagram, your blog or just memories! If you have more favorite spots that didn’t make the list, leave a comment below so everyone can see them! If you have questions, leave a comment or DM me on Instagram @thewhimsysoul and I’ll do my best to help!