Stepping outside of the usual and experiencing something new to even the quirkiest soul is what traveling is all about. From the odd to the eccentric, these can’t- miss, curious attractions are celebrated for keeping Greater Palm Springs and the surrounding California desert region utterly unique.
Run wild with the world’s biggest dinosaurs
Visible from Interstate 10, Dinny the Dinosaur, a 150-ton building shaped like a larger-than-life-sized Brontosaurus, and Mr. Rex, a 100-ton Tyrannosaurus Rex structure are located just 30 minutes from downtown Palm Springs. Since the 1980s, the Cabazon Dinosaurs have greeted visitors driving to the destination.
Travel back in time with old-fashion favorites
Once you’ve hit downtown Palm Springs, you’ll find true nostalgia when you step into Ruddy’s 1930 General Store Museum. The museum had been the collection of a Depression-Era liquidator who had kept his pick of the finest store fixtures and merchandise in his basement for 40 years.
Enter into a post-apocalypse appliance world of lights
Just around the corner from Frank Sinatra’s old Twin Palms Estate, three towering multi-colored robots made of old appliances, lawn furniture and wood scraps stand several feet tall. Inside its gate, a world of aliens, mutant Christmas elves and reimagined carousels made of discards cover the four-acre property.
Do Greater Palm Springs Sinatra’s way
For the Rat Pack enthusiast, head to Desert Memorial Park in Cathedral City where Sinatra was laid to rest. After passing away at the age of 82 in 1998, Sinatra was buried here with a bottle of Jack Daniels and a pack of Camel cigarettes tucked into his suit.
Have a date with a knight in shining armor
For over 80 years, the large knight outside of Shields Date Gardens has been attracting curious travelers on Highway 111. Shields’ famous date groves provide a yummy assortment of dates, as well as their famous date shakes.
Drive someone up the wall
Discover the ‘Coachella Walls’ mural project, located in Coachella’s downtown Historic Pueblo Viejo District. While you are there, check out the City of Coachella walking tour.
There’s no other place in the world you can get a potassium fill like the International Banana Museum. In Fact, Guinness Book of World Records appointed it the largest museum dedicated to a single fruit.
Climb to the top of the mountain of love
Colors truly pop in the desert landscape at Salvation Mountain. It’s crowned with a message in red and pink letters “God is Love” (hence the “salvation”), and intrigues visitors from all over the world. Nearby, don’t forget to check out Slab City, an off-the-grid community, and East Jesus, an experimental, sustainable, educational art installation.
Explore a desert full of dragons
Around the tiny town of Borrego Springs, discover a surprising outdoor “art gallery” scattered on open lots and around corners. The 130 bigger-than-life metal sculptures by artist Richard Breceda were commissioned by the late Dennis Avery, heir to the label fortune. Take a biking tour of the unusual art installment, Galleta Meadows, which was inspired by creatures that roamed this same desert millions of years ago.
Provoke your inner creativity with another man’s treasure
Noah’s Purifoy’s Desert Art Museum is truly oddball inspiring, luring visitors obsessed with outside-the-box, larger-than-life art. Outside the town of Joshua Tree, this randomly located, outdoor art museum was eighteen years in the making by artist Noah Purify. Dozens of art installations can be viewed in this open-desert “gallery,” containing artistic creations made with recycled objects, from mannequins and old TVs to lots of toilets.
Turn heads with an unBEElievable retro do
At the ageless Beauty Bubble Salon and Museum, discover more than 3,000 objects related to American beauty history. Ask the hair stylists for a beehive or pompadour hairstyle, so that you can blend in with the vintage, pastel-colored surroundings.
Gunfight in the Wild, Wild, West
Pioneertown is a secluded yet bustling little world that takes you back to the days of the Wild West — or at least perfectly captures the rugged and rowdy feel of the good ol’ days with re-enacted cowboy gunfights on Mane Street and left-over movie sets.
Become Insta-famous at the World Famous Crochet Museum
The World Famous Crochet Museum is unlike any other art museum. Located in an old one-hour photo hut in Yucca Valley, Shari Elf’s collection of crocheted animals and characters is not to be missed.
Make contact with aliens from the planet Venus
Built in the 1950’s under the direction of UFOs, the Integratron, a white-domed structure in the Mojave Desert, is considered to be the only all-wood, acoustically perfect sound chamber in the U.S. Take part in the Integratron’s Sound Bath, a 60-minute sonic healing session to rejuvenate your mind, body, and soul.