10 Best Museums in Palm Springs for Art Lovers, History Buffs and Families

Palm Springs is well known as the ultimate resort destination, ripe with golf courses, swimming pools and enviable weather all year long. As such, the Coachella Valley's collection of museums might surprise you. There's something for everyone to discover and enjoy in Palm Springs' museums, from World War II history and the culture of the native Cahuilla people to contemporary art exhibits and pristine gardens.

The downtown Palm Springs area has a number of museums for you to choose from. The Palm Springs Art Museum houses contemporary and modern art exhibits from some of the finest artists in the world. In recent years, the museum has hosted works by artists like Pablo Picasso and Dale Chihuly. PSAM is also home to artifacts and artwork reflected Cahuilla culture. Nearby, you can see one of the world's largest collection of flyable World War II planes at the Palm Springs Air Museum. Here, you can learn all about the history and impact of World War II from exhibits and the docents, most of whom are combat veterans. 

If you have little ones, don't miss the Children's Discovery Museum of the Desert. The exhibits here focus on hands-on learning experiences, making the museum a fun adventure for the entire family. No matter what your interests or schedule, there are plenty of local museums to bring a sense of discovery to your desert vacation. If you need help choosing which museums to visit, this 10Best list highlights the top 10 museums in Palm Springs.

General George Patton Memorial Museum


This museum is dedicated to the colorful, courageous World War II general who rescued Americans trapped at Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge. It also honors veterans of conflicts from the Civil War to the Iraq arena. The museum is on...  Read More

McCallum Adobe


Built in 1884, this authentic adobe structure was erected by the first pioneers of Palm Springs and was home to John McCallum, the town's first permanent white settler. The museum is housed within this adobe, which still features its original...  Read More



Once home to the indigenous Cahuilla people, the Coachella Valley evolved over the years to become a major railroad stop, an agricultural center and, more recently, a hotbed for modern design. Today, the desert's evolution is well-preserved...  Read More

Ruddy's General Store Museum


In 1983, after decades of acquisition, Jim Ruddy decided to display his extensive collection of general store memorabilia, much of it dating back to the 1940s. These days, visitors can step into the past thanks to his re-imagined but authentic...  Read More

Agua Caliente Cultural Museum


Long before Palm Springs became a playground for Old Hollywood's stars, the Coachella Valley was home to the Cahuilla Indians. Today, the history of the Cahuilla people is preserved and showcased at the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum in downtown...  Read More



Who needs mass produced homes and traditional building materials? When homesteader Yerxa Cabot settled in Desert Hot Springs, he used natural materials and a little ingenuity to build a home so unique it remains a preserved museum to this day....  Read More



Whether you need a place to set your inner child loose or let your actual children play, the Children's Discovery Museum of the Desert has more than 50 hands-on activities to peak your curiosity and keep the entire family entertained for hours....  Read More



Sunnylands is a historic, 200-acre estate in Rancho Mirage. Once the winter home of Ambassadors Walter and Leonore Annenberg, this A. Quincy Jones-designed estate has hosted a number of high-powered retreats for politics, education and the arts....  Read More



As the deadliest war in history, WWII forever changed the course of American and international history. Today, visitors can view the largest collection of flyable WWII planes in the world at the Palm Springs Air Museum. Whether or not you're a...  Read More



The Palm Springs Art Museum has seen many transformations since its inception in 1938. Originally focused on the desert environment and the native Cahuilla people, the museum is now dedicated to both the region's indigenous culture and...  Read More


Meet Marissa Willman

Marissa Willman moved to the Coachella Valley in 2001 and loves discovering the best that the desert has to offer. As a Palm Springs local, Marissa enjoys sharing her knowledge of this desert...  More About Marissa