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Best Things to Do in La Quinta, CA

Nestled in the enchanting Coachella Valley, La Quinta is a city known for its exceptional quality of life. It is nicknamed the “Gem of the Desert” for a good reason – the picturesque town is flanked almost entirely by the soaring Santa Rosa Mountains and is home to a diverse array of incredible attractions, from world-class golf courses to beautiful hiking trails, top-rated restaurants, and shopping venues, to picturesque parks and more.

If you’re looking for some of the best things to do in La Quinta, CA this page shines the spotlight on many of the city’s top attractions, events, destinations, and activities.

Scenic Hiking Trails

Outdoor lovers and nature enthusiasts can enjoy unforgettable outdoor adventures by exploring La Quinta’s well-maintained network of trails surrounded by picture-perfect scenery and breathtaking mountain vistas.

Below are several popular hiking trails for you to check out:

La Quinta Cove to Lake Cahuilla

One of La Quinta’s top hiking trails, the La Quinta Cove to Lake Cahuilla route takes hikers on a scenic journey through a golf course, along the enchanting Morrow Trail, and finally to the serene shores of Lake Cahuilla.

Open year-round, this 6.5-mile out-and-back trail is a popular destination for birdwatchers, hikers, and trail runners. It is rated as a moderately challenging trail and takes an average of around three hours to complete.

Bear Creek Nature Trail

The Bear Creek Nature Trail is a family-friendly paved trail stretching approximately 4.8 miles along the foothills of the southern Santa Rosa Mountains, weaving through a lush, protected nature preserve.

You can access the trail by heading to the far end of the La Quinta Cove neighborhood, near the intersection of Avenida Madero and Calle Tecate. The trail treats hikers to a picturesque hike surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty in all directions, from the delicate mesquite trees and wispy desert willows, the bright pink plumes of full bloom bougainvillea, to the dramatic boulders and soaring mountain peaks rising on the horizon.

Bear Creek Oasis Trail

The Bear Creek Oasis Trail takes hikers on a breathtaking journey through the Santa Rosa foothills. The trail starts off flat and easy for about a mile and then ascends along ridges and switchbacks.

On a clear day, there’s a point in the trail where hikers can get a truly amazing view of the distant landscape, allowing you to get a glimpse of San Gorgonio, San Jacinto, the Coachella Valley, and the Salton Sea in the distance. Once you make your way back down, you’ll pass through a canyon tucked away in the desert mountains, where you’ll eventually reach a gorgeous fan palm oasis. It’s a challenging trail for novice hikers, but the payoff is definitely worth it!

World-Class Shopping

Looking forward to some well-deserved retail therapy? La Quinta offers quick access to a dazzling selection of incredible shopping venues, ranging from streets lined with local boutiques, and sprawling premium outlets centers to al fresco shopping centers featuring some of the top national retailers.

For an unparalleled La Quinta shopping experience, be sure to visit some of these top shopping destinations in and around the area:

Old Town La Quinta78010 Main Street, Suite 201, La Quinta, CA 92253

Nestled in the heart of La Quinta’s vibrant downtown district, Old Town La Quinta is home to a dazzling collection of boutiques and restaurants. This is the ideal shopping venue if you’re searching for unique gift items. Shops at Old Town stock a wide range of interesting items like desert-inspired home décor, rare wines, cold-pressed olive oils, handcrafted lotions and soaps, and other artisanal products.

Be sure to drop by on Sundays when Old Town La Quinta’s shopping district transforms into a lively street fair, with many shops opening their doors and filling the sidewalks with their wares.

The River at Rancho Mirage71800 Highway 111, Rancho Mirage, CA 92270

The River at Rancho Mirage is a scenic shopping, dining, and entertainment destination with a tranquil desert ambiance. Located about 20 minutes away from La Quinta, this vibrant shopping center is spread across 30 acres of beautifully landscaped oasis filled with serene waterfalls and fountains and surrounded by spectacular mountain views.

In addition to its diverse collection of shops and restaurants, The River features an amphitheater that regularly hosts live performances and exciting events.

The Gardens on El Paseo73545 El Paseo, Palm Desert, CA 92260

Located around 15 minutes northwest of La Quinta in the nearby city of Palm Desert, The Gardens on El Paseo offers a first-class outdoor and lifestyle shopping experience amidst serene desert landscaping and breathtaking views.

Inspired by Beverly Hills’ world-famous Rodeo Drive, this upscale outdoor shopping mall features a stellar list of popular retailers, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Tiffany & Co., Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Williams-Sonoma, Anthologie, and Johnny Was.

Sitting right in the middle of the venue is a namesake garden, which adds a relaxing atmosphere to this high-end shopping destination. After checking out the shops, cap off your shopping trip by kicking back with a happy hour cocktail or a light dinner at the many nearby top-rated restaurants like Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza & Grill, Pacifica Seafood Restaurant, and Wilma & Frieda El Paseo.

Exquisite Dining

A chef preparing an exquisite dish

Whether you’re inviting friends for a Sunday brunch, treating your family to a sumptuous feast, planning a romantic evening, or just out to grab a quick bite, La Quinta’s variety of dining venues is sure to satisfy you.

Here are some of the many terrific restaurants for you to check out in and around La Quinta:

La Quinta CliffhouseLa Quinta Cliffhouse Grill and Bar, 78250 Highway 111, La Quinta, CA 92253 

Nestled along dramatic cliffs within an enchanting desert landscape, La Quinta Cliffhouse is one of the city’s top-rated wining and dining destinations. The restaurant boasts masterfully crafted classic American fare, treating diners to a plethora of dishes, including pasta, fresh seafood, and perfectly executed steak and chops, together with an award-winning wine list and selection of creative cocktails.

At La Quinta Cliffhouse, guests can enjoy a first-class dining experience at their inviting dining room and bar or dine al fresco at their expansive cliffside patio surrounded by breathtaking views.

La Brasserie Bistro & Bar78477 Highway 111, La Quinta, CA 92253

Savor classic Parisian bistro cuisine at La Brasserie Bistro & Bar, an authentic family-owned and operated French bistro with a sophisticated and elegant casual dining environment.

La Brasserie’s menu is highlighted by a seamless blend of traditional bistro cuisine and California-forward fare, masterfully prepared and executed by renowned French chefs Emmanuel Janin and Vincent Perraud. Guests can look forward to a truly exquisite dining experience enjoying French bistro classics like Moules Frites, escargots, or beef carpaccio at La Brasserie’s picturesque heated courtyards surrounded by old-world fixtures, a serene fountain, and soaring palm trees.

Adobe Grill49-499 Eisenhower Drive, La Quinta, CA 92253 

Surrounded by the lush gardens of the La Quinta Resort & Club, Adobe Grill offers an authentic Mexican dining experience enhanced by a traditional Oaxacan motif and vintage adobe architecture.

Adobe Grill’s regionally inspired Mexican cuisine is guaranteed to delight your taste buds. Their diverse menu includes a wide variety of tacos, fajitas, salads, and other specialties. Complementing their delicious cuisine are bespoke margaritas crafted from their vast selection of more than a hundred tequilas.

Heirloom Craft Kitchen49990 Jefferson Blvd., Suite 100, Indio, CA 92201

Located in nearby Indio, Heirloom Craft Kitchen is a cozy fast-casual restaurant that sources the finest and freshest ingredients to create California cuisine bursting with flavor.

While the restaurant’s menu is elevated, diners can enjoy a relaxed and casual dining atmosphere. Heirloom’s streetside patio – which runs alongside three adjoining restaurants – offers the perfect opportunity for diners to enjoy a unique al fresco dining experience. The entire patio is climate-controlled and surrounded by lush plants and handcrafted stonework – absolutely the perfect setting for savoring the restaurant’s fresh salads, scratch-made soups, and delicious sandwiches and small plates.

Exceptional Golf Courses

Beautiful golfcourse with colorful flowers

If you’re looking for some of the best things to do in La Quinta, CA, golf is something you should definitely add to your list. La Quinta is famous for being home to several world-class championship golf courses, some of which have hosted prestigious pro tournaments, including the PGA Tour’s American Express and the Bob Hope Classic.

Whether you’re perfecting your swing, breaking in a new set of irons, or inviting a couple of friends for a round, the golf courses in La Quinta are guaranteed to satisfy avid golfers of all skill levels.

Be sure to check out some of these top-rated golf courses in the city:

Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course at PGA West

Spanning 7,204 yards long, the Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course boasts a masterful design that will challenge players at every corner. This course is known as a haven for true ball strikers, providing ample opportunities to power off tees with room to spare. Its elevated greens call for perfectly executed short games, particularly in its two island greens that require high levels of precision.

The Nicklaus Tournament Course combines with The Stadium Course to host PGA Tour’s biannual Q-School final round, attended by many of the top professional golfers in the world.

The Pete Dye Dunes Course

Designed by acclaimed golf course architect Pete Dye, the Dunes Course at LA Quinta Resort & Club is a par-72 course with a traditional rolling links-style layout with manicured fairways, rolling mounds, and thick rough.

Power, precision, and finesse are key in this masterfully designed course, pushing each player’s skills to the limit with its extended fairway bunkering, railroad tie-wrapped water hazards, and seamless transitions from target to links-style throughout the course.

The Dunes Course has hosted distinguished professional tournaments, including the California State Open and the PGA Club Professional Championship.

The Arnold Palmer Classic Course at SilverRock Resort

Encompassing more than 200 acres, the Arnold Palmer Classic Course challenges golfers at every hole with its expansive native bunkers and serene water features. Spanning 7,239 yards, this picturesque course is surrounded by spectacular views of the soaring Santa Rosa Mountains

The Arnold Palmer Classic Course has won numerous prestigious awards throughout the years from many top golfing publications and websites, including Golf Magazine, Golfweek, Zagat America, and

Mountain Course at La Quinta Resort & Club

Ranked in Golfweek’s list of Top 100 Golf Courses in the US, the Mountain Course is a Pete Dye-designed course located at the base of the Santa Rosa Mountains.

The course is highlighted by picturesque scenery and unmatched playability and is known to challenge even the most skilled golfers with its well-bunkered greens, dramatic rock formations, changing elevations, and well-designed layout that encourages players to rethink their strategy.

Incredible Nearby Outdoor Destinations

In addition to beautiful hiking trails and world-class golf courses, La Quinta is a short drive away from many of the finest outdoor destinations the Coachella Valley has to offer.

Exploring the outdoors and reconnecting with nature is one of the best things to do when you’re in La Quinta, CA. Planning your next weekend trip? Consider visiting these fantastic outdoor attractions near La Quinta:

The San Andreas Fault

Embark on a unique expedition that takes you through the San Andreas Fault, one of the most fascinating geologic features of the Coachella Valley. Open-air 4x4 tours led by naturalist guides offer an up-close view of the fault line itself, offering a rare opportunity to see how nature sculpted this stunning landscape.

Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument

For a breathtaking experience, make your way to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway for a spectacular journey more than 8,500 feet in the air along the dramatic cliffs of Chino Canyon and to the lush wilderness of Mt. San Jacinto State Park.

Located about 40 minutes away from La Quinta, The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is the largest rotating tram car in the world, offering 360-degree spectacular vistas of the gorgeous landscape.

Once you’ve reached Mountain Station, you’ll find a variety of amenities, including a natural history museum, documentary theaters, observation decks, more than 50 miles of hiking trails, restaurants, and a gift shop.

Indian Canyons

Located in Palm Springs, the ancient Indian Canyons provide a rare opportunity for visitors to walk in the footsteps of early Native Americans who built and inhabited the area long ago.

Begin your trek at the Trading Post in Palm Canyon, where you can access a path towards a scenic picnic area shaded by massive California Fan Palms. From here, you’ll be able to explore over 15 miles of beautiful mountain and canyon trails, either on your own, on horseback, or by joining a ranger-led excursion.

More picnic areas and hiking trails are available in nearby Andreas, Murray, and Tahquitz Canyons.

Joshua Tree National Park

A trip to Joshua Tree National Park is part of the bucket list of many nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Nestled amidst 550,000 acres of wilderness in the high desert, this destination is truly a sight to behold, with thousands of soaring Joshua trees and enchanting rock formations as far as the eye can see.

Straddling the Colorado and Mojave deserts, the Joshua Tree National Park is home to a network of hiking, equestrian, and biking paths together with self-guided nature trails, offering a variety of options for visitors looking to immerse themselves in its wonder.

Spectacular Festivals and Events

There’s always something to look forward to when you’re living in La Quinta, as the desert resort city plays host to a stellar lineup of fun-filled events and celebrations every year.

Below are some of the most-anticipated signature events you can enjoy in the city:

La Quinta Art Celebration

Now held twice a year, the La Quinta Art Celebration is an award-winning arts and crafts festival renowned by artists and art patrons alike as one of the top arts festivals in the country.

The four-day event features over 200 premier national and internationally acclaimed artists, treating visitors to a stunning display of visual arts across a wide variety of media. In addition to its array of exhibiting artists, the festival also features live music performances every day, together with a wide variety of food and beverage vendors.

La Quinta Hot Rod and Custom Car Show

Automobile enthusiasts in La Quinta can look forward to the Annual La Quinta Hot Rod and Custom Car Show held at the La Quinta Community Park every February.

The event showcases a massive fleet of classic automobiles, hotrods, sports cars, motorbikes, and other vehicles. This event also features live entertainment, family-friendly games and activities, and food vendors.

Find the Best Selection of Homes for Sale in La Quinta, CA Today!

These are just a few of the many exciting things you can do in La Quinta, CA!

Want to find your dream home in the area? Brandi Pratt and her expert team of Realtors from The Pratt Group are ready to go above and beyond to help you fulfill your real estate goals in this exciting market!

Get in touch with The Pratt Group today by calling 760.9600.381 or by sending an email here.

Brandi Pratt - realtor in La Quinta, CA
Brandi Pratt
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