Ahh, nothing screams Christmas like sunny weather and a dip in the pool after a round of golf. Okay, so maybe Palm Springs isn’t the obvious choice for a Christmas getaway, but you’d be surprised at how festive and fun the area can be. I love spending Christmas in Palm Springs because the temperatures are cooler, and there are plenty of family-friendly things to do. It is one of the busiest times of the year due to the school’s holiday break, but that is also what makes it more fun.
Here is a list of amazing things to do for Christmas in Palm Springs.
Hands down the most festive activity to do in Palm Springs at Christmas. Running late November to late December, the Wildlights at the Living Desert feature over a million twinkling lights. Wander around and see the animals, while creating arts and crafts, listening to live music and meeting Santa. General and Member tickets available.
Festival of Lights Parade and Holiday Parade (first week of December)
The annual holiday parade down Palm Canyon Drive happens the first weekend in December. The parade features performers, marching bands, Budweiser Clydesdales and some of your favorite Disney characters. It also features larger than life floats with local celebrities, balloons and hundreds of Christmas lights. The parade is held between Ramon and Tamarisk Road.
Snow! In the desert! Bundle up (It’s at least 20 degrees chillier up here) and head up the famous Aerial Tramway to get into the Christmas spirit. You are likely to see snow-dusted trees and can even cross country ski and snowshoe on the many trails up there.
Christmas Concerts + Live Music
Every year there are a variety of Christmas concerts that come through Palm Springs. Check the events page for McCallum Theatre, as they always have shows, musicals and ballets like the Nutcracker.
The Purple Room Supper Club
The Purple Room Supper Club has Holiday Elvis Tribute shows, a fun way to spend a Saturday evening during the holidays.
Agua CALIENTE CASINO AND RESORT
Check listings at the resort for famous artists and shows during the holidays. Buy tickets for a loved one as an early Christmas present.
Indian Wells Theatre
The theatre usually hosts a Christmas concert by the California Desert Chorale. Check the events schedule for details.
Festive Hotels in Palm Springs at Christmas
La Quinta Resort
I love visiting La Quinta Resort at Christmas time. They always have two large Christmas trees, festive lights, and holiday music playing throughout. Come by and have dinner at one of the restaurants like Adobe Mexican Grill or Morgan’s Steakhouse. Other hotels that deck the halls are:
- Miramonte Resort with literal chestnuts roasting on an open fire
- Renaissance Esmeralda Resort & Spa, Indian Wells hosts a tree lighting and have a gingerbread display.
- JW Desert Springs: Lifesize Gingerbread DIsplay and decor. Take the kids on a boat ride and to see the flamingos!
Christmas Shopping in Palm Springs
Desert Hills Premium Outlets
Shop for the latest designer fashions at a fraction of the price. A one-stop-shop for all your Christmas shopping with hundreds of stores to explore.
Palm Canyon Drive Lights
The famous Downtown street is adorned in Christmas lights during the holiday season. Bundle up (as it can get chilly at night this time of year), grab a cocoa and wander the streets on foot and do some Christmas shopping. There are some great souvenir shops on this street with iconic Palm Springs style items that aren’t your usual tacky takehomes.
El Paseo does an amazing job during the holiday season including Snowfall at the Gardens, caroling, lights displays and weekend events.
Palm Springs Vintage Market – First Sunday of December
The Palm Springs Vintage Market is held on the first Sunday of every month. Head down for some unique Christmas gifts inspired by Palm Springs!
They also host Paws n’ Claus, where you can get some festive photos with your pup and Santa. Admission of $15 goes to the Animal Samaritans.
Holiday Night out in Palm Springs – 21+
Dance the night away at the iconic Nest piano lounge. A great mix of young and old flock here during the season. December is one of the busiest times of the year. Enjoy cocktails and live music in the festive lounge while meeting locals and tourists from all over North America and beyond.
Melvyn’s at Ingleside Inn
Melvyn’s at Ingleside Inn is always decorated, and the live music features a mix of classics and holiday songs. They are open for Christmas Dinner and offer turkey with all the fixings.
Subscribe to PS Underground emails and you’ll get invites to exclusive, secret events happening around Palm Springs. Everything from nights out, dinners at private locations, brunch and themed meals. They always do a few events around Christmas, so keep an eye out in your inbox.
See a holiday movie in VIP luxury recliners
Christmas time is one of the biggest and busiest times at the box office. Award season is right around the corner, and there is always something to see in the theatre. Palm Springs has two amazing theatres to relax and catch a movie, Century La Quinta XD and The River.
Candy Cane Lane
A must-see during the Christmas season in Palm Springs! Minerva Drive in Cathedral City participates and turns this neighborhood into a scene out of a Hallmark Christmas movie. The street is about two blocks long and is worth the drive to get into the Christmas spirit!
Robolights is a famous Christmas light display put together by Kenny Irwin. It has been going on for over 20 years but is hitting pause this year (2019) due to some resident complaints (womp womp). Kenny has plans with the city to purchase a lot and make the Robolights a full-time art installation, which should be up and running by the 2020 season.
North Pole Village at Snow-Fest in Cathedral City (Second week of December)
After driving Candy Cane lane, head to the North Pole Village at Snow-Fest to see Santa, win prizes and for their famous Candy cane drop, where over 20,000 candy canes fall from the sky for the kids.
Old Fashioned Christmas at Coachella Valley History Museum
Members enjoy live music, treats, and holiday displays. To learn about memberships and the perks, click here.
Take in an AHL Hockey Game
Starting in the 2021 season, Seattle’s AHL team will be calling Coachella Valley home. Take in one of the games in December to get in the Christmas spirit.
Have a lovely, safe holiday season!