From holiday celebrations to music festivals, there are a ton of fun things to check out this month around the Coachella Valley. Read our roundup of the notable things to do below.
Coachella Valley Holiday Celebrations Brighten Up the Desert
Taking Place Throughout the Month
Communities around the Coachella Valley are planning to hold holiday celebrations, kicking off another magical season in the Greater Palm Springs Area. See what’s happening across desert cities below.
Indio: Check out one of the largest living “holiday trees” in person by attending the City of Indio’s tree lighting on Thursday, December 2nd at 5pm. This free event is held at 100 Civic Center Mall, between City Hall and the Indio Public Library. In addition to the tree lighting ceremony, enjoy a variety of live performances by carolers, holiday treats, and photos with Santa. Visit the City of Indio’s website to get more information.
Palm Springs: The City of Palm Springs is set to ring in the holiday season with an official tree lighting ceremony on Friday, December 3rd at Francis Stevens Park starting at 4:30pm. The ceremony will feature special guests, including the grand marshals of the Festival of Lights, Mariah Hanson, founder of Dinah Shore Weekend, and Linda Barrack, CEO of Martha’s Village and Kitchen. The tree lighting will take place at 5:15pm sharp, with free cookies and hot cocoa, caroling, children’s craft activities, and story time with Santa creating a fun atmosphere for everyone. Check out the City of Palm Springs website for more information.
Palm Desert: On Friday, December 3rd, head to the world-famous El Paseo shopping district in Palm Desert for a tree lighting ceremony. Taking place from 5-7pm, don’t miss this golden opportunity to see the tree’s bright lights, get a photo-op with Santa and Mrs. Claus, enjoy carolers and cookies, and experience a magical atmosphere in one of the desert’s most treasured locales. More information can be found at The Shops on El Paseo’s website.
La Quinta: Celebrate the season by joining the City of La Quinta for its tree lighting ceremony at the La Quinta Civic Center on Friday, December 3rd from 6-8pm. In addition to the tree lighting, there will be tons of festive activities and fun, including live musical performances, pictures with Santa, rides around the Civic Center on the light-up holiday train, cookies, refreshments, and more. Visit the City of La Quinta’s website for the full details.
Cathedral City: Check out North Pole Village at Snow-Fest, taking place in Civic Center Plaza in Cathedral City on Wednesday, December 8th. This exceptional holiday event feels like a Hollywood movie set and features a North Pole Village, filled with festive cheer including Santa Claus, cookies, a choir performance, elf workshop, and more. Additionally, a tree lighting ceremony will take place, illuminating the city’s 30’ tree for the first time this season. The event runs from 5-7pm in downtown Cathedral City, with the tree lighting taking place just after 5pm. Visit the Snow-Fest website for more information.
Desert Hot Springs: The City of Desert Hot Springs invites everyone to join its festive celebration, including a nighttime holiday parade, on Saturday, December 11th. The parade will kick off at 5:45pm and will feature a bright display of floats, performers, marching bands, and more, all illuminating the city. The parade route will start at Palm Drive and Mission Lakes Road and will end at Palm Drive and 2nd Street. Additionally, there will be free carnival rides, free cotton candy and face painting, food vendors, live music, and a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus to bring the warmth of the season and create a fun holiday atmosphere for all. Visit the City of Desert Hot Springs website for more details.
Regardless of which desert city you call home, we hope you have a chance to attend these incredible events and brighten your holiday season.
The 29th Annual Palm Springs Festival of Lights Parade
Brighten your holidays by attending the 29th Annual Palm Springs Festival of Lights Parade on Saturday, December 4th, starting at 5:45pm along North Palm Canyon Drive. This celebrated annual tradition attracts thousands of people to Downtown Palm Springs to enjoy this brilliant and festive celebration. Bennion Deville Homes is proud to be the presenting sponsor of this year’s parade.
Known for illuminated floats with twinkling lights in a wide palette of colors, exciting marching bands, vibrant dancers, and giant balloons, the Palm Springs Festival of Lights Parade is a truly one-of-a-kind winter celebration that is sure to rouse the holiday magic inside all of us.
This year’s Community Grand Marshals are Mariah Hanson, founder of Dinah Shore Weekend, and Linda Barrack, CEO of Martha’s Village and Kitchen.
For more information on the 29th Annual Palm Springs Festival of Lights Parade, including the route map, the parade’s history, and more, visit the event website.
The 29th Annual Indio International Tamale Festival
December 4th and 5th
The 29th Annual Indio International Tamale Festival spices up your weekend at 100 Civic Center Mall on Saturday, December 4th, and Sunday, December 5th. This event is known as the World’s Largest Tamale Festival and is a celebration of the rich culture and heritage of the tamale. The festival draws hundreds of thousands of visitors every year to revel in delicious food, good brews, and incredible December desert weather.
Planned entertainment for this year includes live music, traditional Folklorico dancing, a michelada garden, “the world’s biggest bounce house,” luchadores (wrestling), a car show, mariachi, carnival rides, roller skating, and more. Of course, thousands of delicious tamales will be available, along with other exciting alternative food options and shopping.
For more information on the 29th Annual Indio International Tamale Festival, check out the festival website.
29th Annual WildLights
Through December 30th
The 29th Annual WildLights leaps into The Living Desert in Palm Desert, taking place select nights now through December 30th. Featuring over a million shining lights, WildLights includes nocturnal animal viewing, live music and special events for all ages, photos with Santa Claus, and much more. Additionally, the model trains will be decked out for the season, a favorite among guests both young and young at heart.
For more information on the 29th Annual WildLights, check out The Living Desert’s website.
The Festival of Lights at Mission Inn
Through January 6th
The Festival of Lights at Mission Inn in Riverside runs through January 6th at one of Southern California’s most beloved historic hotels. This annual holiday tradition embodies a festive spirit with a cornucopia of delightful seasonal goodies sure to spread good cheer, including a dazzling light display boasting over 5 million holiday lights, 200 animated figures, appearances by Santa Claus, the world’s largest man-made mistletoe, freshly fallen snow, horse-drawn carriage rides, delicious holiday treats from Casey’s Cupcakes, and more. Entrance into the light display is free, with other activities and treats available for purchase.
For more information on the Festival of Lights at Mission Inn, check out the hotel’s website.
December 10th & 11th
The inaugural Desert Air music festival takes flight on Friday, December 10th, and Saturday, December 11th, at the Palm Springs Air Museum. This 2-day underground dance music festival features a lineup of 14 talented artists, with a stage placed on the museum’s tarmac. In addition to the allure of live music, there are several experiences to keep festival-goers engaged, including mezcal and wine tasting, a modernism neighborhood bike tour, guided hiking, and more.
More information on this 21+ music festival, including to purchase tickets and lineup details, visit the Desert Air website.
Santa’s Miracle on the Tarmac
December 18th – 22nd
Head to the Palm Springs Air Museum December 18th through the 22nd from 5:30 to 8:30pm each night to experience Santa’s Miracle on the Tarmac. This drive-through holiday experience puts you up close and personal with Santa on the tarmac of the Palm Springs Air Museum, which will be decked out with bright lights, holiday décor, and festive music, capped off with a chance to interact with Santa. The cost is $25 per car, which includes entry into the experience and a goody bag. Santa will arrive by helicopter on the 17th so be sure to catch that spectacle if you can, too!
For more information zip over to the Palm Springs Air Museum website.
New Year’s Eve Celebrations
If you are looking to ring in the New Year in the desert, you are in luck – there are plenty of celebrations taking place from Palm Springs to Indio on New Year’s Eve, with something for all tastes and styles.
Agua Caliente is hosting NYE celebrations at its properties across the Coachella Valley. Agua Caliente Palm Springs features the Light It Up Block Party, with music spun by DJ Lady Kate, food trucks, fireworks, and more. Agua Caliente Casino Cathedral City will play host to plenty of live entertainment under the stars, with music from DJ Citizen Jane and more. In Rancho Mirage, check out the Light It Up New Year’s Eve Dance Party in The Show, starting at 8pm and featuring DJ Boba. More information and tickets can be found on the Agua Caliente Casinos website.
If you are on the hunt for something different, check out one of the desert’s newest and buzziest venues, Coachella Crossroads, as it plays host to a night with tons of star power. DJ Diesel – NBA legend Shaq’s DJ stage name – keeps the party going with other musical guests, including Saweetie, E-40, and Getter. Tickets start at $99.
33rd Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival
The desert draws the global spotlight for the 33rd Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival, one of the top events in the Coachella Valley. This premier festival attracts an international crowd starting January 6th through the 17th. This the first major film festival of the year, featuring acclaimed films from around the world and supported by an A-List cast of celebrities and entertainment industry icons. Bennion Deville Homes is a proud Platinum Sponsor of this prestigious event and has been a sponsor for many years.
In addition to the awards gala to start the festival, there are many film screenings that are open to the public. For more information, to purchase tickets and festival passes, and to check show times, visit the Palm Springs Film Festival website.