A Down In The Valley Christmas

When you’re planning your holidays, don’t forget about Palm Springs; it’s the perfect place to celebrate. Why? It’s the best of both worlds: it’s sunny and there’s snow, but we keep it in the mountains, where it belongs. It’s an arrangement we have with the weather. It’s all very official, you can look it up at City Hall (you can’t).

There’s a lot to do throughout the Coachella Valley, and if you’re looking for charm (seriously, who’s ever said “I hate charm”?) make one of our small resort hotels and inns home base.

We’re pretty tight with our sister cities — like most families, we’re all very different yet we’ve bonded. The new entertainment arena recently built in Thousand Palms/Palm Desert was initially planned for Palm Springs, but everyone agreed that it would ruin the feel and create a parking nightmare. It has been a bone of contention for years – in fact it was only in the last seven years that larger brands have been allowed to build in downtown Palm Springs. Some people are still a little butt hurt, but our small inns and resorts are honey badgers, they don’t care. They know no one else can offer a Palm Springs experience like they can. Every frequent traveler wanting to inhale the culture will always stay local; it’s how you keep your favorite vacation destinations open. Bonus: no one knows Palm Springs like the locals. And we’re very happy you’ve come to visit.

Find your home base here using the preferences dropdown to plan your perfect stay. And now, here are some big holiday events throughout the valley. Most of these are kid-friendly, or just for the kid in you:

Cathedral City

Dec. 7: Cathedral City tree lighting and North Pole Village 

Take the kids to meet Santa and watch them light the tree. The town square is adorable, and check out the fountain; the material surrounding it is bouncy.

Indio

Magic Lights at Polo Club — The Polo Club is not just about the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Beyond Van Gogh has been there since October and for the holidays they’ve set up a grand drive-thru, so pile everyone in the car and head on out. Prices are reasonable. (P.S. I went to the Van Gogh exhibition, and it was pretty awesome.)

La Quinta

Old Town Artisan Studios: Gingerbread Lane — Trust me when I say this place is everything. The grounds are stunning and at Christmas they go ALL out, including Gingerbread Lane featuring Santa and Mrs. Claus. You can paint a pre-made ceramic which they will fire for you to take home. Prices are modest and support the art programs specifically for kids with challenges, seniors, and veterans. It’s really special.

Rancho Mirage

Dec. 4: Children’s Discovery Museum Jingle Bell Rock. Please note you have to be accompanied by a child. Also, the museum has been closed for quite some time for a remodel. I believe this is on the grounds, and not in the museum itself.

Dec. 10: Home For The Holidays. A free concert from the city of Rancho Mirage at the Amphitheater produced by Desert Theatricals. This company is always top-notch.

Palm Desert

At the McCallum Theatre: Dec. 2-3: Mannheim Steamroller Christmas; Dec. 6: All is Calm: The Truce of 1914; Dec. 9: The Storm Large Holiday Ordeal; Dec. 18: Merri-Achi Christmas; Dec. 19: Dave Koz & Friends Christmas. I went here for the first time a few weeks back, and it’s an impressive space with fantastic production values.

Wild Lights at The Living Desert. The zoo always does it up over the holidays. My favorite is the miniature train. It was cold when I went last year, and I didn’t wear a heavy enough jacket, so we never made it over to see how the animals decorated.

This is not a holiday item, but come December, there’s a new kid in town: Acrisure Arena. It’s in Thousand Palms/Palm Desert (it’s Thousand Palms) and has a mix of hockey and some pretty big name entertainment. They’re starting strong with double-header Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle, Maroon 5, Shania Twain, Lizzo, The Eagles, and more. Score some tickets, then plan a future getaway. Music, comedy and sports — it’s a hat trick!

Palm Springs

Dec. 3:  PS Festival of Lights Parade. Palm Springs is like stepping back in time during Christmas. The streets are decorated just like the ones in my small town growing up during the 1960s.

Dec. 10: Modern Men Chorus holiday show at Palm Springs Cultural Center.

Dec. 14: Palm Canyon Theatre Let It Snow Holiday Concert. Community theater loved by many.

Wishing everyone a healthy and happy holiday season, and a marvelous new year. I’ll see you in 2023.