Let Santa keep the North Pole. For sun and fun and plenty of holiday cheer, Palm Springs is your desert destination to make the season bright.
“The sun is nature’s gift to Palm Springs and we take full advantage of all the festive opportunities it shines on us during the holiday season,” said Mary Jo Ginther, Director of the Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism. “After sunset, the fun continues with decorative lights, parades, candlelit dining, fireworks and more. We welcome visitors to celebrate the holidays with us and enjoy all our resort community has to offer.”
If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas you’ll likely find snow by hopping aboard the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, which climbs more than 8,000 feet in elevation for 2.5 miles to Mount San Jacinto. Folks have been sending in their postcard predictions since October 1 when the first snowfall will blanket the mountain region during the annual snow guessing contest. Atop the visitors center, the holiday tramway tree is perched in bright glory. Along with the extravagant tree lighting on December 1, there are activities all month long including performances by local choral groups and Santa visits.
Another Santa sighting can be found at the Palm Springs Air Museum where kids join jolly St. Nick on December 14-15 in the hanger as he hands out treats against the backdrop of vintage aircrafts. Thinking of visiting in November? The museum will host the 8th Annual Props & Hops Craft Beer Festival on November 23.
Of course, you’re certain to spot Santa and Mrs. Claus at the annual Palm Springs Festival of Lights parade, a dazzling procession of sparkling floats and costume characters that light up Palm Canyon Drive at night. The beloved holiday procession on December 7 at 5:45 pm attracts thousands of revelers downtown to delight in the parade. Now in its 27th year, the parade has hosted a number of stars including Garfield, Snoopy, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, and the Budweiser Clydesdales.
In route to the parade, or between shopping at the many boutiques and art galleries, grab a hot cocoa or peppermint latte at Koffi or Ernest Coffee. Both are relaxing spots to meet up with friends and family to discuss holiday plans and show off the unique finds after a long day of shopping.
Outdoor dining is part of New Year’s Eve amusements in the desert. Early birds can catch dinner specials while those wanting to stay for the countdown can reserve later seating’s at dozens of restaurants in Palm Springs most offering a champagne toast to properly usher in 2020.
As the countdown ticks closer to midnight, ring in the New Year with a bang at the Agua Caliente Casino Palm Springs to catch a spectacular display of fireworks that rivals the Fourth of July. Hosted by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, the tribe creates an electrifying show with bursts of color that can be seen for miles from downtown lighting up the desert sky.