The weather outside is far from frightful, which means winter in Greater Palm Springs is oh-so-delightful. Here, stockings are stuffed with sunshine and palm trees decorated with twinkling lights. Be jolly and make merry at these festive events and experiences in Greater Palm Springs. Read here for holiday performances.


WildLights | The Living Desert

When: November 26 to December 30 from 6:00 p.m. to 9 p.m. 

Celebrate the 29th year of WildLights at The Living Desert and watch as the zoo turns into a sparkling winter wonderland. Find millions on lights deck the palms throughout the grounds, from a herd of life-size, luminescent lanterns to the popular light tunnel – don't forget the festive G-scale model train with more that 3,300 feet of decorated tracks. Take your family out for an evening filled with excitement, holiday cheer and endless lights!

City of La Quinta Tree Lighting Ceremony | Civic Center Park

When: December 3 at 6 p.m.

Everyone is invited to begin the holiday festivities in La Quinta at the annual tree lighting ceremony. Bring the family out to experience a winter wonderland for the evening! Admission is free for all. 

The Lights on El Paseo | El Paseo Shopping District

When: December 3 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. 

Kick off the holiday season by watching El Paseo light up with twinkling lights and be filled with festive fun! Watch the Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony featuring carolers, a large tree and jolly décor. It's sets the perfect mood for holiday shopping and spending an evening out on the town, where you can find activities for kids, fun in different shops and more. Plus, very special guests will be paying a visit! Don't miss Santa and Mrs. Claus – it's perfect timing for that holiday photo! 

Festival of Lights Parade | Palm Springs

When: December 4 at 5:45 p.m.

For the past 27 years, the Festival of Lights Parade has been held in the heart of Palm Springs. The parade features tractors and floats covered in lights, marching bands and performance groups and, of course, Santa and Mrs. Claus – join in on the holiday cheer! 

Tramway's Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony | Palm Springs Aerial Tramway 

When: December 5 at 5:30 p.m. 

Be taken 11,000 feet up the mountain on Palm Springs Aerial Tramway and watch as Santa lights the 45-foot tree that can be seen all across Greater Palm Springs! There will also be a performance from the Palm Springs High School choir. In-person space is limited, but don't worry! You can watch it live here.

North Pole Village & Mayor's Tree Lighting | Cathedral City Civic Center 

When: December 8 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. 

Bring the entire family to celebrate the 'most wonderful time of the year!' The annual Mayor's Tree Lighting Ceremony features a lit-up Hollywood style movie set themed as Main Street at Santa's North Pole. The family will love this, as you get to experience the North Pole, carolers, free movies showings and so much more, plus a special visit from the big man on the holidays, Santa Claus! Admission and parking are free. 

Parade of Lights & Holiday Festival | Desert Hot Springs 

When: December 11 starting at 5:45 p.m.

Join the community of Desert Hot Springs at the Parade of Lights & Holiday Festival to celebrate the jolliest of times! This year's festival theme will be Storybook Christmas, so make sure to decorate your float after your favorite storybook or movie! You can sit to enjoy the parade and then head over to the festival. Find all things free and festive, from the carnival rides to pictures with Santa, face paintings, cotton candy and more. The whole family will love this event, so make sure you find your places, enjoy the lit floats and then prepare to have a ball at the Holiday Festival! 

Frosty Fest | Palm Desert Civic Center

When: December 18 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Head out to the free Frosty Fest, filled with holiday activities, ice skating, food vendors, live entertainment and so much more holiday fun! Stop by if you are looking to stock up on some last minute stocking stuffers, there will be plenty of local vendors to shop from, as well. The entire family will enjoy this holiday event. 

Gingerbread Lane | Old Town Artisan Studios 

When: Each Saturday in December from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.  

Visit this enchanted Gingerbread Lane – a winter wonderland with multiple trees, trimmed garland, twinkling lights, a large tree next to a holiday cottage. They will also be offering gingerbread cookies, hot cider, cookie decorating and ornament painting. 

Greater Palm Springs Neighborhoods 

For a festive (and free) way to celebrate the holidays, pour yourself a thermos of hot cocoa, turn up the dial on the car radio and drive past all the beautifully lit homes in Greater Palm Springs while listening to your favorite carols. There’s just something magical about seeing all the palm trees strung with lights and colorful front doors made even merrier with wreaths and boughs of holly. 


Love Local Shopping Pass 

Save this holiday season and give back when you download the free Love Local Shopping Pass. As you are purchasing presents and stuffing those stockings, simply check-in to participating retailers. Each time you do, you will be entered for a chance to win a special sweepstakes at the end of the holiday season. Support local retailers and give back to those in need this holiday season. $1 will be donated to FIND Food Bank every check-in. Happy shopping! 

Alohana - A Celebration of Tiki Culture | Palm Springs Cultural Center

When: December 12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Mele Kalikimaka is the thing to say on a bright, Greater Palm Springs day. Add a little island inspiration to your holiday shopping this year at Alohana, a celebration of all things Tiki. The outdoor marketplace will feature boxed lunches, Tiki cocktails, music and unique wares for sale and is a great way to support local artists.


Merry Movie Nights | Gardens at El Paseo

When: Every Saturday from November 27 to December 18, showtime at 5 p.m.

Get in the holiday mood while coming together with family and friends to enjoy a holiday movie at this outdoor cinema setup. Bring blankets and you favorite food, then sit down to relax under the evening sky. Featured movies will include The Grinch, Frozen, Elf and The Santa Clause. Tickets will be available November 1, adults will be $7 and children under 16 will be $5. 

Gallery Holiday Party | Desert Art Center

When: December 3 at 5 p.m. 

Come one, come all! Join the fun at this festive holiday party where you can walk through Desert Art Center's Main Gallery featuring work by member artists and introducing new artwork by just-juried new Gallery Artists. Don't miss this fun, festive and filling art party, yes there will be food! Plus, there may be a special exhibit featuring additional artists. 

Santa Fly-In and Winter Light Show | Palm Springs Air Museum

When: December 18 to December 22 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Santa will arrive by helicopter ready to greet all the kids who come to see him. Snap a holiday photo with Santa, receive a special gift and wait until the big reveal of the light spectacular inside the museum.  

Santa Paws 5K and Lil' Elf Dash | Palm Springs 

When: December 18 at 9 a.m.

Join in on this one-of-a-kind event and get active with your friends, family and furry pals. Walk, run, stroll; however you decide to complete this 5K, you will be doing so in style – all participants will be given a 5-piece Santa suit to wear. For those 10 and under, participate in the Lil 'Elf Dash and receive an elf shirt. Bring your dog and dress them for the occasion. Palm Springs Marathon Runners invite you out to show support and raise funds for the Guide Dogs of the Desert. 


Photos with Santa | Gardens on El Paseo

When: December 4 from 9 a.m. to noon 

Families are invited to have a meet and greet with Santa, where you can have your pictures taken. Pictures will be available with a $15 donation with 100% of the proceeds benefiting Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Desert. This event will feature lawn games and bubbles on the center lawn. 

Paws N Claus | Gardens on El Paseo

When: December 11 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Calling all furry friends and families to have their special moment with Santa–cats and dogs only. All pets must be leashed or in a small carrier and have up-to-date vaccines. Pictures will be available with a $15 donation that benefits the Bianca Rae Foundation, giving a voice to the voiceless. 

Cabazon Dinosaurs

The Cabazon Dinosaurs are jingling all the way through the year! Mr. Rex (the iconic, green tyrannosaurus rex that stands 65 feet tall will don a Santa suit this year and flash his biggest smile for your family holiday card. Stroll through the outdoor dinosaur trail, decorated with colorful lights and garland. Jump in Santa’s sleigh, pulled by none other than a velociraptor. Then top it all off with dinosaur-themed ice cream treats at the “Wafflesaurus Truck” (available on select days).

Check back for more updates and event details as the holidays approach.