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Things to Do in December in the Desert

December in the Desert

With the Desert’s winter in full swing… here are a few things we are looking foward to this holiday season!


Palm Springs Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony at Frances Stevens Park
It’s getting festive in Palm Springs! Kick off your holiday season at these upcoming events.
Friday 12/2 @ 4:30pm

Palm Springs Festival of Lights Parade
Saturday 12/3 @ 5:45pm

PS Aerial Tram Tree Lighting Ceremony
Sunday 12/4 @ 5:30pm


IRONMAN 70.3 Indian Wells to La Quinta
Sunday 12/4

Calling all triple-threat athletes. With the Indian Wells Tennis Garden as home base, this official Ironman race sends competitors swimming, biking, and running across the Coachella Valley — then toasts winners with tasty non-alcoholic beer after the event.


Palm Springs Vintage Market
Sunday 12/4
From worn-in band tees to mid-mod TV stands, retro finds are yours to discover at this monthly market at Palm Springs Cultural Center. palmspringsvintage


WILDLIGHTS at the Living Desert, in Palm Desert
Dec. 1 – Dec. 30

When night falls, more than a million twinkling holiday lights animate The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens. Every winter, after the park’s usual closing time, WildLights ticketholders ring in the season with festive activities and photo-ops at this beloved annual event, now in its 29th year.

The whole family will marvel at the impressive light installations at WildLights. You’ll wander through string-lit tunnels that flash to the tune of classic carols and have a chance to take selfies with larger-than-life glowing animal lanterns. Even the carousel and 3,300-foot model train receive seasonal makeovers, complete with wreaths, bows, and, of course, more lights.


Merry Movie Nights at The Gardens on El Paseo

Every Saturday night for four weeks, take in a holiday theme movie at The Gardens on El Paseo. Sit on the lawn area in front of Saks Fifth Avenue and watch movies like Prep & Landing, The Grinch, & The Santa Clause 2! Bring your own blankets and dress warm! Movies begin at 5:00 p.m. Children $5.00, Adults $7.00

December 3 — Prep & Landing
Decemer 10 — The Grinch
December 17 — The Santa Clause 2


Photos with Santa at The Gardens on El Paseo

Saturday 12/3 @ 9:00-2:00pmPhotos with Santa is by reservation only this year. Cost to participate is $20 with 100% of proceeds benefiting Pegasus Therapeutic Riding. (1) 4×6 photo in a holiday frame is included.The center lawn will be open to the public and feature a bounce house, bubble fairy, lawn games and snow shows at the top of every hour during the event for 15 minutes.Meet near the Bridge near our Holiday Tree & the Center Lawn.


Major League Show Jumping Tour in Indio
December 4th, 9th, & 10th

Traveling across North America since May, Major League Show Jumping’s final “Desert Holiday” competition will take place from December 1st through December 11th, where the best in the horse-sport will compete for their share over $8 million dollars. The exciting events are all family-friendly with free admission, and open to the public. Guests can cheer on their favorite horses (and riders) as they race against the clock and clear decorative jumps at the highest Grand Prix level.Saturday, Dec 3rd – 2:00 pm: $200,000 MLSJ Team Competition
Sunday, Dec 4th – 1:00 pm: $217,200 MLSJ Grand Prix
Friday, Dec 9th – 5:30 pm: $200,000 MLSJ Team Competition
Saturday, Dec 10th -6:00 pm: $450,000 MLSJ Grand Prix


Cathedral City Tree Lighting Ceremony
Wednesday 12/7 @ 5:00-7:00pm

Bring the entire family to the “Mayor’s Tree Lighting Ceremony” and “North Pole Village” on Wednesday, December 7, 2022, from5:00 pm to 7:00 pm in front of Cathedral City’s City Hall to celebrate the “most wonderful time of the year!” The annual event includes a lit Hollywood-style movie set themed as Main Street at Santa’s North Pole. Snow-Fest captures all the holiday spirit and places it at one event with holiday music, Santa Claus, holiday tree lighting ceremony, candy canes, bike giveaways for kids, and a free movie at the Mary Pickford Theatre. Free admission and free parking. Cathedral City – City Hall 68700 Avenue Lalo Guerrero, Cathedral City, CA, USA


Palm Springs Villagefest on Palm Canyon Drive in Downtown Palm Springs
Every Thursday @ 6:00-10:00 pm

VillageFest takes place in downtown Palm Springs on Palm Canyon Drive between Amado Road & Tahquitz Canyon every Thursday night. The street is closed to vehicular traffic and is transformed into a festive, pedestrian street fair. The perimeter of the event consists of Indian Canyon Drive to the east and Belardo Road to the west. Vendor booths are set up on both sides of the street, and visitors are able to stroll through the traffic-free event.


Movies in the Park
December 21 @ 6:00pm

The Palm Springs Cultural Center is bringing its outdoor film series, Movies in the Park, back to the Downtown Palm Springs Park for the 2022/23 season. The movies are scheduled to start at 6:00 pm, but show times may vary slightly in the spring depending on sundown. Attendees of these free community events are encouraged to make an evening of it by enjoying downtown shops and dining before the events. This month is….

December 21 – Gigi – starring Leslie Caron and Maurice Chevalier
Gaston (Louis Jourdan) is a restless Parisian playboy who moves from one mistress to another, while also spending time with Gigi (Leslie Caron), a precocious younger friend learning the ways of high society. The platonic relationship between Gaston and Gigi changes, however, when she matures, but the possibility of something lasting seems unlikely since he won’t commit to one woman. Gigi refuses to be anyone’s mistress, however, and Gaston must choose between her and his carefree lifestyle.