Holiday events in Rancho Mirage and the Palm Springs Valley

Festive fun for the entire family

Looking for ways to make spirits bright? From traditional favorites to new-found activities, there are a number of great holiday events in Rancho Mirage and the Palm Springs Valley to get hearts glowing during the most wonderful time of the year.


Lots of good cheer here

 The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway offers a number of ways to celebrate the season. Enjoy a decades-long musical tradition every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, November 30 through December 14, when a different middle or high school choir performs holiday favorites at the Tramway’s Mountain Station.


Show times are 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., and are complimentary with regular Tram admission. The line-up features:

  • Friday, November 30 – Indio High School Choir
  • Saturday December 1 – Desert Ridge Academy Concert Choir
  • Sunday, December 2 – Palm Springs High School Madrigals & String Quartet
  • Friday, December 7 – Jurupa Valley High School Chamber Singers
  • Saturday, December 8 – Martin Luther King High School Chamber Singers & Show Choir
  • Sunday, December 9 – Encore High School for the Arts Madrigals
  • Friday, December 14 – The Lions’ Pride Chamber Singers (Cathedral City H.S.)


Gather around as HGTV’s “Desert Flippers” hosts, Eric and Lindsey Bennett, flip the switch at the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway’s Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony.  Start the evening of festivities at the Tram’s Mountain Station with a holiday performance by the Palm Springs High School Madrigals & String Quartet. Then the Bennetts light the Tram’s landmark 45-foot tree filled with 4,000 LED lights, a sight that can be seen throughout the Coachella Valley. Sunday, December 2. 5:30 p.m. Free.

Santa visits taking photos with the kids and hands out candy canes at the Tramway’s Mountain Station. Saturday, December 15. 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Or share a meal with St. Nick during Brunch with Santa.  Kids can enjoy crafts, holiday treats and a delicious meal in an alpine setting. Sunday, December 16. Starts at 10:30 a.m. $36 for adults and seniors, and $23.50 for children (ages 3-10). Tram fare is included. Advanced tickets are required.

 This holiday season, the Tramway operates a special schedule from December 17 through January 1. The first tram up each day is at 8 a.m., the last tram up is at 8 p.m. and the last tram down is at 9:45 p.m.

Get tickets for Ride ’n’ Dine, which includes Tram admission and dinner at Pines Café. Especially for the holiday, they are available for purchase beginning at 8 a.m. (rather than the usual 4 p.m.) Dinner service begins at 11 a.m. and ends at 8 p.m. Combination tickets are $36 for adults and seniors, and $23.50 for children (ages 3-10). The Peaks Restaurant will also be serving their regular lunch and dinner menus along with a special prix fixe holiday menu beginning at 11 a.m. on December 25, and January 1. Reservations are recommended.


Sounds of the season

Step back in time to the 1940’s to experience the sound of a “live radio show” and enjoy hot chocolate, coffee and holiday treats. A Big Band Christmas!, presented by the City of Rancho Mirage, in partnership with LimonCarr Desert Theatricals, features a nine-piece swing band accompanied by four singers to reminisce through favorite Christmas music, reenact vintage commercials, and share World War II letters sent to and from the boys overseas and their families. It’s a heartwarming and festive way to kick off the holiday season. Saturday, December 15. Gates open at 5 p.m., show begins at 6 p.m. Free. This event is being held at the Rancho Mirage Amphitheater located at 71-560 San Jacinto Drive, Rancho Mirage, CA.


Light up the night

 The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens celebrates 26 years of tradition as it becomes a sparkling winter wonderland during WildLights. Visitors can marvel at the more than a million colorful holiday lights, see life-size, luminescent animal lanterns including giraffes and cheetahs, travel down newly added pathways and stroll through the popular tunnel of lights flashing to holiday music. More than 3,300 feet of G-scale model track will also be decked out for the holidays. Explore the grounds after dark and enjoy animal encounters and keeper chats, camel and carousel rides, and entertainment. Friday, November 23 – December 24. 6 – 9 p.m. on select nights. Adults $12, children (3 – 12 years old) $10 and under 3 are free.


Tasty holiday treats

Craft your own mid-Century modern cookie creation or keep it traditional during the Make Your Own Gingerbread House event at Rancho Mirage Library & Observatory. Bring the kids or grandkids and assemble your abode together with frosting and candies. Wednesday, December 12. 5:30 – 7 p.m.

You better watch out; you better not cry because the Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert is hosting the big guy himself as he visits from the North Pole. Kids can come dressed in their favorite pajamas to decorate cookies, sip some hot cocoa, and make a gift in the museum’s MakerSpace during Milk and Cookies with Santa. Sunday, December 2. 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. $7.


Seasonal spa specials

Take some time to step away from the stress and treat yourself by indulging in exclusive treatments at The Ritz-Carlton Spa. Gently exfoliate, refresh and rejuvnate your skin with a new coconut body polish or a coconut facial. Uplift your senses with a locally-made date scrub and full body massage. Improve your appearance and detoxify your skin just in time for the New Year.


Come play and stay

With so much to see and do over the holidays in Rancho Mirage and the Palm Springs Valley, why not stay a few days to take it all in? Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa makes holiday travels even merrier with seasonal savings. Enjoy 15 percent off your next stay and late check-out. Plus, guests receive two certificates for special complimentary holiday cocktails.

Or head to one of a number of other resorts around town offering spacious rooms, poolside patios, private villas, spa and recreational facilities and exceptional dining options to suit any traveling family.