Palm Springs Airport.

Feel every care slide away as you breeze into the dreamy Palm Springs airport, a compact venue marked by swaying palms, Chihuly glass art, and an open-wall design. As you stuff away your puffy and glide your toes toward flip-flop freedom, get ready to experience a blissfully carefree holiday season.

Whether you spend the holidays relaxing in sunny paradise or enjoy New Year’s Eve poolside before heading out to party, in Palm Springs, unexpected finds pop up as frequently as the golden peaks soaring in every direction. Here are some ways to savor this special place. 

Let the arts illuminate your stay.

Festival of Lights.

Purple Room.

In Palm Springs you can have the best of both worlds: Enjoy the sun-kissed desert and indulge in holiday festivities. December 1 starts it off with the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway tree lighting atop Mt. San Jacinto. Get into the celebratory spirit at the 27th annual Festival of Lights (Dec 7), which will parade down Palm Canyon Drive with a host of marching bands, jumbo-sized Macy’s-style balloons, characters like Mickey and Minnie Mouse, and extravagant floats decked in thousands of glittering lights. Catch the grand finale to see Mr. and Mrs. Claus themselves, or watch Santa ride in style as he lands his airplane at Palm Springs Air Museum (Dec 14 & 15). Upon touching down, Saint Nick will deliver gifts to each child, sit for photos, and open the Winter Fun Land play area, complete with snow.  

Seasonal concerts also abound: Palm Canyon Theatre showcases seasonal tunes in Sounds of the Season (Dec 4), while the Palm Springs Gay Men’s Chorus presents A Modern Family Holiday (Dec 20) in the Annenberg Theater at Palm Springs Art Museum. And don’t miss Judy’s Old-Fashioned Christmas at Purple Room Restaurant & Stage (Sundays in Dec), a comedy and music extravaganza that parodies and celebrates beloved star Judy Garland. 

Eat, drink, and be merry.

Eight4Nine lifts your spirits as you walk in to the crisp white interior with hot pink accents. Whether it is Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s their four-course holiday menus will please the most critical palettes.

Eight4Nine.

Looking to usher in 2020 under the magic of a desert moon? Relish a memorable New Year’s Eve at uber-hip venue The Rowan Palm Springs, whose ticketed rooftop festivities include a 4 Saints dinner and celebratory Champagne toast. Or relish a meal with your favorite people at Spencer’s—a local institution where a talented pianist conjures La La Land big-screen vibes. Settle under the whimsical branches and enchanting lights of the courtyard, as you savor fixed price menus on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve. And dine in style at Birba Restaurant, a chic Italian restaurant that serves up Italian fare, delicious cocktails, and plenty of picture-worthy ambiance. Pro tip: Ask to be seated on the patio, which is surrounded by palm trees and greenery and is complete with outdoor heaters and twinkle lights.

Birba Restaurant.

To extend your evening, head to speakeasy-style Mr. Lyons, where you can tuck into a booth for a singular cocktail, upscale bite, or full steak dinner. Rub elbows with celebrities at Norma’s at The Park Palm Springs where LA stars are known to sit down for brunch offerings like Very Berry Brioche French Toast and return for late-night drinks and bites. If you’re still not ready to go home, Truss & Twine serves libations categorized by era—Golden Age, Prohibition, Dark Ages, and more—until the wee hours of the morning.

Shop ’til you drop.

While the gift of sun-soaked rest and relaxation may top your list, this is a prime destination for material expressions of love, too. For the fashionista on your list, try Elizabeth & Prince, an upscale boutique with sophisticated garments and staple pieces, or take home some desert-inspired style with a pair of sunnies, a vintage scarf dress, and antique gold tone jewelry from Candice Held. If you are looking for a fun, quirky and colorful gift then stop by Dazzles.

Wil Stiles.

In the Uptown Design District, a hub of all things mid-century modern, visit Trina Turk and Mr. Turk—owned by renowned designer Trina Turk, who lives in Palm Springs and draws inspiration from her natural surroundings for her bold, colorful designs. Wil Stiles, bound neither by time nor by space, draws inspiration from the global catwalk. “We like to buy brands that are from all over the world. We design our own line of shirts now and we have these exclusively in our store.” Harnessing his wild side, Wil adds, “We recently designed a line of leather women’s clothing and people are coming to the store just for that.” Nearby, browse the collection of stores at The Shops at 1345, which offer everything from contemporary, chic jewelry to handmade ceramic pottery to Moroccan rugs and home decor. Afterward a day of retail therapy, treat yourself with some caffeine from Koffi, enjoyed in the neighboring flower-filled courtyard. Happy holidays, indeed!  

Plan your magical holiday adventure at visitpalmsprings.com