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Beyond the turkey: Our insider’s guide to Thanksgiving events in Palm Desert

What’s open and what to do on your holiday weekend

Post Date:11/05/2017 12:30 AM

Visiting for Thanksgiving? Welcome! Wondering what to do besides eat turkey and watch the kids or grandkids swim in the pool? Whether you’re visiting for a week or the long weekend, we’ve found that major holidays often bring up a variety of questions from our visitors. What’s open and what’s not? What special events are going on? Whatever your question, we have an answer. So here’s our quick wrap-up of what to expect if you’re spending your Thanksgiving holiday with us in Palm Desert.

Jaguar exhibit, Living DesertFirst off, rest assured that there will be plenty to do. Many of the Coachella Valley’s attractions, including The Living Desert, Palm Springs Aerial Tram, Indian Canyons and Tahquitz Canyon will all be open on Thanksgiving Day. Each one represents a different way to get out and experience our desert environment, and escape the relatives if it’s getting to be too much.

On the other hand, most museums, including the Children’s Discovery Museum, Palm Springs Art Museum and Palm Springs Air Museum, are all closed on Thanksgiving Day. Another notable closure is VillageFest, a Thursday evening tradition in downtown Palm Springs, so you’re going to have put off your browsing until at least until Saturday or Sunday, when the College of the Desert Street Fair opens up for their regular outdoor shopping extravaganza.

If you really have a hankering to do some shopping, you’ll have to check out some of the stores that have announced that they’ll open up sometime during Thanksgiving Day, including Macy’s, JC Penney, Kohl’s and Best Buy. Check the newspapers ads or the individual store websites for more details about deals and special in addition to store opening hours.

Santa at Miracle on El Paseo 2015Event-wise, we’ve got you covered. For those of you arriving on the weekend before Thanksgiving, a few notable highlights to put on your calendar are A Miracle on El Paseo, the Props and Hops Craft Beer Festival at the Palm Springs Air Museum and McCormick’s Classic Car Auction. A Miracle on El Paseo, held on Saturday, November 18, always strikes the right festive note by pairing up holiday ambience with desert chic food, drink and entertainment. Add a 60-foot Christmas tree, a five-story Ferris wheel and a 200-foot zip line, and that’s a party!

If you’re a fan of stage and screen, you have a couple of great options to choose from. The Annenberg Theater will host its Opening Night Benefit: An Evening with Matthew Morrison on Saturday, November 18. The McCallum Theatre will continue its tradition of offering up a Thanksgiving week musical theater performance with Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella from Friday, November 24-Sunday, November 26. 

For a change of pace, register for the Martha’s Village 5K benefitting the charity of the same name. Held in Palm Desert on El Paseo, this flat and fast course is suited for serious athletes looking for a personal best time as well as people who just want to bring out the kids and walk off those Thanksgiving Day calories in advance. You’ll also be supporting a worthy organization that helps support the less fortunate in our community. Over in downtown Palm Springs, the Wild Turkey Trot benefits the Mizell Senior Center’s Meals on Wheels program.

WildLights TunnelIf you prefer to saunter rather than sprint, plan to visit WildLights at The Living Desert. They’ll be open on Wednesday, November 22 for members only, and then open for the general public on Friday, November 24 and Saturday, November 25 .You’ll be dazzled by the more than one million twinkly lights that  illuminate the ground of the zoo, and enjoy favorite activities including visits with Santa, live entertainment, arts and crafts, carousel rides, and more!

The Indio Pow Wow is a great way to get out and enjoy Native American song, dance, food and crafts. Held at Fantasy Springs Special Events Center from Friday, November 24 through Sunday, November 26, the event is free to the public and everyone is welcome.

Lastly, Art on Main Street is your opportunity to buy original artwork by 70 artists, including paintings, photography, ceramics, glass, sculpture, jewelry and textiles. It will be held on Saturday, November 25 from 10am-4pm in Old Town La Quinta.

Regardless of when you visit Palm Desert, there’s always something to do. For even more events, or to check out what’s happening on different dates, be sure to visit the Events page of our website. 

Updated November 2017

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