Top 10 Free Activities

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High culture or haute couture? Invigorating hike or interesting history? No matter how you choose to spend your day, you can leave your wallet at home – because these Palm Desert activities don’t cost a dime.

  1. Palm Desert Civic Center Amphitheater Concerts in the Park.  Head to Civic Center Park for a family-friendly night of exciting live music. Held under the stars every Thursday in May and October, this is the perfect place to hold a picnic or just snuggle under a blanket.

  2. El Paseo After Dark and El Paseo Cruise Night.  On the first Friday of the month from November through May, El Paseo comes alive with El Paseo After Dark activities as First Weekend Palm Desert gets underway. Do some window shopping – after all, you don’t have to buy a thing to have a good time. Find a place to perch to watch El Paseo Cruise Night pass by, a slow parade of classic cars and hot rods. If you want to join them, take a free spin on a Courtesy Cart.

  3. 4th of July Fireworks.  What better way to celebrate Independence Day than with a warm night under the stars and an incredible pyrotechnics display? Head down to Civic Center Park with a blanket or chairs and enjoy an awe-inspiring display of fireworks.

  4. Galen First Fridays and El Paseo Art Walk.  El Paseo Art Walk, part of First Weekend Palm Desert, is held on the first Friday of each month along the renowned El Paseo shopping district. As the afternoon winds down, head down to the Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Desert for Galen First Fridays, where you can take in the latest exhibition before stepping outside to their sculpture garden to enjoy live music. 

  5. Head out for a Hike.  The Palm Desert area offers dozens of established hiking trails ranging from the novice to the extreme – and many of them are in easy-to-reach no-fee zones. So lace up your shoes, grab a friend and work up an appetite!

  6. Historical Society of Palm Desert

    Historical Society of Palm Desert.  Go back to the early days of this desert city at the Palm Desert Historical Society, where you can trace the town from a few humble homes in the 1930s to a vibrant resort destination today – all for free.

  7. Stand on the San Andreas Fault.  Visit the Coachella Valley Preserve for a chance to set foot on one of the most infamous earthquake centers in the world – the San Andreas Fault. Plus, this beautiful nature preserve is full of stunning palm groves and other scenic treats.

  8. Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains.  Take a short trip south on Highway 74 for a visit to this scenic national monument – and don’t miss their engaging and educating visitor center.

  9. Public Parks.  Palm Desert is home to a great variety of city parks and public spaces, including Civic Center Park, Eric Johnson Memorial Gardens and many others. From playgrounds to skate parks, picnic areas to pickup games, you’ll find plenty of ways to spend a day in the sun.

  10. Public Art. For a free look at Palm Desert’s expansive art scene, start with a docent-led public art tour, held on the first Saturday of the month from September through May. See the Events calendar for details on location and theme of the current month’s event.

For even more recommendations of things to do in Palm Desert, visit us at the Palm Desert Visitor Services counter inside the North Wing of Palm Desert City Hall.