palm desert golf cart parade

44 Things to Do in October

The Palm Desert Golf Cart Parade continues to be a desert institution, while Modernism Week Fall Preview immerses you in everything midcentury.

Amelia Rodriguez Attractions, Current Guide

palm desert golf cart parade
The golf cart parade became an annual event beginning in 1983.
Palm Desert Golf Cart Parade / Oct. 27

It might look simple, but rolling a fleet of golf carts down El Paseo isn’t easy. “It’s kind of like the duck on the water,” Palm Desert Golf Cart Parade co-chairman Mike Hardin explains, “where you paddle underneath and it looks real smooth on top.” He and about 15 fellow committee members spend up to 10 months planning and executing the ever-growing event, which includes children’s activities, food trucks, and a classic car show. However, everyone is there for the main affair: delightfully decorated golf-cart floats.

The parade has been a Palm Desert institution for 55 years, beginning when residents at the Shadow Mountain Club decided to doll up their golf carts. The event now draws more than 15,000 attendees. “Seeing it all come together in a safe manner after months of working on it,” he says, “that’s why I’ve been coming back every year.” Hardin’s favorite float? A massive pirate ship made by the nonprofit group Desert Arc shivered his timbers in 2012. “It was 30 feet long,” recalls Hardin, who’s served on the parade committee for 20 years. “It was impressive.”

golf cart parade

The parade dates back to 1955.

palm desert parade


More than 15,000 people attend the parade each year.

Palm Springs Women’s Week / Sep. 29–Oct. 6

Tributes to lesbian culture transform locations throughout Palm Springs during this weeklong series of parties, exhibits, and events. Highlights include a women’s empowerment conference, jazz and blues concerts, and a keynote message from motivational speaker Angie Harvey.

Mercury Rev & Beth Orton / Oct. 2

Indie rock band Mercury Rev is generating buzz for their take on Southern songstress Bobbie Gentry’s 1968 album The Delta Sweete. Beth Orton provides vocals for the live rendition at Pappy & Harriet’s in Pioneertown.

Ominira: The Art That We Love / Oct. 3–6

This four-day festival is named after the Yoruba word for freedom and celebrates capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian martial art that resembles a complex and beautiful dance. International guest capoeirista teach myriad daily workshops at Off the Grid Movement Studio in Bermuda Dunes.

READ NEXT: Read all of the stories from our September 2019 issue.

Soccer Mommy & Rosie Tucker / Oct. 4

Despite her squeaky, suburban moniker, Soccer Mommy’s Sophie Allison produces electric guitar–heavy rock songs better suited for a college radio show than the afternoon carpool. She performs tracks from her lyrical, meditative album Clean at Pappy & Harriet’s, with Rosie Tucker opening.

Soccer Mommy


Soccer Mommy

Get the Led Out / Oct. 5

If you’ve got a “Whole Lotta Love” for Led Zeppelin, treat yourself to the next best thing to seeing the Mighty Zep live: a tricked-out tribute concert at Spotlight 29 Casino in Coachella. It’s practically a “Stairway to Heaven.”

Star Party / Oct. 5

While commercial spaceflights aren’t easily available just yet, families can still enjoy a “sky tour” courtesy of telescopes and giant binoculars at the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument.

Steve Martin & Martin Short / Oct. 5

Two Martins means twice the laughs. The Emmy winners and Saturday Night Live alums make a stop at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, with multi-instrumentalist Paul Shaffer, bluegrass band Della Mae, and banjo virtuoso Alison Brown tagging along.

Steve Martin


Steve Martin and Martin Short.

Big Bear Yoga Festival / Oct. 5

Join fellow yogis at the Performing Arts Center in Big Bear Lake (a scenic 90-mile drive from Palm Springs) for all-day asanas — including a host of free classes — plus artisan vendors, emerald energy healing, and a keynote speech from former NFL linebacker Keith Mitchell.

Highway 62 Open Studio Art Tours / Oct. 5–6, 12–13, and 19–20

Now in its 18th year, the Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council’s popular program allows art connoisseurs and collectors to explore more than 100 private studios throughout the Morongo Basin. At each stop on your self-guided tour, you’ll have the chance to chat with artists and purchase their works.

 highway 62 art tour


Highway 62 Open Studio Art Tour marks its 18th year.

Troon Challenge / Oct. 6

This co-ed, amateur golf competition pits teams of two against one another in an exciting 18-hole shamble. Enter the regional qualifier at the Classic Club in Palm Desert for your chance to compete in the finals in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Son Volt & Andrew Duplantis / Oct. 6

Son Volt’s alt-country debut Trace topped several “best-of” lists in 1995. Now, a quarter of a century later, songs from their ninth studio album shine live at Pappy and Harriet’s. (Beforehand, their bass player Andrew Duplantis warms up the crowd with a solo show.)

Nature’s Masquerade / Oct. 6

Have your A Cinderella Story moment — and support Animal Samaritans and community members in need while you’re at it. The Living Desert hosts this glamorous dinner complete with cocktail hour, silent art auction, and live entertainment and animal encounters.

How to Survive in the Desert / Oct. 6

No one wants to become the subject of a survival movie, but if we do, we all hope our fate’s more Cast Away than Into the Wild. Learn how to tackle desert dangers in this workshop at Lost Horse Campground in Joshua Tree National Park.

The CV Indie Film Awards / Oct. 7

This red-carpet bash fêtes the movers, shakers, and creators of the Coachella Valley’s small but growing film industry. Scoop up tickets to the hometown Oscars-inspired event to enjoy a buffet dinner and live entertainment, and see which indie artists scored awards from online voters and a panel of film professionals.

Flying Legends of Victory Tour / Oct. 7–13

A cheekily decorated B-17 (a 1950s-style pin-up girl peeks at you from the plane’s flank) appears at the Palm Springs Air Museum, giving citizens the opportunity to tour and even ride in this piece of history.

Neon Indian / Oct. 10

Mexican-American musician Alan Palomo is the brains behind Neon Indian’s dreamy, synth-heavy sound. Chill out to that signature brand of “chillwave” at Pappy & Harriet’s.

Neon Indian


Neon Indian

Joshua Tree Music Festival / Oct. 10–13

Artists (including headliners North Mississippi Allstars, The California Honeydrops, Yak Attack, The HU, and Gato Preto) perform on two stages at Joshua Tree Lake Campground. The festival also features a global market and large-scale art installations and offers a robust schedule of yoga sessions, healing workshops, and fun activities designed for kids.

Experience Hendrix / Oct. 11

The Experience Hendrix tour pays tribute to one of history’s most legendary guitar phenoms at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino. The band’s lineup includes bassist Billy Cox, who took the stage alongside Hendrix himself at Woodstock in 1969.

Rumpelstiltskin / Oct. 12

For their eighth annual family fun day, the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert presents a version of this classic German fairytale that invites audiences to participate in the telling. Food and activities follow the performance.

We Will Rock You / Oct. 12

This jukebox musical will appeal to fans of sci-fi, dystopian fiction, and, of course, Queen. The award-winning tale of the free-thinking Bohemians’ battle against the diversity-averse Killer Queen comes to Fantasy Springs Resort Casino.

we will rock you musical


The musical We Will Rock You will thrill fans of Queen.

Tejano Music Fest / Oct. 12

Tejano Highway 281, Grupo Atrapado, Jr. Gomez y Los Conjunto Bandits, and Grupo Uniko form the lineup at this spirited festival dedicated to Tex-Mex music. The all-ages event at Big League Dreams Sports Park in Cathedral City also includes vendors, food, and refreshments, and admission and parking are free.

Tyler Henry / Oct. 12

The star of E!’s Hollywood Medium with Tyler Henry offers Agua Caliente Casino audiences the chance to experience the clairvoyant powers endorsed by the Kardashians, Chad Michael Murray, and other celebrities.

Business Expo & Taste of Palm Springs / Oct. 15

More than 30 Coachella Valley restaurants present tantalizing tastes at the picturesque Colony 29 in Palm Springs. Pair your samples and snacks with wine, beer, and cocktails while you browse the booths of 100-plus local businesses.

Modernism Week Fall Preview / Oct. 17–20

Mad for mod? Warm up for February’s main event with four days of tours and talks. Our can’t-miss picks from the schedule: a double-decker bus tour with author Charles Phoenix and the Cul-de-Sac Experience, an immersive jaunt through the era of Motown and mop-top haircuts.

modernism week fall preview


The Palm Springs Modernism Week Show & Sale features a treasure trove of 20th century furniture and art.

Dirtwire / Oct. 18

Virtuoso trio Dirtwire self-identify as “an Americana, bluegrass, blues, electronica, folk, world group from Oakland.” In short, they’re eclectic, and half the fun of their live shows (including one at Pappy & Harriet’s this month) is the opportunity to experience the use of unconventional instruments like jaw harps, kalimbas, and more.

REO Speedwagon / Oct. 18

REO Speedwagon’s first gig following their formation at the University of Illinois in 1967 was a frat party-turned-food fight. Their latest show at Agua Caliente Casino in Rancho Mirage will be jam-packed with hits like “Keep on Loving You” and “Can’t Fight This Feeling” — though hopefully free of flying spaghetti.

Palm Springs Modernism Week Show & Sale / Oct. 18–20

Expand your collection (or give your home a full modernist makeover) with finds from this treasure trove of 20th-century furniture and art. Explore antique offerings from the show’s 40 dealers at the Palm Springs Convention Center.

Olive Festival / Oct. 18–20, 26–27

Highland Springs Ranch & Inn in Cherry Valley (less than an hour’s drive from Palm Springs) transforms the bounty of more than 750 olive trees into artisan olive oils and other culinary delights. Taste infused oils at this fest, which also features workshops like olive crown–making.

Los Tucanes De Tijuana / Oct. 19

This Baja California–born norteño band worked their way up from playing nightclubs to filling Dodger stadium — and nabbing 12 Grammy nominations. Hear favorites like “Mundo de Amor” at Spotlight 29.

Art, Health, Wellness Fair / Oct. 19

Spend a day engaging in self-care at this free-admission fair at Palm Desert Country Club, where muralists, a mini farmers market, a reiki master, and more provide feasts for the eyes, stomach, and soul.

Margaret Cho / Oct. 19

The Korean-American humorist burst onto the stand-up scene in the early 1990s after winning a competition to open for Jerry Seinfeld. She’s since become internationally known for sold-out tours, a one-woman Broadway production, and LGBTQ activism. The unfiltered comedian appears at the Camelot Theatre in Palm Springs.

Margaret Cho


Margaret Cho

Joe Bonamassa / Oct. 23

This Grammy-nominated blues-rock guitarist kicked off his career at the age of 12 by opening for blues legend B.B. King. The independent-label¬ owner and vintage-guitar collector brings his rock chops to Agua Caliente Casino in Rancho Mirage.

The Addams Family / Oct. 24–27

College of the Desert Performing Arts presents this comical take on a familiar tale: teenage daughter brings home a boy who doesn’t quite fit in with the family. The catch? The young man is most parents’ dream — but his girlfriend is the inimitable Wednesday Addams. See how Gomez, Morticia, and the rest of the Addams gang react to the star-crossed new couple at the McCallum.

Jade Bird & Flyte / Oct. 25

The melancholy melodies of alt-pop group Flyte provide the perfect opener for a performance by self-taught, Alanis Morissette–inspired musician Jade Bird at Pappy & Harriet’s.

J Balvin / Oct. 25

This reggaeton singer was the first Latino artist to perform on the main stage at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. He makes another Coachella Valley appearance at Agua Caliente Casino in Rancho Mirage.

Engelbert Humperdinck / Oct. 25

This English pop legend beat out The Beatles for the top spot on the U.K. charts in 1967, but before that, it took a pub contest to convince a young Humperdinck to pursue singing. See him live at Morongo Casino Resort & Spa in Cabazon.

Coco Peru / Oct. 26

LGBTQ performance series Outlandish Palm Springs brings Trick star Coco Peru to the Camelot Theatre for a night of riveting stories and songs from the legendary red-wigged drag performer.

Palm Springs Triathlon / Oct. 26

Triathlon-like races have existed since 1901, though the earliest, in France, kept competitors above the water in canoes. This event at Lake Cahuilla Park in La Quinta stays standard with running, biking, and swimming and four different levels to accommodate athletes of all stripes.

East Coachella Valley Pride / Oct. 26

Greater Palm Springs’ Pride season (which was switched from summer to fall in 1995 due to scorching desert temps) kicks off in the East Valley with live music and more at Coachella’s Veterans Park.

Campfire Cuisine / Oct. 26–27

Chef Tanya Petrovna teaches attendees techniques for elevating fireside snacks beyond soggy sandwiches and half-cooked hot dogs. Recipes include open-range pizzas and ash-baked potatoes. Each day begins with a guided hike out of Joshua Tree Visitor Center to ensure you work up an appetite.

Reel Women’s Film Festival / Oct. 27

Planned Parenthood’s Coachella Valley clinics benefit from all proceeds raised by this feminist festival. Held at Camelot Theatres in Palm Springs, the event showcases women-centric movies, including a powerful short film penned by poet Warsan Shire and filmed at Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya.

Palm Strings Ukulele Festival / Oct. 31–Nov. 2

Spend three days celebrating everyone’s favorite four-stringed instrument with workshops, open mics, vendor booths, professional performances, and a concert-slash-costume-ball that’s been dubbed the Spooky Uke Bash. It all goes down at the Hilton Palm Springs.

Run with Los Muertos 5k and Block Party / Nov. 2

Running shoes and sugar skull face paint are equally appropriate at this event for the Mexican Day of the Dead. Run to honor a loved one in the 5k race, then join a celebration of life that involves an art walk, a beer garden, and live entertainment.

Run with Los Muertos


Run with Los Muertos celebrates Mexican Day of the Dead in Coachella.


Nov. 1-3
Greater Palm Springs Pride
Downtown Palm Springs

Nov. 8
Los Tigres Del Norte
Fantasy Springs Resort Casino

Nov. 9
Golden Grapes  Wine Tasting Series
Ace Hotel & Swim Club

Nov. 14
Melissa Etheridge
McCallum Theatre

Nov. 22–24
Cathedral City Hot Air Balloon Festival and Food Truck Fiesta
Various Locations

Nov. 22–24
McCormick’s Palm Springs Classic Car Auction
Palm Springs  Convention Center

Nov. 22
Paul Anka
Fantasy Springs Resort Casino

Nov. 23
Smokey Robinson
Agua Caliente Resort Casino Rancho Mirage