The American Express Golf Tournament at PGA West in La Quinta

60 Things to Do in January in Greater Palm Springs

From the Palm Springs International Film Festival to The American Express golf tournament, here's what's happening this month.

Amelia Rodriguez Attractions, Current Guide

The American Express Golf Tournament at PGA West in La Quinta

The American Express Golf Tournament takes place Jan. 16–27 at PGA West in La Quinta.
COURTESY THE AMERICAN EXPRESS

Emo Night Brooklyn

Jan. 1 / Don your studded leather jacket and welcome 2023 by rocking out to your favorite pop-punk and emo jams at this DJ-led dance party at Hotel Zoso’s Pretty Faces Nightclub in Palm Springs. 

Palm Springs Vintage Market

Jan. 1 / From perfectly worn-in band tees to mid-mod TV stands, a plethora of retro finds are yours to discover at this monthly market at the Palm Springs Cultural Center. 

Palm Springs International Film Festival

Jan. 5–16 / Filmmakers from more than 60 countries show their masterpieces at this annual festival. A celebrity-studded awards gala happens Jan. 5, followed by screenings and talkbacks at multiple locations in the Coachella Valley. 

El Paseo Cruise Night

Jan. 6 & 20 / Hundreds of vintage cars parade down El Paseo in Palm Desert. The action kicks off at 2 p.m. with a car show on the upper level of The Gardens on El Paseo, and the motorcade begins at 4:30 p.m. 

Peter Cincotti
COURTESY MCCALLUM THEATRE
Peter Cincotti

Jan. 6 / New Yorker Peter Cincotti started playing piano at age 3. When he was 20, he became the youngest artist to reach No. 1 on the Billboard jazz charts. See the musical prodigy at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert. 

There Was a Time

Jan. 6 / Soprano Ellen Hargis and pianist Charles Metz whisk listeners from the Artist Center at the Galen in Palm Desert to an elegant parlor in 19th-century Europe with music by composers including Mozart and Stephen Foster. 

Sierra Katow

Jan. 6 / Last Comic Standing alum and Harvard University graduate Sierra Katow shares her side-splitting quips at Agua Caliente Casino Palm Springs. 

Brian Stokes Mitchell

Jan. 7 / You’ve seen Brian Stokes Mitchell on TV in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Frasier — and on Broadway as one of musical theater’s most prominent leading men. The baritone Tony winner appears at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert. 

One Vision of Queen

Jan. 7 / Marc Martel has performed alongside original Queen members Roger Taylor and Brian May. The vocalist captures Freddie Mercury’s powerful presence in a tribute concert at Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage

Francesca Amari

Jan. 8 / Cabaret singer Francesca Amari’s smooth vocal chops nabbed her a Coachella Valley Music Awards nomination for Best Jazz Singer. She plays an afternoon concert at the Palm Desert Civic Center Park amphitheater. 

San Diego Symphony

Jan. 8 / The San Diego Symphony charms McCallum Theatre showgoers with compositions by Albert Roussel, Arturo Marquez, and Stravinsky. The innovative orchestra played its first show in 1910. 

Sesame Street Live!

Jan. 11–12 / Elmo, Big Bird, Cookie Monster, and other beloved characters come to Acrisure Arena in Palm Desert for a fun, interactive show full of music, dancing, and family-friendly lessons about perseverance
and dedication.

R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

Jan. 12 / Get to know the Queen of Soul with this stunning tribute, which celebrates Aretha Franklin’s top hits at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert.

Brooks Wheelan

Jan. 13 / Before Brooks Wheelan landed a coveted cast member spot on the 2013–2014 season of Saturday Night Live, he worked as a biomedical engineer researching eyes and heart valves. The comedian shares a stand-up set at Agua Caliente Casino Palm Springs. 

Carrot Top

Jan. 13 / Flame-haired funnyman Carrot Top carts trunks of props (often quirky, quip-ready objects of his own invention) to every comedy show, including this stop at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio. 

Collective Soul

Jan. 13 / The 1990s rockers bring their Southern grunge-rock sound to Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage

Neil Sedaka

Jan. 13–14 / Legendary singer-songwriter Neil Sedaka serenades McCallum Theatre audiences with favorites from his catalog of more than 500 songs, including “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do” and “Calendar Girl.” 

Theresa Caputo Live!

Jan. 14 / Long Island Medium star Theresa Caputo applies her sixth sense for spirit talk at Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage, reaching out to audience members’ loved ones and delivering messages from the beyond. 

Kids Fest

Jan. 14 / Little ones can don a costume and deck out their bike or wagon to participate in a colorful parade around Palm Desert Civic Center Park’s amphitheater area. Afterward, enjoy family-friendly activities and food truck snacks. 

The Temptations & Four Tops

Jan. 14 / Two legendary Motown groups team up for a swingin’ show at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio. Both bands made strides in the 1960s and ’70s: The Temptations originated psychedelic soul, while the Four Tops stood out for casting a baritone — not a tenor — as lead vocalist. 

Secrets of the Whales

Jan. 15 / Underwater photographer Brian Skerry steps from the seas to Palm Desert to share breathtaking images and fascinating facts about four species of whales at the McCallum Theatre

Fantastic Fantasies!

Jan. 16 / Jeffrey Siegel continues his crowd-favorite Keyboard Conversations series at the McCallum Theatre, this time sharing his preferred free-form compositions from Mozart, Mendelssohn, Hadyn, and Chopin. 

The American Express Golf Tournament

Jan. 16–22 / Golf pros descend on the desert for this annual tournament on the Pete Dye Stadium Course at PGA West in La Quinta. In addition to exciting professional and amateur play, the event also features evening concerts from Gwen Stefani and Darius Rucker. 

Paint Night at the Brewery

Jan. 18 / Sip locally crafted ales, porters, and IPAs at La Quinta Brewing Co.’s Palm Desert taproom while creating a gallery-worthy painting. Artist Lauren Avitia walks you through each step of decorating your canvas. 

The Laurie Morvan Band

Jan. 18 / Dueling solos between guitarist Laurie Morvan and her keyboardist Tom Salyers add even more heat to the band’s blazing blues show at Agua Caliente Casino Palm Springs. 

Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour

Jan. 19 / Jazz luminaries Kurt Elling, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Christian Sands, Lakecia Benjamin, Clarence Penn, and Yasushi Nakamura take to the McCallum Theatre in celebration of the Monterey Jazz Festival’s 65th year. 

Jeremiah Watkins

Jan. 20 / Crack up at Jeremiah Watkins’ killer impressions at Agua Caliente Casino Palm Springs. The comedian’s high-energy humor has earned praise from director Judd Apatow. 

Train

Jan. 21 / “Hey, Soul Sister,” drop by Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio to see Train perform hits like “Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me)” and “Calling All Angels.” Lead vocalist Pat Monahan once headed a Led Zeppelin cover band prior to penning his own Grammy-winning tunes. 

The Eagles & Linda Ronstadt Experience

Jan. 21 / Before The Eagles topped charts with “Hotel California,” they jammed as the backing band for 11-time Grammy winner Linda Ronstadt. Experience the best of both at this tribute concert at The Gardens on El Paseo in Palm Desert. 

Winter BioBlitz

Jan. 22 / Let loose your inner scientist and head out to the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center to discover and assist in documenting new plants and animals, adding to the 2,400-plus species already recorded in the area. 

Capitol Comedy

Jan. 22 / Six performers riff on current events and parody political gaffs in this nonpartisan multimedia musical at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert. 

Desert Winds Freedom Jazz Band

Jan. 22 / The Desert Winds Freedom Jazz Band stands as proof that music draws all people together: Its members range in age from 17 to 91. See them perform at the amphitheater at Palm Desert Civic Center Park. 

The Highwaymen

Jan. 23 / Outlaw-country trailblazers Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and Kris Kristofferson formed The Highwaymen in 1985. (The quartet also starred together in the 1986 Western Stagecoach). This tribute at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert honors Cash, Jennings, and Nelson. 

Itzhak Perlman

Jan. 24 / Violinist Itzhak Perlman’s live audiences have included former President Barack Obama and the late Queen Elizabeth II. Join this illustrious company by seeing his show at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert.

Sam Bush, Mike Marshall, Edgar Meyer & George Meyer

Jan. 25 / A five-time Grammy winner who’s collaborated with virtuosos like Joshua Bell and Yo Yo Ma, bassist Edgar Meyer plays an acoustic bluegrass bonanza at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert alongside his son, George, on violin, and mandolin players Sam Bush and Mike Marshall. 

18KT Blue Soul and R&B

Jan. 25 / The members of this groovy blues band bring myriad musical styles — from Motown to Parliament Funk — to Agua Caliente Casino Palm Springs

Top of the World

Jan. 26 / This tribute at the McCallum Theatre fêtes The Carpenters, who developed their first hit, “(They Long to Be) Close to You,” for a 1969 charity concert.

Daniel Eachus

Jan. 27 / As an undergrad in Long Beach, Daniel Eachus became the youngest finalist ever in the Jon Lovitz Comedy Club’s annual Funniest Comic in Los Angeles competition. He draws laughs at Agua Caliente Casino Palm Springs

Palm Springs Pinot Noir Festival
COURTESY PALM SPRINGS PINOT NOIR FESTIVAL
Palm Springs Pinot Noir Festival

Jan. 27–28 / The Palm Springs Pinot Noir Festival began — like most great ideas — with a love story.

Founder and lifelong foodie David Fraschetti met his wife, Lynn, when they were both in college. “I was cooking for my roommates, and she was living down the hall, living off Campbell’s soup and hot dogs,” Fraschetti recalls. “I said, ‘No, no, no! That’s not going to work. Come on over for dinner.’ ”

Years later, the pair established themselves as event producers in the food and wine sphere, and a handful of their wineries suggested a festival centered around a single varietal: pinot noir. The couple jumped in, feet first.

“We reinvented ourselves,” Fraschetti says. They knocked on winery doors from Sonoma to the Santa Lucia Highlands, describing their vision for a new kind of wine event: no spirits, no beer, no gimmicks like golf tournaments or Ferris wheels — just bottle after bottle of the best pinots the Golden Coast has to offer.

“[Winemakers] said, ‘We’re in,’ without batting an eye,” Fraschetti continues. The event outgrew its inaugural venue in 2020. This year, the Fraschettis will welcome 1,500 ticketholders and 75 boutique wineries to The Westin Rancho Mirage Golf Resort & Spa.

The event’s laser focus on a single varietal is made possible by a second love story — that between pinot noir enthusiasts and the light-bodied red. “[Pinot fans] are very knowledgeable,” Fraschetti says. The festival’s wineries find themselves answering queries about grape-growing processes and oak types while pouring sips.

“[Pinot noir] has a tremendous, passionate following,” Fraschetti says. “And I’m the head cheerleader.” 

Paul Anka

Jan. 27–28 / In addition to recording standards like “Diana” and “Put Your Head on My Shoulder” under his own name, Paul Anka wrote chart toppers for artists including Tom Jones, Frank Sinatra, and Michael Jackson. See Anka live at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert. 

Paradise Road Show

Jan. 27–29 / Fans of that “new car smell” need not apply — this all-American road show only accepts rides produced before 1975. Scope out the classic hot rods and choppers at the Ace Hotel & Swim Club in Palm Springs. 

CluedUpp: Alice in Wonderland

Jan. 28 / Chase curious clues across a topsy-turvy version of Palm Springs in this outdoor virtual game inspired by Alice in Wonderland. Grab a few of your favorite people to play, navigating the city with a smart phone app. 

Gypsy, Fleetwood Mac tribute band
COURTESY THE GARDENS ON EL PASEO
Gypsy

Jan. 28 / Fleetwood Mac tribute band frontwoman Lisa McCormick has it on good authority that she looks and sounds just like Stevie Nicks — the songstress herself remarked on the similarity. “Go Your Own Way” to The Gardens on El Paseo in Palm Desert to see her in action. 

Jerry Seinfeld

Jan. 28 / The star of one the most influential sitcoms in TV history (Seinfeld scored an Emmy nod or win every single year of the show’s nine seasons) performs a stand-up set at Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage

Palm Springs Health Run & Wellness Festival

Jan. 28 / Tie your running shoes and choose your challenge: This race features 10K, 5K, and 1K routes, plus a half marathon for the most seasoned athletes. After you cross the finish line, browse booths presented by local wellness organizations at Ruth Hardy Park in Palm Springs. 

The Songs We Love

Jan. 30 / Jazz at Lincoln Center offers this trip through the genre’s first 50 years at the McCallum Theatre, beginning with 1920s classics by Ma Rainey and closing with midcentury mavens like Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland. 

Palm Desert Senior Games & International Sports Festival

Jan. 30–Feb. 5 / Mature athletes compete in team and individual events at this sports extravaganza in Palm Desert. Go for gold in nine-hole golf or tap your friends to form a soccer team. 

THEATER

Nunsense A-Men

Jan. 13–Feb. 5 / Male actors at Desert TheatreWorks in Indio star as five singing nuns aiming to raise funds for 52 funerals after the convent’s cook accidentally poisons dozens of their sisters. 

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz
COURTESY MCCALLUM THEATRE
Lucy Loves Desi: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Sitcom

Jan. 17 / Along with I Love Lucy creator Jess Oppenheimer, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz’s children collaborated to pen this play about the happenings of one of the most-watched shows of the 1950s. See it at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert. 

Dirty Blonde

Jan. 17–29 / When aspiring actress Jo meets film archivist and fellow Mae West obsessive Charlie at the pop culture legend’s grave, the two tumble into mutual passion. See the story unfold at Coachella Valley Repertory in Cathedral City. 

The Simon & Garfunkel Story

Jan. 20–21 / This musical at the McCallum Theatre pairs photos, film footage, and live performances of the duo’s greatest hits to trace their journey from childhood friends to Rock & Roll Hall of Famers. 

Palm Springs Getaway

Jan. 20–29 / It’s always sunny in Palm Springs! Actors at Palm Canyon Theatre portray icons from the city’s history in this high-energy musical. 

Kill the Editor

Jan. 27–29 & Feb. 3–5 / Desert Ensemble Theatre in Palm Springs presents this witty, satirical play about film editor Ben’s struggle to whittle down a five-hour feature — with only a week to go before Cannes. 

ART EXHIBITIONS

Outburst Projects

Through Jan. 29 / Five artists draw upon their cultural histories to create evocative, stop-you-in-your-tracks pieces — from woven artwork to immersive multimedia to cyborg-like sculpted monsters — as part of this ongoing residency program at Palm Springs Art Museum.

Petra Cortright

Through Mar. 26 / Santa Barbara–born artist Petra Cortright rose to prominence in the early aughts with self-portrait YouTube videos making creative use of webcam special effects. She composes traditional landscapes and portraits with internet imagery in this exhibition at Palm Springs Art Museum. 

Phillip K. Smith III

Through May 21 / Palm Desert resident Phillip K. Smith III fills four galleries at Palm Springs Art Museum with objects and installations inspired by the unique quality of light in the California deserts. 

American Framing

Through July 2 / This exhibition at the Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center brings attention to the subtle architectural genius of wood framing through models, furniture, photos, and a full-scale structure that will prompt thinking about the hidden scaffolding of American life. 

Lucia Heffernan

Jan. 6–20 / Lucia Heffernan’s playful paintings imagine a world where animals partake in everyday human activities. See her smile-inducing tableaus — featuring scenarios such as a dog delivering pizza and meerkats working on their golf swing — at Coda Gallery in Palm Desert. 

Mini Masterpieces

Jan. 14 / Support Desert Art Center in Palm Springs by picking up a little canvas by a major local artist. Each of the 6-by-6-inch paintings sells for a cool $73 (as a nod to the center’s 73rd anniversary). 

Southwest Arts Festival

Jan. 27–30 / More than 200 artists gather at the Empire Polo Club in Indio to share and sell stunning work in nearly every medium imaginable, from large-scale sculpture to mixed media canvases to delicate hand-blown glass. 


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