the living desert wildlights 2022

69 Things to Do in November in the Desert

The top pickleball players in the country converge at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, while The Living Desert comes alive with more than a million twinkling lights.

Amelia Rodriguez Attractions, Current Guide

the living desert wildlights 2022

WildLights is an event for all ages, helping to introduce the holiday season to the desert.

WildLights: Nov. 22–Dec. 30

When night falls, more than a million twinkling holiday lights animate The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert. Every winter, after the park’s usual closing time, WildLights ticketholders ring in the season with festive activities and photo-ops at this beloved annual event, now in its 29th year.

The whole family will marvel at the impressive light installations. You’ll wander through string-lit tunnels that flash to the tune of classic carols and have a chance to take selfies with larger-than-life glowing animal lanterns. Even the carousel and 3,300-foot model train receive seasonal makeovers, complete with wreaths, bows, and, of course, more lights.

While most of The Living Desert’s real residents will be headed to bed when WildLights begins, guests have a rare opportunity to glimpse nocturnal creatures prowling in the moonglow. And if your little one’s begging for a pony — or a cheetah or an emu — this holiday season, they can stop by Santa’s workshop to tell jolly old St. Nick himself.

Hit the beverage booths for a hot cocoa to beat the evening chill. (Grown-ups who want to kick things up a notch with a splash of Bailey’s are in luck: They serve alcohol.) For a small fee, you can also cozy up to a fire pit to roast marshmallows and make a few tasty s’mores.

WildLights is open on select evenings, from Nov. 22 through Dec. 30. Tickets may be purchased in advance online.

Palm Springs International Dance Festival: Through Nov. 6

Themed dances at Nickerson-Rossi’s Dance House in Palm Springs include a student showcase and a selection of work by male choreographers.

Open Mic Night: Nov. 1

Calling all singers, storytellers, stand-ups, and spoken word sages. Show off your skills with a five-minute spot in Palm Springs at the Ace Hotel & Swim Club’s cozy Amigo Room bar.

Israel Philharmonic Orchestra: Nov. 2

Based in Tel Aviv, this orchestra’s nearly nine-decade history includes a performance for Pope Pius XII. They play at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert as part of Palm Springs Friends of the Philharmonic’s 2022 concert series.

Happy Tails Dog Adventure: Nov. 2

Man’s best friend can make some new pals of his own at this pup-centric trek on the La Quinta Cove Trail with Friends of the Desert Mountains.

Lez Out Loud: Nov. 2

Comedian Mina Hartong reprises her Lez Out Loud comedy series at Runway Restaurant & Bar in Cathedral City with the “Election Edition,” featuring stand-ups Rosa Escandon, Brittny Roberts, and Lin Phillippi.

Jennifer Keith Sextet With Mando Doreme: Nov. 3

Jazz vocalist Jennifer Keith and saxophone star Mando Doreme transport guests at Agua Caliente Casino Palm Springs back to swing music’s heyday.

First Fridays on El Paseo: Nov. 4

Enjoy the famed Palm Desert shopping district with First Fridays El Paseo, a monthly evening of events every first Friday of each month, November 2022 through May 2023.  To kick off the season, head to El Paseo on Nov. 4 from 4 – 7 p.m. to enjoy live music, crusing classic cars, and self-guided art tour.

Roadrunner, Cuckoo of the Desert: Nov. 4

Beep, beep! Learn about the real-life inspiration behind the Looney Tunes’ speediest bird at this free lecture at the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center.


Women motorcyclists take to the road in Babes Ride Out.

Babes Ride Out: Nov. 4–6

Women motorcyclists take to the highway in Borrego Springs for this annual get-together featuring organized group rides, Harley-Davidson demos, and a pool party at Palm Canyon Hotel & RV Resort.

Greater Palm Springs Pride: Nov. 4–6

Cooler weather cues the desert’s LGBTQ+ pride festivities. Celebrate Greater Palm Springs Pride’s 35th edition with a parade and festival featuring live music, food and drink vendors, art exhibits, a kids zone, and more on Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs.

Hoedown at Sundown: Nov. 5

Don cowpoke-inspired duds and gallop over to the Classic Club in Palm Desert for a Wild West–themed shindig benefiting Family YMCA of the Desert with a silent auction.

Twentynine Palms Farmers Market: Nov. 5

Get a head start on your holiday shopping at this High Desert market, where local makers sling wares including soaps, leather goods, and sweet accessories for pets.

Justin Shandor: Nov. 5

This Graceland-endorsed Elvis impersonator honors the King of Rock ’n’ Roll with a show at Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage. A full band — including gospel singers and a horn section — re-create Presley’s most iconic hits.

Desert Mountains Art Fair: Nov. 5

Stop by this monthly art fair to discover photos, paintings, pottery, and more at the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center.

Run With los Muertos: Nov. 5

Jog, sprint, or stroll in this nighttime 5K winding through Old Town Coachella. Then keep the fun going at a free Día de los Muertos block party, complete with an art walk, a beer garden, and a classic car show.

Rancho Mirage Festival of the Arts: Nov. 5-6

Local artists show off their areas of experimentation and expertise at Rancho Mirage Community Park during this two-day arts festival, which also features food and drink from local vendors and live music at the amphitheater.

Margaritaville USA Pickleball National Championships: Nov. 5-13

Invented in 1965 by three dads trying to keep their kids busy, pickleball has grown into a phenomenon that now hosts its national championships at Indian Wells Tennis Garden. usapickleballnational

Palm Springs Vintage Market: Nov. 6

Whether you’re seeking a striking piece of vintage furniture or the perfect pair of retro cutoffs, you’re likely to satisfy your search at this market at the Palm Springs Cultural Center. palmspringsvintage

Jeffrey Frank: Nov. 7-8

Author Jeffrey Frank appears at the Rancho Mirage Library for two book chats, discussing his pair of presidential page-turners.

One Night Only: Nov. 9

An annual fundraising celebration produced by celebrity photographer Michael Childers at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert, One Night Only features the best of Broadway and Hollywood performers.

Rumble King: Nov. 9

This piano- and sax-driven quintet cultivates a rock ’n’ roll sound, rather surprisingly, without any guitars. See the stringless SoCal players at Agua Caliente Casino Palm Springs.

Alex Mendham & His Orchestra: Nov. 10

Singer and saxophonist Alex Mendham does more than borrow the aesthetics of the Art Deco era — his orchestra uses 1920s and ’30s instruments to capture the period’s sound note-for-note. Join them at Agua Caliente Casino Palm Springs.

James Burrows: Nov. 10

If James Burrows’ name doesn’t ring a bell, his shows will: He co-
created Cheers and helmed episodes of Will & Grace, among dozens of sitcoms. Hear about his memoir at the Rancho Mirage Library.

Paige Turner: Nov. 10

The drag star performs side-splitting parodies of pop songs and musical theater favorites at Oscar’s in Palm Springs.


Participants view artwork by Tom Boatright from a past event.

La Quinta Art Celebration: Nov. 10–13

Two hundred artists — plus food and wine vendors and seasoned musical entertainers — make their way to La Quinta Civic Center Campus for this annual art experience.

A Salute to Our Heroes: Nov. 11

Nine-time Grammy nominee Blake Shelton appears at Spotlight 29 Casino in Coachella for a musical tribute to America’s armed forces.

Veterans Day Parade: Nov. 11

Support active-duty and veteran service members as they parade through downtown Palm Springs. Festivities continue after the march with a concert and fireworks show.

Rock the Plaza: Nov. 11

Some of the biggest names in rock ’n’ roll — including Alice Cooper, Guns N’ Roses drummer Matt Sorum, and Queens of the Stone Age founder (and Joshua Tree native) Josh Homme — team up for an unmissable concert raising funds to restore the historic Plaza Theatre in the heart of downtown Palm Springs.

A Salute to Our Heroes: Nov. 11

Nine-time Grammy nominee Blake Shelton appears at Spotlight 29 Casino in Coachella for a musical tribute to America’s armed forces.

Veterans Day Parade: Nov. 11

Support active-duty and veteran service members as they parade through downtown Palm Springs. Festivities continue after the march with a concert and fireworks show.

Rock the Plaza: Nov. 11

Some of the biggest names in rock ’n’ roll — including Alice Cooper, Guns N’ Roses drummer Matt Sorum, and Queens of the Stone Age founder (and Joshua Tree native) Josh Homme — team up for an unmissable concert raising funds to restore the historic Plaza Theatre in the heart of downtown Palm Springs.

El Gato Classic: Nov. 11-12

A free art show and discussion panel with world champion skateboarders kicks off this ticketed weekend of skateboarding demos and competition at the new X Park in La Quinta.

Palm Springs Women’s Jazz Festival: Nov. 11-13

Founded in 2013, this festival shines the spotlight on female musicians. See some of the most talented women in jazz and blues — including Nnenna Freelon, Cyrille Aimee, and Lea DeLaria — at the Palm Springs Convention Center. palmspringswomens

Bee Gees Gold: Nov. 12

“You Should Be Dancin’ ” at Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage, where the Bee Gees’ greatest hits are “Stayin’ Alive” thanks to musician John Acosta and his tribute to one of the most successful bands in Billboard chart history.

Second Saturdays Center Stage: Nov. 12

Every month, the city of Indio hosts a free open-air concert at its Outdoor Living Room, located off Smurr Street and Miles Avenue. This iteration pairs local Latin bands with family activities, food vendors, and craft beer.

Palm Desert Choreography Festival: Nov. 12–13

The McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert hosts this annual show highlighting the work of emerging and established choreographers. See dancers from across the nation — including hometown artists East Valley Dance Project.

Arlo McKinley: Nov. 13

Country singer-songwriter Arlo McKinley presents new jams from his 2022 album, This Mess We’re In, at Pappy & Harriet’s in Pioneertown.

Bully: Nov. 15

On the heals of her third album release, singer-guitarist Alicia Bognanno, better known as Bully, brings her alternative indie punk rock to The Alibi in Palm Springs.

Palm Springs International Piano Competition: Nov. 15

Kicking off the season at the Annenberg Theater in Palm Springs, this concert, formerly known as The Waring, celebrates American composers and features Andrew Boyle, Broadway sensation Julie Garnye, former competition winner Nathaniel Zhang, and composer and crossover artist John Bayless.

Vienna Boys Choir: Nov. 16

Founded in 1498 by the Holy Roman Emperor (really!), this children’s choral group instructs its members with an in-depth curriculum that includes sight-singing and playing instruments. See the boys live at the McCallum Theatre.

Jackie Gibson Quintet: Nov. 17

As a teenager, vocalist Jackie Gibson shared West Hollywood stages with Joni Mitchell. The lifelong musician drops by Agua Caliente Casino Palm Springs with her jazz quintet.

Hot Air Balloon Festival & Food Truck Fiesta: Nov. 18–20

A fleet of colorful hot air balloons takes to the skies over Agua Caliente Casino Cathedral City while gourmet food trucks serve guests on the ground. Want a bird’s-eye view of the action? Schedule a tethered flight.

McCormick’s Classic Car Auction: Nov. 18–20

Bid on hot rods and classic rides at McCormick’s in Palm Springs. Noteable tickets include a sleek 1962 Thunderbird Roadster and a ’63 Corvette enhanced with custom mods.

Palm Springs Wine & Food Experience: Nov. 19

USA Today teams up with local culinary power players to present a mouthwatering Grand Tasting packed with chef demonstrations, sommelier chats, and, of course, tons of sample-size bites and sips.

Frankie Valli & 
The Four Seasons: Nov. 19

Oh, what a night! Falsetto phenom Frankie Valli can’t take his eyes off the audience at Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage. The Four Seasons vocalist started singing at age 6 after seeing Frank Sinatra perform in Manhattan, and at age 88, he’s still going strong.

Props & Hops Craft Beer Fest: Nov. 19

Now in its 10th year at the Palm Springs Air Museum, this festival pairs the desert’s best brews (and a few nationally known labels) with vintage aircraft and lively entertainment by local bands. If you’re feeling bold, book a flight on one of the warbirds. palmspringspropsand

Monument Cleanup: Nov. 19

Celebrate National Public Lands Day by lending a hand to local flora and fauna. Participants will help clean up and restore desert terrain near the Palm Canyon Creek Wild and Scenic River in Palm Springs.

Artwalk at 
Indian Wells: Nov. 19–20

Browse one-of-a-kind work by fine artists and craftspeople at the Village at Indian Wells. A variety of mediums and price points ensures you’ll come home with the perfect find, whether you’re after a statement canvas for your entryway or a unique necklace for your sweetheart.

Fall Family Festival: Nov. 20

Little ones will love this autumn-themed event hosted by About Families Inc. at SilverRock Resort in La Quinta. The 15th annual festival features family-friendly activities including crafts, entertainment, and animal encounters.

Blues for the Soul: Nov. 23

Kick off the long holiday weekend at Agua Caliente Casino in Palm Springs with blues greats Hope Diamond and Shea Welsh.

Fortem Financial Thanksgiving 
Day 5K: Nov. 24

Work up your appetite for turkey and mashed potatoes by joining 4,000 or so fellow fitness buffs in a 5K race down El Paseo in Palm Desert. Entry fees support the nonprofit Martha’s Village & Kitchen.

Desert Art Festival: Nov. 25–27

Festival organizers hand-select 100 artists to present their paintings, etchings, sculptures, crafts, and other pieces at this free event at The River at Rancho Mirage outdoor shopping and entertainment complex.


Rain, a Beatles tribute band, plays Nov. 25-27 at McCallum Theatre.

Rain: Nov. 25–27

This tribute to John, Paul, George, and Ringo at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert showcases renditions of the most beloved Beatles tunes, including those from their legendary 1969 concert atop a London rooftop.

Enanitos Verdes: Nov. 26

Argentinian rock trio Enanitos Verdes (whose Spanish name shares the same connotation as “little green men,” or aliens) land their spaceship at Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage.

Nutcracker & Holiday Favorites: Nov. 26–27

Dancers of all ages — some as young as 2 years old — perform ballet, tap, lyrical, and hip-hop numbers at this annual holiday production presented by local studio Dance With Miss Lindsay at the Annenberg Theater in Palm Springs.

Jack Elliott: Nov. 27

The King of Folk turned 91 over the summer. Hailed as one of the best storytellers in country music, he has been revered by greats including Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash. “Don’t Think Twice” about seeing the rambler live at Pappy & Harriet’s in Pioneertown.

Paws & Claus: Nov. 28

Your furry friend can remind Santa what a good boy he’s been at this holiday-themed pet photo-op at Eight4Nine in Palm Springs. Proceeds benefit the LGBTQ Community Center of the Desert.

A Prairie 
Home Holiday: Nov. 28

Garrison Keillor hosted “A Prairie Home Companion” on Minnesota Public Radio for more than three decades. Joined by Prudence Johnson and Dan Chouinard, he shares holiday songs and stories at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert.

Jake Shimabukuro: Nov. 29

The ukulele virtuoso takes to the McCallum stage, playing four-string renditions of popular tunes, including the cover of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” that propelled him to YouTube stardom in 2006.

Beyond Van Gogh: through Nov. 27

Step inside 300 famous Van Gogh artworks at this immersive exhibition in Indio that projects the artist’s paintings on the walls and floor.

Outburst Projects: through Jan. 29

Five artists draw upon their cultural heritage to create evocative pieces, from weavings to digital works, at Palm Springs Art Museum.

Sapphire Cinnamon Viper Fairy: through March 26

Petra Cortright composes traditional landscapes and portraits with internet imagery in this exhibition at Palm Springs Art Museum.

Inclusion: Nov. 4–13

Desert Art Center in Palm Springs highlights paintings and photographs that celebrate the beauty and resiliency of the LGBTQ+ community in this pride-themed exhibition.

Miguel Edwards: 
New Sculpture: Nov. 4–18

While a gallery placard might list only glass and steel as Miguel Edwards’ mediums, the sculptor also views light and gravity as components of his shapely and colorful abstract forms. He showcases his newest work at Coda Gallery in Palm Desert.

Boxo10x10: Nov. 19–Dec. 31

artists who have participated in residencies at BoxoPROJECTS over the past decade are featured in this 10th anniversary exhibition celebrating contemporary art of the new frontier. Special programming, including artist panels, lectures, and live music, complement the High Desert showcase.

Choir Boy: through Nov. 6

Through Nov. 6 / Moonlight writer Tarrell Alvin McCraney composed this critically acclaimed play, in which a gay student’s ascension to choir leader sets a traditional prep school for young Black men abuzz. See it at Pearl McManus Theatre in Palm Springs.

Nunsensations!: through Nov. 13

Through Nov. 13 / Actors at Palm Canyon Theatre in Palm Springs portray feather-clad, Vegas-bound, cabaret-singing nuns in this hilarious musical that imagines the sisters will receive a $10,000 donation for their school if they agree to perform in Sin City.

Nearly Lear

Nov. 4 / With more than a little poetic license, this internationally touring one-woman show touches down at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert, featuring Susanna Hamnett as the Fool (and every other character) from Shakespeare’s King Lear.

Barefoot in the Park: Nov. 4–27

Indio’s community theater company, Desert TheatreWorks, puts on Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park, in which two newlyweds try to set up the bride’s mother with their quirky neighbor.

The Humans: Nov. 8–20

This dark comedy set at a tense Thanksgiving dinner garnered rave reviews for its tender yet unflinching depiction of a working-class family’s anxieties around illness, aging, and the contemporary American landscape. See the Pulitzer Prize winner at Coachella Valley Repertory in Cathedral City.

The Book of Mormon: Nov. 18–20

The McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert presents this nine-time Tony winner conceived by the creators of South Park. The writers interviewed current and former members of the Church of Latter-day Saints to create their satirical take on the religion’s mission trip tradition.