Palm Springs' Best Nightlife Options: Where to Party after Dark

Palm Springs has long had a reputation for its toned down nightlife, but with an influx of new bars and younger crowds, Palm Springs has become a popular destination for Los Angeles and Orange County night owls looking for a party. With casinos, clubs, trendy bars and late night happy hours, there’s little reason to stay home in Palm Springs on any night of the week. Before retreating to your hotel, spend a few hours enjoying all that the local nightlife scene has to offer.

If it’s craft cocktails and DJ-spun sets you’re after, don’t miss the aptly named Bar on Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs. A favorite for its handcrafted drinks and nightly live entertainment, this intimate watering hole has quickly become a Palm Springs favorite since opening in 2013. Nearby, you’ll also find plenty of live music and free-flowing drinks at Village Pub, another late-night staple in the desert.

Feel like dancing the desert night away? Don’t miss Zelda’s or Toucan’s, two of Palm Springs’ top spots for tearing up the dance floor. On the east end of the valley, you’ll find plenty of local bands and beers at watering holes like The Hood, Schmidy’s and The Red Barn. Or you can take center stage yourself at Neil’s in Indio, where karaoke fiends converge nightly. 

If you're looking for a more off-the-beaten-path experience, The Amigo Room at the Ace Hotel & Swim Club is always a sure bet. On any given night, The Amigo Room could host bingo, stand-up comics, a dance party or an arts and crafts session. This hipster-heavy spot offers something quirky and indie on almost every night of the week. 


It's not hard to miss this bar and music venue--it is, after all, a giant red barn. Despite the farm-inspired architecture, the venue doesn't feature much in the way of country music. Local bands--mostly rock and reggae--often take to the Red Barn's graffiti-lined stage to flaunt what they've got. When local bands aren't playing, a jukebox fills the bar with rock and roll classics. In true dive bar fashion, the Red Barn offers cheap drinks, stiff pours and friendly bartenders. For a low-key night with laidback locals, head to the Red Barn in Palm Desert.

From dance floors to foosball tables, the Village Pub has entertainment for everyone. For live entertainment lovers, the ground floor of this downtown pub is the place to be. Village Pub offers live music every night of the week, plus there's no cover charge to enjoy the tunes. The bar has 13 beers on tap and a full menu, as well as an outdoor fire pit where you unwind with the live entertainment still in the background. With a friendly staff that won't kick you out until 1:30 a.m., the Village Pub is one of Palm Springs' more versatile venues for live music.

If you want to dance your cares and the night away, head to Zelda's for the desert's largest dance party. For more than 35 years, Zelda's has remained one of the only true nightclubs in the desert. Just south of downtown Palm Springs, Zelda's offers an upscale atmosphere, a state-of-the-art sound system and sets spun by the hottest local DJs. Club promotions include short skirt nights and bikini contests. With weekly appearances by an all-male revue show, Zelda's is a popular spot for bachelorette parties or a girls' night out. Whether you're ready to mingle or just looking to dance, a night out at Zelda's is sure to entertain.


While this old-time, Western-themed saloon is a great watering hole, Neil's Lounge's true claim to fame is its famous karaoke nights. Locals, tourists and even celebrities drop into this dive bar for a stiff drink and a few minutes of fame on the karaoke stage. Drink specials are offered every night and the restaurant side of the bar, Western Grill, has an all-day $5 menu with bar-friendly fare like tri-tip sandwiches and beef melts. Karaoke begins every night at 8 p.m., so plan accordingly. On Fridays and Saturdays, the bar quickly fills up to standing room only status. For those who aren't inclined to sing, two pool tables are available in the back room.

North Palm Springs
Toucan's Tiki Lounge

Welcome to the jungle in the heart of the desert. This gay nightclub in downtown Palm Springs loves to party, and whether you're gay or straight, you're sure to have a good time in this high-energy club. With themed dance parties every night, no two visits to Toucans are ever the same. Nightly events include "Jungle Boogie" dance parties and "Double the Fun Thursdays," and on any given night, you might spot the "Go Go Boys" dancers taking the stage. While you can always count on Toucans for strong drinks, friendly atmosphere and fun dance music, you won't want to miss the Sunday night cabaret shows. At 8 p.m. and 10 p.m., the divas of drag take to the Toucans stage for their popular "Playgirls" performance.

Sometimes, all you need from a bar is a relaxing, laid-back atmosphere and a handful of well-crafted beers on tap. When it comes time to skip the rowdy crowds and late-night bar-fights, it's time to head to Schmidy's in Palm Desert. This watering hole tends to attract a more low-key crowd who come for the quality beers and late-night entertainment, ranging from acoustic bands to karaoke nights. Weekly beer tastings and a monthly beer dinner add to this bar's reputation as one of the desert's best for craft beers. A full menu is also served all day, and the bar is open late all week long.

Forget noisy nightclubs and dive bars�if you're looking for a hip night on the town, head to the Ace Hotel and Swim Club. This hipster haven offers a quirky take on nightlife, offering offbeat options like bingo or arts and crafts hour in the Amigo Room. Local comics also take to the Amigo Room to bring on the funny, and DJ-hosted dance parties are a frequent occurrence. Poolside parties engulf the outdoor patio on weekends, bringing DJs, live music and dancing to the Ace. Also held poolside is the monthly Full Moon Party, which celebrates the full moon with a drum circle, tarot card readings and free-spirited dancing.

While Coachella Fest is a strictly seasonally event, The Hood in Palm Desert keeps the tunes and soul of the music festival alive all year long. This bar and music venue has made a name for itself locally by hosting both local and mainstream bands. Local bands play at The Hood every weekend and on Wednesdays, local musicians hit the stage for "Open Mic" night. While The Hood has a soft spot in its heart for local music, this dive bar has also seen the likes of larger names like British pop band Modern English. The Hood offers dive bar prices on its drinks and pizza. Add in some live entertainment, and it's easy to get lost in the good vibes of The Hood.


Opened in early 2013, Bar combines handcrafted cocktails and live music in downtown Palm Springs. The decor draws on downtown's signature modern style, but there's a hint of dive bar soul in these walls. From the lounge at Bar, you can enjoy local up-and-comers during a singer-songwriter night or a popular indie band on the weekends. The typical live music lineup includes indie, experimental, acoustic and electronica acts. The stage and lounge are intimate, perfect for those who want to sit back with a craft cocktail or get into the groove on the dance floor. An affordable bar menu with bites like bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with bleu cheese is also served throughout the night.


Meet Marissa Willman

Marissa Willman moved to the Coachella Valley in 2001 and loves discovering the best that the desert has to offer. As a Palm Springs local, Marissa enjoys sharing her knowledge of this desert...  More About Marissa