Best Early Entertainment in Palm Springs

Where to Enjoy the Best Early Entertainment in Palm Springs

Who doesn’t want to have some fun while visiting Palm Springs? This is Hollywood’s playground, after all, and there are plenty of ways – lounges, bars and nightclubs, to name a few – to get your party on. If you don’t want to be out all night, Palm Springs has you covered on that front, too: plenty of nightlife hotspots open their doors and start the entertainment early, meaning you can enjoy a soulful lounge act or groove to your favorite cover band hits and still make it back to your comfy hotel room before bedtime.

In downtown Palm Springs, you’ll have plenty of options for early entertainment. Las Casuelas Terraza, one of the desert’s most beloved spots for authentic Mexican fare, features nightly live entertainment on its patio, while Thursday afternoons and evenings offer entertainment in all forms during the weekly Village Fest street fair. Heading toward the eastern end of the valley, you can enjoy dinner as a local musician sets the mood at restaurants like BluEmber, Sullivan’s Steakhouse and Cork Tree. If you feel like dancing, you can always cut a rug in Indian Wells at The Nest.

Looking for more early entertainment? Check out the full list of where to enjoy the best early entertainment in Palm Springs below.


Reopened in 2013 in all of its Old Hollywood glory, The Purple Room is a Rat Pack-era supper club with live music, entertainment and upscale comfort food every night of the week. The entertainment generally starts early at The Purple Room, and you'll find the supper club is filled with music or laughter – or both – by 7 p.m. throughout the week. Catering to a wide audience, The Purple Room hosts comedians and comedy nights, drag shows, celebrity impersonators and local musicians – and that's just scratching the surface of The Purple Room's early entertainment options. Coupled with the restaurant's hearty comfort food menu, you'll experience Palm Springs as it was in its heyday at The Purple Room.

Recommended for Early Entertainment because: The Purple Room is a throwback to the supper clubs of Old Palm Springs, featuring a range of live entertainment throughout the week.

Marissa's expert tip: Buy a bottle of wine! The Purple Room works with a charity to plant a tree for each bottle sold.

Read more about The Purple Room →

The Special Events Center at Fantasy Springs is a flexible space for live entertainment, hosting everything from wrestling matches to Native American pow wows. Most often, the center is used as a concert venue for acts like The Beach Boys, Shakira and Alice Cooper. Bleachers line the sides of the venue, and beer vendors set up in the back to create an informal, intimate atmosphere. The Special Events Center doesn't have separate seatings levels - all seats are on the main floor, aside from the bleachers - but the main stage is flanked by two large LCD screens, ensuring a good view is had by all.

Recommended for Early Entertainment because: The Special Events Center at Fantasy Springs hosts big-name artists, with shows generally starting at 8 p.m. and ending by 10 p.m.

Marissa's expert tip: Hang on to your ticket stub for $10 in free play on the slot machines after the show.

Read more about The Special Events Center at Fantasy Springs →

Renowned throughout the desert for its upscale California cuisine, Cork Tree Restaurant uses local products to bring Chef Herve's creations to life. Start with an organic rainbow beet salad with local dates, then try the demitasse soup tasting, which offers a sample of three soups of the day. For your main course, you can choose from offerings like duck breast and smoked mushroom risotto, Patagonian sauteed sea bass or hibiscus braised boneless short ribs. The superb food offerings are complemented by quality service, excellent presentation and an extensive wine list that features many California wines. The dining room is home to intimate booths for a romantic evening, as well as live entertainment in the evenings. Patio dining and private rooms are also available.

Recommended for Early Entertainment because: Cork Tree Restaurant complements its upscale California cuisine with live entertainment starting at 6 p.m.

Marissa's expert tip: Don't miss your chance to sit on the intimate patio at Cork Tree Restaurant and dine under the desert stars.

Read more about Cork Tree Restaurant →


While The Nest is technically a restaurant in Indian Wells, locals know this contemporary restaurant turns into a dance party every night. While the crowd tends to skew a bit older, the ambiance is hard to beat. One minute, you'll be waltzing and swinging the night away. Before you know it, you'll be dancing to the latest Lady Gaga single. And on other nights, the Piano Bar lights up with live entertainment that keeps the crowd shuffling all night. While The Nest might not be your typical dance club, it's definitely one of the top spots to boogie in the desert.

Recommended for Early Entertainment because: The Nest is a popular Indian Wells restaurant that features live music and dancing.

Marissa's expert tip: This restaurant slash dance club caters to the older crowd, but a good time is always had by guests of all ages.

Read more about The Nest →

Shanghai Reds Oyster Bar, a part of the popular Fisherman's Market and Grill restaurant chain, opens in the afternoon but truly comes to life at night. Tucked away in a small alleyway behind Fisherman's Market in Palm Springs, Shanghai Reds specializes in beer and seafood in true Baja fashion. This oyster bar is perfect for spending an evening sharing fish tacos and beers with a few friends. Late night happy hour begins every night at 9 p.m. and goes until closing. The happy hour menu includes fish tacos, oyster shooters, sauteed mushrooms and seafood gumbo. On Fridays and Saturdays, seafood lovers can enjoy live blues music by the Barry Baughn Blues Band.

Recommended for Early Entertainment because: Shanghai Reds Oyster Bar features live blues music on the weekends, and the entertainment usually starts in the late afternoon.

Marissa's expert tip: While you're grooving to the live blues music, don't miss the fish tacos, oyster shooters or bucket of shrimp, all of which are Shanghai Reds specialties.

Read more about Shanghai Reds Oyster Bar →

If you're looking for steak, ambiance and entertainment all under one roof, head to Sullivan's in Palm Desert. This steakhouse delivers prime cuts, stiff drinks and an atmosphere that can't be beat. Upon entering Sullivan's in the El Paseo Gardens shopping center, you might expect to see Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack hanging out at the bar, enjoying sizzling steaks and stiff cocktails. If you enjoy live music, sip on a hand-shaken martini and enjoy the live jazz and piano performances as you wait for your freshly cooked steak to arrive. Known locally for its lively bar and happy hour offerings, Sullivan's is a steakhouse with plenty of character.

Recommended for Early Entertainment because: Sullivan's Steakhouse features live music in its bar area, and the entertainment usually begins at 6 p.m.

Marissa's expert tip: Sit in the bar area to catch live music throughout the week.

Read more about Sullivan's Steakhouse - Palm Desert →

South Palm Canyon Drive transforms into an open-air market every Thursday evening during Village Fest, a weekly street fair in downtown Palm Springs. Vendors set up stalls selling everything from arts and crafts to local produce. If you get hungry, you'll also find plenty of local food vendors offering the likes of juicy tri-tip sandwiches, freshly steamed tamales and stir-fried noodle bowls. While you'll have to pay for the grub, you don't have to pay to stroll through the market, browse local goods or people-watch – admission is completely free. You'll also find entertainment like musicians, local youth choirs and orchestras, and a popular artist who creates intricate artwork using only spray paint. Entertainment usually starts early at the street fair, and with everyone packing up by 10 p.m., you know you won't have to be out all night to enjoy live entertainment.

Recommended for Early Entertainment because: Village Fest hosts a number of local musicians and entertainers every Thursday night, running from the late afternoon to about 10 p.m.

Marissa's expert tip: Don't miss Marston, a local favorite who always catches the crowd's attention with his custom electric cellos.

Read more about Village Fest →

It's easy to imagine Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack hanging out at the sultry Riviera Palm Springs, which drips with a mid-century chic decor fit for Marilyn Monroe or Ol' Blue Eyes himself. Aside from the pictures of the former in the guest rooms and the latter in the hotel's restaurant, an Old Hollywood spirit persists at The Riviera's Sidebar Lounge – complete with a grand piano – and Sidebar, two of the hotel's bars that feature live entertainment. You'll find the entertainment starts early here throughout the week. Head to Starlight Lounge to catch classic lounge acts, and don't miss the Sidebar patio on Sundays for live sax or other musical performances.

Recommended for Early Entertainment because: Riviera Palm Springs offers live entertainment throughout the week, often starting at 8 p.m. at the hotel's piano bar, Starlight Lounge.

Marissa's expert tip: If you're a fan of lounge acts, head to Starlight Lounge near the hotel lobby to see local musicians tickle the ivories throughout the week.

Read more about Riviera Palm Springs →

This Californian-inspired restaurant at Rancho Las Palmas in Rancho Mirage embraces farm fresh ingredients and an onsite herb garden to create seasonal plates that impress diners all year long. The lounge and outdoor patio set an intimate mood for a night in the desert, where you can dine under the stars by the glow of the fire pit with a view of the San Jacinto Mountains in the distance. Start your dinner with a Blucrab Cocktail (jumbo lump crab, avocado, citrus and honey poppy seed emulsion) and a Burrata Salad before digging into more small plates like brie fondue and hamachi crudo. While you're eating, you'll enjoy live music starting at 6 p.m. on most nights. After dinner, feel free to dance the night away.

Recommended for Early Entertainment because: BluEmber at Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa features live music on most nights, usually starting at 6 p.m.

Marissa's expert tip: Head to BluEmber on Thursdays to catch John Stanley King, who always impresses with his jazz, classic rock and acoustic stylings.

Read more about BluEmber at Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa →

Las Casuelas Terraza

This popular downtown cantina attracts folks regularly for delicious Mexican fare and an animated nightlife scene. With some of Palm Springs' most authentic Mexican fare and its very own Tequila Hall of Fame, it's easy to see the lure of Las Casuelas Terraza – but the live entertainment only makes it better. The gracious establishment boasts a glorious palapa (outdoor patio) for nightly live entertainment – everything from Latin and blues to pop and rock bands is covered, and the music starts early. Fabulous margaritas are made with premium tequilas – the blended strawberry version is particularly enticing. While happy hour crowds get things started, after-dinner patrons are happy to keep the party going. A city classic.

Recommended for Early Entertainment because: Las Casuelas Terraza has an outdoor patio dedicated to live music, which starts early throughout the week.

Marissa's expert tip: Sit on the patio to soak up the best of Las Casuelas Terraza's live entertainment offerings.

Read more about Las Casuelas Terraza →


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