Best Live Music in Palm Springs

10 Best Spots to Enjoy Live Music in Palm Springs

Whether you're looking for a world class concert or a local dive with the desert's best up-and-coming musicians, there are plenty of live music venues to keep you entertained in Palm Springs.

If you're looking for a full-blown concert experience from some of the biggest names in music, large venues like the McCallum Theatre, The Show at Agua Caliente and the Special Events Center at Fantasy Springs are your best bets. At the McCallum in Palm Desert, you can enjoy concerts by jazz musicians, contemporary artists and orchestras. The Show, which opened in 2008, set the concert bar high when it hosted Billy Joel as its opening act. And the Special Events Center at Fantasy Springs consistently hosts big names like Shakira, The Beach Boys and Matchbox 20. 

Plenty of bars and lounges, like The Hood and the Red Barn, also feature live music after dark. Both Palm Desert venues are a stomping ground for local up-and-coming acts. In Indio, the very grounds that host the music mega-fest of Coachella are also home to the Date Shed, which has hosted acts like Bones Thugs-n-Harmony and Reverend Horton Heat.

If you're feeling nostalgic and want to relive the glory days of rock and roll, The Rock Yard at Fantasy Springs features cover bands every weekend, paying homage to rock and roll's finest.

Check out the full list of the desert's 10 best live music venues below.


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.

Recommended for Live Music because: There's always good energy at Village Pub, making it one of the top places to enjoy live music in the heart of downtown.

Local Expert tip: If you're looking for live music, stick to the downstairs level. DJ-spun tunes typically dominate upstairs.

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Don't let the name of this bar confuse you: Hamilton's Sports Bar and Grill is actually a jack of all trades for nightlife. Live music, as it so happens, is one of Hamilton's specialties. From the bar or dining area, you can enjoy the various musicians who take the stage throughout the week. On a typical weekend, you'll be listening to live reggae, rock, blues or jazz music. As a bar and grill, Hamilton's also offers plenty in the way of drinks and dining, serving a full menu of appetizers, entrees and desserts through 10 p.m. Afterward, Hamilton's offers a late night bar menu.

Recommended for Live Music because: There's live music every weekend from top jazz, blues and reggae musicians at Hamilton's. Many of the artists perform here regularly.

Local Expert tip: Come to Hamilton's for dinner and a show. This bar's menu is actually a full menu, so no need to stop for dinner before you arrive.

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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.

Recommended for Live Music because: Guests at Bar can enjoy tunes by local singer-songwriters as well as indie, experimental and electronica acts.

Local Expert tip: Weekends rotate between live acts and DJ-spun sets, so be sure to check Bar's website or Facebook page to see the full live music schedule.

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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, heavy metal and reggae - often take to the Red Barn's graffiti-lined stage to flaunt what they've got, and you'll find live music here just about every Friday and Saturday night. In true dive bar fashion, the Red Barn offers cheap drinks, stiff pours and friendly bartenders. For a low-key night with laidback locals and live rock and roll, head to the Red Barn in Palm Desert.

Recommended for Live Music because: Local rock and heavy metal bands take to the Red Barn's graffiti-lined stage every weekend. Cheap drinks also make this a great dive.

Local Expert tip: Eat before you come or be prepared to go on a liquid diet for the night. The Red Barn prides itself on being a "real bar," meaning they don't serve appetizers or dishes.

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The Empire Polo Grounds have seen the likes of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Madonna and Kanye West thanks to the annual Coachella Music and Arts Festival. In 2011, a year-round venue was opened on site in hopes of keeping the Coachella vibe alive long after the festival tents had packed up and gone. Ever since, the Date Shed has been one of the top local venues for live music. Blending equal parts lounge and intimate concert venue, The Date Shed prides itself on being designed as a music venue with a bar, not the other way around. Weekly acts can range from local ska bands or DJs to The Ataris and Reverend Horton Heat. You can enjoy the night's performance from a seat on a plush white lounge sofa, or get in on the stage front action from the open floor.

Recommended for Live Music because: The Date Shed, on the ground of the world famous Coachella Music and Arts Festival, keeps the Coachella vibe alive all year long.

Local Expert tip: Don't miss the tacos out back, often $2 during special events.

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Nostalgic rock and roll fans, rejoice! The Rock Yard at Fantasy Springs Casino has you covered on the weekends with free rock concerts by top-quality tribute bands. The Rock Yard is an open-air concert venue at Fantasy Springs Casino, and bands from across Southern California and beyond take to the Rock Yard stage to cover all of the rock and roll greats, from AC/DC to ZZ Top. Spend a budget-friendly and nostalgic night under the stars on a warm desert night, watching one of the Rock Yard's tribute bands cover all the greatest hits of one of the 80s' most beloved bands. Shows generally run from 7:30 p.m. to midnight.

Recommended for Live Music because: The Rock Yard hosts free tribute concerts on the weekends, covering rock legends like Guns and Roses, The Eagles and Lynard Skynard.

Local Expert tip: The Rock Yard season generally runs from mid-spring through early fall. The season schedule is released online in the weeks leading up to the season, so be sure to check the Rock Yard website for a schedule of upcoming tribute concerts.

Read more about The Rock Yard at Fantasy Springs →

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.

Recommended for Live Music because: The Hood hosts the desert's most popular rock, metal and reggae bands. Wednesdays' "Open Mic" nights showcase the desert's untapped talent.

Local Expert tip: Since it doesn't look anything like a bar from the outside, The Hood is difficult to spot from Highway 111. Look for a large grey building between two strip malls. The sign is neon green but easy to miss in this long stretch of business complexes and strip malls.

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The McCallum Theatre offers something for everyone, from bluegrass bands and jazz concerts to musical theater and a "Woodstock for the kids." The sound system and acoustics can handle everything from rock bands to operas to orchestras, carrying the sound all the way to the top balcony seats. Speaking of balcony seats, the McCallum has a balcony level and founder's level raised above the main floor. Seating rows in the premiere, orchestra and rear orchestra sections slope upwards toward the rear, ensuring views aren't blocked by the guests sitting in front of you. The lobby offers drinks, snacks and other concessions to keep you satiated during your concert of choice.

Recommended for Live Music because: The McCallum Theatre is one of the desert's classiest venues, attracting artists like K.D. Lang and Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers.

Local Expert tip: Buy tickets in advance – way in advance. The season runs from September to May, and tickets generally go on sale in April.

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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 Live Music because: Fantasy Springs hosts some of the biggest concerts in the desert, including Shakira, John Legend and Kelly Clarkson.

Local Expert tip: Hang on to your ticket stub for $10 in free play on the slot machines after the show.

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In 2008, the Agua Caliente Resort Casino Resort and Spa opened The Show, its state of the art entertainment venue. Billy Joel was the first performer to hit this venue's stage, setting the bar high acts that followed, including Matchbox Twenty, REO Speedwagon and Train. Each season, The Show lines up major musicians spanning genres like country, jazz, contemporary and rock. The four-level venue maintains an intimate feel, despite being one of the largest entertainment venues in Palm Springs. Seats are plush, so you won't grow uncomfortable after an hour of watching your favorite performers on stage. You can also grab a cocktail or cold beer right outside the venue doors.

Recommended for Live Music because: The Show at Agua Caliente attracts major headliners like Billy Joel, Melissa Etheridge and REO Speedwagon and offers an arena-quality experience.

Local Expert tip: The best thing about The Show? There's not a bad seat in the house – so don't fear the budget-friendly seats.

Read more about The Show at Agua Caliente →


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