Enjoy Swing Dancing, Craft Beer and Free Activities on El Paseo

Swing into Palm Desert’s First Weekend

Written by: Ashlee Polarek First Weekend Palm Desert

Palm Desert First Weekend
February 3-5

With the skies over Southern California sunny and blue again there is no excuse to miss out on a weekend filled with dancing, classic cars, drinks, art and exploration. It’s First Weekend in Palm Desert, which translates to: the best way to get out of the house and discover something new. During the first weekend of every month (November through May) on El Paseo and the surrounding areas, thy city of Palm Desert and local businesses offer free and inexpensive events that appeal to everyone.

Thomas Soule, Tourism & Marketing Manager for City of Palm Desert, shared the purpose of First Weekend; “It’s a collection of events that our local organizations are already doing that we pull together under the umbrella of First Weekend. So lots of different things are happening that will appeal to lots of different audiences.”

Each month First Weekend offers a different featured event and several other exciting events spanning from Friday to Sunday. “We’re trying to curate an experience where people can come and pick and choose what sounds fun to them. They will always know every First Weekend they will be able to find something to do that they’ll enjoy, and we provide it all listed on our website.”

 First Weekend Palm Desert

Featured Event: Swing ‘N Hops Street Party
Saturday 1-5 p.m.

February’s featured event is the Swing ‘N Hops Street Party on El Paseo. On Saturday the 4th from 1-5 p.m., in the heart of the shopping district on El Paseo, you can step back in time to the era of swing. The four-hour event will have live music by the Jennifer Keith Quintet, swing dancing, craft beer gardens, street food, and a vintage car show. Guests are encouraged to don swing-era attire and get a complimentary swing-era makeup and hair styles provided by local stylists.

“For people who don’t know how to swing dance, there are a lot of experts around. Periodically throughout the afternoon they’ll hold tutorials to teach you swing dance steps. It’s really an inviting thing for those of us who aren’t necessarily into swing dance… they make it easier,” said Soule. “What I loved about last year’s event is that it was really multigenerational. It appealed to families with little kids, teenagers, adults, seniors, and a lot of them were dancing together.”

 First Weekend Palm Desert

El Paseo Cruise Night
Friday 3-6p.m.

“El Paseo cruise night is really popular, and it keeps growing,” Soule said. Classic car owners bring their vintage rides to the upper level of the parking structure behind The Gardens on El Paseo. Here guests can check out the meticulously maintained cars and talk to the owners. “They love talking about their cars. I’ve learned a lot of interesting things from the car owners, the era that their car came from and how they’ve restored it.”

 First Weekend Palm Desert

Galen First Fridays
Friday 4-9 p.m.

On the first Friday of the month, you can drop by the Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Desert and enjoy live music, craft brews and art. Catch a docent tour at 4 p.m., attend a live performance by Tolan Shaw at 7:30 p.m., or gather with friends. Surrounded by more than 10 sculptures, water features, native plants and music, this free event is a great way to kick off the weekend.

College of the Desert Street Fair
Saturday and Sunday 7 a.m.-2 p.m.

The open air market fills with more than 300 merchants and artists, a farmers market, gourmet food vendors and live music. “Half of the fun is for the people watching but it’s amazing what you can find. The shopper in me loves to go there and see what they have going”, said Soule. You can find art, pottery, leather goods, home decor, gifts, flowers, clothing, plants and more. The street fair is located at the northwest corner of the College of the Desert campus off Monterey Ave.

 First Weekend Palm Desert

Story Hour & Maps and Compass at the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto National Monument Visitor Center  
Sunday 1-2 p.m

Children nine and up can learn map and compass basics or if you’re between the ages of four and eight and have a parent with you, you can enjoy story hour. Story hour discusses nature and the desert creatures in the National monument, as well as an outdoor activity or craft. Space for story hour is limited so it’s preferred that you R.S.V.P.

First Weekend is a great way to discover a new passion, hobby, or place to eat. Whether you are strolling through art, learning to swing dance, grabbing a bite during happy hour at a local bar or hiking and learning about local wildlife, First Weekend offers something for everyone. “It offers opportunities for people to come and experience something that they maybe wouldn’t have otherwise,” says Soule.

Head to El Paseo for a Swingin’ Good Time

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Ashlee is a freelance writer with a focus on travel, lifestyle and food. After obtaining her degree in Journalism she took the world by storm teaching in South Korea and giving motivation speeches across the United States. She can often be found on road-trips, plane rides and cooking up her favorite meal from her most recent travels. The anti-homebody loves a good hike, good book and a day spent with friends.


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