The Holiday Season means Christmas Tree lightings, holiday concerts, and light parades in the Coachella Valley. It also means it’s time once again for the most bizarre light display in the country: RoboLights. Here are five things to know about the annual Palm Springs event.
Note: it looks like it’s the last year for Robolights as we know it. Who knows what will come of it in 2019.
What is it?
Robolights, a creation of local artist (and destroyer of things I want) Kenny Irwin, has been a Palm Springs Holiday tradition now for over 20 years (even catching the attention of Conan O’Brien). The annual event has always been at odds with neighbors and fun loving city officials and was actually shut down for a few years starting in 2008 because of complaints from people in the neighborhood.
The display eventually returned, only to have thieves steal over a million lights from the property forcing yet another closing. But, Robolights came back yet again and has been brining Holiday joy and nightmares to those who visit ever since.
Irwin’s display is a mix of holiday magic with just enough robots and aliens and weirdness – mostly made out of old phones, microwaves, vacuums, and other spare parts – to make it one of the most unique Christmas displays in the country. Here are some examples:
It’s a pretty big property and there are plenty of photo opps, so get that portrait mode ready to go on your iPhone and get to Instagramming already!!
What’s the address for Robolights Palm Springs?
RoboLights is located Irwin’s home at 1077 E Granvia Valmonte in Palm Springs.
RoboLights is generally open to the public from 4 pm to 10 pm beginning the night before Thanksgiving and going through New Year’s Day (sometimes even beyond that). You can check out the RoboLights Facebook page for updates on the event.
How is parking?
According to the Desert Sun, it’s pretty shitty. New restrictions put in place in 2017 have made it so everyone has to park pretty far from the property, it’s dark, and the city is on hand to dole out $37 parking tickets to anyone who doesn’t obey the rules. Merry Christmas.
An alternative to parking and walking would be to just head to Bootlegger Tiki or Moxie first, have a cocktail, and then Uber over to RoboLights. It’s cheaper than a parking ticket and hey, those drinks just might make your tour through the property slightly more festive.
How much does it cost?
It’s technically free to go to RoboLights, but you should really put some money in one of the donation boxes as all those lights surely cost Irwin a lot of money to turn on every night – so bring some cash.
Seriously tho, this is a real thing?
Yes. No, seriously. It is. And it has to be seen to believed. Everyone who lives or visits Palm Springs during the Holidays has to visit RoboLights at least once in their lives. Make a night of it and take a short drive over to Cathedral City’s Candy Cane Lane after. Who knows, maybe all the Christmas lights will make your heart grow three sizes.
Enjoy RoboLights and Merry Christmas!