If it’s Thursday night, that means it’s time for VillageFest in downtown Palm Springs. Here are five things to know about the popular weekly event that takes place in the west end of the Coachella Valley.

What is Palm Springs VillageFest?

To put it simply: it’s a swap meet that takes place over about three blocks in downtown Palm Springs. For twenty years now, the city of Palm Springs has been shutting down the road and bringing in vendors who sell everything from clothes to art to gadgets to jewelry to fruits and vegetables. There are also some activities for kids and a smattering of food vendors slingin’ everything from tacos to BBQ to kettle corn. Mmmmmm…kettle corn.

A big crowd at the Palm Springs VillageFest Street Fair
(Instagram: @trystbarps)

Of course, you will find more merchants during “the season” from November to April than you will during the summer – with peak season bringing in over 200 vendors, while slower months seeing less than 100.

Oh and I almost forgot to mention the music, including this dude who is almost always there:

Palm Springs!

A post shared by Koen Van Der Plank (@koenvdplank) on

There’s also free entry to the Palm Springs Art Museum on Thursdays, so that’s nice and the restaurants, stores, and bars along Palm Canyon mostly remain open during the event – so, if you are into people watching, grab a stool at Moxie, enjoy a drink or two, and people watch away.

Where is it?

Downtown Palm Springs on Palm Canyon Drive from Amado Road to Baristo Road – which is closed to cars, so, yeah, don’t try to drive through there on Thursday nights.

Ask the Rabbi - a booth at the Palm Springs VillageFest Street Fair
(Instagram: @restark)

What time is it?

The event runs from 6 pm to 10 pm from October through May and 7 pm to 10 pm from June to September – when it’s still a million degrees on the pavement up until the sun goes down.

Harpo the Clown at Palm Springs VillageFest
Harpo the Clown at Palm Springs VillageFest (Instagram: @restark)

Where should I park?

Wherever you can find a spot. The city of Palm Springs has done a lousy job creating public parking downtown and finding a spot on a regular day can be a pain in the ass. On VillageFest day, it can be even worse.

The parking garages downtown usually fill up fast, so the best advice is to get there early and find a spot on or near Indian Canyon Drive and just walk over.

Sunset at the Palm Springs Street Fair
(instagram: @coachellanightlife)

For the next few months, you can also park and ride the Buzz to VillageFest, but that ends before summer because Palm Springs killed the service because the city refuses to let anyone have nice things – so maybe take an Uber after it shuts down?  I dunno.  Hey, here’s an idea, if you have some awesome advice of where to park, add it in the comments!

Is it worth going to?

Well, Bernie Sanders seemed to like it.

Bernie at VillageFest (Facebook)

I mean, look, it’s ok.  It’s your typical street fair / swap meet, which isn’t a bad thing. At the very least, it gives you a chance to stroll through downtown Palm Springs without having to avoid all of the terrible drivers you will normally find on Palm Canyon – so you have that going for you.  Which is nice.

Want more info on VillageFest?  Head over here.