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  • Sunset at Mojave Desert in Twentynine Palms, CA

Things are heating up in 29 Palms, southern California’s hidden gem in the heart of the Mojave Desert! Now is the perfect time to experience a one-of-a-kind desert experience with the family. Here are a few reasons you should pack up the van and venture to 29 Palms this summer:

Rise and Shine: Sunrise hikes

Take a walk on the wild side of life by exploring the Mojave Desert’s great outdoors. 29 Palms is the official gateway community to Joshua Tree National Park, Mojave Trails National Monument, and Mojave National Preserve. There is so much to explore whether you are spending a few days or a few weeks.

National Park Week - sPark Connections - Cap RockCap Rock Nature Trail is one of our favorite short nature walks with our families when we visit Joshua Tree National Park. Located at the corner of Park Blvd and Keys View Road, Cap Rock is the perfect trail to stretch your legs and learn about the desert flora and fauna. This short loop is less than half a mile and gives hikers views of boulder piles, Joshua trees, and other desert plants. Stop at each marker to learn a little more about what interesting plants and critters you can find in the park. Plan ahead and get an early start so that your hike is done by 10 A.M. and be sure to review the park’s summer safety tips.

We recommend heading out to Cadiz Dunes Wilderness in the Mojave Trails National Monument for our adventurous early risers. Located just 40 miles east of downtown 29 Palms between Highway 62 and the historic Route 66, the road to these pristine dunes takes you through some of the gorgeous locales the Mojave Trails National Monument has to offer. Ever-changing in contour and pattern and spanning nearly 20,000 acres, these majestic and remote dunes are shaped by the north winds blowing sand off the Cadiz dry lake.

Take a trip to Mojave National Preserve and enjoy the stunning Kelso Dunes. With temperatures reaching above 100°, trek out to the dunes later in the evening or early in the morning. The spectacular majestic sand piles of Kelso Dunes are the Preserve’s most popular hiking destination for a good reason. When hikers reach the summit, they are rewarded with a surreal backdrop of sand that seems to extend forever. Although this is the most popular trail at the Mojave National Preserve, potential hikers can still expect solitude.

Explore Your Artistic Side

29 Palms is known for its Oasis of Murals and thriving artistic community. Visitors can find over 60 murals, public art displays, and half a dozen art galleries across the City of 29 Palms. There is much to explore when tapping into your artistic side while visiting 29 Palms.

Gretchen Grunt 29 Palms Creative Center and Gallery Pottery Wheel ClassLet your kids discover their unique explosive creativity in a vast array of mediums, from simply drawing on paper to technical construction in clay, when you sign them up for an art class at the 29 Palms Creative Center! Owner, artist, and educator Gretchen Grunt believes creating a joyful and stress-free studio environment is key to nurturing the process of creativity. Book your private art class or party and get creative this summer!

The Oasis of Murals began in 1994 with the painting of the first mural honoring Bill and Frances Keys, pioneer homesteaders who settled at the Desert Queen Ranch in what is now Joshua Tree National Park. Since then, 25 more murals and one sculpture have been added to the Action Council for 29 Palms‘ impressive mural collection. Along with these murals, you can find beautiful public art displays from world-renowned artists like Simi Dabah, Ricardo Breceda, Chuck Caplinger, and more.

The 29 Palms Art Gallery is the oldest arts organization in the Morongo Basin. Founded by a group of prominent desert artists in the 1950s, the gallery is located in a historic adobe at the Oasis of Mara. They offer a variety of art classes to people of all ages throughout the year, including courses in pottery, painting, collage, and more.

Fun in the Sun (and the Shade)

There is so much fun to be had during the summer in 29 Palms! Whether you are outside basking in the desert sun or inside beating the heat, we have the perfect ways for you and your family to enjoy your time in the Mojave Desert.

The Old Schoolhouse Museum is the place to be for all you history buffs. Founded in 1982, the Twentynine Palms Historical Society has preserved the rich history of 29 Palms for 40 years. In 1992, the society moved the city’s original 1927 one-room schoolhouse to a parcel of land on National park Drive near the Oasis of Mara and remodeled the building to become the Old Schoolhouse Museum. Today, the historical society continues to preserve and interpret the historical heritage of the 29 Palms area through a variety of museum displays, special collections, an extensive library, historical gatherings, educational lectures, and more. We highly recommend visiting the museum while you are in the city and learning more about how 29 Palms has grown and evolved over the years.

Take a trip down to the Bowladium Family Fun Center in your spare time and bowl a game or 2 with the family. This summer, kids ages 2 to 15 bowl free every day! Registering for the Kids Bowl Free program allows your family to have fun all summer long at one of 29 Palms’ favorite family-friendly spots. Learn more about the program by calling the Bowladium at (760) 367-9502.

Water Play Days Station 44 Fire TruckLooking for a great way to cool down and beat the heat this summer? The Twentynine Palms Parks & Recreation Department hosts Water Play Days every Wednesday evening through the end of July. These free, family-friendly events alternate between Luckie Park and Knott’s Sky Park weekly. From water slides to water balloons, families have loved this fun way of hanging out and getting outside during the summer. Plus, you may see our very own Station 44 firefights make a surprise appearance to help make this summer a memorable one! Check out our event calendar to see where they will be when you visit.

Meet Us Under the Stars

Nothing compares to a gorgeous desert night sky in the summer. With a number of astronomical events and fun family movie nights, there is something for everyone to enjoy during the cool desert evenings.

Along with the Water Play Days, the Twentynine Palms Parks and Recreation Department hosts their annual Movies in the Park Thursday nights at Luckie Park. From modern movie hits like Luca and Soul to throwbacks like Space Jam and Little Giants, grab some lawn chairs and blankets and enjoy a relaxing movie night after a day of exploring the city. Head to our event calendar to see what’s playing when you’re here.

Aquarid Meteor ShowerLook up to the night sky this summer with 2 of our favorite meteor showers. The Delta Aquarids Meteor Shower will be making an appearance July 28-29. The shower gets its name from the constellation Aquarius, which it appears to emanate from. A truly dark sky offers the best chance of seeing the Delta Aquarids, as they tend not to be as bright as some other meteor showers. Luckily, Joshua Tree National Park is an International Dark Sky Park that allows for the shower’s perfect viewing. With a high rate of meteors per hour, the Perseids Meteor Shower is one of the most talked-about showers of the year. However, these meteors will compete this year with the Full Sturgeon Moon. The best time to view the Perseids this year will be a few hours before dawn when the Moon is closer to setting. Set your alarm for an early morning to catch a glimpse of one of the year’s best meteor showers!

Joshua Tree National Park proudly opens new Visitor & Cultural Center in Freedom Plaza in downtown Twentynine Palms California

 

On May 7, 2022, Joshua Tree National Park proudly opened their new Visitor & Cultural Center in downtown 29 Palms, in the newly completed Freedom Plaza. Made possible through partnership with the City of Twentynine Palms, Joshua Tree National Park’s traditionally associated Native American communities, Joshua Tree National Park Association (JTNPA), and the Bureau of Land Management, the new Joshua Tree Visitor & Cultural Center is a must-see destination for park visitors.

In addition to the beautiful bookstore and information center, this new Visitor & Cultural Center features an incredible museum space which will feature rotating exhibits celebrating the culture, history, and stories of the Native American communities. The new facility is located at 6533 Freedom Way, in the center of Twentynine Palms’ newly completed Freedom Plaza, and is open 7 days a week from 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM.

The opening exhibition, Home Maintenance: Keys Ranch, tells the story of the park’s role in the preservation of cultural resources. This temporary exhibit was developed by Joshua Tree Art Innovation Lab (JTLab) and weaves the stories of people on the landscape in the present and the recent past. The next set of exhibits, scheduled to be installed in the fall of 2022, are being developed in partnership with the traditionally associated Native American communities. This more permanent exhibition will share the rich heritage of the many peoples who have stewarded this land for millennia. JTNP acknowledges these original stewards, and this exhibit will pay respect to the people, past, present and emerging who have been in this area for generations.

The Oasis Visitor Center (OVC) in Twentynine Palms closed its doors at 5:00 PM Monday, May 2, 2022 after 60 years of operation. The new facility, Joshua Tree Cultural Center replaces OVC in welcoming visitors and providing park information. Other park visitor facilities are Joshua Tree Visitor Center, Cottonwood Visitor Center, and Blackrock Nature Center and Art Gallery. These are open to welcome the public daily.

 

About Freedom Plaza

Formerly known as Project Phoenix, the Freedom Plaza site is dynamic downtown revitalization project along Highway 62 in the heart of 29 Palms that will serve to meet the community’s recreational, professional, and educational needs.

The multi-faceted complex features an 11,000 square foot Community Center with a gymnasium/multipurpose room and culinary arts kitchen, a 4,100 square foot Joshua Tree National Park Cultural and Visitor Center, a 10,000 square foot entry plaza and a three-block long Paseo.

The Community Center will serve as a flexible athletics facility and recreational hub for the community’s youth and adults and can also be used for special events and conferences. Through the City’s new partnership with Copper Mountain College and the Morongo Unified School District, the culinary arts kitchen in this new Community Center will be used as a teaching space for the next generation of aspiring chefs.

A beautiful outdoor event stage graces the corner of Freedom Way and the Paseo parking lot between the Community Center and Joshua Tree Visitor and Cultural Center. Freedom Way’s newly designed protected walkway also transforms into an event space that can be reserved for special events such as festivals, farmers markets, art shows, car shows and musical events.

A decade in the making, the City of Twentynine Palms proudly unveiled and officially opened Freedom Plaza on March 12!

From Trunk or Treats to an Apocalypse Party, there is so much to do this Halloween weekend in 29 Palms! Take the family out to have some fun or have a night out on the town with friends. Whatever it may be, celebrate Halloween in 29 Palms!

HALLOWEEN TRUNK OR TREAT

29 Palms Park and Rec Trunk or Treat

The Twentynine Palms Parks & Recreation Department holds their annual Trunk or Treat on Friday, October 29th, from 6:00pm to 8:00pm. Join in on this free event that is sure to get you and your family in the Halloween mood! Pumpkin Carving Contests, Photo Booth, Games, and more! Decorate your vehicle and enter for a chance to win some great prizes!

FARMER’S MARKET TRUNK OR TREAT

Farmers Market Trunk or Treat

The Farmer’s Market Trunk or Treat, hosted by the 29 Palms Farmer’s Market, will be on Saturday, October 30th, from 5:00pm to 8:00pm at Bucklin Park. This event is perfect for the whole family! Get the kids all dressed up and have a ghoulishly good time, and get in the mood for Halloween!

BACK ALLEY APOCALYPSE PARTY

Back Alley Apocalypse Party Thumbnail

It’s that time of the year! The Back Alley’s annual Halloween Party is just around the corner! This year’s theme: Apocalypse Party. On Saturday, October 30th, dress up in your best Halloween costume and go on down to the Back Alley at the Bowladium Family Fun Center in downtown Twentynine Palms. DYNAMITE will keep the party going with great music. Plus, there will be karaoke for all the brave, musical souls out there. Drink specials and a lot of fun! Ages 21+ only. Please drink responsibly.

WILD WEST FALL FEST

Wild West Fall Fest

Rounding out the fun this weekend is the Wild West Fall Fest! Join the stampede for a hootin’ good time with free kids’ carnival games, candy, hayrides, hay maze, and so much more in a family-friendly environment. Hosted by the First Assembly of God Church, the Wild West Fall Fest will take place on Sunday, October 31st, from 5:30pm to 8:00pm. The Gunfighters for Hire from Pioneertown will be there to give a special shoot-out show!

There are new events added every day, so be sure to check out our Events Calendar for all the updates. With so much to do, we hope to see you celebrate Halloween in 29 Palms!

 

 

Take a long weekend getaway to Twentynine Palms! The fall season is the perfect time to explore and discover the wonders of the Mojave Desert. With the weather cooling off and the city coming to life with events, there has never been a better time to visit and enjoy all Twentynine Palms has to offer.

Outdoor Adventure

Take a walk in nature and explore Joshua Tree National Park. With over 2.4 million visitors in 2020, Joshua Tree National Park was named the 10th Most Visited National Park in the U.S. by the National Park Service. Encompassing nearly 800,000 acres of protected land, visitors can explore both the Mojave and Colorado Deserts while taking part in several activities. From hiking to rock climbing to just enjoying the beautiful desert scenery, this is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. With the long weekend, it will be busy in the National Park, so here are a few tips and tricks to make sure you are ready for your trip:

Indian Cove Picnic Area

Use the Twentynine Palms entrance. Wait times at the West Entrance in Joshua Tree can reach upwards of 1 hour. If you are traveling eastbound on the highway, keep driving 15 more minutes and enter the park through the North entrance in Twentynine Palms. Not only is the wait time much shorter at the North entrance, but you can also visit the Oasis Visitor Center on National Park Drive before heading up to the park.

Purchase your pass online. It is now easier than ever to buy your park pass. Not only can you purchase your entrance pass online, but you can also reserve your camping site. Go online to recreation.gov and get your pass in advance.

Download the NPS app. With no cell service in the park, it can be difficult to navigate where you’re going with your phone. Luckily, the NPS app allows you to download park info to make sure you can find your way around the park while offline. With interactive maps, tours of park places, and more, download the NPS app and make the most of your visit.

Plan Like a Park Ranger. The staff at JTNP have put together an incredible article to help you travel like an expert when you visit the park. To help you plan your trip even more, here are the Top 10 Tips for Visiting Joshua Tree National Park.

 

Arts, Culture, & History

This long weekend is the perfect time to dive into the rich arts, culture, and history that make Twentynine Palms the cultural oasis it is today. The Joshua Tree Music Festival kicks off the weekend beginning Thursday, October 7th with their first festival since October 2019. With the pandemic having shut down their festivals for two years, JTMF is ready to get the community back to the “Heart of the Matter” with artists from all over the world performing for one weekend only.

October 9th and 10th mark the first weekend for the Hwy 62 Open Studio Art Tours. Now in its 20th year, the Art Tours take place all over the Morongo Basin. This self-guided tour will take visitors on a journey to each of the artists’ studios to see where the magic happens. With 18 artists in Twentynine Palms opening their doors, tour-goers will get a glimpse into the worlds of renowned artists such as Perry Hoffman, Anna Stump, Elisabeth Pollnow, Anne Lear, and many more.

For all the history buffs out there, the Old Schoolhouse Museum is the place to be. With a mission to collect, preserve, and display information, artifacts, and memorabilia, the Twentynine Palms Historical Society has been educating visitors for almost 30 years. This weekend, join artist Barbara Gothard as she discusses her Art+Humanities project, “Contradictions – Bringing the Past Forward,” as the 2nd Friday Lecture Series continues on Friday, October 8th.

If you are curious about the nature of the area, the Desert Institute at Joshua Tree National Park will be hosting a special class this weekend as part of their Fall Field Class schedule. Learn all about the Insects and Arthropods of the Morongo Basin with Kurt Leuschner as he explores the lives of the largest group of animals in the world. Participants will learn to identify and distinguish insects from other arthropods and then practice their skills in the field. Field observations will include desert, dune, and riparian habitats, as well as a special night session with black lights at the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve.

 

Shop & Dine

Fuel up for the weekend ahead with some great eats at one of our local, family-owned restaurants! For breakfast, Campbell Hill Bakery is every pastry lover’s dream for the best croissants, coffee cake, and scones in town. Take your taste buds on an adventure at Cactus Trails Café and try their Cactus Omelette with their Prickly Pear Lemonade. For a big, hearty breakfast, head on over to John’s Place and order John’s Farm Breakfast Special loaded with eggs, ham, sausage, bacon, hash browns, and biscuits and gravy.

When you’re ready for lunch, head on over to FANS Sports Bar and Grill for some great all-American burgers, wings, hot dogs, and more. Mexican Street Tacos is home to the famous David Tran Plate and their always delicious street tacos. If you like spicy food, check out Thai Café and all of their delicious curries including their Roasted Duck and Siam Gulf curries.

Spend your evening dining at one of our great eating establishments. Have some good old-fashioned barbecue with Rib Co.‘s grilled jalapenos and Triple Threat ribs. Stop by Edchadas and get your hands on their Amigo Burrito and pair it with one of their famous margaritas. Twentynine Palms’ newest gastropub GRND SQRL has great new food for visitors and locals to enjoy like their Shanghai Wings, SQRL Burger, and, our personal favorite, the Jalla Sandwich. End your evening with the last cold beer on Highway 62 at the newest neighborhood bar on the corner of National Park Drive and the Highway, Out There Bar.

Spend the weekend shopping around town and shop small at our local retail stores! If you’re downtown, stop by White Label VinylHi-Desert DaydreamDonahlue Clothing Co.The Lobby by Desert Beacon, and more along the highway. When you’re out and about on Adobe Road, stop in and check out Copy Center Plus, and further down in the Historic Plaza you’ll find Perfectly Unique. These are only a handful of the many locally-owned stores you can find in Twentynine Palms, so be sure to stop in and say hi to us at the 29 Palms Visitor Center to find out what other gems we have hiding in our city.

 

Stargazing & Astronomy

This long weekend will make for the perfect opportunity to get out into nature in the late evening to enjoy a spectacular display of astronomical events. The Draconid meteor shower will peak on October 8th. Unlike most meteor showers, the Draconids are short-lived. You will want to look towards the constellation Draco the Dragon to watch the shower. Luckily, the thin waxing crescent moon will make for good visibility this year.

Get out the telescope because stargazers will have a great view of the Andromeda Galaxy and the Great Square of Pegasus throughout the fall season. Being the closest large spiral galaxy to our Milky Way, the Andromeda Galaxy is the most distant thing we can see with the unaided eye. This weekend, you will be able to view the galaxy in the eastern sky at nightfall before it makes its trek to the western sky by dawn. Part of the constellation Pegasus, the Great Square of Pegasus can also be seen ascending into the eastern sky in the early evenings this season. Made of four stars of nearly equal brightness, the Great Square is a landmark of the Northern Hemisphere’s autumn sky.

Plan your night under the stars with our guide to stargazing in Twentynine Palms.

We hope to see you in Twentynine Palms enjoying all our city has to offer! From exploring Joshua Tree National Park to gazing up at the desert night sky, there is something for everyone to enjoy this holiday weekend. Be sure to stop by the 29 Palms Visitor Center for any information you may need during your visit.

 

 

From must-see art exhibits and hands-on experiences, to signature events like the Joshua Tree National Park Art Exposition and Hwy 62 Open Studio Art Tours, 29 Palms is your destination for art this fall!

Joshua Tree National Art Exposition 29 Palms

Signature art events

The Joshua Tree National Park Art Expo is back for another year! Now in its 9th year, the Art Expo is presented at the historic Oasis of Mara in Twentynine Palms. The annual event presents an impressive juried exhibition of art inspired by the park from November 4th through November 28th. This year, more than 50 artists were selected from all over California and across the globe. They will all have their pieces on display for all to see during the month-long exhibition. Along with the Art Expo, visitors will have the chance to explore more of what the local arts and culture scene has to offer during the first weekend on Saturday, November 6th. From hands-on classes at the 29 Palms Art Gallery to Oasis of Mara walks with Ranger Ian Chadwick, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Celebrating its 20th year, the Hwy 62 Open Studio Art Tours has become one of the “can’t miss” events of the fall season. The annual multi-disciplinary desert-wide self-guided art tour spans across the 8 desert communities in the Morongo Basin area. With over 165 artists inviting visitors into their studios, this is the perfect opportunity to see how the magic happens. The concept of open studio art tours is to take eventgoers on a journey through the desert environment these artists call home. They have chosen a place like no other to create their own masterpieces. Taking place over three weekends in October, you will have the chance to explore the many studios open during the annual event. Don’t miss out on this incredible event only happening October 9th/10th, 16th/17th, and 23rd/24th.

 

Art in Public Places 29 Palms Visitor Center

Must-see art exhibits

Each month, the 29 Palms Art Gallery features regional artists as well as a group show from its guild members. From September 30th through October 24th, be sure to check out what this month’s featured artists are presenting in a variety of mediums. Artist Larry Hemmerich’s soft pastels in his show titled “This Way My Friend” capture the desert in exquisite detail showing why he was juried into the Pastel Society of the Southwest as well as the prestigious Pastel Society of America. Abstract expressionist Francesca “Cesca” Spoonhower of Yucca Valley will be showcasing “A Splash of Color” with her paintings. Sculptor Cher Townsend will present her show “What’s The Story?” with her whimsical clay sculptures. As always, the talented 29 Palms Artists’ Guild members will be showing a groups exhibition in the Pickering Room all month long.

One of Twentynine Palms’ newest galleries is having some fun this fall. Art-O-Motive Gallery is celebrating the season with FIVE weekends of Fall Art Days! Located at the corner of National Park Drive and Twentynine Palms Highway, this tire shop turned art gallery is a playground of metalwork and more from renowned local artists. They are inviting everyone to join them for their Fall Art Days this season as they welcome back the cooler weather and spotlight even more artists. From murals to sculptures and everything in between, Art-O-Motive is one of the many art destinations you will want to check out when you visit Twentynine Palms this season. They will be open October 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd, and November 13th for everyone to visit and explore their one-of-a-kind gallery.

The change in the season means it’s time for a change of scenery at the 29 Palms Visitor Center and Gallery. Presented by the Public Arts Advisory Committee (PAAC), Art in Public Places has a quarterly group exhibition featuring many of the area’s most talented artists. Beginning October 2nd, visitors will be able to view the new show titled “Clouds Rolling In” through January 7th, 2022. This show centers around the fall season in Joshua Tree National Park and the Mojave Desert region. Expressed through painting, photography, mixed media, and 3-dimensional artwork, this is one exhibition you will want to see when you visit Twentynine Palms.

 

Gretchen Grunt 29 Palms Creative Center and Gallery Pottery Wheel Class

Hands-on art experiences

Not only does Twentynine Palms have a great array of art events and new gallery openings happening this fall, but there are some wonderful classes and workshops with local artists happening as well! Gretchen Grunt, owner of the 29 Palms Creative Center and Gallery, is available for all your art class needs. Open by appointment only, the Creative Center is ready to welcome back kids and adults to let their creative geniuses flow. Gretchen has a long list of classes you can book for yourself, family, friends, everyone! From a Sip-N-Spin Pottery Party to a Kid’s Neon Painting Birthday Party, there is something for everyone to enjoy at the 29 Palms Creative Center and Gallery.

Having just celebrated their first anniversary, Perfectly Unique is gearing up for even more paint parties this season! With adult paint nights, kid paint nights, and crochet classes, Emily and her team will be keeping busy with all the fun they have in store. Not only do they have wonderful classes, but when you walk into their store you can see just how artistic they are with their gorgeous woodworking skills. They have everything you can imagine to brighten up your home or office space with their hand-crafted products.

Make Twentynine Palms your art destination this fall! There is so much to see and do when you visit our wonderful city. We cannot wait for you to discover why we love our artistic desert oasis we call home.

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