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Coachella Travel Picks: Where to Stay, What to Do and More

road trip in the desert

image: Getty

It’s that time of year again: music festival season! And if you’re like us, you couldn’t be more excited to kick off Coachella in style. You’ve got your outfits all planned out and your ticket in hand, now you just need a heads up on all the logistics — like how to get there, where to eat and what to do when your favorite bands aren’t on stage. Good news, we’ve got you completely covered.

Transportation

Car: If you purchased a general admission pass (now sold out for both weekends), parking comes with it, which means you’ll be able to snag a spot. Be warned, though, getting in and out of the lot each day could take a ton of time. VIP parking, still available for purchase at $150, is definitely a quicker option, albeit more expensive. Don’t forget to fill up your gas tank if you’re planning on road tripping. Gas stations can be scarce on the drive down to the desert, so we recommend playing it safe by downloading a locator app, such as My 76, which will help you find the nearest 76® station to ensure you won’t wind up stranded.  

LAX Airport Shuttle: Heading to the festival from Los Angeles and not down to drive yourself? We don’t blame you! Instead of sitting in traffic, sit back, relax and enjoy the round-trip ride in an LAX shuttle with fellow festival-goers. Who knows? You may even meet some new friends along the way. For more information on costs and departure times, click here

Shuttle: When in doubt, buy a shuttle pass! For $60, you’ll catch a convenient ride from any one of the shuttle stops/hotels listed here (that’s right, any!) and not have to worry about drinking and driving all weekend.

Uber: Thank goodness for Uber, especially UberX! If you’re staying relatively close to the festival, it’s such an affordable and hassle-free way to get both to and from the grounds. You can even charge your phone in the Uber Lounge while you wait for your ride at the end of the night.

Plane: For those traveling from far away to attend the festival, we suggest booking a flight to LAX then taking advantage of the airport shuttle option. Otherwise, you’ll have to shell out a pretty penny to fly into the Palm Springs airport.

INDIO, CA - APRIL 11: The Empire Polo Field Prepares for the 2013 Coachella Music Festival at The Empire Polo Club on April 11, 2013 in Indio, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Coachella)

image: Getty

Lodging

Hotel: Believe it or not, there are still some hotels left to stay at in the surrounding Coachella area. For utmost convenience, peep the shuttle list above to see which hotels it services. That way, you won’t have to worry about transportation to the shuttle.

Hotel Travel Package: While Weekend One travel packages are already sold out, you can still snag an all-inclusive experience for Weekend Two. You’ll receive general admission or VIP passes, along with accommodations for three nights and shuttle transportation. For more details, click here

Airbnb/HomeAway/VRBO: Round up a group of friends and book a sick house in Palm Springs, Indio, La Quinta, Palm Desert or another neighboring city with a pool fit for a party! While this option definitely doesn’t come cheap, the more people you have in your group, the more affordable it will be. We suggest splitting groceries between everyone and whipping up family-style breakfasts and lunches to save some money, too.

Camping/Glamping: You may have already missed the boat on the whole car and tent camping thing, but for those looking to really splurge (we’re talking $7,000), you and a friend or you and your partner can have a once-in-a-lifetime glamping experience. Safari Tent On-Site lodging includes a fully furnished Shikar style tent complete with air conditioning (so necessary!), bathrooms/showers, free private parking and golf cart shuttles, breakfast and late night snacks, security, games and much more. Did we mention two passes to Coachella also come with? 

Food & Drinks

Specialty Restaurants: The days of roughing it at Coachella with fast food only are finally gone! Now you can eat like a queen in between sets with tons of mouthwatering options to choose from. For a full list of specialty restaurants, like The Church Key, 800 Degrees, Kazunori and so many more, click here

Outstanding in the Field: For a culinary experience that will certainly excite your senses, enjoy a four-course meal prepared by a celebrated chef in the Rose Garden at Coachella. Sip on a welcoming cocktail, beer and wine, plus choose from one of two seating times on Friday, Saturday or Sunday night. Information on pricing and details can be found here. BTW, if you don’t have a pass to Coachella yet, they can be purchased with this package

Restaurant Pop Ups: Download the Reserve app to your cell phone and book a $50 pre-fixe dinner in the main VIP area at one of four scrumptious pop-up restaurants: Pot, Gadarene Swine, Terrine and Scratch Bar. Can we say yum? 

The Quick Stuff: For those folks looking for a fast food fix, you can’t go wrong with a spicy pie, Chinese, corn dog and crab fries, tacos or even Thai BBQ.

Craft Cocktails and Beer: Although you’ll need a VIP pass to sip libations at Caña Rum Bar, Las Perlas, Cole’s and Tony’s Saloon, all festivalgoers will have access to the Beer Barn, where more than 150 hand-selected craft beers will be available to order.

Coachella

image: Getty

Entertainment

Music: This one is pretty obvious. After all, that’s why you’re going to Coachella in the first place, right (or maybe you’re just there for the fashion)? Either way, you can find the set list here. We recommend downloading the Coachella app too, where you can create your own personal schedule based on the bands you want to see.

The Ferris Wheel: Whether you decide to take a romantic break from the music with your man or hop aboard for some laughs with your best gal pal, the ferris wheel is basically a rite of passage at Coachella. Time it right and ride at sunset for breathtaking views and a little peace and quiet. Lines do get long so if you’re impatient, this one may not be for you.

Art Installations: Turns out, Coachella isn’t just for music lovers. Art enthusiasts definitely won’t have to look hard to see some of the amazing and larger-than-life art installations scattered around the festival. These always make for great photo backdrops BTW.

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