Joshua Tree / Southern California / USA

Things to Do in Pioneertown

Walking down Mane Street in Pioneertown is like stepping into the Wild West. The hot sand crunches beneath your boots as the sun beats down in your eyes. The only things in sight beyond this tiny, wooden strip of a town are the lonely desert mountains in the distance. From the quaint Pioneertown Motel to the infamous local bar, Pappy and Harriet’s, Pioneertown has everything a cowboy or cowgirl could need. Here is a list of classic things to do in this Wild West town.

Get your BBQ fix at local favorite, Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneer Palace. Expect to find this place packed on summer weekends. With mesquite BBQ and killer cocktails served in mason jars, Pappy and Harriet’s makes you feel right at home. Be sure to catch some live music here as well. Serving as a venue to local and famous artists, this Pioneer Palace books rock, indie, and country all year round.

Pappy and Harriet’s BBQ Restaurant and bar in Joshua Tree
Pappy and Harriet’s Restaurant, bar, and venue

Shop at the Pioneertown General Store

Previously located in the iconic red Likker Barn, the Pioneertown General Store can now be found in the more centrally located Saddlery building. This place is a gem you can’t miss. Stop in this shop for Pioneertown souvenirs, western attire, and vintage clothing.

Stay at the Pioneertown Motel (one of the most immersive things to do in Pioneertown)

The charming Pioneertown Motel was built in 1946 to host movie stars and filmmakers on Wild West movie sets. This space currently combines modern southwestern decor combined with classic Wild West nostalgia. The property has 19 rooms and is home to the newly restored Red Dog Saloon, serving western cocktails and delicious tacos.

Joshua tree views

Pick up some local art at the Pottery shop

In the beautiful pottery building you will find MazAmar Art Pottery, a shop that sells handcrafted and functional pottery items including Joshua Tree mugs, pots, and tiles. They feature the work of local Pioneertown artists, and the pieces are absolutely stunning. If looking for things to do to do support local artists, don’t pass up this chance to take home a creation from the high desert. 

MazAmar Art Pottery building in Pioneertown, Joshua Tree, California
MazAmar Art Pottery building

Walk the Western Movie Set (one of the most historic things to do in Pioneertown)

One of the most fun and historic things to do in Pioneertown is to simply walk past the shops and admire the wild western feel of the place. Built in the 1940’s by actor Dick Curtis, Pioneertown was designed to be a live-in Wild West movie set. Hundreds of westerns have been filmed here, and it infamously hosted the Gene Autry show for 5 years. Many of the storefronts are Wild West facades that add to the photogenic charm of Pioneertown.

Bank and  hotel facade in pioneertown joshua tree
Wild West Storefronts on Mane Street

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