Just two hours from Los Angeles, there is little desert town near Joshua Tree that looks frozen in the old western days of dust and tumbleweeds. Pioneertown, a western movie set, was founded in 1946 by a group of Hollywood investors, including actors Roy Rogers and Gene Autry. Actors would stay in the quaint western town while they were working on the set. They have recently turned some of the old western buildings into shops that sell handmade pottery, leather goods, jewelry, and more. There is a jail cell, a hotel, a bank, old wagon wheels and bails of hay. It's an great uniquely well kept rustic town that's also a place to shop and take photos.
Tip: On Saturdays they have fast draw reenactments
Pioneertown is also home to Pappy & Harriets, which has great live music and draws in loads of talent to perform out in the middle of the desert. In 2016 during the festival Desert Trip, Sir Paul McCartney showed up unannounced at Pappy's to play for an audience of 300 very lucky people. I've seen many shows at Pappy's, and loved them all. The biggest names I've seen there are Bob Moses and Miike Snow during Coachella 2015. They created a stage on the back patio under the desert stars and it was magic.
If you walk down "Mane Street" towards the end you'll find some junk art. An odd smattering of toys, glass, junked cars and plants all arranged in odd fashions. My favorite display is some a quirky typewriter art installation with vintage colorful school desks.
Whether it's barbecue, music, or the Wild West I love taking friends and family to visit this quirky little town.
Location: Pioneertown, CA