Named one of the 100 Best Small Art Towns in America by the popular book of the same name (by John Villani), Idyllwild proudly boasts more than 15 art galleries featuring works by local artists. Called the Art Alliance of Idyllwild, the group also holds art events throughout the year. Ask the innkeepers for a seasonal Visitors Guide or an Art Alliance brochure, which includes a map and a description of each gallery.
This world-renowned performing arts boarding school for high school students frequently offers theatrical productions, concerts, art exhibits, and creative educational programs by its faculty, students and guest artists. The Academy (951-659-2171) also presents summer art camps for children and adults.
Founded to promote public awareness of local history and preserve the stories of the native Americans, loggers, pioneers, and miners, the Idyllwild Area Historical Society and Museum (951-659-2717) features museum photos, furniture, and other memorabilia of the mountain communities encompassing Idyllwild, Garner Valley, Pine Cove, Pinewood, Stone Creek, and Mountain Center.
Located an hours drive away is the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens (760-346-5694) in Palm Desert. A unique place with fascinating exhibits, you'll see and learn about remarkable plants, animals, places and natural phenomena associated with deserts. Several animals and plants at The Living Desert are threatened or in danger of extinction. Many of them are reproducing under carefully managed programs.
Create your own functional art at Earth 'n Fire (951-659-4481). Design and paint your own pottery, dinnerware, and kitchen tiles in this beautiful, rustic studio. Trace a stencil, press a rubber stamp, or pat a sponge and take home art of your own.
Idyllwild is home to a marvelous jazz festival held annually in late summer. Artists such as Pianist David Benoit and guitarist Lee Ritenour often headline the festival. Held at three venues on the Idyllwild Arts campus: the main stage in the outdoor Holmes Amphitheatre, the Stephens Recital Hall, and the French Quarter Bistro — which serves drinks and welcomes dancers — the festival is widely considered one of the nation's finest jazz events. Local restaurants also feature year-round live music by talented local artists.