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4 Fun Things To Do in Pioneertown

California, renowned for its iconic destinations and natural beauty, offers a wide range of experiences for travelers. If you’re making a trip to the famous Joshua Tree National Park in California, you will find plenty of activities and attractions to keep you busy. However, if you’re a history buff, might we suggest taking a short trip north of CA 62 and exploring a true hidden gem? Yes, we’re talking about Pioneertown, California – a town where you can experience the Wild West.


Pioneertown is an Old West town in California that comprises a small, close-knit community. Founded in 1946 by Hollywood big-wigs, Pioneertown was fashioned to mimic the 1880s Wild West. The purpose of developing this live-in movie set was to use it for filming, and that is what transpired. Hundreds of movies and television shows have been filmed in Pioneertown. More recently, the town has also been used to film music videos such as the ‘Old Town Road’ cover video by Kidz Bop Kids.

Gradually, an entire community spanning hundreds of people has taken Pioneertown as its home. Actual businesses sprung up around the town, and people started to move in and live the actual 1880s life. Over time, the lifestyle has changed, and people have adapted to modern technologies and facilities, but the true patrons of Pioneertown still try to maintain the authenticity of the town. 

Pioneertown for Tourists

In recent years, Pioneertown has become a popular tourist attraction. While the town is a fully functioning community, it also offers visitors the chance to view the glorious history of the wild west in its best-preserved form. The residents put on a show for tourists and allow them to get the full experience and essence of the community. From its wild west roots to its Hollywood history, there are so many fun things you can experience in Pioneertown. Let’s take a look at the top picks for tourists.

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace

Pappy and Harriet’s is perhaps the most famous landmark in all of Pioneertown. Originally a club, Pappy and Harriet’s was built within the town’s sole gas station as a place for people to relax and entertain themselves. Today, it stands as a restaurant and bar that boasts the title of being the most happening place in town. The food at Pappy and Harriet’s is incomparable. With mouthwatering burgers and delectable barbeque items, it easily makes the list of the top ten meals you’ll have in your life. In addition, the palace also has a wide range of liquor, including fun cocktails. 

The bar has live music every weekend, so if you want to plan a visit, try to set it for a Saturday or Sunday. However, keep in mind that Pappy and Harriet’s is extremely popular among tourists, and people drive down from Joshua Tree only to have a meal there. That means you may need to make a reservation in advance to experience the place. 

Mane Street Stampede

We’ve already given you some incentive to plan your trip around the weekend. However, if the promise of live music isn’t enough, how about the chance to see a wild west reenactment? On the 2nd and 4th Saturday of every month, Mane Street is taken over by a group of actors who act out an entire scene from a wild west movie. There are brave cowboys, nefarious outlaws, and damsels in distress. At the climax, there is even a shootout or two, making the entire experience a true adventure! 

Since Pioneertown was built as a movie set, the Mane Street Stampede works on keeping that tradition alive and performs these monthly shows. If you find yourself in Pioneertown during one of these shows, just join the stampede and act the part. The actors will help you seamlessly blend in and help you live out your Hollywood dreams of starring in a wild west classic. The performers work free of charge, and any donations made go to charity.

Pioneertown General Store

Although shopping may not have been on your itinerary for Pioneertown, a trip to the Pioneertown General Store is a must. A quaint little historic building carrying the signboard ‘Saddlery’ houses the Pioneertown General Store. The store offers a variety of items on sale, such as books, textiles, souvenirs, clothes, boots, and knives. There is also a collection of locally made apothecary products, including tinctures and balms. 

Since Pioneertown has less tourist traffic, the prices at the Pioneertown General Store are quite a steal when compared with the shops of Joshua Tree. You can get the same products for a fraction of the price. Plus, you get to take a small part of Hollywood history back home with you. The best thing you can take back from Pioneertown is one of the gorgeous pocket knives found at the Pioneertown General Store. Not only will you be able to make good use of it, but given the history of the town, a knife seems like the perfect souvenir. 

Meet the Goats

Pioneertown is rich in nature and wildlife. If you’re in town during the summer, visit the Yogi Goat Farm on Mane Street and meet the goats. You can pet them and snuggle them as much as you like. 

The Pioneertown goats are extremely friendly and playful. Unfortunately, they are only present during the summer months, so if your trip falls in the winter, you probably won’t get the chance to meet them. 

Final Words

Pioneertown is a wonderful place to visit. With real film sets still standing, it gives you the inside picture of how old Hollywood worked. The experience will be even better if you are a wild west buff and enjoy watching classic movies. Just think how much fun it will be to match the places with the movies you’ve seen them in. In any case, we recommend at least taking the time to make a day trip down to Pioneertown. We promise you’ll cherish the experience!