Everything You Need to Know to Prepare for Coachella 2024

Lineup info, where to stay, what to eat, and what to wear at Southern California's signature music festival.

There are plenty of reasons to visit Southern California’s desert cities in spring, whether you’re looking for mid-century architecture tours, tiki drinks, hiking, tennis, or to escape the inevitable late-season week of wintry mix on the East Coast. But if you’re headed to the Coachella Valley in the second half of April, you’re probably going for one big thing—to dance, party, eat, and dress up in outlandish and culturally insensitive clothing at Coachella music festival 2024.

Southern California’s biggest and best musical festival is once again set for late April in Indio, spread across two weekends absolutely jam packed with great bands, massive art installations, epic dinners, and influencer pool parties that look cool on TikTok but very sad in real life.

So whether you’re looking forward to headliners Lana Del Rey, Doja Cat, Tyler, The Creator, and No Doubt; second-line acts like Tinashe, Blxst, and Reneé Rapp; or lower-profile artists like Hermanos Gutiérrez, Sid Sriram, and jjuujjuu; we’ve got the guide for you to get the most out of your visit to the Empire Polo Club. For tips about where to stay, how to get there, what to eat, and more, check out this guide to everything you need to know for Coachella 2024.

lead singer crowdsurfing at coachella music festival

Where and when is Coachella this year?

Coachella is spread across two weekends once again, from Friday, April 12 through Sunday, April 14 and then again from Friday, April 19 through Sunday, April 21. It’s located on the sprawling lawns of the Empire Polo Club in Indio, which is about two and a half hours from LA and three hours from San Diego, depending on traffic—last year it took nearly four hours to get there from LA if you left midday on Friday.

How's the Coachella lineup?

It's pretty great, as always. The headliners are the aforementioned Lana Del Rey, Doja Cat, Tyler, The Creator, and No Doubt, but there are awesome artists all up and down the lineup and spread across all three days of each weekend.

Friday features hot current musicians like Peso Pluma, Lil Uzi Vert, and Faye Webster, and fun throwbacks like Justice and Deftones.

Saturday has a similar balance, with artists like Ice Spice and Grimes sharing the day with Blur, Sublime, the Aquabats, and Oneohtrix Point Never.

Sunday is an eclectic group of musicians that run the stylistic gamut, including J Balvin, Khruangbin, Lil Yachty, and Mdou Moctar.

stage and crowd on the lawn at coachella music festival
Flickr/Steven Miller

How to get tickets to Coachella

Tickets for weekend one are sold out, but there are plenty of passes for weekend two still available through the official website. You can still join the waitlist for weekend one, and tickets are also available on various secondary market websites. Just a heads up: there are no day passes for Coachella anymore, only passes for the full three-day weekend that come in the form of a wristband which you are obligated to leave on for the entire time.

While you’re getting your passes, it may also be worth purchasing an official shuttle or parking pass from the same site, depending on how you’re getting there. And speaking of which…

How to get to Coachella

How do you get to Coachella? Practice, practice, practice. It’s a silly old joke, but there’s a bit of truth to it if you read it another way—there’s nothing easy about getting to Coachella, on stage or as an attendee. Traffic around the venue is bad, shuttle passes are expensive, and rideshare apps aren’t much better: they’re way overcrowded, cell service is spotty, and the pickup and dropoff points are a full-on hike from the festival grounds, which feels especially bad after a full day dancing and partying in the dust and heat. You’re going to have to bite one bullet or another, and for our money the shuttles are probably the best and most reliable option.

There are also shuttles directly from LAX to Coachella, which is a cool option if you’re flying in and staying at the campground or one of the local resorts.

car camping and ferris wheel at coachella music festival near palm springs
Flickr/Artem Popov

Where to stay at Coachella

It can get insanely hot, and it’s a little inconvenient, and the way the abundance of golf courses clashes with the desert landscape is pretty weird, but there is one thing that makes the Coachella Valley perfect for a massive music festival like Coachella—there are so, so many places to stay. The whole valley is full of large resorts and timeshare-based condo communities, with tons of hotels and app-based home rentals available too. Everything is marked up in price for Coachella, but there is no shortage of options.

The alternative is to camp at the festival grounds, either in your car or in a tent by buying a camping pass. This is the more essential way to experience the festival, and if you want to come back from a wild festival weekend with dust in unexpected places and a slew of new stories it’s probably the way to go.

What to eat at Coachella

In recent years food has become a huge part of the Coachella experience, and the organizers always bring a great lineup of SoCal restaurants to the festival grounds. This year’s restaurant list isn’t out yet, but previous years have featured heavy hitters like Michelin-starred fine dining restaurant Camphor doing their take on burgers, Yangban frying up chicken wings, pizza from Ronan, and more. They also tend to bring in special restaurants from around the country, like Attaboy and PDT from New York.

The Coachella organizers usually build in a slew of food-based experiences too, like speakeasy-style hidden bars, omakase meals, and miniature tasting menus so you can take a little time off your feet and refresh while you eat. And if you can squeeze it into the budget, the Outstanding In The Field dinner series is always a highlight—a rustic-chic four-course family-style dinner extravaganza with wine pairings for some 200 people set at one extremely long table that winds its way through the Coachella Rose Garden. It’s quite the thing.

the giant ferris wheel and palm trees at coachella music festival
Flickr/Sam Litvin

What to wear to Coachella

Fashion runs so wild at Coachella and there are so many people going so hard that you will never really look out of place. The classic Coachella summer boho thing is still going strong, as are throwback NBA jerseys in a size that’s either a little too small or way too big. Some prognosticators suggest that Western wear is likely to be hot this year, but in more of an understated California vaquero way instead of glammed up rhinestones and fringe.

If you’re not looking at the festival grounds as your own personal catwalk, then we have two essential pieces of advice for you: check the weather, and wear comfortable shoes.

What else is there to do at Coachella?

Coachella is about a lot more than the music, camping, food, fashion, and general debauchery. Or, maybe it’s not about a lot more than all of that, but there are some other things to do. The iconic ferris wheel will be there, of course, and there are several interesting spaces designed to make the festival more fun, inclusive, and accessible. There will be a social gathering space specifically designed to empower the LGBTQIA+ community, a hub in the center of the festival that they’re calling Queer+. There’s a similar space committed to amplifying the voices of BIPOC people with disabilities called Accessible+ that will have special programming, access, and networking opportunities. There will also be a series of art spaces and activities including a poster design studio, recycling bin art gallery, an energy playground, and more.

Should you go to Coachella this year?

If you’ve made it this far but haven’t actually made up your mind, then yeah, it seems like you should just go. It’s a truly unique festival on an epic scale, and the highs and the lows (there will probably be some lows) are worth experiencing at least once.

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Ben Mesirow is Thrillist's LA Staff Writer, and an Echo Park native who writes TV, fiction, food, and sports. At one time or another, his writing has appeared in The LA Times, Litro, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Los Angeles Magazine, and scratched into dozens of desks at Walter Reed Middle School.