Located just 100 miles southeast of Los Angeles, Palm Springs is a booming community boasting 83 square miles of desert land and a current population of 45,000 people. Most visitors arrive by driving from Los Angeles via the Interstate 10, which runs along the north side of Coachella Valley.
Drivers generally take either the Indian Canyon Drive/Palm Springs exit, which gives an up-close view of the giant windmills, or the earlier Tramway exit. Coming in via the Tramway exit, there is a startlingly abrupt transition from pasty desert to brilliant, emerald-green lawns. This transition marks your entrance into the Racquet Club area of Palm Springs, which has catered to Hollywood stars since the mid-1930s.
Throughout all regions of Palm Springs and its surrounding desert cities, visitors enjoy an array of restaurants, shopping and top-notch attractions.
Downtown Palm Springs
Downtown Palm Springs, also called 'The Loop' and 'The Village', is where nearly every visitor to Palm Springs will spend a considerable amount of time, enjoying shopping, dining, as well as strolling and people-watching. The
South Palm Springs
South Palm Springs is located along South Palm Canyon Drive and offers a mixture of moderately priced hotels, restaurants and residences. The
Palm Springs Residential Areas
One ritzy residential area is Little Tuscany, near the former Racquet Club, featuring many deluxe homes built in an Italian style. If you are on the
Desert Hot Springs
Like Palm Springs, Desert Hot Springs began with warm water bubbling up out of the earth. Several hotels take advantage of this great natural gift, including the
Though the individual Chambers of Commerce do not like to admit it, the other desert cities surrounding Palm Springs tend to blend into each other along Highway 111. Unless you keep a sharp eye on the decorative markers, it may be difficult to know when you have left Palm Springs for Cathedral City.
The community of Cathedral City has several golf courses and some shopping. Much of the everyday business of nearby Palm Springs is transacted here. There are several good hotels, including the Doral Palm Springs Resort and some less-expensive options. The new
Proceeding along Highway 111, Rancho Mirage blends into Cathedral City, offering abundant dining choices on "Restaurant Row." You will find Stuart Anderson's Black Angus, Chart House,
Palm Desert & Indian Wells
Palm Desert features the deluxe shopping region of
Just after Palm Desert, Indian Wells offers the
Farther along 111, golf Mecca La Quinta hosts several private courses, including the
Serving as a gateway into the more agricultural portion of the Coachella Valley, Indio is the location for the annual
Throughout Palm Springs and its surrounding cities, visitors enjoy quality dining, luxurious resorts and world-famous golf courses. It's no wonder why this community consistently draws countless tourists from around the globe.
Palm Springs began by appealing to the high-living Hollywood crowd, which made this town Los Angeles' desert retreat. For many years, the cuisine was predominately meat and potatoes or Italian, and while both of these cuisines still flourish, there is considerably more variety available today.
Many of Palm Springs' best restaurants are found on 'The Loop', formed by North Palm Canyon Drive and Indian Canyon Drive. Everything from decades-old landmark dining essentials to opened-last-week hot spots can be found within easy walking distance. Many places urge reservations, but it's also tempting to simply wander between them until one strikes your fancy, fits your budget and has a table available without an extensive wait. The Loop also offers many casual eateries, diners, ice cream shops and coffeehouses, perfect for quick snacks or a reviving espresso.
The Kaiser Grille offers finely prepared dishes, some with an Italian flair. As with almost all restaurants, outside dining is available and provides a great perch for people watching.
Mexican food is a favorite, with a number of places thriving for years. One of the most fun spots is Las Casuelas Terraza, offering excellent food and live music most of the day. The festivities begin in the morning with table-strolling mariachis and carry on until late at night in the bar, which features a heated dance floor. Another Palm Springs institution is Del Rio's Taqueria, offering outdoor dining in a beautiful courtyard atmosphere at the corner of Tahquitz Canyon and Indian Trails. The pavilion bar is a quirky black-light marvel, specializing in agave-based tequila margaritas, very easy to drink and very hard to survive unscathed. Each table also sports a wine-bottle size container of the restaurant's proprietary hot sauce, made mainly of scalding-hot Habanero peppers. Like the margaritas, the hot stuff is easy to taste, but much harder to survive as the heat develops on the tongue.
An excellent choice for casual American dining is Hamburger Hamlet at the corner of Palm Canyon and Tahquitz Canyon Way. Prices are low and the quality is outstanding. The house Lobster Bisque can hold its own against much more illustrious competition. According to the host, the Hamlet meets all requirements for a three-star restaurant rating, yet it's still a place you can take your kids. Another cheerful family dining choice is Ruby's, a 1950s-style diner featuring hamburgers, sandwiches, Mom-style main dishes, ice cream drinks and desserts.
Meanwhile, the five-star Le Vallauris offers 'French-California' cuisine in a French country patio atmosphere or a lush, chateau interior dining room, all just moments away from the Palm Canyon district. The prestigious Zagat Guide named Le Vallauris the "Best Restaurant" in Coachella Valley.
Off The Loop
Searching for the spirit of famed Palm Springs resident Frank Sinatra? His old haunts include Riccio's and Melvyn's at the Ingleside Inn. If you hope to catch a glimpse of additional Hollywood stars, Melvyn's has also been named the 'Best Place to See Celebrities', offering an extensive photo collection of famous diners.
Heading out of Palm Springs along Highway 111, Cathedral City offers The Wilde Goose, which features continental cuisine and wild game dishes including venison, quail and the occasional elk or wild boar.
Restaurants are cluster along this stretch of highway coined "Restaurant Row" by the Rancho Mirage Chamber of Commerce. Favorite spots along the row include Kobe Japanese Steak House, housed in a dramatic building re-creating a Japanese-style inn, and Stuart Anderson's Black Angus.
Whether you choose to dine in downtown Palm Springs or at one of the surrounding desert cities, you are likely to find a delightful atmosphere and delicious cuisine. Enjoy your dining adventures in Palm Springs, where vigorous competition helps assure excellent quality and value throughout the city.
While Palm Springs is still relatively young in history, this desert community offers a vast array of entertainment options. Most notably, Palm Springs is world-famous for its luxurious golf courses. Yet, this city also features cultural museums, dynamic theater presentations, upscale shopping districts and a happening nightlife. Whether your preference is to visit a reserved museum or hip nightclub, you will not be disappointed with the entertainment found in the desert haven of Palm Springs.
Music & Theater
Since Palm Springs is located just a few hours away from the action of Hollywood, this desert community is often privy to top-name attractions. In fact, numerous Hollywood stars hold a second residence or retire in the Palm Springs area. First-class musicians often perform at the McCallum Theater, a top-notch Palm Desert facility that hosts cultural and entertainment events. Meanwhile, music and dance are combined in an energetic annual show known as the Palm Springs Follies, held at the Plaza Theater. All Follies performers are at least 50 years old and many boast Hollywood fame.
Another popular music venue is Palm Desert's Summer of Fun Concert Series. Each summer, guests relax in a luscious green park while listening to live performances of jazz, big band and blues music.
Contemporary theater fanatics will enjoy Joey and Maria's Italian Wedding, a humorous dinner theater show. This annual presentation explores hysterical family dynamics as the headline characters plan their over-the-top nuptials.
If you prefer ultra-modern theater, namely movies, visit the new Desert IMAX Theater. Boasting a giant screen that spans six stories in height, this popular establishment shows cutting edge 3-D movies.
Palm Springs also abounds with countless museums, each offering a captivating piece of Coachella Valley history. Visit the sculpture gardens at Palm Springs Desert Museum. In addition, the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum features basketry and photographs of early settlers in Coachella Valley, while the Palm Springs Air Museum boasts an expansive collection of historic aircraft, often featuring air shows and other special events. If you have little ones, visit the Children's Discovery Museum, which offers fun, interactive exhibits of science and archaeology.
Another favorite pastime for many tourists is shopping and Palm Springs does not disappoint with an abundance of upscale shopping venues. The Gardens on El Paseo is an exquisite complex of shops, hosting everything from pottery to sportswear. Meanwhile, El Paseo Shopping Avenue has been dubbed 'the Rodeo Drive of the desert'. This shopping district offers an enticing combination of high-fashion clothing with delightful eateries.
In addition to theaters, museums and shopping, Palm Springs also hosts a vast selection of outdoor attractions. This city's warm climate invites tourists to engage in activities of the great outdoors. The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway takes visitors from lowland desert terrain to the top of Mount Jacinto. Some guests simply ride the cable car for the incredible view of Coachella Valley, while others use the tramway as a route to outdoor activities at the mountaintop, including hiking trails and mule rides.
Beyond the tramway, Coachella Valley offers scores of additional outdoor activities. The Living Desert highlights over 400 wildlife species in a desert environment of flora and fauna, while Oasis Waterpark offers a break from the desert heat, with water slides and inner tube activities.
Although the tramway and waterpark are favorite attractions, there is no argument about the most frequented outdoor establishments throughout Coachella Valley. Golf reigns supreme in Palm Springs and its surrounding desert cities. Visit the exclusive PGA West Arnold Palmer private golf course in La Quinta, a course that has hosted the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic. Indio also sports a top-notch course, The Landmark Golf Club, which hosts the world-famous annual Skins Game. In addition, do not forget the Tahquitz Creek Resort Course, designed by Ted Robinson.
Featuring theater, museums, golf, shopping and a happening nightlife, Palm Springs is a memorable town for any tourist. From tame, cultural experiences to upbeat, trendy spots, this town specializes in variety. So, bring your camera and your sunscreen, and get ready to enjoy the best sites of beautiful Palm Springs.
Luxury golf courses, hot springs and palm trees draw countless tourists and seasonal residents to the heavenly desert town of Palm Springs, located 100 miles southeast of Los Angeles. With 350 sunny days per year, according to Palm Springs' Chamber of Commerce, it's no surprise that both early and modern pioneers have flocked to this desert community.
Based on remains discovered in Morongo basin campsites, anthropologists estimate that native peoples resided in the Palm Springs area ten thousand years ago. These early Native American inhabitants made baskets and pottery, as well as employing a variety of plants for food and medicinal purposes. Using bows and arrows, the early tribes hunted deer, rabbits and other animals. The desert land offered survival for these early people for 1,000 years. A long period of inactivity on the land followed, but this desert haven would not stay unoccupied forever.
In the late 1700s, Spanish conquests throughout California allowed for the expansion of Spain's empire into the Colorado Desert lands. Yet, in spite of the vast growth of Spanish dominance, the Cahuilla Indians remained in Coachella Valley, embarking upon new trades of growing corn, squash and beans. However, by the mid-1800s, many Native Americans died from a small pox epidemic, leaving a dense population of Cahuilla Indians in this territory.
Meanwhile, the United States government took an interest in Coachella Valley and sent a survey party, led by William P. Blake in 1853. Creating the first wagon route through the San Gorgonio Pass, Blake's expedition paved the way for additional parties to travel through the Palm Springs area. In fact, Palm Springs was added to the Bradshaw Stage Coach Line in 1872, serving as the stop between Prescott, Arizona, and Los Angeles, California. Southern Pacific Railroad soon followed the stagecoach industry's lead, completing a railroad line through these desert lands in 1877. At this time, land sections around the railroad were divided, with Southern Pacific gaining ownership over some territories and the Native American tribes holding the remaining lands.
The fist permanent Anglo settler, Judge John Guthrie McCallum, bought land from Southern Pacific and built his home in the Palm Springs area in 1884. The McCallum Adobe still stands, now serving as the oldest remaining building in Palm Springs. Other settlers were not far behind and by the early 1900s, Palm Springs boasted a post office, hotel and several buildings. Numerous important institutions followed, including the first schoolhouse in 1914, and the first newspaper, named Desert Sun, in 1927. In 1928, the El Mirador Hotel opened as a gigantic facility, able to host 300 guests. Ruddy's General Store emerged in the 1930s, another building standing today as a museum. The town also developed its first golf course, as well as tennis courts and a racquet club. Meanwhile, the adjacent town of Cathedral City became home to numerous gambling establishments.
The growth of Palm Springs led settlers to consider incorporation, forming a 30-man committee to lead the effort. This endeavor reached success in 1938. Just one year later, the town census indicated a total population of 5,300 year-round settlers, with 8,000 seasonal visitors.
World War II brought significant changes to Palm Springs, as the notable General Patton traveled to the desert with his troops for training sessions. Patton administered training drills in the Palm Springs area to prepare his troops for the North African desert invasions. During this time, the El Mirador Hotel was transformed into a hospital, serving wounded soldiers. An airfield was constructed as well, which would become the Palm Springs Airport.
The once-modest city of Palm Springs skyrocketed after World War II. Several Hollywood stars began to build houses in the area, including Kirk Douglas and Frank Sinatra. The beloved Bob Hope was appointed Honorary Mayor. In addition, Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Ford all visited this flourishing town.
Palm Springs continued to prosper, booming from one golf course in 1945 to over 85 golf courses in the present time. Some of these courses are internationally famous, such as the Tahquitz Creek Resort Course (designed by Ted Robinson) and the Legend Course (managed by Arnold Palmer). In addition to golfing establishments, Palm Springs now boasts sophisticated city life, with upscale boutiques and extravagant restaurants.
From a little western town along the stagecoach line to a modern, cosmopolitan city, Palm Springs has achieved worldwide notoriety, with scores of travelers trekking long distances for seasonal visits to this desert sanctuary. Combining sunshine and style, the city of Palm Springs has emerged as one of California's top spots to visit. But don't take our word for it. Pack your golf clubs, tennis racquet and summer shorts, and get ready to bask in the Palm Springs sun.