Palm Desert, California

One of the 100

Great Towns of America


Discover Palm Desert, California

Palm Desert, California

Palm Desert is California’s preeminent desert showplace. Stylish low-profile buildings amid luxuriant landscapes fill a cove of the broad Coachella Valley at the base of the towering San Jacinto Mountains. Sheer granite cliffs and boulder-strewn ridges rise precipitously from the west edge of town. To the east, low sand dunes punctuate the flat desert floor. The dramatic location is coupled with one of the world=s hottest and driest climates.

In spite of the choice location and warm, sunny winter weather, major development didn’t begin here until the 1970s. Completion of a freeway through the valley, and the advent of effective central air conditioning, plus abundant groundwater quickly led to the town=s transformation from a dusty village to a renowned oasis.

Today, sand dunes have been largely replaced by emerald-green golf courses. With more than thirty, there are more here than in any desert town in America. Palm Desert was the first in America to legalize golf carts on designated streets. Near the heart of town is the region's most luxurious town park. Meanwhile, the area’s natural grandeur is preserved and displayed in the Living Desert, an expansive showcase for birds, animals, and plants indigenous to arid lands. The city hosts the desert’s largest and best collection of shops and restaurants along El Paseo, now tonier than Palm Springs. As the twenty-first century=s urbane alternative to its renowned rival, Palm Desert also houses many of the region’s finest newer lodgings, including the biggest resort in the California desert.

Today, a few timeless restaurants and hotels and a world-class live theater and museum share the palm-shaded business district with many fading facades hawking a memorable potpourri of trinkets and treasures, glitz and glamour.


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