Palm Desert Visitors Center
Near the corner of Hwy 111 and El Paseo is a new visitors center. You can buy all the Palm Desert souvenirs you want here, but hospitality information can be very useful here. For instance, while there I overheard instructions for a desert hike that included a stop at an oasis. The center address is 72-567 Highway 111, Palm Desert. Hours are 9-5 daily except major holidays.
Palm Springs Tram Ride. Take...
Palm Springs Tram Ride. Take the gondola up to the top of the mountains that border Palm Springs for some unbelievable views. Plus, in the winter, they actually have skiing up there!! (For the movie buffs, this tram has been shown in numerous films including several Bond films.)
Indian Wells Tennis Tournament
Widely considered the most important tourney oustide of the grand slam events, this annual event attracts both the top men's and women's players. This year they opened the new tennis facility and it is quite impressive. The stadium court is enormous and the layout of the practice courts allows the spectators to interact with the players.
This whole boulevard is art and that is not all of it. You will find it all over Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage, Cathedral City, and Palms Springs. It is amazing and I had wished I had much more time to seek it all out. I wish more communities would indulge in this public display of artistry.
This sculpture is by Stephen Daly.
"Retirement Home for Celebrities and Presidents"
Palm Desert is the newer shiek country club community in the Coachella Valley. Originally, Palm Springs attracted attention, Bob Hope and his golf classic, Sonny Bono as mayor (and later congressman from the district), Frank Sinatra, Diana Shore, and other hollywood generated celebrities created the image of this desert region as a easy going winter retreat for the elite. Now overgrown, Palm Springs has become a seedy downtown filled with transients, while the celebrity focus has shifted southeast from I-10 to newer upscale Palm Desert and Rancho Mirage. It's here that Presidents Eisenhower and Ford spent the last days of their lives safely away from the public limelight. Just two hours east of Los Angeles, Palm Desert and other cities within the Coachella Valley provide a wonderful winter country club oriented retreat that's also close to the urban action of arguably America's greatest city for private celebrity filled parties. As a result of the concentration of the retired rich and famous in Palm Desert, the city's wealth in golf course can only be matched by it's wealth in art galleries, museums, restaurants, and an easy to walk downtown.
"Early Palm Desert--a Realestate Boomer Town"
The boom in growth, particularly for retirement condos, continues today, doubling the city's population at least every decade over the past 30 years. But the transition from remote a desert landscape had it's surge mostly after World War II under the influence of realestate tycoon Clifford Henderson, whose bronze statue sits on the main drag, El Paseo. This several block long downtown of upscale shopping, galleries, and restaurants resembles at least in concept the three block shopping district known as Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. Surrounding the El Paseo are a series of broad boulevards of fast moving traffic that lead to a large number of gated "country clubs" that each typically include a golf course, tennis courts, swimming pool, and a large number of homes and condos. Originally almost exclusively a racially white demographically, Palm Desert has in recent years attracted the upper class from any of a number of American and international elite regardless of racial or cultural background. In recent years, Palm Desert has even been a cradle of the stoner rock movement, with the group of musicians known collectively as the Palm Desert Scene.
The wildlife and botanical haven Living Desert Zoo and Gardens is one example of a such a heavily endowed city. The zoo contains a substantial number of endangered desert species from around the world, and the carefully irrigated botanical backdrop features a wide range of desert plant specimens. In addition, the mountains that surround Palm Desert and other cities of the Coachella Valley provide ample opportunity for hikers interested in the desert. Palm Desert has a renowned warm winter/hot summer climate. Its' average annual temperature is 88F (26C) but summer highs are above 100F (30C) and frequently exceed to 120F (40C). Because the valley has under 5 inches of annual precipitation and over 330 days of sunshine per year, it will continue to remain a wonderland for those who love the sun.