Palm Desert is a city of 53,000 people (2018) in the desert of California between Palm Springs and Indio. It lies in the Coachella Valley at the base of the San Jacinto Mountains. The city is home to many golf courses, attractions, luxury hotels and shops, and spas that make the region a famous getaway for much of Southern California.
- Palm Springs International Airport (PSP IATA) is in the heart of nearby Palm Springs. Scheduled daily flight connections from San Francisco, Seattle, Phoenix, Chicago (O'Hare), Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Houston, Atlanta, Salt Lake City, Minneapolis/Saint Paul, Denver, Portland (Oregon), Las Vegas, Calgary and Vancouver. Airlines serving Palm Springs (PSP) include Alaska, America West, American, American Eagle, Delta, and United.
- LA/Ontario International Airport (ONT IATA) is about 80 miles (130 km) to the west of Palm Desert and has many more flight connections. The airport lies off Interstate 10 in the Inland Empire.
- 1 Bermuda Dunes Airport (UDD IATA) (a few miles from Palm Desert). One of two nearby general aviation airports for private aircraft. Private jet charter services are provided at this airport by Desert Jet.
Interstate 10 is the main artery serving the Coachella Valley. From Los Angeles, take Interstate 10 east towards San Bernardino, Indio, and Phoenix. Palm Desert is about a two-hour drive if traffic is not heavy. Weekend getaway traffic can be very heavy. Exiting Monterey Avenue or Cook Street and heading south puts you in the heart of the city.
State Highway 74 descends the San Jacinto Mountains into the city from the south. Travelers from the San Diego should head north on I-15, south-east on State Hwy 79 (towards Indio) and then east on State Hwy 371 until it meets with Route 74. Chains may be required on this route in the winter.
Like many California cities, Palm Desert is a very car-oriented city. If you want to have a good time at all, you should rent a car at the airport. Otherwise you'd have to take the bus or walk.
The main highway serving the city is State Highway 111, which links many of the Coachella Valley cities, from Palm Springs to Indio and beyond to the Mexican Border at Calexico. However, this artery has many traffic lights and lots of traffic, so if you are going far, you should consider driving out and hopping on the 10 freeway.
The Rodeo Drive of the area is El Paseo. There are lots of art galleries, shops, and restaurants along the street, which links up with Highway 111 at its ends.
The City of Palm Desert operates the El Paseo Courtesy Carts. The shuttle runs along El Paseo and is free of charge. Although not a viable option for seeing the entire city, it allows visitors to park their cars and see the entire El Paseo stretch.
- 1 Living Desert Zoo & Gardens, 47-900 Portola Ave, ☏ . For close-up encounters with spectacular desert plants and animals. People of all ages will have fun. During the summer, due to extremely hot temperatures, the preserve closes at 1:30PM.
- 2 Palm Desert Civic Center, 73510 Fred Waring Dr, ☏ . Nice park with occasional musical performances, basketball courts, and a nice atmosphere.
- Stroll along El Paseo between Monterey and Portola avenues. This stretch has many fine boutiques, galleries, restaurants, and shops. The free Courtesy Carts make visiting this stretch very easy.
- 1 McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Dr, ☏ . Has great shows going on all the time.
- Balloon flights. There are several balloon ride companies in Palm Desert.
There are a lot of good places to shop in Palm Desert. You could probably find just about anything.
- The Gardens. A very nice shopping area on El Paseo. There are lots of good stores.
- Westfield Shoppingtown, 72840 Highway 111 Ste 166, ☏ . Nice mall right in the heart of Palm Desert.
- 1 The River. At Bob Hope Drive and Highway 111 in the neighboring city of Rancho Mirage. The center has great shopping with restaurants, shopping, movies, and more. There actually is a river there, too!
- 1 Armando's Dakota Bar & Grill, 73260 El Paseo, ☏ . Great Mexican food with good fajitas.
- 2 Tony Roma's, 73155 Highway 111, ☏ . Great place to go for an inexpensive rib dinner.
- 3 Mamma Gina's Restaurant, 73705 El Paseo, ☏ . A more expensive restaurant with great chop salad.
- 4 Picanha Churrascaria, 73399 El Paseo, ☏ . The Brazilian food is great and they bring the meat out to you and then you decide if you want it or not rather than ordering the meat first. Great salad bar for vegetarians too.
- Pacifica Seafood Restaurant, ☏ . Seafood at the Gardens on El Paseo
- Native Foods, 73-890 El Paseo, ☏ . Vegan restaurant, reasonable prices. The tempeh/vegetable/pesto pizza is very good.
- 1 Best Western Palm Desert Resort, 74695 Highway 111, ☏ , toll-free: , fax: .
- 2 Courtyard Palm Desert, 74895 Frank Sinatra Dr, ☏ , fax: . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Near plenty of golf course and tennis courts. Beautiful views! Complimentary WiFi in rooms and lobby. The Bistro offers breakfast, dinner, cocktails and Starbucks coffee.
- 3 Desert Springs, A JW Marriott Resort & Spa, Palm Desert, 74855 Country Club Dr, ☏ , toll-free: , fax: .
- 4 Embassy Suites Palm Desert Hotel & Resort, 74-700 Highway 111, ☏ . All hotel suites are two rooms, with a bedroom and separate seating area that includes a sleeper sofa. Hotel amenities include six lighted hard-court tennis courts, an outdoor pool, a fitness center, complimentary cooked-to-order breakfast, complimentary evening reception (21 and over only), and the Sonoma Grill restaurant.
- 5 Fairfield Inn Palm Desert, 72322 Highway 111, ☏ , fax: .
- 6 [dead link] Hampton Inn & Suites, 74900 Gerald Ford Dr (Exit Cook St from I-10, Head South, Right on Gerald Ford Dr), ☏ . Clean, comfortable, spacious accommodations at a reasonable price. All rooms and suites include complimentary hot breakfast, high speed internet access, use of pool, spa, fitness center, and business center.
- 7 Holiday Inn Express, 74675 Highway 111, ☏ .
- 8 Homewood Suites by Hilton, 36999 Cook St, ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. An all-suite hotel with fully-equipped kitchens. Complimentary hot breakfast daily, dinner with beverages M-Th, high-speed Internet, and grocery shopping service.
- 9 Marriott's Desert Springs Villas I, 1091 Pinehurst Ln, ☏ , fax: .
- 10 Marriott's Desert Springs Villas II, 1091 Pinehurst Ln, ☏ , fax: .
- Marriott's Shadow Ridge, 9003 Shadow Ridge Rd, ☏ , fax: .
- 11 Motel 6 Palm Desert - Palm Springs Area, 78100 Varner Rd, ☏ , fax: .
- 12 Residence Inn Palm Desert, 38305 Cook St, ☏ , fax: . Check-in: 4PM, check-out: noon. Extended Stay with full-size kitchens. Free WiFi and complimentary daily breakfast buffet.
- Shadow Mountain Resort and Club, 45-750 San Luis Rey, toll-free: . Shadow Mountain Resort & Club opened in the late 1940s and is within walking distance from El Paseo. The club offers a figure-8 swimming pool; a large whirlpool spa; men’s & ladies saunas and fitness studio; and sixteen tennis courts (including six lighted courts, and three clay), home to the highly acclaimed Desert Tennis Academy. Other amenities include game and bicycle rentals at the registration lobby and a variety of meeting spaces. Dining choices include the Top of the Courts Café and Corner Bar & Grill. Neighboring Shadow Mountain Resort & Club is the 18-hole Shadow Mountain Golf Club.
- Joshua Tree National Park. This desert park is definitely worth visiting if you have at least half a day to spare. You can get there in less than an hour by going north on State Route 62. Take a minimum of four hours to do the loop from the north through the south of the park. Camping is allowed as well as rock climbing.
- Idyllwild. Alpine scenery a short drive from Palm Desert via State Route 74 & 243, the Pines to Palms Highway.
- Cabazon Outlets, A large outdoor shopping plaza with many stores. If you're looking for something to buy, chances are that there is a store in Cabazon that will have it.
|Routes through Palm Desert|
|San Bernardino ← Cathedral City ←||W E||→ Indio → Blythe|
|Palm Springs ← Rancho Mirage ←||N S||→ Indian Wells → El Centro|