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 Plaza Theater, home of the Palm Springs Follies, is in this district, along with the historic Village Green buildings and the Hyatt Regency Hotel. This district also hosts dozens of restaurants, including Muriel`s Supper Club and the Kaiser Grille, as well as several gay nightclubs, among them Hunter`s, which enjoys a worldwide reputation.
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 Smoke Tree Ranch and Stables is located in this area, which is adjacent to the main portion of the Agua Caliente band of Cahuilla Indian Reservation, where the Indian Canyons, a popular hiking attraction, are located. The Canyon Country Club is also in this area.
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're o­n the Palm Springs Celebrity Tours, this area may be o­n your itinerary. Another stop for stargazing tours is the Las Palmas area, still the favorite haunt of many wealthy Palm Springs residents. Off-limits is the enclave of South Ridge, permanently patrolled and protected behind a locked gate. Comedian Bob Hope is the best-known occupant. Meanwhile, the Movie Colony area, also o­nce popular with the Hollywood set, is now undergoing a renaissance of remodeling.
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 Miracle Springs Hotel and Spa, the Desert Hot Springs Spa Hotel and the Two Bunch Palms Resort and Spa. This community is located o­n the far side of Interstate 10, just northeast of downtown Palm Springs.
Though the individual Chambers of Commerce don't 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've 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 IMAX Theater is located here as well.
Proceeding along Highway 111, Rancho Mirage blends into Cathedral City, offering abundant dining choices o­n "Restaurant Row." You'll find Stuart Anderson's Black Angus, Chart House, Kobe Japanese Steakhouse and many others in this area. In addition, the Mission Hills Country Club, Tamarisk Country Club and the Ritz Carlton are among the upscale offerings in this area.
Palm Desert & Indian Wells
Palm Desert features the deluxe shopping region of El Paseo, where fine stores offer art, clothing, crystal and more. In fact, this street is often called "The Rodeo Drive of the Desert," named after the famous Beverly Hills shopping district. In addition, The McCallum Theatre is located in the Palm Desert community, along with The Living Desert Wildlife and Botanical Park.
Just after Palm Desert, Indian Wells offers the Indian Wells Country Club, the Miramonte Resort and the Hyatt Grand Champions Resort. Exclusive residential communities abound as well.
Farther along 111, golf mecca La Quinta hosts several private courses, including the PGA West Arnold Palmer Private Golf Course, which is o­ne of the locations for the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic. There is the La Quinta Resort and the La Quinta Country Club as well. Exclusive housing areas cling to the edges of the golf courses.
Serving as a gateway into the more agricultural portion of the Coachella Valley, Indio is the location for the annual Date Festival held at the Riverside County Fairgrounds. Devane's, a restaurant owned and operated by actor William Devane, is located here, along with the Indio Fashion Mall, a popular mid-range shopping stop. In addition, The Landmark Golf Club hosts The Skins Game annually.
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.