Palm Desert is a city 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.
LA/Ontario International Airport (ONT) is about 80 miles to the west of Palm Desert and has many more flight connections. The airport lies off Interstate 10 in the Inland Empire.
Palm Desert and the Coachella Valley from Hwy 74
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. Beware, 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. Be advised that chains may be required on this route in the winter.
Amtrak has a station in nearby Palm Springs.
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 exactly a viable option for seeing the entire city, it allows visitors to park their cars and see the entire El Paseo stretch.
Living Desert Zoo & Gardens, 47-900 Portola Ave., 760 346-5694, . For close-up encounters with spectacular desert plants and animals. People of all ages will have fun. Be advised that during the summer, due to extremely hot temperatures, the preserve closes at 1:30.
Palm Desert Civic Center, 73510 Fred Waring Drive, 760 346-0611. 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.
McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, 760 340-2787, . Has great shows going on all the time.
Balloon Flights, There are a number of different 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, 760 346-2121, . Nice mall right in the heart of Palm Desert.
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!.
Armando's Dakota Bar & Grill, 73260 El Paseo, 760 346-0744. Great Mexican food with good fajitas.
Tony Roma's, 73155 Highway 111, 760 568-9911. Boasts the best ribs in the country. Great place to go for an inexpensive dinner.
Mamma Gina's Restaurant, 73705 El Paseo, 760 568-9898, . A more expensive restaurant with great chop salad.
Picanha Churrascaria, 73399 El Paseo, 760 674-3434. 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, 760 674-8666, . Seafood. Located at The Gardens on El Paseo
Native Foods, 760 836-9396, 73-890 El Paseo, . Vegan restauraunt, reasonable prices. The tempeh/vegetable/pesto pizza is very good.
CJ's Diner (Breakfast & Lunch), 74894 Lennon Place, #H-1 (see map on website), ☎ 760-837-9650, . See our website for hours, location, menu, etc.
Beer Hunter Sports Pub & Grill, 78483 Highway 111, La Quinta, 760 564-7442. If there is a game on and you want a drink and some inexpensive food, this is the place to come. Complete with pool tables and shuffle board.
Best Western Palm Desert Resort, 74695 Highway 111, 760 340-4441, Toll-free: (800) 231-8675, Fax: (760) 773-9413, .
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.
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!