From Los Angeles, take Interstate 10 East towards Phoenix. Palm Desert is about a two hour drive if there is not much traffic. Beware, weekend getaway traffic can be very heavy.
Amtrak has stations in nearby Palm Springs and Indio.
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. It's a lot easier getting around in Palm Desert and of all Coachella Valley if you have a car.
The main drag through this area is Highway 111. It runs east/west along the mountain side and connects all the cities in the Coachella Valley. This road has lights and lots of traffic, so if you are going far, you should drive out and hop on the 10. The Rodeo Drive of the area is El Paseo. There are lots of art galleries, shops, and restaurants along El Paseo.
Living Desert Zoo & Gardens, 47-900 Portola Ave. Tel: (760) 346-5694. For close-up encounters with spectacular desert plants and animals. People of all ages will have fun.
Palm Desert Civic Center, 73510 Fred Waring Drive. Tel: (760) 346-0611. Nice park with occasional musical performances, basketball courts, and a nice atmosphere.
McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive. Tel: (760) 340-2787. Has great shows going on all the time.
Balloon Flights, There are a lot of different ballon ride companies in Palm Desert. For a list 
Get Stoned: Palm Desert is center of the infamous stoner rock scene, so you better get high as a kite or you're a fucking douchebag.
There are a lot of good places to shop with good stores. You could probably find just about anything.
The Gardens A very nice shopping area on El Paseo. There are lots of good stores.
Picanha Churrascaria, 73399 El Paseo. Tel: (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.
Beer Hunter Sports Pub & Grill, 78483 Highway 111, La Quinta. Tel: (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 a great day trip to take while at Palm Springs. You can get there in less than an hour by going north on route 63. 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.
Cabazon Outlets, A large outdoor shopping plaza with many stores. If your 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!