The oldest and most famous of the Coachella Valley resort cities is the large and lovely Palm Springs, which is more than double the size of the next-largest municipality. Founded by and still home to Cahuilla Indians, this renowned desert oasis is thickly rich with history, art, culture, mid-century-modern architecture, boutique shopping, dining, and recreation, particularly golf.
For many decades, Palm Springs has attracted the rich and famous from around the globe as a place to see and be seen away from busy Los Angeles. Surprisingly, despite all the glamour and prestige, the City of Palm Springs boasts a cost of living that research firm AreaVibes, Inc., ranks at about 13% lower than the average cost of living in California.
If you’re into the outdoors and/or the arts, then you’ll love living in La Quinta, the Coachella Valley’s youngest city, which was incorporated in 1982 and named after a legendary hotel. Here, golf reigns supreme, with 25 courses, including those of the world-famous PGA West at the base of the prominently beautiful Santa Rosa Mountains. You can also bike and hike around those mountains and enjoy many of the community parks in this picturesque place.
And speaking of visual intrigue, La Quinta is also an art oasis. You’ll find studios and galleries in abundance, plus outdoor installations promoted by the city’s Art in Public Places program and art shows such as Art on Main Street in Old Town La Quinta, another of the city’s gems.
Known as the cultural, retail and business center of Coachella Valley, Palm Desert also has the distinction of being referred to as “the heart of the Valley” because it’s geographically centered. Among the city’s calling cards: the 1,200-acre Living Desert Zoo & Botanical Gardens, a new 8,400-square-foot art museum, a variety of biking and hiking trails, and lots of parks and art galleries. All this, plus the traditional desert-resort amenities of the Coachella Valley.
Rated as one of the safest cities in all of Southern California, Palm Desert offers residents local control in governance with its charter-city structure. Here, five residents serve staggered, four-year terms as elected, non-partisan council members who rotate in annual turns as mayor of the city.
Located between Cathedral City and Palm Desert and nicknamed the Playground of Presidents, Rancho Mirage offers visiting former presidents, celebrities and residents alike a special mix of fun and luxury.
Among the attractions of Rancho Mirage: 13 golf clubs, a fully outfitted community park, a children’s museum, an observatory, an amphitheater, waterfront shopping and entertainment, fine dining, a casino, first-class educational and health facilities, the historic Sunnylands estate (aka, “Camp David of the West”), and plenty of hotels and resorts with their own form of luxe-living offerings. Rancho Mirage has something to offer everyone, especially those looking for the more sophisticated of what life has to offer.
If you like festivals, you’ll likely enjoy living in the otherwise tranquil city of Indio, just 23 miles east of Palm Springs. This Coachella Valley community is the site of many festivals to celebrate food (particularly the date), Native American culture, stagecoaches of the Wild West, and, last but never least, music and art; it’s here that you’ll find the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, which brings some 250,000 people to the Empire Polo Club every year.
If you want a smaller-group excursion, take a trip to the many golf courses, or visit a museum, date farm, polo game, open-air market, or local casino. With 93,000 residents, Indio is currently the most populated and fastest-growing city in the Coachella Valley and is never short on things to do.
Tennis or golf, anyone? In the Indian Hills community of the Coachella Valley, you’ll find the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, site of the annual Indian Wells Masters, and the 36-hole Indian Wells Golf Resort, with two of its courses ranked by Golfweek Magazine among the Top 25 “Best Municipal Courses in the United States.”
With these venues center-stage, Indian Wells takes its sports seriously, just as it does its stated mission to offer residents a life of luxury and well-being. The desert-resort city prides itself on providing residents all the amenities needed for a superior quality of life, including other world-class venues for relaxation, shopping, and dining, plus outstanding artistic, cultural and social experiences.
Not an official Coachella Valley city, Bermuda Dunes is referred to as a census-designated place, which basically means it’s officially unofficial, but still a great place to live! The small CDP is nearly surrounded by several of the other Valley cities, as well as the mountains of San Jacinto to the west, Santa Rosa to the south, and Little San Bernardino to the east.
Given that geography, there’s plenty of desert beauty to take in along with the fun from the same amenities common throughout the Valley: golf, art, culture, etc. Also here is the Bermuda Dunes Airport, a single-runway, general-aviation airport that brings in some of the many “snowbirds” that come to Coachella Valley to escape their hometown winters.
Named by President George Washington’s nephew, Colonel Henry Washington, for a nearby cathedral-like rock formation, Cathedral City (or, as the locals say, Cat City) has the second-largest population in the Coachella Valley – and for a good reason. It’s been recognized by the United States Conference of Mayors among the “most livable cities” in the United States, primarily for its affordable housing, low crime rate, and family-friendly, year-round recreational venues, including 10 community parks.
Like other Coachella Valley cities, Cathedral City is also known for its arts culture, festivals, and luxurious clubs and resorts. The city boasts a hometown-like vibe with plenty of family-entertainment venues to keep you busy.
Active Adult Communities
Nestled among desert mountains and enjoying year-round sunshine and warmth, the Coachella Valley is a mecca for top-quality-of-life experiences: golf and other sports, culture, art, history, shopping, dining; you name it. And if you’re an older would-be Valley resident looking for a life that includes meeting other people to enjoy these slices of heaven with, look no further than the active-adult communities spread throughout the area; currently the count is at 21!
Developments like Del Webb Rancho Mirage and Indio’s Trilogy Polo and Sun City Shadow Hills offer amenities-rich, low-maintenance living so your time is best spent having fun and meeting new people who share your zeal for soaking up the best life has to offer.
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