Welcome to the Coachella Valley —
The eight desert resort cities have blossomed into a year-round haven for visitors and residents. With nearly 365 days of sunshine, an abundance of entertainment and activities, and the picturesque Santa Rosa and San Jacinto mountains, the Coachella Valley offers a sense of paradise to 3.5 million visitors every year.
Find out why celebrities such as Arnold Palmer, Michelle Wie, Pete Sampras, Brian Setzer, Clint Eastwood, and Bill Gates have made the valley their getaway and home for years. They cannot resist the peaceful, sun-soaked lifestyle and idyllic setting.
The desert offers ample and lavish fairways and greens, as well as horse riding, tennis, nightlife, fine art, and music. Whether looking for rest and relaxation (natural mineral waters and spa treatments deliver) or an invigorating outdoor adventure (off-roading and hiking fit the bill), you’ll find your own piece of paradise.
“Welcome to Palm Springs! Whether your idea of fun is relaxing by the pool, shopping, or playing golf — you can do it all here. As you write your ‘must visit’ list, include our aerial tramway and the beautiful Spa Resort Casino. Before you leave, make yourself a note that you ‘must visit’ Palm Springs again — soon.”
— Mayor Steve Pougnet
Platinum Helicopters Inc.
Photo courtesty Platinum Helicopters
Grab a Cocktail
Make it a refreshing happy hour with must-try margaritas and martinis. The Falls Prime Steakhouse - signature smoking martinis, among them a coco-mango tini and blue falls tini, are reason enough for a visit. The cocktails are $2 off during happy hour, 5-7 p.m. Sample the margaritas —including peach, raspberry, and mango at Las Casuelas Terraza, the popular restaurant turns into a tropical outdoor nightclub known as MexiCantina after dinner. How about a Hurricane? White and dark rum infused with orange, lime, and cherry juice, and a splash of 151 rum comprise the signature drink at The Tropicale, an ideal spot for dinner and drinks on the patio under the stars.
Shop and Stroll
Historic Palm Canyon Drive is the place to find eclectic boutiques, souvenir shops, galleries, pubs, and restaurants. Strolling from shop-to-shop, even the most finicky types find great buys. On the north end, snag a little something for the home or office from Fitzsu Society, known for its array of modern furnishings and gifts. Ladies take delight in the fun, fashionable threads and accessories at boutiques like Ooo La La and Purses for Princesses. You can even sample and purchase premium wines during daily tastings at Wild for the Vine wine bar and store.
Take in the Views
If touring new and exciting sites is your thing, you’re in luck. There’s no shortage of fun ways to get an intimate look at the city. Twice a day, six days a week, Celebrity Tours offers a guided driving tour and an in-depth history of the area, including insider facts and info on the latest events and notable locals and visitors. How about an aerial perspective? Take a 30-minute flight with Platinum Helicopters Inc. and get a look at the valley from 8,700 feet. That’s one view you won’t forget.
“Our community is home to world famous El Paseo, the award winning Desert Willow Golf Resort, and the acclaimed nature preserve The Living Desert. Our community spirit abounds through its support of a variety of recreational opportunities as well as such signature events as The Art of Food & Wine and Fashion Week, all located within the spectacular setting of the Santa Rosa Mountains.”
— Mayor Jean Benson
The Gardens on El Paseo.
Photo by Tom Brewster
Shopping at Its Finest
Shop the Rodeo Drive of the desert and find the finest fashion has to offer at The El Paseo Shopping District, with more than 300 boutiques, galleries, jewelers, and restaurants. Among the first-class shops are Saks Fifth Avenue, St. John Boutique, and Escada as well as privately owned boutiques. The open-air shopping venue known as The Gardens on El Paseo (between Larkspur Ln. and San Pablo Ave.) features inviting music and houses Tiffany & Co., Coach, and Tommy Bahama’s Emporium among its many stores.
Enjoy the good old outdoors at the many Palm Desert parks good for hiking, picnicking, sports, and sightseeing. With lighted tennis courts, sand volley-ball courts, two skate parks, two dog parks, baseball fields, and an amphitheater, there’s always something happening at the Civic Center Park. Freedom Park offers spots for most sports, plus playgrounds, trails, picnic shelters, a dog park and skate park. Or enjoy the views by cruising scenic Highway 74, also known as the Palms to Pines Highway , a 20-mile winding stretch to Garner Valley near the top of the Santa Rosa Mountains. Make sure to stop at one of the turnoffs and take in the picturesque valley.
With 150 restaurants, Palm Desert boasts many of the valley’s favorite eateries. For down-home grub — pan-fried chicken, coleslaw, and cornbread — visit Murph’s Gaslight. This second location was added due to the popularity of the Bermuda Dunes restaurant, a longtime favorite for its homemade recipes. Enjoy alfresco dining and the charm of Parisian ambiance at the French restaurant Café Des Beaux-Arts. Other patio dining choices include Pacifica Seafood Restaurant with fresh seafood arriving daily from San Diego, and Chicago Freddie’s for steaks and burgers in a casual, upbeat atmosphere. For a little entertainment while you dine, don’t miss the nightly piano bar at Castelli’s Italian Restaurant and jazz at Sullivan’s Steakhouse.
The many galleries and public art forums make this area an artistic hub of the valley. Marvel at the various art forms, including contemporary paintings, sculpture, and studio glass art at Imago Galleries, which highlights many California artists; early California and American impressionism at Edenhurst Gallery; and contemporary art from Germany, Austria, and France at The Hart Gallery. The first city in Riverside county to host a public art program, Palm Desert offers guided tours of the installations at 10 a.m. the second Saturday of each month September through June. For tour info, call 760-568-5240.
“Located in the geographic center of the Palm Springs valley, Rancho Mirage lies in a sheltered cove, spreading its green carpet across the desert floor from the Santa Rosa Mountains on the south toward the mighty snow-capped San Jacinto range on the west.”
—Mayor Ron Meepos
Children's Discovery Museum of the Desert
Photo courtesty Children's Discovery Museum of the Desert
From dining in first-class style to grabbing a bite with the kids, the heart of the valley serves up a variety of fun eateries. For rich ambiance and superior cuisine, step into the glamorous ’30s at Bing Crosby’s Restaurant and Piano Lounge, or try something a little more spicy at Bangkok Five. For casual dining, Ruby’s Diner offers great malts and fries, or try the California Chicken Burger at Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Spirits.
Take the kids to explore more than 50 hands-on exhibits at the Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert. Little ones don smocks, grab paint brushes, and put their mark on a Volkswagen Bug. They also become artisan chefs in the pizza parlor, creating pies from arts and crafts supplies.
Get in the Game
Sharpen your game at GolfTEC. With its personal coaching staff and state-of-the-art digital video and motion analysis, your swing will sing in no time. Then hit the links! Find beauty and challenge at Rancho Mirage Country Club, which features water at nine of its 18 holes, or experience the Gary Player Signature Course — which Golf Magazine named among the best courses in the Palm Springs area — at Westin Mission Hills North.
Rest Your Head
Kick up your feet at one of the valley’s finest resorts and spas. Rancho Mirage boasts The Ritz-Carlto, opening early 2009, situated atop a 650-foot bluff and offering panoramic views of the desert cities. Other places to luxuriate include Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa and Westin Mission Hills Resort and Spa . Both offer mountain views, top-notch rest-aurants, full-service spas, and golf.
“The ‘Gem of the Desert’ has never shined brighter. I invite you to experience La Quinta for yourself. A few things to expect: breathtaking surroundings, top retail outlets and restaurants, unsurpassed hospitality, an abundance of parks and recreational opportunities, a stunning library, and new museum. While you’re here, enjoy the Arnold Palmer Classic Course at SilverRock. It’s a magnificent, must-play course!”
— Mayor Don Adolph
La Quinta Arts Festival
Photo by Gregg Felsen
Engage the Arts
City officials and residents firmly believe that art must be available to all citizens. They deliver at Old Town La Quinta, a collection of shops, restaurants, and galleries. Every Thursday evening from April through December, visitors enjoy concerts on the lawn. One of the brightest lights in the cultural and artistic scene is the La Quinta Arts Foundation. It sponsors events from Art Under the Umbrellas and Art, Culture, Nightlife in Old Town La Quinta to the annual La Quinta Arts Festival, March 12-15, 2009, which is recognized as one of the premier art festivals in the nation.
Delight in New Dishes
Great ethnic and theme restaurants distinguish the dining experience. With the desert being the golf Mecca of the world, of course there are eateries up to par, especially Arnold Palmer’s Restaurant . For a pleasant surprise, try seafood in the desert. La Quinta boasts fine restaurants, including Crab Pot Restaurant and Bar and Fisherman’s Market & Grill.
Swing Into Paradise
The Robb Report named La Quinta “America’s ultimate golfing destination.” One of the jewels is SilverRock Resort, which contains the first public-access course in the desert designed by Arnold Palmer, a part-time resident. Another prize resort is PGA West, a recreational development consisting of more than 2,200 acres featuring world-class golf, tennis, and fitness. The resort boasts six golf courses (three public), including the Greg Norman Course.
“It is my pleasure to welcome you to Indian Wells, one of the finest resort destinations in the United States and the proud home of the Pacific Life Open and LG Skins Game world-class tennis and golf events. Breathtaking mountain vistas, abundant sunshine, and brilliant starry nights grace our idyllic city, which offers year-round opportunities for recreation and rejuvenation.”
— Mayor Mary T. Roche
Indian Wells Tennis Gardens
Photo courtesy Indian Wells Tennis Gardens
Stay in Style
Indian Wells is home to four world-class resorts within a scenic and secluded mountain cove. They include: Hyatt Grand Champions Resort, Villas and Spa, Indian Wells Resort Hotel, Renaissance Esmeralda Resort and Spa, and Miramonte Resort & Spa. Together they offer 1,416 private villas, 40 outdoor meeting venues, 36 holes of championship golf, 29 tennis courts, 11 swimming pools, three spas, and proximity to desert attractions.
The city attracts tennis players from around the globe with its world-class Indian Wells Tennis Garden , home of the prestigious Pacific Life Open. The Garden features a state-of-the-art stadium, including a 16,100-seat arena with 44 luxurious stadium suites. The venue also boasts 13 sunken courts, six practice courts, and two clay courts spread across 88 acres in this Southern California desert oasis. Not only for tennis, the venue has hosted concerts. Past performers include Tom Petty and The Eagles. Melissa Etheridge will perform April 4, 2009, at the first Sugarbush Music Festival and Women’s Cultural Fair.
Look and Feel Great
Spoil yourself at one of three popular fullservice spa resorts. Agua Serena Spa at Hyatt Grand Champions Resort, Villas and Spa offers 18 private massage, facial, and specialty treatment rooms; steam; sauna; plunge pools; Swiss showers; and outdoor gardens. At Spa Esmeralda, choose from massage treatments, including Swedish, therapeutic, aromatherapy, and reflexology. Body and skincare services include exfoliations, scrubs, and wraps. In addition to traditional spa services, The Well Spa at Miramonte Resort & Spa offers a range of specialty treatments — such as the signature Pittura Festa with colorful and therapeutic muds, healthy lifestyle activities, wellness seminars, cooking classes, and fitness events. Take your pick, relax, and renew!
“As the largest and most mature city in the Coachella Valley, Indio is a city in motion. An unprecedented increase in new homes has caused a surge in commercial development attracting national retailers such as Target, Home Depot, Lowe’s, and many others. The city continues to be one of the most diverse communities in the valley, offering world-class entertainment and internationally recognized festivals attracting millions of visitors to the city each year.”
— Mayor Lupe Ramos Watson
Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival
Photo courtesy Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival
Join the Festivities
There’s no place quite like it. With events featuring everything from show dogs to tamales to music and art — Indio has become known as a city of festivals. In the beginning of January, the Palm Springs Kennel Club Dog Show presents the country’s second largest dog conformation show at Empire Polo Club, followed by the 23rd annual Southwest Arts Festival, Jan. 23-25, also at Empire Polo Club. Great food, carnivals, and entertainment can be found Feb. 13-22, 2009, at the Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival and the first weekend in December at the Indio International Tamale Festival, ranked as one of the top 10 All-American Food Festivals in the nation by the Food Network.
How ’bout a Date
With 95 percent of the country’s dates grown in the Coachella Valley there’s no better place to sample the varieties and sip on a date shake. Since 1924, the popular tourist spot, Shield’s Date Garden has been dedicated to everything dates, right down to the very personal Sex Life of the Date. The 15- minute film educates visitors on the oblong, fleshy fruit. Shield’s is a great place to find unique candies, baked goods, desert souvenirs, and of course — dates!
Step Back in Time
While you’re here, check out the vibrant public art displays. In 1996 the Indio Chamber of Commerce developed a Historic Mural Project. Now seven massive art displays exist in Old Town Indio revitalizing and beautifying the tradition, spirit, and history of the city. Work has begun on an eighth mural, to be on the corner of Johnson’s Old Town Photo on Miles Avenue and Towne Street.
Grab a Bite
Choose from Italian and Mexican to burgers and prime rib. Often overlooked, unless it comes under recommendation, Cactus Jacks is a favorite spot in the valley for prime rib and also has daily seafood specials. At Macario’s Restaurant you’ll find great food, service, and margaritas. And where else would you go for Burgers and Beer than the appropriately named eatery? It’s hard to miss with its castle facade.
"Known for family entertainment — including hiking the beautiful mountain canyons, catching a film at the amazing Desert IMAX and Mary Pickford Theatres, reconnecting with your playful side at Big League Dreams Sports Park and Boomers!, and visiting the award-winning Fountain of Life in Town Square — Cathedral City is home to many great places to dine, shop, and play. That’s what makes Cathedral City 'The Spirit of the Desert.'"
— Mayor Kathy DeRosa
Big League Dreams Sports Park
Photo by Tom Brewster
Be a Kid Again
Miniature golf, baseball, and movies — revel in some good old-fashioned fun. Take in a movie on the valley’s only true BIG screen, half the size of a football field, at Desert IMAX Theatre or step up to the plate at one of the mountainside fields at Big League Dreams Sports Parks. The ball fields are small-scale replicas of famous major league stadiums, including Boston’s Fenway Park, New York’s Yankee Stadium, and Chicago’s Wrigley Field. Play sand volleyball, take a swing at the batting cages, or have a bite to eat at the restaurant and bar. And you can always count on a day of family fun at Boomers! with miniature golf, go-karts, arcade games, and a rock wall. The Splash Island Bumper Boats are a sure way to keep cool.
Stroll the Square
The center of the city, Town Square (68700 Ave. Lalo Guerrero), hosts various concerts and events throughout the year, including the popular Oktoberfest. Here is where you’ll find the Fountain of Life made from carved pieces of adoquin stone and featuring sculptures of bighorn sheep, lizards, wildflowers, and other native desert wildlife. Adjacent to Town Square, Pickfair Promenade houses a collection of shops, including the ice cream boutique Coldstone Creamery and Vino 100 where you can find 100 great wines for under $25.
Time to Feast
Choose from a variety of great restaurants in this desert city with a small-town feel. If it’s barbecue ribs you’re craving, try Bone-Yard BBQ or Big Mama’s Soul Food also popular for its catfish and Southern sides. For more meaty offerings, Picanha Churrascaria dishes up traditional Brazilian food, served tableside by gauchos with swords of skewered pork ribs, steak, lamb, bacon-wrapped chicken, and filet mignon. Looking for entertainment too? Take in an intimate jazz show at Buddy Greco’s Dinner Club while you enjoy contintental cuisine.
Desert Hot Springs
“Positive energy abounds in Desert Hot Springs. We are a beautiful and special city of hot water spas and resorts nestled in the foothills of Joshua Tree National Park. Built over one of the world’s finest natural hot mineral water aquifers, Desert Hot Springs boasts pure and delicious, award-winning municipal drinking water, clean air, and magnificent views of the San Jacinto and San Gorgonio mountains.”
— Mayor Yvonne Parks
Cabot's Pueblo Museum
Photo courtesy Cabot's Pueblo Museum
Built by hand over many years by Cabot Yerxa, the state historical landmark Cabot’s Pueblo Museum is now a 35-room rustic “castle.” Using the architecture of the Hopi Indians to create this pueblo, Cabot first came to the desert in 1913. The multilevel house features 150 windows and 65 doors. Also on the property is a 43-foot monument carved from a 750- year-old Sequoia redwood as a tribute to Cabot’s Lakota friends. The museum contains photos from Cabot’s travels, as well as Alaskan and Native American artifacts. Open weekends for guided tours.
Enjoy one of the only places on earth with natural hot mineral water. The area’s aquifer supplies more than 40 hotels with silkysmooth water that tourists and locals have been enjoying for years. The pure water temperatures range from 120 to 180 degrees. Even the local drinking water, fed by snowfall of distant mountains and filtered through hundreds of feet of sand, is among the best, receiving top honors in international water tasting competitions.
Relax and Renew
A spa destination city, Desert Hot Springs boasts dozens of celebrated and widely recognized healing resorts. Among them, find all of the most popular, relaxing treatments — from salt scrubs to spice massages, Ayurveda to aromatherapy, polishes to poolside pedicures, saunas to facials, and waxing to wraps. Choose the style that suits your fancy, from midcentury modern, bed and breakfast, Moroccan, restored hacienda, classic, casual, and clothing optional. Among the popular retreats is Two Bunch Palms Resort & Spa, which features the Grotto, a hot water pool fed from a natural artesian well. We Care Spa, a holistic healthcare center, attracts celebrities and people from around the globe looking to jumpstart a healthy transformation. The center’s successful fasting and cleansing program (strict liquid-diet and colonic cleansing regimen) has allowed it to exist purely by word-of-mouth and repeat customer visits.