In the valley’s easternmost city, where 80 percent of the land remains undeveloped, the median age of residents is 24. Coachella’s population is 98 percent Hispanic, and it’s one of the fastest-growing cities in the state.
While the nearby Indian reservation casinos — Fantasy Springs, Spotlight 29 (1) , and Augustine(2) — are what bring most outsiders to Coachella, Mayor Eduardo Garcia says nowhere else in the valley will Mexican food lovers find such authentic dishes.
Three popular annual fiestas are also crowd-pleasing people magnets: May 5 is Cinco de Mayo (a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride), Sept. 16 marks Mexico’s independence from Spain, and Dec. 12 honors the patron saint of Mexico, the Virgin of Guadalupe. A weekly Saturday morning farmers market boasting plentiful Coachella crops such as grapes, citrus, corn, carrots, artichokes, and peppers begins in fall of 2011.
Tips & Fun Facts
■ Mayor Eduardo Garcia says the best Mexican restaurants in the city are La Cazuela (3) , Jalisco’s (4) , and Las Flores (5) .
■ Along with neighboring cities Indio, Thermal, and Mecca, Coachella produces 95 percent of the nation’s dates.
■ Director Frank Capra (It’s a Wonderful Life) is buried in the Coachella Valley Cemetery.
■ Ernie Ball Inc. manufactures guitar picks, strings, and other accessories in its facility in Coachella, shipping products internationally.
Spotlight 29 Casino
Whether you live in the Coachella Valley full- or part-time, or just come a-calling now and then, you know this place is more than simply location, location, location. It’s a feeling, a lifestyle, and most definitely a privilege. It’s also one of the “greenest” deserts around, not only because of the profusion of golf courses and verdant botanical gardens, but also for its collective commitment to sustainability evident in exemplary conservation measures, including recycling programs and xeriscaping implemented by cities, resorts, and residents.
What many consider “Palm Springs” is actually a collage of nine quite distinct cities that together fashion a one-of-a-kind resort destination. Included in this potpourri of paradise are Desert Hot Springs, Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage, La Quinta, Indio, Indian Wells, and Coachella — municipalities that make life under our beloved sun, blue sky, and majestic palms ever merrier.