Introduction to El Centro, California
El Centro, California, in Imperial county, is 54 miles W of Yuma, Arizona (center to center) and 92 miles E of San Diego, California. It's the largest city in the Imperial Valley and is situated below sea level. El Centro is the region's commercial center and includes farms and food processing facilities. The region is a primary winter vegetables production area. The city has an arid climate and receives less than three inches of yearly rain. El Centro has sunshine for most days of the year and the summers feature some very hot weather.
The majority of the population is Hispanic. The old downtown includes structures featuring the Mexican-Spanish "arcade" architecture. It's a desert community flanked by thousands of acres of agricultural fields. The close by Navy base serves as a home to the Blue Angels air show team during the winter.
El Centro History
The initial settlers worked for the railroad and lived in tent cities. Beginning in 1910 permanent housing was built near the railroad tracks. The region became a prominent agricultural area after water was transported from the Colorado River by way of canals. The irrigation of the desert valley was a major factor for the growth of the community. The city experienced a powerful earthquake in 1940.
El Centro Attractions
- Imperial County Midwinter Fair.
- Brawley Cattle Call Rodeo.
- Southwest Performing Arts Theater.
- Mardi Gras Light Parade.
- Mostly Theatre Company.
- Imperial Valley Symphony.
El Centro Activities
The Herbert Dunes State Vehicle Recreation Area is popular for off-road recreation and it's used for camping and picnics. Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area offers a picturesque landscape and is one of the biggest dune systems in the nation. Some of the sand dunes are over 300 feet high. The Ocotillo Wells State Vehicle Recreation Area has a desert terrain for off-road action. The landscape has numerous dunes as well as a sand bowl and a camp area.
Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge is a vast acreage which includes a salt marsh and a portion of the Salton Sea. The refuge also features a pasture area and provides opportunities to view wildlife. The Salton Sea is regarded as one of the largest inland seas in the world. It's used for boating and water skiing. The area includes several golf courses.
El Centro Transportation
Air travel is offered at the Imperial County Airport.
El Centro Higher Education
Residents have opportunities for higher education at Imperial Valley College.