Introduction to Palm Desert, California

Palm Desert, California, in Riverside county, is 34 miles E of Hemet, California (center to center) and 60 miles E of Riverside, California. It's situated in the Coachella Valley. The population swells during the winter due to vast number of tourists who arrive to enjoy the warm weather, the scenic views and opportunities to play tennis, bicycle riding, golf, water sports, and hiking. The city features a hot desert summer climate. Numerous celebrities have homes in Palm Desert. The city includes a large number of retired people and residents from all over the world.

Palm Desert History

The region was originally called Old MacDonald Ranch. The area became known as Palm Village in the 1920s due to the vast number of date palm trees that were planted. The first residential area began in 1943 near an Army maintenance facility. In 1951 the city was renamed Palm Desert. It was utilized as a training center for troops and tank battalions for General George Patton. After World War II ended, Clifford Henderson developed several notable resorts. Substantial growth occurred in the 1980s and 1990s and the city became a primary shopping and commerce center for the Coachella Valley.

Palm Desert Attractions

    • Art of Food & Wine Palm Desert features renowned chefs.
    • El Paseo Drive is a popular, upscale shopping destination.
    • Living Desert Zoo and Gardens is focused on the world's deserts and includes a large collection of desert plants and animals. It includes re-creations of various desert landscapes. The zoo features mountain lions, badgers, cheetahs, Rhim Gazelles, giraffes and other animals.
    • Augua Caliente Cultural Museum focuses on the Augua Caliente Band of the Cahuilla Indians.
    • The Gardens on El Paseo is a well known shopping location and features a variety of restaurants.
    • Children's Discovery Museum of the Desert includes a variety of exhibits.
    • The "Palm Desert Scene" is comprised of musicians and their music is well known as Desert Rock.
    • McCallum Theatre is a beautiful venue and features a variety of entertainment.
    • Westfield Shopping Town is a notable enclosed shopping mall.

Palm Desert Activities

The Hopalong Cassidy Trail is popular for bicycle riding, hiking and horseback riding. Tennis is a popular activity. Tourists enjoy the nearby Joshua Tree National Park. Civic Center Park is utilized for a variety of sports activities. The Coachella Valley features more than 100 golf courses including the popular Desert Willow Golf Resort located in Palm Desert. Visitors enjoy the scenic balloon flights.

Palm Desert Higher Education

The city is home to the College of the Desert and campuses of the California State University at San Bernardino and the University of California Riverside.

Palm Desert Transportation

The city is served by Palm Springs International Airport.


Total Population 50,565
Male Share of the Population 47.3%
Female Share of the Population 52.7%
Senior Citizens 32.3%
Employed Population 16+ 20,200
Age of the Population 52


% of people married 50.1%
Average household size 2

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 35.5%
Median Earnings25+ $36,231
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $18,283
Median Earnings With High School Degree $33,893


Median Family Income $65,973
% Above Poverty Level 89.2%
% Below Poverty Level 10.8%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 20 minutes
% Working from Home 7.3%
% Walking and Biking to Work 2%
% Using Public Transportation 2.2%


People Living Alone 38.4%
Median Gross Rent $1,122
Median House Value $309,700


Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 38.2%
US/American 0.4%
English 10.7%
Irish 9.8%

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Palm Desert Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Medium City 34 miles E of Hemet, California (center to center)
Nearest Large City 60 miles E of Riverside, California
County Riverside
Standard Zip Codes 92210, 92211, 92260
P.O. Box Zip Codes 92255, 92261
Phone Area Codes 760
Time Zone Pacific (-8 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 33.722
Longitude -116.373

Palm Desert Climate

Nearest Weather Stations


  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Distance 9 miles
Jan Temp 42 to 72 F
Apr Temp 59 to 87 F
Jul Temp 78 to 107 F
Oct Temp 62 to 92 F
Annual Precip 3.1 inches
Distance 18.9 miles
Jan Temp 27 to 54 F
Apr Temp 32 to 62 F
Jul Temp 51 to 83 F
Oct Temp 39 to 70 F
Annual Precip 27.8 inches
Distance 34.4 miles
Jan Temp 38 to 66 F
Apr Temp 46 to 77 F
Jul Temp 62 to 98 F
Oct Temp 51 to 84 F
Annual Precip 12.5 inches

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income
Cathedral City 53,020 $44,483
Coachella 43,308 $39,120
Indian Wells 5,158 $123,109
Indio 84,094 $55,014
La Quinta 39,301 $81,380
Rancho Mirage 17,770 $98,021

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

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Palm Desert Colleges

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