Palm Desert , CA

Palm Desert is approximately 11 miles (18 km) east of Palm Springs. The population was 41,155 at the 2000 census. The city was one of the state’s fastest growing in the 1980s and 1990s.  Its population went from 11,801 residents in 1980, doubling to 23,650 in 1990, 35,000 in 1995.  As of the United States Census Bureau estimate 2006 the city population was 47,047.

A major center of growth in the Palm Springs area, Palm Desert is a popular retreat for “snowbirds” from colder climates (the Eastern and Northern US, and Canada).  The winter-time populations swells its by an estimated 31,000. In the past couple of years Palm Desert has seen more residents become “full-timers”, mainly from the coasts and urban centers of California, who have come for affordable but high-valued home prices. In a 2001 Forbes Magazine report Palm Desert is listed as one of the state’s 50 and nation’s 100 wealthiest communities.

Palm Desert is a thriving, year-round community with the natural beauty and recreational amenities of a resort destination. Big-city resources in a friendly, small-town setting. First-class educational and health care facilities, a flourishing real estate market, abundant job opportunities, safe and clean streets, and plentiful shopping. Browse the following links to learn more about Palm Desert.


The area was first known as the Old MacDonald Ranch, but the name changed to Palm Village in the 1920s when date palms were planted. It is said that the local residents of pre-1950 Palm Desert were Cahuilla Indian farmers of the now extinct San Cayetano tribe, but a few members of the Montoya family of Cahuilla/Spanish descent were prominent leaders in civic life.

Palm Desert once served as a training ground for General George Patton‘s Third Army troops and tank battalions. After World War II, a Los Angeles developer, Cliff Henderson, began to develop the desert into his dream community.

The first residential development occurred in 1943 in connection with an Army maintenance camp in the area. That site was later developed into “El Paseo“, an upscale shopping district not unlike Rodeo Drive. In 1948, the Palm Desert Corporation began to develop real estate, and in 1951 the area was given its present name. Retail, from discount centers to ultra high-end shops and galleries abound in Palm Desert. There is an extensive number of restaurants and theatres as well. Palm Desert is the primary shopping destination for the Coachella Valley.

There are many celebrity homes in Palm Desert, including Rita Rudner and more recently, one of the homes of Bill Gates. Film producers Jerry Weintraub and Robert Velo call Palm Desert their second home. The community was incorporated on November 26, 1973 with only 1,500 residents.  At the time, Palm Desert was a master planned community situated in the desert that used to stretch from Palm Springs to Indio.


Palm Desert schools are with the Desert Sands Unified School District.  Palm Desert has a fine educational system with great schools.

Colleges & Universities

College of the Desert
43-500 Monterey Avenue
Palm Desert, CA 92260
(760) 346-8041

Chapman University
41-555 Cook Street Suite #100
Palm Desert, CA 92211
(760) 341-8051

California State University,San Bernardino (CSUSB)
37-500 Cook Street
Palm Desert, CA 92211
(760) 341-2883

University of California Riverside (UCR)
75-080 Frank Sinatra Drive
Palm Desert, CA 92211
(760) 834-0800

Points of interest


College of the Desert Roadrunners in football, baseball, basketball, soccer and volleyball.

Golf – Palm Desert is home to about 30 golf courses.

Tennis – tennis courts in the Marrakesh and Shadow Mountain golf clubs.

Related Links

Palm Desert Visitor Center Website

City of Palm Desert – government page

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