Palm Desert, California – WorldAtlas

Palm Desert is a small city in the heart of the Coachella Valley in the Riverside County of the US state of California. The city of Palm Desert serves as the cultural and shopping center of the desert communities in the Coachella Valley. It is also a popular retreat for various seasonal tourists and residents or “snowbirds” that migrate to the city from the colder northern parts of North America in winter.

Geography of Palm Desert

Aerial view of the residential area of ​​Palm Desert, California.

Palm Desert has a total area of ​​69.97 square kilometers, of which 0.53 square kilometers is occupied by water and 69.44 square kilometers is occupied by land. The city is located at an elevation of 68 meters in the heart of the Coachella Valley, which is considered the northwestern extension of the Sonoran Desert. The city is located approximately 196 km east of the city of Los Angeles, 195 km northeast of the city of San Diego and 23 km east of the desert city of Palm Springs. The Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument is south of Palm Desert, while the Coachella Valley National Wildlife Refuge is north of the city.

View of a golf course in Palm Desert, California
View of a golf course at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa in Palm Desert, California. Editorial credit: Jeff Whyte/

There are approximately 14 city parks in Palm Desert, including Freedom Park, Magnesia Falls City Park, Palm Desert Dog Park, Washington Charter School Park, etc. There are more than 30 motels and 5,000 motel rooms in the city, catering to a wide range of of tourists visiting the city of Palm Desert. In addition, there are more than 30 golf courses that have made Palm Desert the golfing capital of the world. The largest universities in Palm Desert are College of the Desert, International School of Beauty Inc and the Milan Institute-Palm Desert.

Tourist Attractions in Palm Desert

McCallum Theater

Located on the south side of the College of the Desert campus, the McCallum Theater is a 1,127-seat live theater and concert venue in the city of Palm Desert. The McCallum Theater offers fantastic stage performances in all genres, including music, ballet, acrobatics and dramas. The McCallum Theater is also actively involved in several educational programs provided by the theater’s educational outreach division. The McCallum Theater opened to the public in January 1988 and is currently operated by an independent nonprofit called Friends of the Cultural Center, Inc.

Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

Giraffe at Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, Palm Desert, California
A female keeper hand-feeding giraffes at the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, Palm Desert, California. Editorial credit: Gerald Peplow /

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens is a desert zoo and botanical garden located in the city of Palm Desert. The Living Desert supports more than 500 animals belonging to more than 150 species, including animals from the continents of Africa, North America, and Australia. Some of the notable animals include African wild dogs, giraffes, Abyssinian ground hornbill, desert bighorn sheep, Mexican wolf, Bennett’s Wallaby, budgerigar, etc. The garden area contains a variety of desert plants including cacti, agaves, California fan palms, etc. The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens is visited by more than 500,000 visitors every year.


According to the Köppen climate classification, the city of Palm Desert experiences a desert climate, with scorching hot summers and very mild winters. The hot season lasts from June to September, with July being the hottest month, with an average high temperature of 41.6°C and a low temperature of 26.1°C. The cold season lasts from November to February, with December being the coldest month, with an average low temperature of 7.2 °C and a high temperature of 20.5 °C. Therefore, the city of Palm Desert has one of the warmest winters in the western United States and is also one of the warmest places in the United States with an annual average temperature of 24.3°C. With more than 348 days of sunshine per year, the city receives an average of only 3.38 inches of precipitation per year. The three high mountain ranges surrounding the Palm Desert form a thermal belt in the southern foothills, which have a microclimate with significantly warm nighttime temperatures during the cold season.

Population and Economy of Palm Desert

Shops on El Paseo in Palm Desert, California
Shops on El Paseo on the corner of El Paseo and Monterey Avenue in Palm Desert, California. Editorial credit: Rosemarie Mosteller /

In 2019, the city of Palm Desert had a population of 52,575 with a median age of 54.5 years. As of 2019, approximately 10,100 people (19.2% of residents) of Palm Desert were born outside the country. The most common hometown of California’s foreign-born residents is Mexico, followed by the Philippines and China. The largest ethnic groups in Palm Desert are the non-Hispanic whites who represent 66% of the city’s population, Hispanic Whites at 16.5%, Asians at 4.96%, others at 4.92% and African Americans by 2.82%.

As of 2019, the median household income in Palm Desert was $59,977 and the median property value was $350,400. The average car ownership in the city was two cars per household. The city of Palm Desert is the premier business center and shopping destination among the desert communities in Coachella Valley. Located in downtown Palm Desert, El Paseo Drive is the city’s main shopping street. The whole area around this street has developed into an upscale shopping area with several restaurants, art galleries and about 150 boutiques.

Brief History of Palm Desert

The area initially served as the ancestral homeland of the Cahuilla Indian farmers, who lived in the area for over 10,000 years. Originally referred to as the “Old McDonald Ranch”, the area was renamed “Palm Village” in the 1920s, after the date palms became a popular crop here. The area was used by the US military for training purposes. After the Second World War in 1943, the first residential development in the area in connection with an army maintenance camp took place. Over time, this site developed into a luxury shopping area known as “The stroll.” The Palm Desert Corporation began real estate development in 1948 and the area was renamed: “Palm desert” in 1951. On November 26, 1973, the city of Palm Desert was officially incorporated.

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