Moving out of the city and into the beautiful Coachella Valley desert is basically a right of passage for Southern California retirees and snowbirds from cold-weather states.
Here, Baby Boomers find a near-perfect climate, luxurious living options (that are affordable, might I add), and a bevy of outdoor and indoor activities and entertainment options that ensure they’re never bored.
If you’re thinking about making the move to the desert, we put together a list of the best places to live in the Palm Springs Area to help you decide where you want to buy!
If you’re a fan of midcentury architecture and resort-style living, then Palm Springs is an ideal place to live and retire. Palm Springs is known for its open, friendly atmosphere as well as gorgeous desert sunsets and views of Mt. San Jacinto.
There are reasons abound for why people choose to live in Palm Springs. For one, it offers a thriving art scene with music festivals and art galleries. There are film festivals, golf tournaments, and conventions. It’s accessible to Los Angeles and San Diego. Adventure and outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy its close proximity to the Coachella Valley.
Each neighborhood has its own unique characteristics and culture. It’s easy to learn which neighborhood you’re in when you drive throughout Palm Springs because the street signs are named for each individual neighborhood.
In the last five years, home values have climbed 49.4% in Palm Springs real estate according to Zillow. In recent years inventory was down and buyers had to compete for homes for sale in Palm Springs. Now in 2019, the real estate in Palm Springs has cooled off a bit and buying a home here in more reasonable.
One of the best places to live in the Palm Springs area is Palm Desert which is only 14 miles east of Palm Springs and roughly 120 miles from Los Angeles and San Diego.
Its population nearly doubled in size in the last 18 years. Reasons for the influx of new residents is partly due to the Coachella Valley’s warm retreat for those from “snowbird” locations like New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and even Canada.
The population usually swells in size in the winter time. However, many of these “snowbirds” have chosen to stay full-time in recent years, and Palm Desert has become an even more popular destination for its affordable and high-valued home prices. Real estate in Palm Desert is affordable with many homes below $500,000.
Palm Desert was once named Old MacDonald Ranch but was changed to Palm Desert in 1950. The first residents of old Palm Desert (before 1950) were mostly Cahuilla Indian farmers of the San Cayetano tribe which is now extinct. The first residential neighborhood was developed in 1943. Then the site became the “El Paseo” shopping district. The Palm Desert Corporation developed even more real estate in Palm Desert in 1948 and finally, in 1951, the area was renamed Palm Desert.
Palm Desert became a major shopping destination after the development of Westfield Palm Desert in 1983. After that development came One Eleven Town, Desert Crossing, and Town Center Plaza. Desert Crossing has major national retail stores such as Target. El Paseo Drive, very similar to Beverly Hills’ Rodeo Drive, is an upscale shopping district downtown offering 150 boutiques, posh retail outlets, restaurants, and art galleries.
One of the main population centers in the Coachella Valley, Indio was once known as the “Hub of the Valley” but is now referred to as the “City of Festivals”, due to all the fun cultural events held in the city. The Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival and Stagecoach Country Music Festival are two of the most popular events held each year.
The population has rapidly grown in recent decades and is now estimated to be 89,000 residents who enjoy 20 parks and over 13 golf courses in the community. The city also has over 3,000 new housing units planned or under construction, making Indio real estate affordable now and in the future. Additionally, new restaurants, hotels and shops are opening frequently.
If you are looking for a place with a great climate, abundant arts and culture, high quality of living and outstanding community services, Indio is the place for you.
This small desert city of around 13,249 to 20,000 people is located between Palm Desert and Cathedral City. The population varies with seasonal jobs at area resorts and golfing venues. Rancho Mirage is one of the nine cities of the Coachella Valley in the Palm Springs area. The city was incorporated in 1973.
Internationally recognized for its upscale ambience and luxury living, Rancho Mirage features exclusive gated communities and beautiful golf courses. Today, one of its nicknames is ‘The Playground of Presidents’ because of how it has attracted presidents to visit and live there, including former president Barack Obama.
Rancho Mirage is quite the golfing destination with its thirteen golf courses, country clubs, and resorts. Thunderbird Guest Ranch was the first golf resort which was opened in 1946. Other golf resorts in the area are Tamarisk, Mission Hills, The S at Rancho Mirage, The Springs, Sunrise, Omni Resorts Rancho Las Palmas hotel, Westin Hotels Mission Hills golf resort, Morningside, and Tuscania.
There’s also a popular casino at the intersection of Bob Hope Drive and Ramon Road off Interstate 10 that’s run by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians of Palm Springs. The Agua Caliente Casino attracts locals and tourists from all over the country with a theater that features top talent.
The River, a high-end retail shopping center, employs many residents. It’s also one of the most popular shopping complexes in Rancho Mirage. At The River, you’ll find dining, shopping, and entertainment all in one place just a short drive from resort homes and golf courses. The River has a huge movie theater, boutiques, retail offerings, and award-winning cuisine at a number of restaurants such as Acqua California Bistro, Fleming’s, The Cheesecake Factory, and more.
New Palm Springs real estate developments are popping up in Rancho Mirage such as a new 55+ community (Del Webb Rancho Mirage) built by Pulte Homes, Inc. that will open in 2020. Many more 55+ communities are available in this popular area.
Indian Wells is located between La Quinta and Palm Desert and has a population of around 5,404. The city is famous for hosting the Indian Wells Masters, which is the sixth largest tennis tournament in the world and held at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden which is the second-largest tennis stadium in the world. It’s undoubtedly one of the best places to live in Palm Springs area.
In the 1850s, Indian Wells was home to a thriving Indian village. When gold was discovered along the Colorado River, a trail for prospectors was made and Indian Wells became a popular stop along the trail. The Southern Pacific Railroad brought more people to the area around 1875, and the following decades brought more settlers to the area for date palm ranching.
The Eldorado Country Club and the Indian Wells Country Club golf courses opened in the 1950s. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Desi Arnaz, Tony Curtis, and other famous people have called Indian Wells home over the years. Bob Hope’s Classics golf tournaments took place here at the Indian Wells Country Club.
Indian Wells was incorporated as a city on July 14, 1967, and continues to grow with new resorts, luxury residential developments, and golf courses. You’ll find some of the best real estate in Palm Springs for the 55+ population in Indian Wells.
Indian Wells has a thriving shopping district that includes: historic Palm Canyon Drive, El Paseo Shopping District (boutiques), The River at Rancho Mirage, Westfield Shopping Center, and Cabazon Outlets, and Desert Hills outlets.
Desert Hot Springs
Desert Hot Springs, otherwise known as “DHS,” is located in the section of the Coachella Valley called the Desert Empire. The city has grown exponentially since the 1970s when the population was around 2,700 residents. Today, the population is about 25,938 and growing.
The city was given its name for the area’s natural hot springs which made it a prime tourist destination. It’s a fairly new city. It was incorporated in 1963 with only 1,000 residents. Some of the most affordable real estate in Palm Springs can be found in Desert Hot Springs with many homes under $300,000.
Known as the “Gem of the Desert”, this resort city is located between Indian Wells and Indio and has a population of around 37,467. It’s the leading golf destination in the United States according to The Robb Report.
The area features golf courses such as the highly ranked Tom Fazio designed golf course at The Quarry at La Quinta which was ranked in the top 100 U.S. golf courses in 2008. There’s also the Arnold Palmer Classic Course and the Silver Rock Golf Resort which has hosted the annual Bob Hope Chrysler Classic PGA golf tournament.
You’ll find beautiful real estate in La Quinta in a variety of price ranges including $300k to $500k and on up to $1 million.
The largest city in the Western Coachella Valley, Cathedral City or “Cat City” was named one of “America’s Top 10 Bargain Retirement Spots” by US News and World Report.
The area is home to numerous golf courses, parks, sports complexes and outdoor recreation areas. The Cathedral City Town Square is a popular area for music and events. Overall, the climate – up to 350 sunny days per year – and outdoor recreation opportunities make Cathedral City a great place to live for the active retiree.
Sitting 130 miles east of Los Angeles and 28 miles east of Palm Springs, Coachella is the “City of Eternal Sunshine”. Known for being quainter and more rural, Coachella has affordable real estate and can be a cheap place to retire, yet still maintain access to all the amenities the Coachella Valley has to offer.