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Palm Desert is a rapidly growing resort community in Riverside County. Palm Desert is found in the Coachella Valley to the east of Palm Springs in Southern California. Palm Springs is a generally upscale community, and has added more than thirty thousand residents in the last thirty years. At the beginning of the nineteen eighties, Palm Desert had a total population of about twelve thousand residents. Currently, Palm Desert has nearly fifty thousand residents, a figure which swells substantially during the winter months due to an influx of part time residents and tourists. Palm Desert was previously known as Palm Village, a reference to the arrival and proliferation of date palms in the early 1920s. Palm Desert was originally inhabited by members of the Cahuilla Indian community, although modern development of the region was largely spurred by military investment and an influx of celebrities seeking refuge from Hollywood. Palm Desert is home to an impressive variety of golf and tennis clubs, such as the Palm Desert Country Club, the Desert Willow Golf Resort, and the JW Marriott Desert Golf Resort and Spa. There are also a number of other country clubs in Palm Desert, giving the community the nickname of the “World’s Golf Capital.”
Palm Desert’s upscale character has lent itself to a wide range of shopping centers and restaurants. The first major shopping center, the Palm Desert Town Center, opened in the early 1980s, and was closely followed by a number of big box retailers such as Target. Currently, most of Palm Desert’s best shops are found along El Paseo Drive, which includes a number of small boutiques and art galleries as well as upscale retailers. Palm Desert boasts the remarkable Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, which exhibits an impressive selection of desert flora and fauna. Palm Desert’s public education system is administered by the Desert Sands Unified School District, which operates Palm Desert High School and Palm Desert Middle School as well as five elementary schools. There are also several private schools in Palm Desert, along with the College of the Desert and several other satellite college campuses. Palm Desert is home to a number of retirement communities, but was also the birthplace of the Palm Desert Scene, a unique musical genre. Palm Desert is a diverse community in terms of ethnic backgrounds, socioeconomic standings, and even political leanings. The largest drivers of the Palm Desert economy are country clubs, national retail chains, and resort facilities as well as three international security companies.
The entire family can enjoy the impressive recreational offerings of Palm Desert, which include hiking trails and soccer fields as well as basketball courts and swimming pools. The largest park in Palm Desert is the Civic Center Park, which covers more than seventy acres and includes sports fields and open spaces as well as an amphitheater and walking paths. Other notable recreational facilities in the city of Palm Desert include the Cook Street Sports Complex, Cahuilla Hills Park, and the University Neighborhood Park and Dog Park. Palm Desert is home to the McCallum Theatre, which hosts a number of different artistic performances on a regular basis, and a popular Art in Public Places program. Palm Desert is just a short distance from the Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert and the Palm Springs Air Museum. Some other nearby attractions include the Knott’s Soak City Water Park and the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. The Coachella Valley is the place to find the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument, while Palm Desert is only a few miles from the Joshua Tree National Park and its many Joshua Trees.