Located just 100 miles southeast of Los Angeles, Palm Springs is a booming community boasting 83 square miles of desert land and a current population of 45,000 people. Most visitors arrive by driving from Los Angeles via the Interstate 10, which runs along the north side of Coachella Valley.
Drivers generally take either the Indian Canyon Drive/Palm Springs exit, which gives an up-close view of the giant windmills, or the earlier Tramway exit. Coming in via the Tramway exit, there is a startlingly abrupt transition from pasty desert to brilliant, emerald-green lawns. This transition marks your entrance into the Racquet Club area of Palm Springs, which has catered to Hollywood stars since the mid-1930s.
Throughout all regions of Palm Springs and its surrounding desert cities, visitors enjoy an array of restaurants, shopping and top-notch attractions.
Downtown Palm Springs
Downtown Palm Springs, also called 'The Loop' and 'The Village', is where nearly every visitor to Palm Springs will spend a considerable amount of time, enjoying shopping, dining, as well as strolling and people-watching. The Plaza Theater, home of the Palm Springs Follies, is in this district, along with the historic Village Green buildings and the Hyatt Regency Hotel. This district also hosts dozens of restaurants, including Muriel's Supper Club and the Kaiser Grille, as well as several gay nightclubs, among them Hunter's, which enjoys a worldwide reputation.
South Palm Springs
South Palm Springs is located along South Palm Canyon Drive and offers a mixture of moderately priced hotels, restaurants and residences. The Smoke Tree Ranch and Stables is located in this area, which is adjacent to the main portion of the Agua Caliente band of Cahuilla Indian Reservation, where the Indian Canyons, a popular hiking attraction, are located. The Canyon Country Club is also in this area.
Palm Springs Residential Areas
One ritzy residential area is Little Tuscany, near the former Racquet Club, featuring many deluxe homes built in an Italian style. If you are on the Palm Springs Celebrity Tours, this area may be on your itinerary. Another stop for stargazing tours is the Las Palmas area, still the favorite haunt of many wealthy Palm Springs residents. Off-limits is the enclave of South Ridge, permanently patrolled and protected behind a locked gate. Comedian Bob Hope is the best-known occupant. Meanwhile, the Movie Colony area, also once popular with the Hollywood set, is now undergoing a renaissance of remodeling.