Palm Desert is a city in California's Coachella Valley, near Palm Springs. It’s home to many country clubs, golf courses and shops. In the center, The Shops on El Paseo feature designer boutiques, plus great restaurants and art galleries. The Living Desert Zoo & Gardens shelters desert-dwelling wildlife, including cheetahs and camels, from around the world. The Zoo underwent a major renovation in2021. Shows at the McCallum Theatre span music, comedy, dance and drama.
A major center of growth in the Coachella Valley, Palm Desert is a popular retreat for "snowbirds" from colder climates of the Eastern and Northern United States, and Canada, who swell its population by an estimated 31,000 each winter. Palm Desert has seen more residents become "full-timers", mainly from the coasts and urban centers of California, who have come for both affordable and high-valued homes.
Palm Desert is the home of the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, a combination zoo and botanical garden featuring an extensive collection of desert plants and animals and a state-of-the-art animal hospital. Palm Desert is also the site of the main campus of College of the Desert, the local community college, which has expanded greatly in size since the campus opened in 1961 and one of the buildings was built by donations from the local Cahuilla Indian tribal nations. The state higher education system opened an extension campus duplex (the Indian Wells Education Center for both California State University, San Bernardino and the University of California Riverside.
The city's first golf course and tennis club was Shadow Mountain in 1952, followed by Marrakesh in 1954, the Palm Desert Greens mobile home park golf course in 1961, and the Palm Desert Country Club in 1962. The latter, located five miles (8 km) east of the original city, was formally annexed in 1992. The total number of golf clubs (more than 30 located within 10 miles or 16 kilometres from the city) have made Palm Desert known as the "World's Golf Capital."
Desert Willow Golf Resort is the City Of Palm Desert's municipal golf course, and has two championship courses: Mountain View and Firecliff. It is associated with the Westin Desert Willow Resort at the golf course location. The Firecliff course is listed at No. 13 in Golf Magazine's 'Best Courses you can Play' 2010 list for California.
In the late-1970s and 1980s, a spate of private golf clubs, destination resorts and hotels appeared in the northern half of Palm Desert, such as the four-star JW Marriott Desert Springs Golf Resort and Spain 1987 and the four-star Desert Willow Golf Resort in 2002. The city has over 30 motels and 5,000 motel rooms, since lodging and hospitality is a major portion of the local tourist-based economy.