Why Palm Springs Is A Great Place To Live
It began as a health resort in the early 1900s, but the city of Palm Springs remained largely unknown for nearly half a century.
That is, until some of the biggest celebrities in the country started to make the 100-mile commute to escape the frenzy of Los Angeles and Hollywood. A-list personalities such as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Bob Hope, Jayne Mansfield, Elizabeth Taylor, and Judy Garland were frequent visitors, and many famous singers and movie stars made their home in the tranquil desert oasis. Even former president Gerald Ford had an address there.
Although still synonymous with the rich and famous, Palm Springs is far from being an exclusive enclave where only the well-heeled can afford to live. Singles and middle-class families have found it a great place to settle, and there are lots of reasons to consider living there.
But before getting into that, just a word or two about the area itself. The region known as Palm Springs is in the Coachella Valley, a ravine that divides several mountain ranges in the region. Forty-five miles long and 15 miles across at its widest point, the valley is actually home to nine cities and several unincorporated communities: Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Cathedral City, Desert Hot Springs, Indian Wells, Indio, La Quinta, Rancho Mirage, and Coachella. The entire area is often referred to as Palm Springs. About 350,000 people call the valley home – less than three percent of the population of Los Angeles!
Now, why consider Palm Springs a place to relocate?
Probably the first thing people think of when they hear “Palm Springs” is the great year-round weather. And with 350 days of sunshine, an average annual temperature of 75 degrees, and less than 5 inches of rainfall per year, what’s not to like?
It’s the reason why Palm Springs is a perfect place for those who love the outdoors, and why the area has the highest concentration of swimming pools per capita in the nation. Sure, temps can hit triple digits, but only during the summer months, and desert winds often help to cool things off a bit. But in the winter, when those in the north are negotiating subzero temperatures or digging out after the latest snowstorm, you can be teeing off at a spectacular golf course, playing tennis, or relaxing by the pool. How does that sound?
If the weather is the first thing you think of when Palm Springs is mentioned, then golf is most certainly the second. The Coachella Valley boasts over 125 courses, some of which were designed by legends whose names are household words – Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman, Nick Faldo, Pete Dye, and Tom Weiskopf, to name a few. Championship courses abound, many of which have hosted major tournaments, and playing amid the stunning desert landscape and spectacular mountain scenery is a golfer’s paradise. As if that weren’t enough, you can play virtually every day of the year. It’s no wonder Palm Springs has been called “the golf capital of the world.”
Anyone who has been there knows that the desert has a beauty uniquely its own. The gently undulating landscape, punctuated with colorful plants and trees that thrive in arid climates, gives the entire area a restful feeling of tranquility and quiet solitude. And the Coachella Valley sits between several mountain ranges – the San Jacinto, Santa Rosa, Little San Bernardino, and Chocolate Mountains – so a stunning, breathtaking vista pops out in virtually every direction. And the first and last hours of daylight transform the entire region into a truly magical place.
The Great Outdoors
Year-round great weather plus a unique and varied landscape equals a perfect environment for active people who love to be outdoors. The mountainous surroundings provide countless places for hiking and rock climbing. The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway whisks passengers up to Mountain Station, 8,516 feet above sea level, and visitors can explore the many nature trails and back-country hiking. Tahquitz Canyon, the San Jacinto Mountains, Tahquitz Peak, and Chino Canyon all provide beautiful and challenging opportunities for hikers and adventurers.
For those who are happy with a little less adventure but still want to enjoy the outdoors, Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley are ideal places for bicycling. The flat terrain makes bike riding a pleasant pastime, and bike trails connect all of the valley communities.
The Cost of Living
Palm Springs is surprisingly affordable when compared with other Southern California cities. Those 55 and over find that the costs associated with homes, transportation, and utilities are quite reasonable. Homes start in the low $200s, and a nice single-family home in an age-restricted community can be purchased for under $300,000. Tax benefits are available as well. And since the economy in the area is largely driven by medical care, real estate, and tourism – many of the resorts, country clubs, and hotels employ hundreds and even thousands of people – unemployment is relatively low, and the economy remains strong and robust.
Palm Springs has been recognized as having some of the best medical facilities in California. Several top-ranked hospitals are in the valley, such as Desert Regional and Eisenhower Medical Center. Other excellent medical facilities include San Gorgonio Memorial Hospital, John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital, and Hi-Desert Medical Center.
Los Angeles and San Diego are reachable from Palm Springs in two hours or less, and even Las Vegas is just a four-hour drive away. No less than 11 airlines serve Palm Springs International Airport, and non-stop flights go to 19 cities including New York, Chicago, Minneapolis, Seattle, Dallas, Atlanta, Boston, Houston, Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver.
Considering a Move?
If all of this has got you thinking seriously about relocating, you’ll want to talk to an experienced realtor who has intimate knowledge of Palm Springs and its environs. Here are some of the best real estate agencies in the Coachella Valley:
- Omni Real Estate Group.
- David Emerson & Associates.
- Berkshire Hathaway.
- Dean Sipe - HOM Sotheby’s International.
After looking at what Palm Springs has to offer – and there is much more than can be considered in the limited space here – it’s clear that it isn’t just a place for retirees who are looking for a nice warm place to spend their golden years.
“It is a growing, thriving community with a great mixture of traditional and 21st-century chic where singles, couples, and families can find plenty in the way of both work and play – and lots and lots of sunshine!”