Palm Springs is located in Riverside County, California, USA. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 42,807. It is famed as a desert resort, and lies approximately 110 miles east of Los Angeles. Palm Springs possesses some of the most famous golf courses in the country. Swimming, tennis, horseback riding and hiking in the beautiful nearby desert and mountain areas are other major forms of recreation in Palm Springs. It is one of eight adjacent cities that make up the Coachella Valley (Palm Springs area). The area code for Palm Springs is 760.
Once known as the "Playground of the Stars", Palm Springs is a small town with the legacy, amenities and history of a large, cosmopolitan city. Palm Springs lies at the foot of one of Southern California's most majestic mountain peaks, Mount San Jacinto. The mountain rises to over 11,000 feet above the desert, and comes right to the edge of town. It is not unusual to swim in 80 degree weather while looking up at snow covered peaks.
From the 1930s to the 1970s, Palm Springs was home to many of Hollywood's most glamorous stars. Major stars and celebrities such as Al Jolson, Greta Garbo, Cary Grant, Steve McQueen, Liberace, Howard Hughes, Bob Hope, Elvis Presley, Debbie Reynolds, Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Sonny Bono, Cher, Kirk Douglas, Jack Benny, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin owned houses in Palm Springs during this period, giving the town world-wide fame as the "Playground of the Stars."
In addition to these film and stage personalities, the Palm Springs area has been visited and settled by United States Presidents Dwight David Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford. The famed Betty Ford Clinic is in the area, as is Eisenhower Medical Center. Philanthropist Walter Annenberg settled in nearby Rancho Mirage. Celebrities still retreat to Palm Springs, but today the city's economy centers on tourism, real estate, health care, shopping and gambling.
As the 1970s drew to a close, increasing numbers of retirees moved to the Coachella Valley. As a result, Palm Springs began to evolve from a virtual ghost town in the summer to a year-round community. Businesses and hotels that used to shutter for the months of July and August instead remained open all summer. As commerce grew, so too did the number of families with children. Despite the increased activity, Palm Springs retained much of its 1930s charm, with older, Mediterranean-style estates and lush gardens.