Indio is located in the Coachella Valley of Southern California‘s Colorado Desert region. It lies 26 miles east of Palm Springs, 70 miles east of Riverside, and 125 miles (201 km) east of Los Angeles. It is about 86 miles (138 km) north of Mexicali, Baja California on the U.S.-Mexican border.
The population was 77,013 in the 2010 United States Census, up from 49,116 at the 2000 census, an increase of well over 50%, and well above the approx. 10% growth for the U.S. during the same decade. The word indio is Spanish for Indian. It has become an exurb town of economic value and sunbelt growth potential in the easternmost urbanized area of Southern California.
The City of Indio came about because of the need of a halfway point for the Southern Pacific Railroad between Yuma and Los Angeles. At first, the-would-be city was called Indian Wells, but because of so many other areas already called that, Indio—after a Spanish variation of the word “Indian.” The railroad arrived in 1876. The first permanent building was the craftsman style Southern Pacific Depot station and hotel. Southern Pacific tried to make life as comfortable as it could for their workers in order to keep them from leaving such a difficult area to live in at the time. It was at the same the center of all social life in the desert with a fancy dining room and hosting dances on Friday nights.
While Indio started as a railroad town, it developed into an agricultural area known mostly for citrus and dates. Agriculture thrived in the arid climate due to the ingenuity of farmers finding various means of attaining water; first through artesian wells and later through the valley’s branch of the All-American Canal. Water also was a major problem for Indio and the city was flooded several times until the storm water canals were created throughout the Coachella Valley.
At the turn of the last century, Indio was already an area that was not going to be a fading railroad town. Schools were built, the La Casita hospital provided medical services, and families established roots. This was the growth of a city, not just a railroad town.
By 1920, about one to two thousand year round residents lived in Indio, while it can double to 2,500 to 5,000 during the winter months and was advertised as a health resort for senior citizens and those with respiratory diseases and ailments in the rest of the 20th century.
Indio also served as the home of the USDA’s Date Station, a place where leading scientific research was taking place on the fruit that would become a major part of the culture of Indio. The station started in 1907 and was responsible for the ability of local farmers to better understand this unique crop and make the Coachella Valley a leader in American date crops. This also created a special tie of Indio to the Middle East that continues today. This also led to the one of a kind theme for our County Fair with the Middle Eastern flair.
Indio saw a decline as the valley’s population begin to move west towards newer cities such as Palm Desert. However, now there is a reversal in this trend and the eastern section of the valley is poised to once again become the center of the Coachella Valley.
The city had significant unemployment rates (in some cases over 20 percent) in the late 20th century and from the Late-2000s recession. The rate in 2006 was under 5 percent after the local economy rebounded in the real estate boom when more affluent residents moved in.The rapid population growth fueled the city’s present need for employment opportunities.
Two major annual festivals are the National Date Festival and the Indio International Tamale Festival.
Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival is held each February at the Riverside County Fairgrounds, located at Highway 111 in the heart of Indio
The Tamale Festival is held each December on the streets of Old Town Indio and has earned two Guinness World Records: the largest tamale festival (120,000 in attendance, Dec. 2-3, 2000) and the world’s largest tamale, [over 1 foot (0.3 m) in diameter and 40 feet (12.2 m) in length], created by Chef John Sedlar. The 2006 Guinness Book calls the festival “the world’s largest cooking and culinary festival.”
Starting in 1999, Indio has hosted the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Field. The Coachella Music Festival has become a major popular event drawing thousands from all over.
In May 2007, Goldenvoice, promoters of the Coachella, started Stagecoach, a two-day country music festival held the weekend following the Coachella. Performers have included George Strait, Kenny Chesney, the Eagles, Sugarland, Taylor Swift, and Kid Rock.
The Date Festival/County Fairgrounds’ Grandstand Arena Stadium is the site for live music concerts (mostly amateur bands), 4×4 monster truck rallies, rodeo or horse riding events, and camel races during the National Date Festival.
Other events in Indio include the Southwest Arts Festival, the Cabazon Indian National Pow Wow, the Palm Springs Kennel Club’s Annual Dog Show at the Empire Polo Club, the Family Motor Coach Association’s Annual Western Region RV Rally at the Fairgrounds, and the U.S. Field Hockey Association’s annual Hockey Festival held every November.
Points of interest
Indio Hills Park had California fan palms that thrive in many locations but rarely in such numbers as in the canyons of the Indio Hills. Here, along a line where the San Andreas fault captures groundwater that nurtures the palms, is a wild parkland which is part of the adjacent Coachella Valley Preserve. The park contains some fine native palm groves that include Indian, Hidden, Pushawalla, Biskra, Macomber and Horseshoe palms. The nearest palm groves are relatively easy to reach from the trail-head and parking area 4 miles (6 km) north of Indio. There are currently no marked access roads to the property.
Indio’s six elementary and two middle schools are highly rated under the California Distinguished Schools program.
Schools in or near Indio:
Desert Sands Unified
- ELEMENTARY (grades K-5): Carrillo Ranch, Dr. Reynaldo J. Carreon Jr. Academy, Amelia Earhart (Int’l studies), Dwight D. Eisenhower, Herbert Hoover, Andrew Jackson, Lyndon B. Johnson, John F. Kennedy, James Madison, James Monroe (in Bermuda Dunes), Theodore Roosevelt, Martin Van Buren, Woodrow Wilson, and Horizon Elementary (independent studies) in La Quinta.
- MIDDLE/JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOLS (grades 6-8): Desert Ridge Academy (Fall 2009); Thomas Jefferson; Indio Middle; John Glenn (Int’l studies) (California Distinguished School); and Horizon Middle (independent studies) in La Quinta.
- HIGH SCHOOLS (grades 9-12): Indio High; La Quinta High in La Quinta; Shadow Hills (Fall 2009); Amistad High, a continuation high school; and Horizon High (independent studies) in La Quinta.
- ADULT SCHOOL: Courses include: GED TEST preparation, ESL Beg/Int/Adv classes, Citizenship classes, a Rossetta Stone Language lab, and more.
Coachella Valley Unified schools
- ELEMENTARY (grades K-5): Mountain Vista Elementary.
- MIDDLE/JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOLS (grades 6-8): Cahuilla Desert Academy.
Grace Academy (K-8), Indio Christian Center (1-12), River Springs Charter School (K-12), Our Lady of Perpetual Help (PK-8), Trinity Lutheran Child Development Center (PK, K) and Christian School of the Desert (PK-12), located in nearby Bermuda Dunes.
Nearby Palm Desert is home to CSU San Bernardino at Palm Desert, CA and The College Of The Desert. Both schools are well recognized for their curriculum that are useful for continuing and degree education and schools for the trades.
Information About Buying or Selling Indio Area Real Estate
Buying or Selling in today’s real estate market is a challenge and a process that is easily accomplished with the help of a Real Estate professional. You will need an expert who has lived in the desert and knows the lifestyle and the unique housing market.
The market in the Indio Area is alive and the values are exceptional for those who are looking for an ideal investment or a vacation/retirement property. We have many choices for every need, budget and amenity list.
Is to be your primary residence? We have what it takes to get you settled into a great family home in the neighborhood of your choice.
Selling your home in the Indio Area? I will make the experience easy, friendly and professional. Our mission is to provide outstanding service while utilizing the best practices and Internet technology available.
If you are plan to rent your new home, we have the staff partners who will assist with any project or property management while you are away from the property.
Following links are to area Bio’s and searches:
- Palm Springs Real Estate– Palm Springs Single Family Homes * Palm Springs Condominiums
- Cathedral City Real Estate– Cathedral City Single Family Homes
- Desert Hot Springs Real Estate– Desert Hot Springs Single Family Homes
- Indio Real Estate– Indio Single Family Homes
- La Quinta Real Estate– La Quinta Single Family Homes
- Palm Desert Real Estate– Palm Desert Single Family Homes
- Rancho Mirage Real Estate– Rancho Mirage Single Family Homes
For more information on how I can best serve your Greater Palm Springs area needs, please fill out the online contact form give us a call at 760-413-2871.
I won’t just sell you a house but I WILL help you find the home you will LOVE!
Ron is a Greater Palm Springs Area Realtor® specializing in Palm Springs vacation homes, investment properties in Palm Springs and primary single-family Palm Springs Homes for Sale. He has the long term knowledge necessary to make the buying and selling of Greater Palm Springs Area real estate a smooth enjoyable process.
WHY DOES RON JESSER LOVE INDIO?