Indio is located in the geographic center of both Riverside County and the Coachella Valley. The Coachella Valley-an ancient upper basin of the Gulf of California-stretches 50 miles from Palm Springs into the Salton Sea. The city is surrounded by the San Jacinto and Santa Rosa mountain ranges, which provide lovely views and plenty of recreational opportunities.
In 1930, Indio became an incorporated city-the Coachella Valley's first. At the time, Indio's population approached 2,000. The subsequent construction of the All American Canal allowed for further expansion and growth of the agricultural industry, which brought more retail, service and packing/processing facilities to Indio. Indio's population continued to grow, reaching more than 13,000 by 1964.
True to its nickname, Indio hosts a number of special events that draw thousands of tourists each year. From the Southwest Arts Festival, the Coachella Valley Music Festival, the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, the Indio Desert Circuit Horse Show to the National Date Festival, the Fourth of July Festival, the Tamale Festival and the Skins Game, there is never a dull month in this colorful town.
The Southwest Arts Festival in January is the area's largest outdoor marketplace and features more than 200 acclaimed artists. Also held in January is the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, a fun one-day celebrity golf tournament at the Indio Municipal Golf Course. February brings the National Date Festival-otherwise known as the Riverside County Fair-with plenty of entertainment, food and fun. The Indio Desert Circuit Horse Show is a seven-week hunter/jumper horse show held in spring. A number of well-known and up-and-coming bands and musicians perform at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in April. The Skins Game-a 3-day professional golf tournament-is held every Thanksgiving weekend.
One of Indio's best-known events is the International Tamale Festival, held the first weekend in December. Highlights of the Tamale Festival are live music on three different stages and performances by locally and nationally known acts. There is also a carnival for kids. A 2002 USA Today article titled "Destinations and Diversions" ranked the event as a "top ten" regional food festival.
The Coachella Valley Recreation District operates the Indio Community Center, a 39,000-square-foot recreational facility that houses two public swimming pools. The Indio Parks and Recreation Commission has recently prepared a Park "Master Plan" that calls for numerous new parks, the expansion of others and the addition of a state-of-the-art skate park.
Two school districts, plus a charter and a private school serve Indio. Desert Sands Unified School District serves most of the city. The Coachella Valley Unified School District recently completed its first school in Indio: Mountain Vista Elementary. Post-secondary educational options abound, including a local campus of California State at San Bernardino, the University of San Diego and San Diego State University. There are also a number of community colleges throughout Southern California, such as the nearby College of the Desert, located in Palm Desert.
Traveling in and around Indio is quite simple thanks to the city's access to I-10 and a number of other freeways. Frequent travelers will appreciate their proximity to Southern Pacific Railroad and AMTRAK rail services, in addition to three airports: the Palm Springs International Airport, the privately-owned Bermuda Dunes Airport and the Desert Resorts Regional Airport in Riverside.
Today, Indio is a prospering city, accented by a beautiful natural desert setting. The city offers exciting resort-style living as well as a peaceful, small-town feel, providing the best of both worlds for visitors and new residents alike.
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