We’ve all heard of the Coachella Valley but you may not know about the small city of Indio that is situated within it. Indio initially transitioned from a railroad town to an agricultural hub and is now one of the fastest growing cities in the Greater Palm Springs region. Today, it features numerous restaurants and things to do and it has even earned the nickname “the City of Festivals” due to the large number of cultural festivals it hosts each year.; key among them is the Coachella Music and Arts Festival. If you are in the area and have 24 hours to spend in Indio, you most definitely should! Keep reading for an idea of your 24-hour itinerary in Indio.
What to do in Indio: Morning
They always say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day! Whether that’s true or not, definitely put Sloan’s on your itinerary for breakfast. While the restaurant also serves lunch and dinner, the breakfast menu is huge and offers all kinds of delicious plates ranging from unique crepes to your good old stack of pancakes. If you want more of a spicy kick to start your morning, visit El Mexicali Cafe and try some of their eggs with chile verde—you won’t regret it.
After breakfast, head on over to Shields Date Garden. Even if you *think* don’t like dates you’ve probably just never had fresh-from-the-tree dates—and the gardens are beautiful and you can take a fun tour for just $5. The statues in the garden come from a biblical garden in Canada and the tour provides some biblical stories that are intriguing even to visitors who are not religious. Also be prepared to learn the process of making dates – it might sound boring, but you’ll be surprised! You can also purchase date-flavored goods to-go and, if you’re up for it, try a “date shake” – it might be the best part of your whole visit to the farm.
Spend an Afternoon in Indio
Located on Miles Avenue, the Coachella Valley History Museum is a must-visit while you are in Indio. Much more than just a museum, the place has many activities that allow visitors to learn a slew of history of the Coachella Valley in one stop. The Gardens at the museum are amazing and allow guests to see native plants of the Coachella Valley, including Geissler Roses, Cork Trees, Dates, and more. Perhaps the biggest fan-favorite is the Smiley-Tyler House, which was once the home of a doctor and his wife. The house features several educational rooms including a water and agricultural exhibit room, a railroad and fire department room, and the kitchen that has been preserved with its 1930’s and 1940’s decor and setup. There are indoor galleries as well as the “Outdoor Gallery,” which features a 1921 water tower and a blacksmith shop. Ultimately, the museum is a cannot-miss visit.
Hungry? Grab a bite at the TKB Bakery & Deli. The restaurant serves up huge, delicious sandwiches as well as bakery items such as cookies and cakes that can be packed to-go and enjoyed later.
Perhaps one of the most prominent attractions in Indio is the Eldorado Polo Club, so if you’re spending a Sunday in Indio, see if a polo match is taking place, as spectators are allowed. You could also take a stroll through Miles Avenue Park, which has been renovated within the past few years and has some of the greenest grass you’ll ever see. Indio also has a lot of unique public murals scattered throughout, so you will see some beautiful pieces of art if you walk through the Old Town area.
While they’re not installed yet, the 10-tower art installation called Celebration of Life or Sarbale Ke is due to be installed in Indio’s Dr Carreon Park. This art installation was huge at Coachella 2019 and will be a stunning addition to public art in Indio once the pandemic is over and installation can be begin.
24 hours in Indio: Evening
Many people think casinos are only for gaming, but that is far from the truth when it comes to Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio. This place has all kinds of activities besides just gambling, which include a golf course and a bowling alley. They also have the “Rock Yard,” which is free outdoor music, and if you’re there on a Friday or Saturday, “Rockin’ Lit Weekends” occur from 5:30 PM to 10:00 PM and feature some seriously great live bands. Of course, all of these activities and more are easily accessible if you are staying at the luxurious casino resort.
For dinner or a late-evening meal, the Tack Room Tavern offers excellent dishes and drinks to wind down your day right. Try a side of onion rings and some hot chicken wings, or sit on the patio and enjoy some pizza with a margarita. Alternatively, you could go to Jackalope Ranch and try their calamari fries, steaks, and scrumptious seafood plates such as seafood linguine and coconut fried shrimp.
If you’re into late-night fun, check out Club 5 Bar. Open until 1:45 AM on Fridays and Saturdays, the club is a small, friendly spot to hang out and enjoy some drinks along with some great live music. Trust us, if you spend 24 hours in Indio, California, your time will be well spent.