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While you might not recognize the name Indio in California, you’ll definitely know the name Coachella.
Indio is the City of Festivals and has been since long before Coachella came to the area every spring.
This city is an art explosion of every kind and in every corner.
Even the traffic signal boxes are getting art put on them.
You can always find a date in Indio, as the joke goes because this is the Date Capital of America country.
The sweet, chewy fruit grows in bunches on trees and is infused with all kinds of foods in the Coachella Valley.
A Date Shake is a must-try in Indio.
If the musical, sculpture and painted art aren’t enough to get you excited, check out Fantasy Springs Resort casino.
The events in this town are hot, but the weather gets hotter with temperatures soaring into triple digits in the summer.
It still doesn’t stop more than 1.4 million people from visiting this desert oasis.
Warnings & Dangers in Indio
OVERALL RISK : LOW
There's a low overall risk in this fun city, but it relies on people visiting to keep it that way. Best safety practices help keep crime rates down, and reporting crimes that happen helps police nip trends in the bud.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
There's low risk when using public transportation here. This is a city that needs a good system to be able to bring all the tourists to and from the various festivals. Taxis are available as well as rideshares. Sunline Transit Agency is the public bus system. There are many bicycle trails in town as well.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM
I'm not even going to look at the crime numbers to tell you there's medium risk. There are a lot of people who come to visit here. Crowds get large, people have drinks, and suddenly there are a lot of opportunity crimes waiting. Ok, I looked at the crime stats. There were just three reports of pickpockets in 2020, and 255 reports of thefts from cars. While those numbers aren't concerning, I stand by my original risk level just due to the potential for pickpocketing.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : LOW
The biggest concerns here are extreme heat and earthquakes. While the heat is just a given in a desert and the earthquake is just an ongoing risk, we're going to call it a low risk.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
There's a low risk of being mugged. Only 15% of the robberies were highway robberies.
TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM
The city itself is a low risk, but those huge festivals are going to force me to give it a medium risk. During big events like Coachella and the Date Festival, there are plenty of additional security forces there, so it's not something that should stop you from coming.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
There's a low-risk overall if you are a tourist, as most scams target residents. However, if you are looking for a ticket to Coachella and find a "great deal" on a shady website, it's probably a scam and Coachella isn't going to make it right. Just buy the ticket through the vendor for the most consumer protection.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM
The risk level depends on the time of year you visit and what festival you are attending. To be on the safest side, I'm going to give it a medium risk. There are a lot of social interactions and alcohol (with illegal drugs, at times) flowing and that can lead to poor life choices. It's best to always be with a buddy and never go somewhere without telling someone where you'll be.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
Not only does the Indio water meet or exceed all required standards, but the city also says "...we believe we provide some of the best-tasting, high-quality water in Southern California"
Safest Places to Visit in Indio
A great place to start is the Coachella Valley History Museum to get a lay of the land and a lesson about how it came to be.
Rotating displays mean you’ll get a wide variety of opportunities to learn about art in addition to the historical section of the museum.
Try your luck at Fantasy Springs Resort, where you can play slots, table games, and do some off-track betting.
There’s also golf and bowling for those who don’t want to gamble.
Golfers must try The Light at Indio Golf Course, which is the only golf course that’s lit up at night in the valley.
For a sweet treat and to live like the locals, stop by Shields Date Garden.
Here they infuse dates into any food you can imagine and there’s a beautiful garden on the property to walk off some of the calories during your sugar rush.
You must take a day trip to Joshua Tree National Park located 30 miles east.
The park isn’t just one desert, it’s where two collide into a beautiful display of arid wilderness with some of the best stargazing you’ll ever have a chance to see.
It’s a place so inspiring even Bono couldn’t resist naming a U2 album after it.
Places to Avoid in Indio
You should avoid driving haphazardly through residential areas in Indio.
North of Indio Boulevard and south of I-10 there are some sketch neighborhoods.
This isn’t a wealthy community with multi-million dollar homes (well, there are some, just not predominant).
The average worker here makes $54,000 — $20,000 less than the state average.
Nearly 17% live in poverty.
The whole Coachella Valley is known for having gang problems.
If you are in an area with heavy graffiti and see people gathered around, you should leave.
You should avoid visiting in the summer if you don’t like the extreme heat.
From June through September the average temperature is well above 100°(F), peaking at 107°(F) in July.
This is also why there aren’t any festivals held during this time.
You should avoid visiting every other month but March if you don’t like big crowds.
It’s not called The Festival City for nothing.
From the Tamale festival to the Date Festival to Coachella and a bunch of others in between, this is a busy city.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Indio
- Water. Water. Water. Water. Drink a lot of water. The desert air absorbs your sweat before you even notice it’s happening, so you don’t always have that sweaty cue to take a drink. You should pre-hydrate for a few days before arrival and keep drinking. By the time you feel thirsty, dehydration is already setting in.
- Sunscreen. Sunscreen. Sunscreen. Sunscreen. No matter what festival or event you are here for, or how pre-planned your perfect outfit is, start with a layer of sunscreen and keep applying throughout the day. The sun here is incredibly intense. Sunburn can set in within 15-30 minutes at the peak of the day.
- If you see a crime happening in Indio, you can easily report it online. If it’s an emergency, call 911, but if it’s something that isn’t urgent, the police website has a way to file online.
- 85 pedestrians were killed in Coachella Valley in 2020 and 11 of those were in Indio. There’s a serious problem with the respect between pedestrians and drivers. If you are a pedestrian, always cross the road in a crosswalk and take a beat before you walk on the “go” sign to make sure some wayward driving isn’t just plowing through the intersection. When you’re driving, be extra cautious of people crossing a street outside the crosswalk. Police regularly do checkpoints for this, but the deaths keep happening. Take your time and pay attention.
- Bring shoes that can stand the heat. The pavement of desert cities like Indio can get up to 180 degrees, which is enough to cause first or second-degree burns on your feet. Plastic shoes can melt on the pavement and thin-soled shoes are just going to transfer the heat to your foot.
- I’m instructing you to go to Joshua Tree since it’s so amazing, so let me give you some safety tips there. Water & sunscreen rules stand. Bring a hat and sunglasses. Check the weather forecast. A desert storm can drop tons of torrential rain and easily flood roads. Don’t go if it’s going to storm.
- In Joshua Tree, rangers tell me you shouldn’t go within 75 feet of bighorn sheep. Don’t mess with desert tortoises either. Don’t feed any animal you come across, no matter how cute or hungry it is. There’s a saying among National Park workers that “A fed animal is a dead animal.” There are many reasons why, and you can read about it on the Joshua Tree website.
- If you go to the Pinto Basin in Joshua Tree, you’ll see the milky way in a whole new way. The stargazing is breathtaking. There is Cottonwood Campground if you want to make it an overnight trip but book early because spots fill up quickly. Don’t bring a regular flashlight. The light is distracting to others. A red light is the best option, according to park rangers.
- There are plenty of homeless people in Indio and they aren’t afraid to ask for money. Police suggest giving a firm “No” and walking on. Don’t engage in conversation or arguments with them.
- “Lock it or Lose It”. That’s a real police campaign aimed at locals and tourists to lock their car doors. There have been rashes of car break-ins throughout this area and the majority of them were cars that were unlocked or had windows rolled down.
So... How Safe Is Indio Really?
To touch on that last point, the police chief of Indio is working hard to get his force to crack down on common robberies, but sometimes it’s the victims who put themselves in that position.
Chief Mike Washburn told a local newspaper in 2021 “If you don’t secure your valuables, you’re going to be a Costco without a checkout line.”
Indio is going to be as safe as you make it for the most part.
Keep belongings close, and don’t wear expensive jewelry in public or wave money around.
If you do run into a confrontation, don’t fight back.
Your life isn’t worth your purse or wallet.
Here’s how the statistics break down:
- Violent Crime: 1 in 167 chance of being a victim
- Robbery: 1 in 317 chance of being a victim
- Theft: 1 in 73 chance of being a victim
Indio is a place where many people come to let loose or let their guard down on vacation.
Be careful whichever path you are on with protecting your goods and only bringing with you what you need.
Don’t ever leave a backpack or bag out of your sight, even to run to the restroom.
If you see a bad situation developing, don’t go snooping around.
Get away and call the police if necessary.
How Does Indio Compare?
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- Visas - You will take care of the Visas at the airport and you won't need anything else in Indio. There is a U.S. Customers and Border Patrol office in Indio if you need their services.
- Currency - You'll use the U.S. Dollar as currency here. Use credit cards for whatever you need to buy in person and pre-purchase what you can. There's not a need for cash here, which will help prevent the temptation to donate to a homeless person and keep you from showing cash in the wrong place at the wrong time.
- Weather - The dead of winter still brings the 70s for highs. It does get cold at night, however, with temperatures dropping into the 40s. You'll need to dress in layers or expect several wardrobe changes per day. Spring and fall are just amazing, with the 80s for highs and 60s for lows. The summer heat is in the triple digits daily from June through September and the best cooling off you'll get is in the mid-70s. Pack a good lotion to hydrate your skin as it will dry out quickly.
- Airports - Unless you have a private jet, you'll need to go to Palm Springs International Airport, which is 30 minutes north. The closest Los Angeles area airport is Ontario, and that's about a 90-minute drive. LAX is nearly three hours west, including traffic.
- Travel Insurance - To avoid losing money in the event of a cancellation due to weather or technical issues, be sure to get travel insurance for your getaway to Indio, California.
Indio Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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