How to Get to the Coachella Festival

by Jessica

January 31st, 2011

coachella1Going to the Coachella Music Festival in Indio, California is a great way to see several of your favorite bands (and perhaps find out about some new ones, too) in one go. The three-day festival features a few different styles of music alongside being performed alongside art displays throughout the grounds, and the Coachella Valley setting can be really beautiful – albeit a little challenging to reach.

In this article, we’ll cover the best ways for getting to the Coachella Music Festival, whether you’re driving or flying.

>> In 2012, Coachella runs from April  13 – 15 and 20-22.

Flying to the Coachella Festival

The closest airport to the Coachella Valley is the Palm Springs International Airport (airport code PSP), which is a couple miles outside the city of Palm Springs and about 20 miles from Indio. Unfortunately, it’s also a really small airport, so if you’re coming from far away or flying out of a city that doesn’t have a big hub airport, you may find a better deal flying into a larger area airport instead.

The next closest airport is one of the many LA-area airports – Ontario International Airport (airport code ONT). It’s just over 90 miles from Indio. Los Angeles’ major airport, Los Angeles International Airport (airport code LAX), is one of the biggest in the country (let alone in California), so although it’s about 146 miles from the festival site you may end up finding better flight deals into LAX than other airports in the area. San Diego International Airport (airport code SAN) may not be as big as LAX, but the city is only about 85 miles from Indio, so it’s definitely worth checking for airfare.

Regardless of the airport you fly into, because none of the airports are located in Indio itself, you’ll have to rent a car (or befriend someone who is) in order to get from the airport to the festival site. Which leads us to…

Driving to the Coachella Festival

The Coachella Festival organizers know that you’ll have to drive to get there, but they’re kind. So they take some of the sting out of it by making day parking at Coachella free. They also want you to be kind to the environment, and they “strongly encourage carpooling.” If you don’t have a full car, you can check out the carpooling section on the Coachella website (called “Carpoolchella”) to pick up extra passengers – and you can sign up there if you’re a car-less festival-goer looking for a ride.

You’re advised to pick up a good road map of southern California (or spring for a GPS unit in your rental car), but for general planning purposes, here are some notes on how to get to Coachella:

  • From Los Angeles: Take I-10 east in the direction of Palm Springs, and take exit 10 (Jefferson Street) after you pass Highway 111.
  • From San Diego: Take I-15 north, then Highway 215 north, then Highway 60 east, then Highway 10 east. Take exit 10 (Jefferson Street).
  • From San Francisco: Take I-5 south, then Highway 10 east. Take exit 10 (Jefferson Street).
  • From Las Vegas: Take I-15 south, then I-10 east in the direction of Palm Springs. Take exit 10 (Jefferson Street) after you pass Highway 111.

Taking a Bus to the Coachella Festival

Lucky for you serious budget travelers there is a Greyhound bus station in Indio – so if you’ve got more time than money, taking a Greyhound bus from wherever you are all the way to the Coachella Festival city is definitely an option.

The Indio Greyhound station is just over six miles from the festival site, but chances are good that you’ll be able to bum a ride off of another festival-goer once you get as far as Indio.

photo by faithx5

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