Palm Springs International Airport is adjacent to Cathedral City.
Situated between Palm Springs and Rancho Mirage, the city has the second largest population of the nine cities in the Coachella Valley (Palm Springs area) of Southern California, after Indio. The city's name is derived from Cathedral Canyon located to the south of the city, named in 1850 by U. S. Army Colonel Henry Washington after deciding a rock formation of the canyon looked reminiscent of a cathedral. The city began as a housing subdivision in 1925, although it was not incorporated until 1981. The population of Cathedral City, along with the surrounding areas, has grown significantly into the 21st century. Cathedral City began a downtown revitalization program in the late 1990s, which was substantially completed by 2005. A new city hall was built, as well as the IMAX/Mary Pickford movie theater complex, along with a total of 130 acres (0. 53 km2) of new or remodeled stores and restaurant space.