Palmdale is located in northwest Los Angeles County and is separated from the city of Los Angeles by the San Gabriel Mountain Range. Palmdale has a population of 141,012, but the Palmdale/Lancaster metropolitan area has over 480,000 residents. Over the past 20 years, Palmdale has ranked consistently among the top ten fastest growing cities in the United States. The city is also quite possibly the largest “desert city” in California.
Due to the city's rapid growth, a great deal of hard work has gone into upgrading infrastructure. For example, a top-notch medical facility is under construction and is due to open in 2008. The hospital will include, among other great amenities, the region's largest emergency department. In 2005, a new multi-modal transportation center opened, providing the area with local and commuter train and bus services. In addition to these improvements, parks and recreational areas are quickly expanding, a downtown revitalization effort has been implemented, and a new sheriff's station has been built, along with two new fire stations.
The most important industry in Palmdale is the aerospace industry. In fact, Palmdale is nicknamed the “aerospace capital of the United States,” because it has been the site of research, development, final assembly, and flight testing for many of the aircraft used by the United States Air Force, NASA, and airlines around the world. Many major companies have a presence in Palmdale, some of which are Boeing, Delta Scientific, Lockheed Martin, Kaiser Permanente, Senior Systems Technology, and the United States Airforce.
Sites of interest in Palmdale include Big Rock Creek Camp, Dry Town Waterpark, Littlerock Dam and Recreation Area, Los Angeles County Raceway, Palmdale Heritage Airpark, Blackbird Airpark, the Devil's Punchbowl (a natural hiking preserve comparable to a miniature Grand Canyon), Palmdale Playhouse and Art Gallery, Palmdale Amphitheater (hosts the summer Starlight Concert Series), the Hammack Activity Center and Roller Hockey Rink, and the Racho Vista Golf Course.