Palm Springs has always been a haven for those seeking refuge from the city. The desert stretching for miles and wind mills picking up gusts aires on the romantic side. In its heyday, Palm Springs was a center of culture for stars--like Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby. This time period has truly shaped Palm Springs, as it has become a center for mid-century modern architecture and design.
Palm Springs, due to many of its wealthy inhabitants, was used as a venue for artistic exploration--allowing modernism to flourish. Structures like the Kauffmann House designed by Richard Neutra in 1946, have become synonymous with classic modernism in the heart of the desert.
The style of the 50's and 60's still remains true and prevalent in present day Palm Springs....Just step into the Ace Hotel and Swim Club. This boutique resort hotel company took over a neglected Denny's and Westward Ho, and sparingly rebuilt it. The original midcentury design remains but with a much cooler vibe. Each space within the 176-room hotel is uniquely decorated, with fresh and clean pieces. Even if you aren't staying at the hotel, visitors can purchase tickets to hang by the pool for $25. The Ace Hotel is located minutes from downtown Palm Springs and is just around the corner from the ever-popular Moorten Botanical Garden and Cactarium.
The Moorten Botanical Garden and Cactarium was established in 1939 by Patricia and Chester Moorten (Chester was one of the original Keystone Cops!!!!). The garden is home to a beautiful collection of cacti and succulent specimens from around the world--paired with unique and informative signage. The "cactarium" (a family-coined term) is a cactus green house, one which overflows with so many prickly plants it is breathtaking. The filtered light from the opaque paneling causes the space to glow. The Moorten Botanical Garden is often seen across social media, and after a visit, one will understand why. The gardens are still family run and cost $5 for adult admission.
The region surrounding both the Moorten Botanical Garden and the Ace Hotel and Swim Club is known as Twin Palms. After dropping by both of these classic attractions, be sure to meander (or cruise) through this neighborhood filled with hidden gems. Each house is unique, yet perfectly suited--like a beautiful little, crazy puzzle. One famous stop is the house with the pink door (located at 1100 E Sierra Way). The home, redesigned by Columbian designer Moises Esquenazi, has made more than a few appearances across various social media platforms. While this home is certainly one of the most visited in the neighborhood, it is definitely not the most unique. Be sure to check out all that Twin Palms has to offer.
Another popular attraction is the Palm Springs Visitor's Center--formerly a Tramway Gas Station designed by Albert Frey and Robson Chambers. The structure, built in 1965, is a perfect example of mid-century modern architecture. It's slanted, canopy roof gives it a distinctive quality--especially for a gas station. Today, Frey's and Chamber's eye-catching design welcomes visitors to the city--providing a bevy of information and acting as an example of the city's colorful past.
Palm Springs is a strange little city, with so many colorful places to seek out and explore. It also acts as the perfect home base for those looking to visit sites like Joshua Tree National Park, Slab City, Salvation Mountain and the Salton Sea.
For more information on visiting Palm Springs, click here.