Vibrant City with a Past
Palm Springs is so much more than meets the eye
My friends, my husband and I discovered Palm Springs, California on a vacation to the city, desperate to trade the cold of the Midwest for the sunshine of Southern California. Our foursome spent three days exploring—and, yes, it’s as good as it looks.
The sun was out and so were we—my husband, Andrew; best friend, Lauren; and her husband, Carl—mingling among the many San Diegans and Angelenos taking in the year-round summer vibe. Although the sunshine in those cities is also nonstop, LA and SD can’t claim as much laidback cool as Palm Springs.
This city has history, and not of the dusty variety. In the 1920s, Golden Age Hollywood made Palm Springs its playground. Those haunts have become hangs, in a way that reflects an architectural and cultural heritage. We saw as much on a walking tour from the Palm Springs Historical Society—there are more than a dozen to choose from, but we opted for “Frank Sinatra’s Neighborhood: The Movie Colony.”
Our group spent a little more than two hours strolling along the same streets and through the same buildings as Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack, Gloria Swanson and Jack Benny, designed by Modernist architects including William Cody and Donald Wexler. My favorite? The pool at Frank Sinatra’s “Twin Palms” home—shaped like a piano, it has a pergola that creates keys when the sun’s overhead (that would be: 350 days a year).
Every year, the Palm Springs International Film Festival—one of the largest film festivals in North America—brings glitz and glamour back to Palm Springs. A-listers, red carpets and galas welcome more than 135,000 attendees each January for a watchlist of international features and documentaries.