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Mid-Century Architecture with Pictures (A Self-Guided Tour)

The gorgeous scenery, impressive resorts, and beautiful weather of Palm Springs have made it popular among those who visit for decades. The impressiveness of this desert oasis has attracted many celebrities over the years. From Elvis Presley to Marilyn Monroe, celebrities have flocked to this popular getaway for decades. The appeal of Palm Springs has not only been a draw for celebrities, but prominent architects have left their mark on the city as well.

Today, beautiful Mid-Century Architecture throughout the city tells a tale of the visions of those architects who frequented Palm Springs in the middle of the 20th century. Palm Springs boasts one of the most sizable collections of such architecture that remain to this day. For connoisseurs of architecture, Palm Springs will be a paradise, as a simple drive around the town will reveal dozens of impressive structures that feature lovely Mid-Century Architectural designs. Considering the abundance of the so many structures that drew their inspiration from Mid-Century Architecture, it almost seems as though the town of Palm Springs itself is a museum.

One particular style that dominated the landscape in Palm Springs was the Desert Modernism style. Such a design was adapted for life in Palm Springs, as the buildings that were designed with this style in mind sought to minimize the distinction between indoor and outdoor life. Therefore, Desert Modernism structures frequently incorporate an abundance of windows, sliding glass doors, and open floor plans so those indoors could still appreciate the beautiful scenery around Palm Springs. The result of the Desert Modernism movement was a collection of houses that were aptly suited for life in the desert. These houses are made of materials that minimize the impacts of the external elements, therefore, these houses are not fazed by the constant heat and frequent wind that sweep through Palm Springs.

Fortunately for those who visit Palm Springs, plenty of Mid-Century Architecture and Desert Modernism style buildings persist today. Let’s take a look at some of the most notable:


  1. Elvis Presley Vacation Home – 825 W Chino Canyon

Elvis honeymooned here by Dale Cruse is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Elvis Presley and his wife Priscilla honeymooned at this sleek-looking Desert Modernism home. The frequent use of rock in the exterior and the wide array of shapes ranging from triangular to rectangular that can be found in this house contribute to a fantastic design. Complete with a stunning view overlooking the surrounding mountains and a flat roof that was a common feature of this style, you will surely be dazzled by this structure.

  1. Palm Springs Art Museum – 101 N Museum Drive

Marilyn Monroe Backside at Palm Springs Art Museum by Forsaken Fotos is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Composed primarily of concrete and cement, this expansive building featured a wide array of linear lines that are characteristic of the Desert Modernism style. Take a close look at the exterior walls of the art museum and you may observe the lava rock that adorns them. Part of a larger complex of exquisite art buildings, the Palm Springs Art Museum will certainly impress those who enjoy the arts.


  1. Del Marcos Hotel – 225 W Baristo Road

Palm Springs… by mbtrama is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The retro appearance of this hotel can still be seen when gazing at it today. Surrounded by towering palm trees and nestled at the foot of a hill, this structure epitomizes Palm Springs with its appearance and charm. Finished in 1947, fans of the Mid-Century Modern style can stay in this colorful hotel when visiting Palm Springs.

  1. Palm Springs City Hall – 3200 E Tahquitz Canyon Way

Palm Springs City Hall (2) by Ron Gilbert is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

The city of Palm Springs would not be complete if it did not also have a city hall structure that was emblematic of the Mid-Century Modern architecture style. Cylindrical shapes are a common feature that can be found in the design of Palm Spring’s city hall, with the most famous circle being the one on the roof of the main entrance. The different rooms of this building are not cookie-cutter and similar to one another, instead, each room has a unique shape and design to reflect the varying purposes of a city hall.

  1. Coachella Valley Savings and Loan Bank – 499 S Palm Canyon Drive

Coachella Valley Savings & Loan as a Chase Bank (2) by Ron Gilbert is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

Though it may be a Chase Bank today, this building was historically the Coachella Valley Savings and Loan Bank. The exquisite columns of this structure are its most stunning feature, though a closer inspection will reveal water fountains in front of each column. The inspiration for this building stemmed from a Brazilian palace. Still a functional bank today, visitors can marvel at the stunning details of the exterior or take a peek inside to observe even more remarkable architecture.

  1. Theresa Catholic Church – 2800 E Ramon Road

This structure features a design with uncharacteristically low ceilings for a church, but the building is very much up to Mid-Century Modern standards. Sizable altars were imported after being designed in Italy, and the lovely stained glass windows illuminate the inside of the church quite well. Those who have visited St. Theresa Catholic Church in Palm Springs suggest that the inside is just as beautiful as the exterior.

  1. Sinatra House Twin Palms – 1148 Alejo Road

Frank Sinatra House – Palm Springs 01.jpg by User:Farragutful is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Frank Sinatra escaped to Palm Springs for frequent retreats from Los Angeles. He was not initially enthused by the idea of owning a Desert Modernism house, but the architects that he collaborated with persuaded him that this design would suit him better for life in the desert. The collection of linear shapes and towering fences make this property all the more alluring.

  1. Albert Frey’s Second House – 686 Palisades Drive

Frey House, Palm Springs CA by Joe Wolf | Flickr is licensed under Creative Commons — Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic — CC BY-ND 2.0

The simple rectangular design of this low house enables it to seemingly fade into the mountainside. This design truly connects with the outdoors, as rocks from the slope in which it sits were incorporated into the home design. A walk through the property will reveal rocks that are dividing different areas of the living space.

  1. Edris House – 1030 W Cielo Drive

1954 … Edris House, Palm Springs | architect – E. Stewart … | Flickr by James Vaughan | Flickr is licensed under Creative Commons — Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic — CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Another example of how Desert Modernism designs structures with the outdoors in mind, this house is situated atop a rocky slope. The chimney was created with rocks from the surrounding terrain, while the outdoor pool is nestled among a collection of boulders. The large glass wall in the living room provides spectacular views for those inside this house.

  1. Tramway Shell Gas Station – 2796 North Palm Canyon Drive

Mid-Century Modern Shell Station, Palm Springs CA” by Joe Wolf | Flickr is licensed under Creative Commons — Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic — CC BY-ND 2.0

Enjoy a glimpse into the past when you fuel up at this functional shell gas station. The roof is a thin slab of flat concrete while the remainder of the structure is comprised of simple, symmetrical lines and cubes. A quick stop for fuel will readily help any customer to appreciate the subtle intricacies of this gas station.


There are dozens of other breathtaking examples of Mid-Century Modern structures in Palm Springs. Desert Modernism is both popular and practical in this town, as the simple designs of such buildings help people to connect with nature by providing them with easy access to interact with the natural world. Whether these buildings include enormous windows, sliding glass doors, or boulders in the yard (or even in the house).

Desert Modernism-style buildings are on full display in Palm Springs. Those who appreciate the beauty and simplicity of Mid-Century Modern buildings will have to make it a priority to visit Palm Springs, as the town features some of the finest examples of such houses in the world. Those who get the chance to visit this desert oasis may find that a simple drive around the town to take in the marvelous architectural wonders is very worthwhile.

‘Hot Springs’ Guide to Desert Hot Water Springs in Palm Springs

Palm Springs is a wonderful community that is filled with a wide array of exciting attractions. Those who visit Palm Springs will certainly want to make the most of their stay in this desert oasis, but visitors may find that their attempts to take in as much of Palm Springs as possible leave them sore and tired. This is especially true for visitors who do a bit of hiking around Palm Springs, as the terrain surrounding the desert oasis is hilly and uneven. Feelings of soreness and fatigue can be overwhelming and make it difficult to find the motivation to embark on too many strenuous activities. Luckily, a remedy for weary visitors of Palm Springs exists just a short distance away. The assortment of desert hot water springs that can be found in the area can relieve any soreness or discomfort that visitors may be feeling after several busy days in the area.

There are a few desert hot springs within the limits of Palm Springs, but they are not available for public access because they are situated on a Native American reservation. You may be saddened that you can’t access these desert water springs, but don’t worry there are plenty to go around. A fantastic collection of these hot water springs can be accessed a short distance north in the aptly-named community of Desert Hot Springs.

Where Do The Desert Hot Water Springs Come From?

The remarkable desert water springs of Desert Hot Springs are made possible by an underground aquifer beneath the community. This aquifer is continuously replenished thanks to melted snow from the nearby Mount San Gorgonio. Over the course of many years, this water runs down the mountain and gradually seeps into the aquifer beneath Desert Hot Springs. During this methodical process, the melted snow absorbs a myriad of minerals and nutrients. By the time the water has found its way into the aquifer, it has become some of the most highly sought water in the world thanks to all of the valuable minerals and nutrients that are accumulated on its journey to the aquifer.

The Benefits Of Soaking In A Desert Hot Water Spring

Many seek out the desert springs because of the benefits that a soak in one of these pools can have for those who take a dip. Some may be skeptical of the benefits that soaking in these mineral-rich springs can have, but research has affirmed that the springs are legitimate.

A dip in a desert water spring not only feels fantastic, but it is also exceptionally beneficial for many aspects of your health. Soaking in desert springs can work wonders for your skin, as the water cleanses any impurities from the skin as it opens up your pores and facilitates a healthy community for your skin. Moreover, the minerals contained within the spring water soften your skin. For those who have skin that is rough or dry, they may notice a considerable difference in how their skin feels before and after spending time in the spring.

A dip in a desert spring can also improve your body’s circulation, as the experience could help improve your breathing while easing any tension that may be carried within your body. Of course, soaking in a desert spring also has tremendous benefits for one’s mental health, as immersing yourself in one of these springs can be exceptionally relaxing. Such an experience helps an individual to take their minds off of the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Springs can be cathartic and help people to clear their minds as they focus on the fulfilling feeling of a calm spring soak.

Soaking in a hot spring can also provide relief for any ailments and conditions that people may be experiencing. While desert water springs cannot reverse the impacts of an affliction and heal a person, they can mitigate the pain visitors are experiencing by dulling pain receptors. Such abilities help those who enjoy these springs to forget about most pains that they regularly experience during their time in the spring.

Desert Hot Springs Spas And Resorts

Spas and resorts around Desert Hot Springs have capitalized on the desire of visitors to experience the springs, and there are now ample opportunities for tourists to take in the springs around Desert Hot Springs. Contrary to what many believe, desert water springs can be cold water in addition to hot water springs. Such a reality is fantastic news for those who are not enthused by the prospect of immersing themselves in a hot spring on a sweltering desert day. For those who may not find a soak in a hot water spring to be appealing, taking a dip in a cold water desert spring could be far more refreshing. Cold water springs offer many of the same benefits that hot water springs can offer, and they are especially good at improving one’s circulation.

Of course, those who visit Desert Hot Springs needn’t limit themselves to choosing between either hot or cold water springs-there will be plenty of opportunities to experience both options so one can find their preference. As a matter of fact, many of the resorts or spas that you will come across in Desert Hot Springs feature both cold and hot water springs. Some visitors to the springs prefer one choice over another, while others like to go back and forth between hot and cold water springs during their time at a spa or resort.

The Desert Hot Springs community has made a name for itself as a location where anyone can escape for a restful and relaxing getaway. The people of Desert Hot Springs are welcoming and accommodating to visitors, and many would be hard-pressed to find a more relaxing environment. The town of Desert Hot Springs is so renowned for being a peaceful getaway that it is considered by many to be the spa capital of America.

It would be hard to argue with the notion that Desert Hot Springs lays claim to the spa capital of America, as the town has dozens of resorts and spas. No matter your budget or preferred accommodations, there are plenty of options to choose from when selecting a location in which you can enjoy a luxurious desert water spring. Some spas offer tourists the opportunity to enjoy a brief soak in a desert water spring, but for those interested in extended bouts of relaxation, many resorts give the option for visitors to stay for a few nights and immerse themselves in several days of relaxation.

Here are ten fantastic spa or resort options for those seeking a relaxing time in Desert Hot Springs:

Miracle Springs Resort & Spa

With eight different spring-fed pools to choose from, Miracle Springs Resort and Spa offers a lovely experience to those who visit. Complete with both hot and cold water natural springs, this establishment can accommodate whatever your preference may be. Guests interested in an extended stay have a variety of lodging options to choose from so they can maximize their enjoyment of this location.

Hope Springs

An assortment of natural hot springs, pools, and spa rooms makes Hope Springs a fantastic getaway for all. Whether you’re interested in soaking in a hot spring or relaxing with spa treatments, this hotel and spa will be perfect for you.

Caliente Springs Resort

Guests that stay at Caliente Springs RV Resort can enjoy a traditional vacation rental or the unique experience of staying in an RV. This resort is aptly named, as the hot springs on the property are kept at temperatures that range from 115 to over 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Once you get your hot spring fill, guests can enjoy an assortment of games and amenities.

Sagewater Spa

Constructed in 1954, Sagewater Spa serves as a hotel for those who visit Desert Hot Springs. One of the most historic hotels in the area, this establishment includes a spa, swimming pool, and stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

The Spring Resort & Day Spa

A highly decorated resort, The Spring Resort & Spa has compiled a wide array of accolades for the exquisite atmosphere that they’ve developed. Complete with three mineral pools, guests can relax while enjoying the benefits of the mineral-rich water.

Tuscan Springs Hotel & Spa

With a fantastic ambiance and a peaceful environment, Tuscan Springs Hotel & Spa is a terrific selection for those hoping to unwind on a trip to Palm Springs. The water in their pools is naturally heated to 117 degrees Fahrenheit to allow guests to practically feel their stress melt away.

Azure Palm Hot Springs

This sizable hotel includes over thirty rooms and an entire lap pool that is filled with mineral water. Guests at Azure Palm Hot Springs can participate in yoga, take a soak in a hot spring pool, or allow their tension to melt away with a spa treatment.

Two Bunch Palms

Offering mineral water tubs with adjustable temperatures, customers can modify the water to fit their preferences. Visitors rave about the design of Two Bunch Palms, as the property has been landscaped with a variety of plants to make people feel as though they are in an exotic rainforest.

Lido Palms Resort And Spa

Aptly named, Lido Palms Resort And Spa is filled with lush palm trees and gorgeous views. Take a relaxing soak in a mineral pool complete with jets to enhance your enjoyment, try one of the yoga retreats offered here, or participate in water therapy to help relieve any stress you may be feeling.

The Good House

A small establishment with a limited number of rooms makes your stay at The Good House feel charming and welcoming. Enjoy a massage or soak in the pool to help you unwind. You could even get a group of friends together and reserve the entire place for yourselves!


After a long day of exploring the traffic sites and attractions that Palm Springs has to offer, what better way to unwind at night than a relaxing soak in the famous hot and cold water springs of Desert Hot Springs? You can practically feel the stress and tension leave your body as you enjoy the peacefulness of your soaking experience. After immersing yourself in the laid-back atmosphere of this community, you may find it hard to leave. Luckily, Desert Hot Springs is only a short drive from Palm Springs, so those who make regular visits to Palm Springs can easily incorporate a visit to this town into their plans. For those who have never before visited the Palm Springs area, making the brief journey north to Desert Hot Springs is a must!

6 Best Things to Do in Palm Springs, California

Until a few decades ago, ‘Hollywood’s desert playground’, as Palm Springs is also called, was the domain of movie stars and golfing retirees. Snowbirds, hipsters, and hikers have also discovered the sunny place. Retro and chic are combined, from glass bungalows – designed by famous architects – to vintage hotels and hip bars. The calming oasis in the middle of the desert is an excellent stopping point between the Grand Canyon/Phoenix and Los Angeles.

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is the largest rotating cable car in the world and brings you from the desert to the mountains. The cable car ascends almost two kilometers and offers a beautiful view over the Chino Canyon and the surrounding area. The starting point (Valley Station) is at an altitude of 800 meters, and about twelve minutes later you are at 2,596 meters. The floor of the tram rotates and during the ride, you make two circles. This way you don’t miss anything of the view. At the top of the funicular, you will find a restaurant, a souvenir shop, and observation decks.  At the valley station, you can see the authentic trams that were used from the opening in 1963.

Pro tip: The station theater is showing ‘Building on a Dream’, an 18-minute film about the history and construction of the Tramway.


Can you book tickets in advance?

Yes, while it is possible to book tickets in the Valley station, it might be a better option to book your tickets online in advance.

What is at the top?

At the top you can have dinner at the restaurants, enjoy the views from the observation deck or go on a hike on the Long Valley trails.

Indian Canyons

One of the best things to do in Palm Springs is visit Indian Canyons. The Indian Canyon is a collective name for the Tahquitz Canyon, Palm Canyon, Andreas Canyon, and Murray Canyon, which used to be sacred grounds for Native Americans. You’ll find huge rock formations, water currents, horseback riding, and picnicking. But most people come here to hike. You literally follow in the footsteps of the Indians. At the Trading Post, you can buy hiking maps, food, and drinks, but also Indian art and utensils.

Pro tip: Admire the California Fan Palm as Indian Canyons is home to the largest oasis in the world.


How to reach Indian Canyons?

Indian Canyons is just a few miles away from Palm Springs. You can find it at 38520 S Palm Canyon Drive.

What is the best hike in Indian Canyons?

If you are short on time Andreas Canyon Loop is a good option as it gives a good glance of what Indian Canyon is all about. If you have more time and want to cool off at the end, Murray Canyon Palm Springs is ideal. The trail leads to a waterfall and pool where you can swim.

Palm Springs Art Museum

For a long time, Palm Springs, California was a go-to place for artists. Founded in 1933, this museum houses a remarkable collection of modern art, glassware, and Native American and Mesoamerican art. The permanent collection includes works by Charles Russell and Ruscha. The museum is not too big but well worth a visit if you love art and have a few hours to spare while visiting Palm Springs.


Pro tip: Events often take place and professional music and theater performances are often staged in the accompanying venue.



Do I need to purchase tickets on Free Thursday?


No, on Thursday night admission is first come, first served. You don´t need to book your visit in advance.


Are dogs allowed in the museum?


No, only service dogs are allowed on a leash.


The Palm Springs Air Museum

Palm Springs Air Museum is a non-profit educational museum and features one of the world’s largest collections of flyable fighter aircraft from World War II. Documentaries about the Air Force are shown in the accompanying cinema. The emphasis here is on the Second World War. Uniforms, utensils, and original photos are also on display.


Pro tip: For an unforgettable experience, book a flight with one of the historic aircraft. You can see scheduled flights and a list of aircraft on the official website.



How many planes are in the Palms Springs Air Museum?


The museum has nine aircraft that are held in optimal flying conditions. It is possible to book a flight with them.


Are dogs allowed in the museum?


The museum allows pets to enter the museum as long as they behave.




Heading to Joshua Tree? Just north of Palm Springs is the Old West movie set Pioneertown. The town was built in 1946 by Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, and Gene Autry and is the setting for ‘gunfight shows’ every summer. You can go to Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace for a refreshment such as a beer or linger here for a barbecue with live music.


Pro tip: Short on time? Visit Mane Street to see the best of Pioneertown.



Is Pioneertown an actual cowboy location?


No, real cowboys never lived here. Pioneer town is a movie location that was often used to shoot old westerns. Still, the town has some residents living here.


How to reach Pioneertown?


Pioneertown is located at a quite secluded location in the desert. The best way to get there is by car. There is free parking on the site.


Joshua Tree National Park.

Of course, a visit to the beautiful Joshua Tree National Park should not be missed during your stay in Palm Springs. The city is an excellent base for visiting the Park. From Palm Springs you can reach this spectacular National Park within 45 minutes.


The Park owes its name to the trees in the Park. Those trees were called Joshua Trees, a type of cactus that got its name from the Bible. The branches of these trees resemble the arms of a biblical figure, the prophet Joshua. The park is also popular for its secluded locations which allow visitors to see the milky way at night.


Pro tip: There are two parts to Joshua Tree: The lower Sonoran Desert and the higher Mojave Desert. The higher Mojave desert area is a landscape full of giant granite blocks. This area is a favorite place for many mountaineers. In the lower part, you will find a number of sights and many walks are possible.


Which entrance is best at Joshua Tree National Park?


The western entrance is the most popular amongst visitors as it gives access to hiking trails.


Is there an entrance fee for Joshua Tree National Park?


Yes, as a national park, an entrance fee needs to be paid when entering the park. The price is 30 dollars per vehicle. This allows access to the park for 7 days.


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