Palm Springs: Then and Now

Palm Springs isn’t just famous for its lively music festivals and perfect pool weather. Rich with history, the once unheard of desert oasis has been the home to amazing architectural innovation and has hosted a wide array of timeless figures throughout the years.

Named on the list of America’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations by The National Trust for Historic Preservation, the unique Palm Springs style we all know and love today was created by stars looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles and hideout in the desert. Once an untouched desert location, Palm Springs has become a favorite among many for its relaxing appeal. The exclusive Palm Springs style has been crafted into one you will not find anywhere else. Experience all that Palm Springs has to offer: then and now.

Where the Party Started

Surely different from what you will find in any other city, the classic Palm Springs style is all thanks to what began back in the 1920s when the El Mirador Hotel was first opened. While this famed destination no longer exists, we remember it fondly as the place that first attracted the Hollywood crowd to the desert all those years ago. As the hotel gained popularity, including features like the famous Racquet Club, stars flocked inland to check out what seemed to be the hottest new place to live it up. As they discovered, Palm Springs has long been the perfect vacation spot to retreat to for some much-needed chill time.

A New Hotspot 

As more people caught wind of the cool Palm Springs style, the small desert city quickly became the new travel hotspot (no pun intended). We still see the unforgettable style of the Palm Springs neighborhoods first built decades ago. The influence of the desert is what inspired the modern and sleek designs we see today. A combination of revolutionary structures with a touch of vintage is what makes this area so different from any other. Known to be a favorite of the one and only Elvis Presley and even Frank Sinatra, it did not take long for Palm Springs to gain the reputation of the ideal hideaway for the stars. The California desert provides a much needed escape from the bustling Hollywood atmosphere.

Loved by the Stars: Marilyn Monroe

Speaking of the stars, did we mention the number one desert party spot was a favorite of Marilyn Monroe? That’s right, Marilyn became enchanted by Palm Springs while visiting the famous Racquet Club in 1947. At only 21 years of age and not even known by the public yet, Marilyn made connections on her frequent visits to the El Mirador Hotel that ended up boosting her career. After becoming a big star, she didn’t forget about her favorite desert getaway. She was the proud owner of a bungalow-style home in Las Palmas. The game-changing celebrity can be remembered by the Forever Marilyn statue, erected in the city in the summer of 2013. Marilyn Monroe’s love of the unassuming desert town is one that has greatly impacted Palm Springs over the decades.

High Rollers: Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

Palm Springs is home to one of the greatest engineering feats to date. It all started in 1963 with Francis F. Crocker coming up with the idea to build an aerial tramway through the Chino Canyon in the San Jacinto Mountains. The towers connecting the tramway were built by helicopters that required a whopping 23,000 flights to complete. The once-in-a-lifetime experience has transported almost 500,000 desert out-of-towners to a beautiful aerial view of Palm Springs as they soar through the mountainous peaks. Even after all these years, the tram is still the largest and highest rotating tram car in the world. If you’re ever feeling a little too hot down in the desert, a trip on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is a great way to transport yourself to a completely different world full of cool mountain activities. There is no doubt you’ll return to the city feeling refreshed.

A Place for Theatrics: McCallum Theatre

As a favorite destination of some of the biggest names in show business, it makes sense that Palm Springs is the home to a state-of-the-art theater. Community discussion of a theater for the purpose of education and entertainment all started back in 1974. President Gerald Ford was one of the famous donors who contributed to the cause. Turning out to be a big project, the McCallum Theatre finally opened in 1989, where Bob Hope hosted an NBC special, watched by Americans across the country. The special hosted many stars and household names, Oprah Winfrey and Elizabeth Taylor have done shows in McCallum Theatre. Nowadays, McCallum Theatre continues to host sold out shows featuring a large assortment of acts. One notable event still hosted by the theater is the choreography festival, which we must say is definitely worth checking out.

Palm Springs Never Goes Out of Style

The desert continues to be a place where people flock to get away and relax. It’s a laid-back scene with the lingering of Hollywood glamour that put this area on the map. Next time you make your way to Palm Springs, appreciate the architecture, art, and culture that make up this beautiful oasis.

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