Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride, even more so along streets lined with palm trees, eclectic colorful cafes, trendy boutiques, vintage signage and bright colorful homes. The impressive San Jacinto Mountains frame the blue skies, breathtaking desert scenery falls all around and the sunshine warms your skin as you explore the streets of Palm Springs.
Self-Guided Bike Tours of Palm Springs
Palm Springs has an extensive system of easy to follow bike routes. Explore the downtown shopping areas, immerse yourself in the legacy of Hollywood, cruise the residential streets and discover the historic mid-century modern architecture that draws so many to the streets of Palm Springs. Palm Springs is a driving optional kind of place, so load up the bikes or pick up a rental, ride tandem or solo, and join us to explore the sights of Palm Springs on a self-guided bike tour with so much to see along the way. Plot your bike route and follow the map for a feast for the eyes.
Palm Springs Mid-Century Modern Architecture
Bank of America
588 S. Palm Canyon DriveAn architectural gem that stands as it was originally built. Inspired by Le Corbusier’s chapel in Ronchamp, France the Bank of America has been honored for maintaining the architectural integrity of The City National Bank Building and committing to the preservation of the Palm Springs area’s celebrated legacy of modern design. Stop by and make a transaction!
383 S Palm Canyon DriveLocated in the “Financial Row” of downtown Palm Springs, The Bank is a white cube of Bauhaus-inspired modernism. Designed by E. Stewart Williams, the 1955 Coachella Valley Savings and Loan Building now stands as a unique event venue. An architectural marvel, the Bank has been restored with all its original features including the black terrazzo floors, free-form staircase and original wall clock.
Palm Springs Architecture and Design Center
300 S. Palm Canyon DriveAnother classic mid-century international style structure beautifully design by E. Stewart Williams in 1961 as the Santa Fe Federal Savings and Loan building. Elevated above street level, the glass and steel building houses the Palm Springs Art Museum.
The Del Marcos Hotel
225 W Baristo Rd.Nestled against the San Jacinto Mountains, the Del Marcos Hotel was designed in 1947 by the famous architect William F. Cody winning him an American Institute of Architects award. The cutting edge of informal resort design, the modernism style reflects in the interior and exterior of the hotel with bold angled roof and walls, stone facade, glass-enclosed lobby and an open breezeway.
Agua Caliente Cultural Museum
219 S Palm Canyon DriveExplore the history and culture of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians at the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum. Enjoy fascinating exhibits and artifacts, cultural festivals and fundraisers and enlightening lectures at this fascinating museum downtown.
The Frey House II
West Palisades DriveFully representing the desert modernism style, located on a private drive behind the art museum, this modest home is best viewed from W. Arenas Road. Perched on the rocky slopes, a home built from low-cost, low-maintenance aluminum with baked enamel finishes offset against the pale-yellow drapes inspired by the surrounding sunflowers. Frey designed the home for himself in 1963 and lived there for the rest of his life, bequeathing it to the Palm Springs Art Museum.
The Burgess House
viewed from W. Arenas RoadAnother gem to be viewed from W. Arenas Road is the stunning glass and mirror Burgess House, designed by Hugh Kaptur in 1957. It took an amazing 15 years of blasting into the hillside to create this desert oasis. Albert Frey added his architectural touch in 1986 with the mirrored guest house that stands invisibly behind the garage.
Las Palmas Neighborhood
The Las Palmas neighborhood features beautiful secluded estates nestled up against the San Jacinto Mountains on the northwest side of town. These palm-lined streets are where celebrities chose their desert playground and world-famous architects left their marks of modernism. It is on these streets you will find some of Palm Springs true gems. Aside from the architectural gems, you will pass the homes of celebrities such as Clark Gable, Nat King Cole, Debbie Reynolds, Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, the Reagans and the striking home of Barbara Streisand and James Brolin.
Ann Miller House
457 Hermosa PlaceThis extravagant home sits on one of the biggest lots in the Las Palmas neighborhood. Once the stomping grounds of acclaimed actress Ann Miller (Kiss me Kate, Easter Parade, Broadway’s Sugar Babes), this Spanish style home is bold and beautiful in true Hollywood Style.
Marilyn Monroe House
1326 Rose AvenueA charming little bungalow with Spanish tiled steps, black and white striped awnings and a wrought iron front gate, the most beautiful house on the block surrounded by rich green shrubbery that make it hard to see the home. It’s rumored she lived there several months before her death.
Elvis’ Honeymoon Hideaway
1350 Ladera CircleA futuristic mid-century modern Alexander Construction project designed by William Krisel, hailed by Look Magazine as “The House of Tomorrow” in the 1960’s. Originally the home of the Alexander family until their tragic and fatal plane crash in 1965. The Presley’s leased the home in 1966 and it soon became known as their “Honeymoon Hideaway”. This home has stunning views of the Coachella Valley and Santa Rosa Mountains and is known for its floating glass bedroom being the dominant feature.
Piazza de Liberace
1441 N Kaweah RoadLiberace was a flamboyant man who marveled the world with his incredible stage performances. It is fitting that he chose this house to call home. Once a hotel, the Piazza de Liberace oozes opulence in every corner from the musical notes on the garden fencing and the grand piano mailbox to the statues of Roman youths and lions that flank the entrance.
W. Vista ChinoThe Kaufmann House, also known as the Kaufmann Desert House, is considered to be one of the world’s 10 most important homes. Designed by Richard Neutra in 1946 for Edgar J. Kaufmann, a business tycoon looking for a retreat from the cold Pennsylvania winters. One of Neutra’s last domestic projects and his most published and most famous house, Kaufmann House was made famous by Julius Schulman’s 1947 twilight photo of Mrs. Kaufmann by the pool, a photo that defined desert modern architecture as luxurious, sensuous and serene. After Kaufmann’s death, the five bedroom, five bathroom home stood abandoned and vacant for years, being restored to its original glory in 1991. It is “one of the most important examples of International Style architecture in the United States and the only one still in private hands”.
The Wexler Steel Houses
290 Simms Road
300 & 330 E. Molino Road
3100,3125, 3133, & 3165 Sunny View DriveClassified as a Class 1 Historical Site, the Wexler Steel Houses were the vision of Donald Wexler who combined upscale modernism with prefabricated construction techniques creating elegant and affordable steel designs. The rising cost of steel put a halt to these homes and only seven were built with six being restored to their original condition.
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
1 Tramway RoadThe Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, commonly known as “The Palm Springs Tram” is possibly Palm Spring’s greatest tourist attraction. The entrance “Tramway Valley Station” and the mountain-top “Tramway Mountain Station” were designed in true mid-century modern architecture style by Albert Frey & Robson C. Chambers Architects and E. Stewart Williams respectively. The third famous building is the nearby Tramway Road Gas Station, also by Albert Frey & Chambers and now home to the Palm Springs Visitors Center. Located on 2901 N. Palm Canyon, the original Tramway Gas Station is a space-age style mid-century modern icon of Palm Springs Architecture set against the mountains.
Palm Springs City Hall
3200 E. Tahquitz Canyon WayAbout two miles east of downtown, at the intersection of Palm Canyon Drive and Tahquitz Canyon Way, yet worth a visit, is the Palm Springs City Hall. The City Hall facade looks the same today as when it was designed and built in 1952 by the great Albert Frey. You’ll be greeted by the soaring palm trees towering through the overhang that shields the sun from the building.
Palm Springs Tennis Club
701 W. Baristo RoadThe Palm Springs Tennis Club has an interesting history, often cited by architectural historians as an “interesting and successful example of contemporary architectural concepts at their best”. The 1947 addition used natural wood, stone and glass resulting in a true desert feel. Worth a visit, even to take a peek at the pool known as “The Most Photographed Pool in America”.
Palm Springs Alexander Homes
Twin Palms Estate, Racquet Club Road Estate, Sunmor Estate
Palmer & Krisel Architects designed homes are the epitome of cutting edge futuristic designs of the mid-century. The father-son team of George and Robert Alexander collaborated with the young and talented architects to create two neighborhoods steeped in architectural history. The Twin Palms Estates on Apache Road in south Palm Springs include the home of Frank Sinatra, known for its lavish parties. The most famous of all the Palm Springs homes lies a little south of Twin Palms Estates at 1100 E. Sierra Way. That Pink Door even has its own Instagram hashtag #ThatPinkDoor, so stop by and post your selfie in front of the famous pink door. The Racquet Club Road Estates lies along Racquet Club Road, East of Indian Canyon at the northern end of Palm Springs, the most affordable of the Alexander homes in Palm Springs. Known as Little Beverly Hills, Sunmor is a well-known central Palm Springs neighborhood comprised of a remarkably intact collection of mid-century modern Alexander homes built in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. Sunmor’s most famous resident being the outspoken “cowboy major” Frank Bogert. In total, the Alexander Construction company is estimated to have built between 1,200-1,300 homes in the Palm Springs area between 1957 and 1965
If cruising the sidewalks is your style then head to Palm Springs for the Annual Tour de Palm Springs in January. If modernism is your style then Palm Springs Modernism Week in February is the time to visit. An annual celebration of mid-century modern design, architecture, art, fashion and culture and a chance to look inside some of Palm Springs signature homes. Vacation Rentals of the Desert offers vacation homes in Palm Desert for every budget, whether it be a golf side condo or a wonderful mid-century home, our vacation rentals offer all the comforts of home in beautiful Palm Springs.