Famous Houses in Palm Springs, Palm Springs

Famous Houses in Palm Springs (Self Guided), Palm Springs

Since the early 1930s, Palm Springs, California, has been a favorite desert oasis for the Hollywood elite. With its excellent winter and springtime weather, fabulous shopping, and beautiful overall ambiance, this place offered celebrities a convenient escape from clamoring photographers and newspaper gossip.

Here, behind the private walls of homes and bungalows, the stars could feel relaxed and uninhibited. With time, prominent architects received important commissions to design sleek, modern, and rather extravagant residences where the rich and famous could live their real lives.

One such notable place is the Kaufmann Desert House, renowned for its modernist architecture designed by Richard Neutra for a department store magnate.

Another is the Kennedy/Lawford Home. Once owned by the screen star Peter Lawford and his wife, Pat Kennedy, sister of President John F Kennedy, it epitomizes Palm Springs' 1950s and '60s heyday.

The Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway is yet another highlight. Here, the newlyweds Elvis and Priscilla Presley spent the first year of their marriage.

Adding to the area's allure is the charming bungalow-style Marilyn Monroe House, one of the 43 properties the iconic actress had owned during her transient life.

Dean Martin's Home also stands out, reflecting the lavish lifestyle of the Rat Pack era, while Ann Miller's House, Elizabeth Taylor’s House, and Liberace House further exemplify the opulence and sophistication associated with Palm Springs.

Moreover, the Twin Palms Estate, famously known as the Sinatra House, is a symbol of mid-century modern architecture and the epitome of Hollywood glamour. Bob Hope's House and Las Palomas, also known as the Cary Grant Estate, add to the constellation of celebrity residences in Palm Springs, each with its unique charm and history.

In a way, the above locations are living testaments to the golden age of Hollywood. For anyone enthusiastic about architecture or simply curious about the lives of some of the most celebrated figures in entertainment history, visiting these homes offers a glimpse into a bygone era of elegance and extravagance. If you're intrigued by the allure of Palm Springs as a retreat for the rich and famous, buckle up for this self-guided tour and prepare to get excited!
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Famous Houses in Palm Springs Map

Guide Name: Famous Houses in Palm Springs
Guide Location: USA » Palm Springs (See other walking tours in Palm Springs)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 11
Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 7.2 Km or 4.5 Miles
Author: Dee
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Kaufmann Desert House
  • Kennedy/Lawford Home
  • Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway
  • Marilyn Monroe House
  • Dean Martin's Home
  • Ann Miller's House
  • Elizabeth Taylor’s House
  • Liberace House
  • Twin Palms Estate – Sinatra House
  • Bob Hope's House
  • Las Palomas – Cary Grant Estate
Kaufmann Desert House

1) Kaufmann Desert House

Owning the most famous house in the world – the Fallingwater – was not enough for department store magnate Edgar J. Kaufmann: he needed a winter residence and he needed it in Palm Springs. In 1946, Kaufmann chose architect Richard Neutra – revered in his time as a pillar of American Modernism – to build a luxurious Desert House that would also function as an "efficient machine". The result was, arguably, Neutra's most famous design. Soon after its completion in 1949, for what was then considered astronomical $300,000, the sleek forms and mechanical imagery of this building became an emblem of high Modernist style in the US.

The five-bedroom, six-bathroom vacation house was designed to provide a seamless connection to the surrounding desert landscape, simultaneously offering shelter from the harsh climatic conditions. Large sliding glass walls bring the desert practically indoors, while the major outdoor rooms are enclosed by a row of movable vertical fins that offer flexible protection against sandstorms and intense heat. After Kaufmann's death in 1955, the house had a series of owners, including singer Barry Manilow.

Today, many critics place the Kaufmann House among the most important buildings of the 20th century in the United States, along with the likes of the Fallingwater, Robie House, Gropius House, and the Gamble House. Interestingly, despite its location in Palm Springs, this property was also included in an expert-reviewed list of all-time top 10 houses in Los Angeles, too.
Kennedy/Lawford Home

2) Kennedy/Lawford Home

No other house reflects Palm Springs’ famed heyday in the 1950s and '60s better than this one – the hideaway of screen star Peter Lawford and his wife, Pat Kennedy, sister of the famed president John Fitzgerald Kennedy. A close friend and confidant of Marilyn Monroe, and as a brother-in-law of JFK, Lawford introduced the two in 1954, with rumors of an affair still holding their mystique.

Besides his successful career and being a socialite, Lawford was also part of the Rat Pack, with Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Joey Bishop and Sammy Davis Jr. When the Pack was not partying at Sinatra's mansion, it was often here with the stars and moguls of Hollywood's Golden Age.

If you've ever been interested in seeing how legends lived back in the day, you can rent this recently restored home on a per-night basis and get a first-hand experience.
Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway

3) Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway (must see)

Another exemplar of Modernist style, this is the house where Elvis and Priscilla Presley lived in luxury during their first year of marriage, from 1966 to 1967, throwing infamously lavish parties. With its Jetsons-style furniture and lava rock wall, complete with electronic controls for indoor climate, outside lights and automatic rain, this place was considered, at the time, an innovative "home of the future". It also has a lush garden, large in-ground pool, and a tennis court.

Located close to the San Jacinto Mountains and offering a wonderful view of the Coachella Valley and Santa Rosa Mountains, the property was carefully restored to its original splendor in the 1990s.

For a peek inside, a private one-hour guided tour – starting at 1pm or 3:30pm – can be arranged ahead of time. If you're an Elvis fan, you will feel special being able to sit on the same furniture the King of Rock and Roll once sat, walk through the same rooms he did (which have retained much of the original layout, including kitchen counters, appliances, and other fixtures) and thus enjoy a personal connection to the King. The tour guide is very knowledgeable and more than willing to take pictures for you, as there are quite a few fantastic photo ops here to take advantage of!
Marilyn Monroe House

4) Marilyn Monroe House

Throughout her lifetime, Ms. Monroe had lived in 43 different homes – some belonging to her lovers and husbands, while others, including this one, were mostly rented.

With its Spanish-tiled steps, black-and-white striped sunshades, abundant foliage, and gold-trimmed wrought-iron front gate, this charming bungalow-style dwelling, described as "the most beautiful house on the block", literally screams "fifties"!!!

The shrubbery in front of the property has grown considerably in recent years, blocking quite a bit of the exterior from view. But the home is surprisingly stalker-friendly otherwise, located very close to the street and with no gate or wall to block it off, either.
Dean Martin's Home

5) Dean Martin's Home

Legendary crooner, TV host and "Rat Pack" member, Dean Martin was among the last of the Hollywood elite to have moved to the desert. He was also among the last to have acquired a Mid-century modern marvel from the father-and-son architect team of George and Robert Alexander before they died in a plane crash. Martin, renowned for throwing lavish dinner parties, bought this house for $56,000 and luxuriated here for a while, along with his gorgeous second wife, Jeanne, back in the 1960s and '70s.

Like almost all the other homes built for life in the desert, 'Dino's Den' lies low and blends with the surrounding topography. Easily visible from the street, it has been a favorite on celebrity tours from the time the Martins moved in. The three-bedroom, three-bathroom dwelling features a pool, spa, ceiling-to-floor glass sliding walls, and fruit trees on the quarter-acre lot. The tan-and-white pattern, conjoined with several lush palms and rocks, augments the eye-catchy, modern design.
Ann Miller's House

6) Ann Miller's House

Sitting on one of Las Palmas neighborhood's biggest (and most expensive) lots, Ann Miller's house is what a great many people envision the exemplary Hollywood "dream home" to be – beautiful and bold, much like the acclaimed actress herself. Having decided against launching new construction, she chose to acquire a pre-existing 1928 property to which she added her own little touches of extravagance, which are now widely considered as timeless.

With exotic palm trees dispersed through the lawn, this home reeks of the ambiance of an archetypal oasis of paradise; a place where one can accomplish every dream.
Elizabeth Taylor’s House

7) Elizabeth Taylor’s House

It is here, in the upscale Old Las Palmas neighborhood, that you find the oasis of the one and only Elisabeth Taylor. Known as Casa Elizabeth, this home is full of Taylor's art collection, from photography to oil paintings, including Andy Warhol's famous portrait of the hostess.

Dame Elizabeth Taylor was a British-American actress who took Hollywood by storm as a child-actress in the early 1940s and continued starring in feature films up until the mid-1970s. Her most critically-acclaimed films include “Cleopatra” (that hit the screens in 1961) and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” (released in 1966). Later in her career, Taylor became known for stage productions and television movies as well. She was constantly in the spotlight, with eight marriages to seven men and a jet-set lifestyle.

The property includes three detached casitas for guests, a large courtyard veranda, a second-story observation deck, and luxury landscaping. The pool is one of the finest in Southern California. An open-air pavilion, fountains, and lots of palm trees complete the oasis getaway look.

Renovated by Kathy Ireland and now sometimes referred to as "The Jewel of the Desert," the home is currently available for rent nightly or as a wedding venue.
Liberace House

8) Liberace House

Although throughout his lifetime flamboyant pianist, Władziu Valentino Liberace, (the Grammy winner and possibly the music world's ultimate showman) had owned four Palm Springs homes, this beautiful Mediterranean estate at the intersection of Alejo and Belardo roads is most widely known for representing his particularly eclectic vision.

After the acquisition, Liberace turned this former boutique hotel with five bedrooms into a set of thematic units. Prime among them was the Valentino bedroom, featuring a sleigh bed and other furnishings, all originally from Valentino's home "Falcon's Lair", purchased at an auction. There was also the perky Safari Room with a tiger painting, a lion tapestry, and a life-size horse sculpture; and a Persian tent room by the side of the pool. Outside the rooms, Liberace spent daily some time praying in his onsite shrine dedicated to St. Anthony. The musician reportedly passed away here in February 1987.

While the property has now lost some of its dazzles brought in by Liberace, the presence of several L's strategically placed throughout the exterior – including spots like the garden fencing, doors of the garage (where the pianist reportedly took to living at one point), and mosaic tiles in cement in front of the side door – remove any doubt as to the owner's identity.
Twin Palms Estate – Sinatra House

9) Twin Palms Estate – Sinatra House

Designed by then-still-unknown Mid-century Modern architect E. Stewart Williams, this long and low structure became the unofficial prototype for much of the construction that followed in the desert oasis of Palm Springs. Despite being Williams's first designed home, privately commissioned by Frank Sinatra after he had made his first million dollars, he knew exactly what worked in a desert environment and what didn't. Although initially Sinatra had his sights set on a Georgian-style mansion with several stories, the architect patiently guided him in the direction of something more daring and appropriate to living in California's sometimes harsh climatic conditions.

With guest quarters at 4,500 square feet and post-war Hollywood glamour at full throttle, this house soon became the scene of countless star-studded, cocktail-flowing parties. It is even rumored that the famous crooner would put up a flag in front of the property, so that neighbors would know when to come by for a drink (how very neighborly!).

Despite Sinatra's occupying the place for no more than 10 years, remnants of his personality remain here to this day – from the grand piano-shaped swimming pool to the well-represented train collection and the numerous celebrity portraits lining the walls (two of which are of Marilyn Monroe).
Bob Hope's House

10) Bob Hope's House

This five-bedroom, seven-bath home was occupied by comedian Bob Hope and his wife Dolores for many years. Best known as an actor, Bob Hope was also a vaudevillian, dancer, singer, and author. Throughout his career that spanned almost 80 years, he had appeared in more than 70 films, starring in 54.

Overall, the Hopes had owned three properties in Palm Springs during their time in the town. This house, which sits on 16,000 square feet in a park-like setting, surrounded by a privacy hedge and citrus trees, is gracefully modern. Built in 1935, it features an enormous swimming pool and a large patio with a retractable awning. There is a small detached casita with a private entrance for guests, too.
Las Palomas – Cary Grant Estate

11) Las Palomas – Cary Grant Estate

Originally built in 1927 by the commission of Palm Springs' very first pharmacist, Dr. Jacob John Kocher, the magnificent Andalusian-style "Las Palomas" mansion was Cary Grant's desert home for nearly two decades, from 1954 to 1972. During his ownership, the legendary actor made it a gathering spot for celebrities and the Old Hollywood elite. Among the guests here were the likes of Alfred Hitchcock, Clark Gable, Grace Kelly, Katharine Hepburn, Howard Hughes, Frank Sinatra, and Sophia Loren, to mention but a few. A lifelong supporter of the US armed forces, Grant also made it a practice of hosting events for the troops stationed at the nearby 29 Palms – the largest Marine Corps base.

Successfully restored in 2009, the 6,000-square-foot house features such details as thick whitewashed walls, hand-painted tile, custom cabinetry, and wood-burning fireplaces. Sadly, not much of the ultra-private abode can be seen from the street, but the estate's mailbox, designed as a miniature replica of "Las Palomas" (which means "The Doves" in Spanish), is still there!

Walking Tours in Palm Springs, California

Create Your Own Walk in Palm Springs

Create Your Own Walk in Palm Springs

Creating your own self-guided walk in Palm Springs is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Palm Springs Introduction Walking Tour

Palm Springs Introduction Walking Tour

The Cahuilla people have lived in the Coachella Valley for over 2,000 years, long before the first European settlers showed up in the early 1800s. The area was popular because there was an abundance of water and shade here, rare commodities in the Sonoran Desert. Much of the land in and around Palm Springs is on the Agua Caliente Reservation; you can learn more about the Cahuilla at the Agua...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 Km or 1.8 Miles