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PHOTO: Frank Sinatra in Palm Springs. (photo courtesy of the Palm Springs Historical Society)
Palm Springs is known as a desert playground and has been hosting celebrities since the 1920s. Frank Sinatra left one of the biggest celebrity footprints on the town, spending his days at the Twin Palms Estate, ensconced in "Sinatra's Corner" at Melvyn's restaurant in Ingleside Inn and at his second desert escape known as "The Compound."
Visitors to Palm Springs can get a glimpse into the life and times of this celebrity era, spending a weekend living like Sinatra and walking in the footsteps of such legends as Lucille Ball, Elvis Presley, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and more.
The Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism has put together an itinerary that gives visitors the chance to celebrate the stars and walk in their footsteps, beginning with Frank Sinatra's Neighborhood: The Movie Colony Tour offered by the Palm Springs Historical Society. This two-hour guided walking tour takes place on Fridays at 9:30 a.m., beginning in late October. Attendees will learn about the building of Sinatra's Twin Palms estate and the history of the Movie Colony neighborhood.
Rat Pack Playground - Modernist Homes of Vista Las Palmas is a journey through the star-studded mid-century modern neighborhood that contained some of Palm Springs' most famous residents - and some of its best architecture. Guests will see the exteriors of Dean Martin's and Sammy Davis Jr.'s Vista Las Palmas pads and glimpse the abodes of Debbie Reynolds, Kim Novak and Elvis Presley. The two-hour guided tour takes place on Tuesdays at 9:30 a.m., beginning in late October.
For architecture buffs, the Modern Tour Palm Springs is an exclusive opportunity to see the interiors of some of the desert's most spectacular midcentury modern homes, including Sinatra's Twin Palm's estate and the homes of Elizabeth Taylor, William Holden and Elvis Presley. The tour is operated by Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center and hosted by modernist expert and author Michael Sterns. Tours are by appointment only and operate from late October to late May.
Play golf like the stars at Indian Canyons Golf Resort. It was known as Sinatra's favorite course and the resort was even known to host a concert or two by the famous performer as well as many a Rat Pack shindig. A little bit of additional lore: midcentury modern master architect duo Donald Wexler and Richard Harrison designed the scenic clubhouse in 1961, and canyon resident Walt Disney donated the fountain located between the 9th and 18th holes.
Head to the Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs for rock n roll memorabilia associated with superstars linked to the desert destination. Sinatra fans will want to take a peek at the framed wool jacket that Ol' Blue Eyes wore in the late 1980s, a note to wife Mia Farrow and a record contract from Capitol Records.
Sinatra was also buried in Desert Memorial Park - it is one of the 10 most popular gravesites to visit, according to Time magazine. And, as a last hurrah on a Frank Sinatra-inspired visit, stop at the Palm Springs Walk of Stars in downtown, which honors more than 300 of the city's most celebrated residents, including Sinatra.
Celebrating Sinatra's 100th Birthday
In honor of Sinatra's 100th birthday, the city is throwing a variety of events. Celebrate at the Dolly Sinatra Lodge, Dec. 9 from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. where there will be a special performance from local legend Frank DiSalvo, a no-host bar and dinner service. Reservations are mandatory.
The Purple Room will feature AJ Lambert, Sinatra's granddaughter, singing in celebration of his birthday on Dec. 10. Dinner begins at 5:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are available online and reservations are required.
Spencer's restaurant, a celebrity hot spot due to its private, romantic setting, will celebrate on Dec. 12 from noon to closing. There will be a live pianist playing Sinatra tunes throughout lunch and dinner.
The Colony Palms Hotel's poolside bar was a well-known Rat Pack hangout and the property will be celebrating the singer in a number of ways. Throughout December, the Purple Palms restaurant and bar will be offering a Frank Sinatra cocktail special made with Jack Daniels and an Old Hollywood pre-fixe menu. There is also the Sleep With Frank at CPH room package that includes welcome martinis for two and, on his Dec. 12 birthday, the hotel will host a Jazz Singer Saturday in Sinatra's honor.
For more on ways to celebrate Sinatra's 100th birthday, head to Visit Palm Springs.
Janeen Christoff caught the travel bug while living in London, England. After two years on the road, she settled in Los Angeles...
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