California

The Lesser-Known Palm Springs Architecture Event You’ll Want To Experience This Fall

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The Kaufmann House, an example of Modernist architecture in Palm SpringsPhoto credit: Kathy Condon

The Palm Springs Modernism Fall Show is quickly approaching. The buzz of excitement is happening in Palm Springs, California. International attention often is focused on the second week in February, for then there are 10 days of events.

Over 100,000 people visited the city to tour, listen to lectures, and socialize in celebrity homes in 2022. However, if you are yearning for fewer crowds but still get a strong flavor of modernist architecture, you should consider traveling to Palm Springs on the weekend of October 14-16, 2022.

1. What Is Modernist Architecture?

During the 1950s and ’60s, architects — primarily in the Los Angeles area — were frustrated with the regulations that they felt were inhibiting their creativity. Word quickly spread that Palm Springs, a mere 100 miles away with a desert climate, was attracting Hollywood stars who had decided to build homes in the desert. Word quickly spread that this emerging popular city had few building restrictions, thus making it a perfect place to experiment with new architectural designs and materials.

Architects such as Donald Wexler, E. Stewart Williams, and Albert Frey bid on construction projects. Their concepts would involve unusual roof configurations, metal accents, wood, and lots of glass with the idea of bringing the beauty of the desert into view from inside the buildings. The term Mid-Century is often interchanged with the term Modernism.

2.  Double Decker Bus Tour Provides An Overview Of Palm Springs

If you are a first-time visitor to Palm Springs Modernism Fall Show, I suggest you purchase a Double Decker Bus Tour ticket. A knowledgeable guide will regale you with celebrity stories, information about the various areas designed by internationally known architects, and specifics about some of the well-preserved buildings. This tour has been expanded to 2.5 hours and offers a bird’s-eye view of our city.

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Cocktail party at the Kirk Douglas HotelPhoto credit: Judi Cohen

3. Sign Up For At Least One Social Event In Palm Springs

Some celebrity homes are open, and cocktail parties are abundant during the weekend. Popular ones include Frank Sinatra’s Palm Springs home and the former residence of Kirk Douglas. While there may be a hefty charge for the event, it allows you to dress up and explore the residences, meet people and socialize while imagining the era when Palm Springs was known as the place where Hollywood stars came to relax under the warm desert sun.

california, destinations, news and tips, palm springs, travel news, united states, the lesser-known palm springs architecture event you’ll want to experience this fall

The Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design CenterPhoto credit: Judi Cohen

4. Tour The Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture And Design Center

The Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center is a recent addition to the museum scene. The museum is now housed in a Modernist building designed by E. Steward Williams. Designed as a bank, you will see how they incorporated the drive-up window into the décor.

Make sure you check out the walk of stars in front of the building to see stars honoring architects who have contributed to the area’s Mid-Century architecture. If you want to take back a Modernist souvenir, you will find it in their store, for its price points allow something for anyone’s budget.

5. Explore The Palm Springs Art Museum

Palm Springs is proud of its Palm Springs Art Museum, located downtown behind the 26-foot Marilyn Monroe statue directly across from our beautiful new downtown park. Tickets for its “First Light-Then Shadow” lecture grant you entrance to the museum, where you will discover many references to our heritage.

6. Vintage Sale A Source For Many Treasures

With the rise of restoring Modernist-designed homes comes the need to find furnishings. At the Palm Springs Modernism Fall Show in our centrally located conference center, you can walk the aisles and feel like you stepped back into the 1950s and ’60s. You will likely see items you had in your family homes or your grandmother still uses.

If you appreciate vintage jewelry, you may hit the jackpot here. This event is a Modernism aficionado’s dream for if you don’t find a particular item you are looking for, you will find vendors anxious to look for them in their future adventures seeking Modernist memorabilia.

7. Stay In Small Boutique Hotels

Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels site lists several boutique hotels that have been restored or refurbished to reflect the Modernism era. Browse through their website, then contact the hotel so you can arrange the perfect room accommodations for your stay. Thus, you will be able to immerse yourself even more into the world of the ’50s and ’60s.

The weather is terrific in October in Palm Springs. You will find the cuisine outstanding, the retail stores stocked with new merchandise, and a community of welcoming people ready to help you explore and see why we love living in Coachella Valley. If you have wanted to have a different kind of experience, this is one you should consider for your fall travel plans.

Pro Tip:  Be sure to purchase your tickets before you arrive. The sooner, the better, for the more popular attractions sell out quickly. You can purchase tickets on this website.

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