Experience Desert Modernism

Sure, we’d all like to write a check for a mid-century modern home in Palm Springs and have the perfect oasis to escape to from everyday life. Unfortunately, that’s not the reality for nine out of ten people though, so if you’re looking for some other ways you can experience desert modernism without breaking the bank, we’ve got you covered!

One of the coolest ways is to stay in a retro hotel for the weekend, or in some cases, motel. The Ace Hotel and Swim Club is a perfect example, and it continues to be a hot spot. Constructed from the skeleton of a mid-century modern motel, this 180-room spa and resort is within walking distance of downtown Palm Springs.  Plus, you can even bring your dog here! Another option is to rent a vacation home in the mid-century modern style. What a cool way to test drive this way of life before buying!

If you’re into staying in a more traditional looking hotel, but are still interested in learning more about desert modernism, take a tour while on vacation in the desert. Guided tours are available year-round, and you can hop on a Segway or into a van to do it. Notable developers and architects of the mid-century era include William Krisel, Albert Frey, George and Robert Alexander, Donald Wexler, and more, and these tours will fill you in on how these designers made a name for themselves.

Now, if you’re a souvenir type of person and want to take home a slice of modernism with you, a trip to Palm Springs can make that dream a reality as well. Shops line Palm Canyon Drive and are filled with artifacts and mementos of yesteryear. Pick something up, pop it in your suitcase, and prop it up at home when you get there. Another great idea is to pick-up a map of mid-century landmarks and have it framed. These are available at the Palm Springs Official Visitor Center, which is a little slice of mid-century architecture itself. Located right at the beginning of Highway 111 and once the Tramway Gas Station, it was meant to be the first thing visitors saw when pulling into Palm Springs. So stop in, fill ‘er up on maps, and you’ll have the perfect (and packable) gift to bring back to those who couldn’t make the trek.