48 Hours in Palm Springs for the Modernista


It’s not just architecture that makes Palm Springs the modernism capital of the world. It’s everything! Modernism is a way of life here. From cocktails to clothes, pools to supper clubs, décor to events like Modernism Week.

Modernism Poolside Perfection

Begin at the pool – of course. Sipping cocktails. Posing on a lounger. Slipping into the sunny cool water. Which pool? Palm Springs probably has more pools per capita than anywhere else in the country. Moreover, arguably more midcentury modern buildings – including homes, inns, and hotels all with glorious pools.

There is a large collection of vacation rentals, which is ideal for family getaways with your own private pool. For a romantic getaway, Palm Springs has a variety of small hotels and inns that range from historic to hip, many nestled near downtown in the famed tennis neighborhood. For the Modernista, consider staying at a midcentury modern boutique resort, which carries through the Palm Springs vibe.

Retro Chic

In case you forgot your go-go boots or want to enhance your retro style, it’s worth sacrificing some pool time to check out some amazing Palm Springs vintage shops. Uptown Design District is a great place to start. Consider stopping in A La Mod, Modern Way, and Bon Vivant, to name a few.

Tours for the Modernista

The Palm Springs Historical Society offers historical walking tours focusing on Palm Springs’ historic neighborhoods, distinguished by a combination of the celebrities and local pioneers who called them home and the architects and builders who shaped their development. Or, step into desert modernism with a self-guided architecture tour you don’t want to miss. Other architecture tours include the Modernism Week Tour and Mod Squad tour.

Palm Springs Vintage Market

The first Sunday of every month (Oct. – May) is the Palm Springs Vintage Market, a great event for finding those midcentury modern treasures. It’s at the Palm Springs Cultural Center and many consider it the greatest collection of vintage furniture, clothing, décor and collectibles in the Valley.

Local Tip:

Did you know that VillageFest happens every Thursday in downtown Palm Springs? Palm Canyon is closed to traffic and is transformed into a festive, pedestrian street fair. Vendor booths are set up on both sides of the street, and visitors are able to stroll through the traffic-free event.

Be sure to check out our Events calendar because there’s always something going on.

Start planning with our things to do page and say hello to Palm Springs, your new happy place.