It’s a Mod, Mod World
February in Palm Springs is all about Modernism Week! Appreciative fans of midcentury modern design, architecture, art, fashion and culture arrive from all over the world to pay homage to all things modern. Over the last few years this 11-day festival has grown to include nearly 35o events including rare tours inside iconic homes, an incredible marketplace, nightly parties, lectures, films, and architectural walking, biking and double-decker bus tours of some of Palm Springs’ most celebrated neighborhoods (including our own!). Even if you don’t consider yourself a mid-mod fan, there’s a little something for everyone to enjoy. Events change annually, but here is a guide to some of our favorite events during Modernism Week 2023.
Palm Springs Modernism Show
Housed at the Convention Center, this world-class marketplace of 125 premier national and international exhibitors will feature rare vintage furniture, décor, art, and jewelry. The emphasis is definitely on midcentury modern, but all design movements of the 20th century are included. The show has expanded to also include 21st century original designs for modern living like dynamic building materials, home appliances, hand-crafted furniture and accessories, contemporary art and photography and much more. Traditionally held the first weekend of Modernism Week, tickets are required.
House of Tomorrow Home Tour
Popularly known as the Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway, take a stroll through the newly renovated House of Tomorrow where Elvis and Priscilla Presley honeymooned in 1967. Located just minutes away from Descanso in the historic Vista Las Palmas neighborhood, this extraordinary home was built in 1960 by architect William Krisel and features four interconnected circular living areas. Super groovy!
Frey House II Home Tour
The influential architect Albert Frey lived and worked in the Palm Springs area, producing more than 200 building designs over his prolific career. Perched part way up Mount San Jacinto, this was Frey’s long-time personal residence and is considered a classic example of the Desert Modernism style. (Yes, this is the little house that’s built around a really big boulder.) Frey House II is rarely open to the public for tours. Open daily during Modernism Week. Go see it!
Stars of the Movie Colony Neighborhood Walking Tour
Revisit Hollywood’s glamorous heyday on a walking tour of the posh Movie Colony. Just minutes from Descanso, this neighborhood was a private refuge for Hollywood stars beginning in the 1930s. Take an easy walking tour past the former homes of Marilyn Monroe, Cary Grant, Gloria Swanson, Tony Curtis, and Frank Sinatra, among others.
Boots on Arenas – The Ultimate Street Party Celebration
There are dozens of parties during Modernism Week, but this bash in the Arenas District is free of charge and should be a hoot. Pull out your go-go boots and the biggest wig you can find, time to celebrate Nancy Sinatra and her classic song from the 60s, These Boots are Made for Walking. Nancy’s family will provide a special gift to the best dressed of the night (so get ready to sashay).
Where’s the best place for gay men to stay for Modernism Week?
Descanso Resort is located just minutes from most Modernism Week activities and consistently ranks at the top of Tripadvisor’s Specialty Lodging and Small Inns categories for gay men in Palm Springs.