Modernism Week — October 2023

Celebrate the best in midcentury and modern design during a four-day long “mini-Modernism Week” held October 19-22, 2024.

Frank Sinatra’s Twin Palms Estate (1947) designed by E. Stewart Williams. Photo by Jake Holt

Tickets to Modernism Week — October are on sale! Here’s a guide to help you sort through all the fantastic happenings. Tours and events will sell out, so make sure to reserve your tickets now.

New Events

The Palm Springs Tramway Gas Station (now the Palm Springs Visitor Center) designed by Albert Frey and Robson Chambers in 1965. Photo by Dan Chavkin.

Each year Modernism Week offers new events along with beloved returning events. New events for the October festival include:

Legendary Palm Springs Commercial Architecture Bus Tour (10/19 – 21, $90)
This exciting new tour will take guests to Palm Springs’ most iconic business buildings including major banks, hotels and civic buildings.

The Homes That Define Palm Springs Bus Tour (10/19 – 21, $90)
This 90-minute tour will showcase some of the most popular neighborhoods in Palm Springs, drawing attention to the most spectacular home styles, including pre-war Spanish Colonial Revival and a range of midcentury modern residential architectural styles.

Albert Frey’s Palm Springs Mini-Coach Tour (10/21 and 10/22, $130)
Albert Frey was of major importance to American modern architecture. This new tour is a comprehensive exploration of the homes and buildings of this preeminent modernist architect.

Desert Glamour: The Crockett Residence Tour (10/22, $50) 
The Palm Springs Preservation Foundation will host a tour of the Crockett Residence (1951), one of Herbert W. Burns’ most successful residential designs.

Sophisticated Sun Seeker: The Gillman Residence Tour (10/21, $50)
The Palm Springs Preservation Foundation will host a tour of the Herbert Burns-designed Gillman Residence (1948), sublime residential architecture with a fascinating preservation story.

Celebrate the Restoration of the Iconic Plaza Theatre (10/22, $100)
Take an exclusive tour of the iconic 1936 Plaza Theatre as it begins its restoration, followed by a reception at the Welwood Murray Memorial Library patio. Includes a brief presentation.

Bus Tours

Modernism Week Double Decker bus in front of the Lear House in Palm Springs, CA. Photo by Jake Holt.

Architectural bus tours are one of the most popular programs offered during Modernism Week. In addition to the three new bus tours (Legendary Palm Springs Commercial Architecture Bus Tour, The Homes That Define Palm Springs Bus Tour, and Albert Frey’s Palm Springs Bus Tour), additional bus tours include:

Premier Double Decker Architectural Bus Tour (10/19 – 22, $120)
Modernism Week’s signature and popular bus tour provides guests with an overview of the most significant midcentury architectural treasures of Palm Springs.

Charles Phoenix Super Duper Double Decker Bus Tour (10/19 – 22, $150)
Experience midcentury architectural treasures of Palm Springs with retro pop culture humorist and author, Charles Phoenix, as he leads a spirited adventure atop a double decker, open-air bus.

Bella da Ball’s Celebrity Homes Bus Tour (10/20 and 10/21, $75)
Bella da Ball, Palm Springs’ own drag emcee, guides this special sunset tour of Palm Springs celebrity haunts, clubs, and homes.

Twilight Architectural Bus Tour (10/20 and 10/21, $60)
The Twilight Architectural Bus Tour provides guests with a 1-hour evening view of some of the most significant midcentury architectural treasures of Palm Springs.

Must-See Tours

The Biggs Residence, featured on the Sustainable Homes Tour. Courtesy of Chris Biggs

Additional tours of significant architectural locations this October include:

Sustainable Homes Tour (10/21, $75)
Tour seven High Desert sustainable homes. Learn about homes that not only generate their own power, but are doing it in style.

The Oasis Is Real: Home Tour (10/21, $60)
This popular self-guided tour welcomes guests inside of five wonderfully different homes built between 1939-1970 in neighborhoods around Palm Springs, spotlighting the brilliant spectrum of ways to create an oasis in the desert.

Sunnylands (10/19 – 10/22, $75)
Guided tours give visitors access to the famed Sunnylands estate, designed by renowned architect A. Quincy Jones in 1966 and restored in 2012.

Frey House II Tour + Museum Day Passes (10/19 – 10/22, $75)
Hosted by Palm Springs Art Museum, these self-guided tours are a rare opportunity to see the residence of modernist architect Albert Frey.

Frank Sinatra’s “Twin Palms” Estate Tour (10/19, $50)
The Palm Springs Preservation Foundation will host a tour of Frank Sinatra’s storied “Twin Palms” estate, designed by modernist architect E. Stewart Williams in 1947.

Twin Palms Guided Walking Tour: An Insider’s Perspective of the Desert’s First Modernist Neighborhood (10/19 – 10/22, $45)
Experience the desert’s first Modernist neighborhood on the only tour guided by a neighborhood resident, local author, and neighborhood organization founder.

Temple Isaiah: The Evolution of Classical to Extreme Modernism (10/19 and 10/21, $50)
This guided media presentation and walking tour of two sanctuaries includes the E. Stewart Williams modernist-designed 1950s Liberman Chapel and David Christian’s brutalism-designed 1980s Bochner Sanctuary.

Once again, the Palm Springs Historical Society will offer unique and compelling walking tours, showcasing the rich architectural and historical nature of the city. Offered each day of the festival, these tours include Celebrity Haven: Unique Boutique Resorts, Frank Sinatra’s Neighborhood: The Hollywood Elite, Giants of Architecture, Golden Era Hollywood Homes, Heart of the City: Pioneers to Playground of the Stars, Hidden Paradise: Show Biz Legends’ Hideaways, Inns, Architecture and Glamour, Modernist Treasures: Lush Living on the Links, Rat Pack Playground: Modernist Homes, Shangri-La of the Stars: Midcentury Showcase, Stars of The Movie Colony, Boomtown: Revel in the Revivals, and Twin Palms Estates Exteriors Walking Tour: Krisel with the Alexanders Ushered in a New Design Era.

Festive Events

Photo by Jake Holt

Each year, Modernism Week provides a variety of fun events for guests. This year, these include:

Preview Party for Palm Springs Modernism Fall Show (10/20, $95)
Beat the crowds and enjoy a festive wine reception and early buying opportunity at the Palm Springs Modernism Fall Show. Preview party tickets include return entry to the show all weekend. The show opens to the public on October 21 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and October 22 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Daily show tickets are $25 and include return entry. 

Midcentury Mixology Cocktail Clinic at Mr. Lyons (10/19 – 10/22, $75)
Join this spirited midcentury cocktail-making clinic at the historic Mr. Lyons restaurant.

Curated Vintage Event (10/21, $25 and $15)
Retailers and private dealers showcase their finest vintage apparel, luxury items, textiles, jewelry, and accessories. This event is not to be missed for those whose fashion is their passion.

PS UNDERGROUND is offering two spectacular shows that feature an elegant four-course meal with open bar. This year, they are offering:

WOODSTOCK (10/20 and 10/21, $195)
Guests will participate in a one-of-a-kind interactive experience of music and ambience that pays tribute to WOODSTOCK as they enjoy a four-course dinner that includes free flowing cocktails.

Forever Elvis! (10/22, $130)
This unforgettable brunch and celebration of the legendary King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Elvis Presley, honors the life of the iconic 1950s rock star and features a delicious four-course themed brunch.

Free Events

Photo by Jake Holt

Each year Modernism Week offers a robust range of free events. This October these include:

Lost, Saved & Endangered: Modernist Architecture in Palm Springs (10/20)
Palm Springs Preservation Foundation board president Gary Johns will present his popular slide lecture about modernist architecture in Palm Springs.

The Design of Herbert W. Burns (10/20)
Palm Springs Preservation Foundation board vice president Steven Keylon will present an entertaining overview of architectural designer Herbert W. Burns’ life and career.

Hot Purple Energy Architectural Bike Ride (10/21)
This free bicycle tour encourages guests to pedal their way through architecturally significant neighborhoods in South Palm Springs and highlights stunning midcentury homes.

A+D Book Sale by the Friends of the Palm Springs Library (10/21)
This book sale, presented by the Friends of the Palm Springs Library, will feature a robust collection of architecture and design books representing various styles and authors from the Friends’ stock of donations. The event includes an appearance by renown architectural historian and author Alan Hess. 

“The Alexanders” Book Signing with Author James Harlan (10/21)
James Harlan, author of “The Alexanders,” will give a talk about the famous Palm Springs developers and will sign copies of his book.

Shag’s October Modernism Print Release Party (10/21)
Participants of this free evening party will be able to meet artist Josh Agle (AKA “Shag”) and enjoy complimentary cocktails, live music and other fun surprises at the unveiling of Shag’s newest print at The Shag Store in the Uptown Design District.

Modernism Yard Sale (10/22) 
This annual outdoor sale of unique and affordably priced vintage furniture and accessories has become one of Modernism Week’s most popular free events. Complementary donuts and coffee will be provided while supplies last.

Modernism Week top sponsors include Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery, Brizo, Dunn-Edwards Paints, JennAir, Willis, Flor, and Hyatt Palm Springs. The City of Palm Springs is the Civic Presenting Sponsor. To receive Modernism Week updates, visit and follow along on Facebook, Instagram, Threads and Twitter