24 Hours in Palm Springs with the Mod Squad

Architecture, design, and delicious food. Here’s how Modernism Week’s Summer Mod Squad spent their 24 hours in Palm Springs.

Each year, Modernism Week partners with the Mod Squad – a group of inspiring (and modernist-loving) creatives, tasked with the mission of capturing Modernism Week through their eyes.

We recently asked Benjamin Uyeda, Jessie Uyeda, and Natalie Myers to join Modernism Week’s first-ever Summer Mod Squad. They explored Palm Springs and snuck a peek at some of the highlights coming up this month. See how they made the most of every modernist minute, and get inspiration for your own Modernism Week itinerary next February.

Day 1

Courtesy of the Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs Hotel

Check into The Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs, 4:00 p.m.

Conveniently located in downtown Palm Springs, The Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs is the perfect place to unwind at the end of the day. We stepped into the hotel’s modern lobby and were greeted by friendly staff (as well as a dreamy pair of de Sede DS-1025 sofas). After checking into our luxuriously appointed rooms, we headed upstairs for a dip in Palm Springs’ first and only rooftop pool. We ended the evening with drinks and dinner at 4 Saints, led by Executive Chef Stephen Wambach. (Click here for tips on where to stay during Modernism Week.)

Day 2

Courtesy of Juniper Table

Breakfast at Juniper Table, 10:00 a.m.

Nothing like a cup of hot coffee and a filling breakfast at Juniper Table to kickstart the morning. This charming cafe is located adjacent to the lobby at The Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs. Pro tip: the freshly pressed orange juice and French toast + berries are a must.

Photo credit: Christine Joo

Architectural tour of Palm Springs, 10:30 a.m.

So much to see, and not enough time? The Premier Double Decker Architectural Bus Tour is your best bet for an overview of the most significant midcentury architectural treasures of Palm Springs. Modernism Week’s signature tour offers a front-row seat to the city’s iconic buildings, neighborhoods, and residences.

Some of our personal highlights included views of Richard Neutra’s Kaufmann Desert House, William Krisel’s House of Tomorrow, learning about the McCallum Adobe (the oldest existing structure in Palm Springs), and stopping to take photos underneath the hyperbolic paraboloid at the Albert Frey and Robson Chambers-designed Tramway Gas Station. If you don’t know what a hyperbolic paraboloid is, hop on board a double decker next February and find out. (Tickets available here.)

Photo credit: Christine Joo

Lunch at Trio Palm Springs, 12:00 p.m.

The unique brise soleil at Trio is just as impressive from the inside as it is outside. The local favorite restaurant was a former historic midcentury bank building in Palm Springs’ sophisticated Uptown Design District. You can get a glimpse of the building – as seen on the Premier Double Decker Architectural Bus Tour and tours of the Uptown Design District – but we recommend stepping in for a bite between events too.

Photo credit: Christine Joo

Tour of Frank Sinatra’s “Twin Palms” Estate, 1:00 p.m.

Frank Sinatra’s “Twin Palms” estate was designed by modernist architect E. Stewart Williams in 1947. With the help of the Palm Springs Preservation Foundation, the home was designated a Class 1 Historic Site by the city of Palm Springs in March 2011, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2016.

While the architecture is impressive on its own, we couldn’t help but listen with rapt attention to the legendary tales that took place within these walls. It was a treat to see marks of history throughout the home, from original recording equipment, artwork by Old Blue Eyes himself, and even that infamous cracked sink. (Tickets available here.)

Photo credit: Timothy Slate

Home tour in the Canyon View Estates neighborhood, 2:30 p.m.

Designed by William Krisel and Dan Palmer, and developed by Roy Fey in six phases between 1962 and 1966, Canyon View Estates is a perfect example of “leisure lifestyle” architecture. If a classic Palm Springs home is what you’re after, this is a good place to start. Clerestory windows, iconic rooflines, and breeze blocks abound in this Instagram-worthy neighborhood. (Tickets available here.)

Courtesy of Sandfish Sushi & Whiskey

Happy hour and dinner at Sandfish, 4:30 p.m.

After a full day of midcentury design, we shifted aesthetic gears and enjoyed the 21st century “Scandifornian” (as Natalie Myers puts it) style of Sandfish. The restaurant’s minimalist interior pays homage to the city’s modernist history, evoking the clean lines and natural materials of the midcentury in a contemporary way. The hand-crafted sushi and whiskey pairings were also of note – make sure to try the hamachi!

Feeling inspired? Click here to see the full Modernism Week 2020 schedule and create your own Palm Springs itinerary.