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“I try not to limit my madness to March.” — Maxine (a.k.a. John Wagner for Shoebox Cards)

For most of the world, March is a tempestuous mistress. Cold and blustery, then cold and sunshine-y. She’s a whole lot of brrrrrrrrr.

In Palm Springs, March is more of a minx: flirty and fun. Her daytimes are generally in the 80s and sometimes 90s, however she can give you the cold shoulder, too. Especially at night. The solution is to bring your swimsuit and a bunch of layers because in Palm Springs, March is a swinger. She gets a bit chilly at night but bounces back by 10 a.m.

Without further ado, we will now continue our fun streak of delightful Palm Springs activities, with one event that’s so cool I might have just peed a little reading about it. Read on while I change me undies:

New restaurant alert:

Osteria Palmina

Dinner and a show:

The Purple Room

March 3, 4, and 5: Lucie Arnaz: I Got The Job 

March 6, 13, 20, 27: The Judy Show 

If you’ve read this blog before, you know it’s my favorite show in town.

March 11 and 12: John Lloyd Young 

March 17, 18, and 19: Marvelous Marilyn Maye

March 25 and 26: Joe Pasa as Joan Rivers

AsiaSF 

Dinner and a lip sync show! The costumes are outstanding! Same producers as the one in San Francisco.

PS Underground

Pop 80s — Featuring The Gand Band

Gospel Brunch with Keisha D

Laurel Canyon — a tribute to those artists of the area, like Linda Rondstadt, Joni Mitchell, and The Doors (with music from The Gand Band).

The Mod Squad Variety Show — Another personal favorite, this one’s a brunch.

Ovation — A jazz-inspired Sunday brunch.

Light — I have always wanted to see this show! Described as an “unparalleled multi-sensory journey” that offers an “unprecedented dining experience through culinary art and technological innovation.”

Broadway BlindA musical Sunday brunch.

A Night at the Chi Chi — Mark your calendars, this one’s on April 1 and 2.

Courtesy of PS Underground

Oscar’s 

The Women Of Knots (that’s Knots Landing, people!)

Drinks and entertainment:

Cascade Lounge at Agua Caliente in downtown Palm Springs

Jazzville — Every Thursday

Caliente Comedy — Every Friday 

Latin Nights — Every Sunday

PS Cultural Center

Jazz on the Second Floor

Martinis & Moxie

Theater:

Palm Canyon Theater
Palm Springs Getaway! Runs until March 13.

Desert Rose Playhouse
Electricity
Brian Justin Crum 
Palm Springs The Musical: Born To Sparkle — World premiere!

Courtesy of Palm Springs The Musical

The Annenberg
The Anniversary — A full-length dance film event.
Coachella Valley Symphony Concerto Concert
Lilias White — White has appeared in cabarets and concert halls around the world, including the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, the Sydney Opera House, and Lincoln Center. Her debut solo studio album, Get Yourself Some Happy!, was released in July.

Desert Ensemble Theatre
All This Intimacy Described as a sex comedy gone wrong.

Dezart Performs
The Mountaintop — A reimagining of Martin Luther King Jr.’s last day at the Lorraine Hotel and his encounter with a young maid. There’s a huge twist in this play, something you can expect to be handled brilliantly by Dezart. 

All the rest:

Palm Springs Chalk Art Festival
OMG!! I LOVE chalk art, especially from artists with a sense of whimsy. One of my favorite creators on TikTok is chalk artist David Zinn. This is a free event.

MOGO Silent Disco Tour
If anyone wants to do this, please include me!

Photo courtesy of MOGO Silent Disco Tour

Palm Springs Vintage Market
This Palm Springs staple will run on March 6 from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

French Cooking Classes
In the chef’s private home — all reviews are spectacular!

Of course the old “musts” are still available, and if you haven’t, well…you must!

Aerial Tramway

Palm Springs Art Museum

Palm Springs Air Museum

Hiking at Indian Canyons — Please note: closed on March 11 for the Legacy Hike. 

Happy Palm Springs everyone! See you in April.

With its tropical courtyard and mature palms, BelleVue Oasis is a hidden paradise in Palm Springs.

A mid-century modern property dating back to the 1950s, BelleVue Oasis officially opened for business in September 2019. Formerly Escape Resort, it is no longer a men’s clothing-optional hotel.

Located in Tahquitz River Estates, the 13-room, 21-and-over hotel has undergone some renovations and updates, including to the bathrooms. It has a retro yet modern feel, with pops of orange and turquoise standing out against the clean white walls and linens. The rooms come with kitchens or kitchenettes, plus furnished patios that let guests enjoy the sunshine.

The lush grounds are what inspired the hotel’s new name, with senior hotel manager Charles Zalepeski saying once you walk onto the property, “it’s kind of shocking, you don’t expect it to be as beautiful and as big as it is. The pool is beautiful, and the mountain views are ridiculous.”

The San Jacinto Mountains are visible across the grounds, but are most spectacular when spotted from the spacious and sparkling pool and invigorating jacuzzi. There are loungers and umbrellas surrounding the pool, offering shade during the day. Once guests are ready to explore the town, they won’t have to go far — places like the Moorten Botanical Garden and Cactarium and Palm Springs Art Museum are just a short walk or drive away.

“I always say, shopping is cheaper than a psychiatrist.” — Tammy Faye Bakker Messner

People tend to think of Palm Springs as a place to go and relax by the pool with a cocktail, and it totally is — however, when you leave the luxury of your small boutique hotel, adventures in shopping await.

Don’t believe me? Tammy Faye Bakker Messner and her scandal-of-an-ex-husband had two homes in Palm Springs, one of them in Movie Colony. According to the Los Angeles Times, she was well known for her frequent shopping sprees in the posh clothing and jewelry stores of Palm Springs. That was back in the mid- to late-1980s. Imagine how much it’s grown since then? (You don’t have to — I’m going to tell you!)

These days we have the very visible The Block, an amalgamation of high-end stores from Tahquitz to Museum Way (here’s a great little map of the area). If you’re looking for a distinctive gift to make friends and family feel special, you need to shop outside of the big box. So, let’s venture across the street from the commerciality of the big brands and take a leisurely doggie paddle toward the treasure trove of unique boutiques teeming with the panache of our friendly shop owners who will add an extra dash of holiday cheer to your day. 

They are always available to help you find that perfect gift, or that perfect outfit that puts a big fat smile on your face. (Browsing is perfectly fine, too.) There are a LOT of local retailers, and it’s hard to list every one, so I’ve done a bit of pre-sorting for you with a few links that can get you to the right stores for the category in which you’re looking to purchase. 

Clothing and Accessories Stores

Gifts, Accessories, Collectibles

Specialty Food and Wine

Pets

Art, Galleries, and Supplies 

Collage by Kay Kudukis

If you’re into finding shops on your own, the best tip I can offer is to make sure you duck down into the side streets and a few little alleyways that have their own enclave, like the shops around the corner from men’s store Frank Clothier and celebrity favorite Crystal Fantasy.

We also have a toffee shop, Brandini’s, near the historic Plaza Theater. They have a terrific story and out-of-this-world toffee creations. Absolutely worth the calories.

Along the way are coffeehouses galore, and delightful lunch spots where you can meet or regroup with friends, or if you’re a lone wolf, relax in a sunny spot and plan the rest of your shopping spree. 

Collage by Kay Kudukis

There’s also the Corridor, just north of Alejo on Palm Canyon Drive. It’s a great place to grab a coffee or a bite to eat, enjoy the artwork, then do a little side shopping at Jill’s and Absolutely Fabulous.

Speaking of fabulous, check out the uptown Design District at Palm Canyon Galleria. It’s chock full of vintage high-end wares and home furnishings and many carry numerous mid-century and vintage items. Get a load of Bon Vivant with its vintage glass and jewelry, Froelick Gallery, and more. Inventory has included Blenko glass, vintage Tiffany jewelry, Bakelite pieces, Murano and Ikebana vases, Marbro lamps, Raymor pottery, a Bjorn Windblad porcelain bowl, and pieces by Palm Springs artists. Regular hours are Thursday through Monday. 

If you’re into vintage jewelry and have a few hundred Hamiltons to spend, try Gallerie24, local designer Carlos King’s boutique (by appointment only). On Indian Canyon are a few cool spots, specifically the Mojave Trading Post, where local crafters have their own mini-shops with wondrous things. And because Palm Springs is associated with retro and vintage items, here is a nice little list of all things antique-y:

Home Furnishings and More

Antique Galleries of Palm Springs
505 Industrial Pl.

Sunny Dunes Antique Mall
507 E Sunny Dunes Rd.

Little Shop of Treasures
616 E Sunny Dunes Rd.

Aida’s Antiques
401 Industrial Pl. S

Victoria’s Attic Antique Mall
798 N Palm Canyon Dr.

a La MOD INC
886 N Palm Canyon Dr.

Porter & Plunk
3500 E Tachevah Dr. Ste. H

Vintage Clothing

Iconic Atomic
1103 N Palm Canyon Dr.

Mitchells Palm Springs
106 S Indian Canyon Dr.

The Frippery
664 N Palm Canyon Dr. 

Vintage PS Gal
798 N. Palm Canyon Dr. #VPSG

That’s it for me this year. Hope to see you at one of our cool resorts or walking down our festive streets — I’ll be the one in the mask. Cheers to 2022!

Tracy Turco is painting the town red … and orange, yellow, blue, green, and purple.

The colorful owner of The Art Hotel, The Tiki Hotel, and The Cheetah Hotel, Tracy is also a designer, artist, and entrepreneur. Along with her husband, real estate developer Jerry Turco, Tracy has spent the last few years leaving her mark on Palm Springs’ hotel scene, transforming old properties and bringing them back to life.

“I do the soup to nuts,” Tracy says, and it’s true — she selects all of the decor, furnishings, flooring, and paint at their hotels, and has created designs for wallpaper, bedding, clocks, and stools. Tracy is known for embracing bright colors and pattern play, and takes inspiration from all things Palm Springs.

The Tiki Hotel at twilight. Photo courtesy of Tracy Turco

“What I love most about Palm Springs is nature’s beauty,” Tracy says. “I love the sunsets, love the mountains with the palm trees, and all of the fruited trees. You can pick grapefruit and figs from your backyard, and while walking and taking hikes, you see all of these gorgeous flowers in full bloom all year round. The beautiful bougainvillea makes it like you’re living in technicolor. It’s just magical.”

Before heading out west, Tracy lived in New York, where she studied at the New York School of Interior Design; launched the brands SalonTea, Tea&Co., and Tracy Stern Shoes; and wrote two books, Tea For You and Tea Party. Tracy has always been a tea connoisseur, and enjoyed creating tea blends and opening tea rooms in Manhattan, Paris, and Dubai. Her SalonTea outlet in New York was at the City Club Hotel, and this gave Tracy a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to operate a boutique hotel. 

“I always wanted to run a bed and breakfast as a little girl,” she says. “That’s why I started my tea parties — to give someone a beautiful experience.”

A peek inside The Cheetah Hotel. Photo courtesy of Tracy Turco

Tracy first fell in love with Palm Springs during visits from New York, when she would fly in and spend the night at a hotel before driving to her geodesic dome in Joshua Tree. Tracy and Jerry spent more time here together on their honeymoon, and he liked it so much that they decided to start a business in the city. 

“Everyone here is so inviting and friendly, and I love the support of our community,” Tracy says. “The community has been nothing but gracious to all of our ventures and endeavors.”

When Tracy isn’t busy at one of their properties, she’s at home conducting research, trademarking her logos and designs, and selling her designs on Society6. The Turcos have purchased an old apartment complex that they are turning into an Art Deco-themed hotel, and they are hard at work developing their passion project: the Modernism Museum. The museum will offer guests an interactive and immersive experience, showcasing collections of mid-century modern kitsch, art, and memorabilia, along with a bowling alley, roller rink, and pizza place.

The Art Hotel’s pool. Photo courtesy of Tracy Turco

Tracy has also started an entrepreneurial group for women, where members can share tips and tricks and offer support for one another as they start or grow their businesses. 

“It’s important to share and give back,” Tracy says. “There’s a lot of fear, and people don’t know how to get from the concept to fruition.” 

Every day at work is different for Tracy, but one thing is constant: she brings her 8-month-old daughter with her to their hotels, where she watches as her mom hangs drapes and picks out paint colors. 

“I hope she sees what I do and grows up to be creative and an entrepreneur,” Tracy says.

Tracy Turco having fun at the Tiki Hotel. Photo credit: Catherine Garcia

“We’re not interested in being the most expensive resort in Palm Springs, but we are interested in being the nicest.” — INNdulge owner Jon Jackson

Warm Sands is a beautiful Palm Springs neighborhood with sprawling estates, their edges lined with walls of perfectly-manicured, oversized hedges requesting you respect their privacy. You often don’t know what’s behind them — is it one of the many private homes, or is it one of the many men’s clothing-optional resorts? There’s a lot of bush going on there, it’s hard to tell.  

On that alone, INNdulge stands out. 

From the classy stone marquee on the tip of the property and generous parking spaces, to the rainbow flag waving above the mid-century modern structure of steel and tinted glass that screams “I’m a hotel lobby,” the INNdulge resort is out and proud on the street.

But that’s only a perk if you are directionally impaired. What really makes INNdulge stand out is what’s through the door. 

It’s entirely unexpected: A lobby that is the definition of minimalist, with a teak desk that’s functional art on marble tile flooring. Where there aren’t floor to ceiling windows, there is art. Gorgeous art. 

The INNdulge lobby. Photo courtesy of INNdulge

Off the lobby is a retro bistro table next to an open wall of glass that lets the outside in, and that outside is so mid-century perfect that your mind’s eye can see Rock Hudson and Tab Hunter soaking up the rays on the lip of the pool, or maybe Cary Grant and Randolph Scott cheekily cavorting in the water. 

It all has a sophisticated playfulness to it, something you’ll find sprinkled throughout the rest of the property. It’s one of the benefits of having an owner who has an intense passion for visual mediums. 

Speaking of playfulness, it’s hard to miss the two large statues flanking the pool, both with very large Flintstone-esque feet. 

This statue keeps watch over INNdulge. Photo courtesy of INNdulge

“It’s by an artist named Mavis McClure,” INNdulge owner Jon Jackson tells me, clearly as fascinated with the artist as he is the art. “We met her when she was a professor at Berkeley. She does both male and female figures with oversized hands and feet. She did these at Berkeley; the models were two cousins from Italy that were exchange students.”

Most of the art is by gay artists, but Jackson doesn’t discriminate. If he loves it, he buys it.

Unexpected art is scattered across the entire property, and every suite is not only clad in the mid-century modern aesthetic, but each has their own original paintings. 

A room at INNdulge. Photo courtesy of INNdulge

Another thing that sets INNdulge apart from other men’s resorts is that with 31 rooms, it lands in the mid-sized category. At this particular resort, more people equals more fun, which is one of the reasons INNdulge has an 80 percent guest return rate.

“Everything is designed around the pool in such a way to encourage people to meet, and every evening we have a social hour,” Jackson explains. “It’s BYOB because of the California liquor licenses. But we do it to encourage people to foster conversation and friendships. That’s why people come back.”

Most of the suites are poolside, with only about 10 of them away from the pool, and those have quieter patios in case you’re looking to have a cup of coffee away from the bustle.

Poolside views. Photo courtesy of INNdulge

Speaking of coffee, INNdulge lays out a couple of fabulous spreads for breakfast. Yogurt, berries, croissants, ham and cheese, and of course juice, coffee, and tea.  

There’s a lot to do in Palm Springs, and Jackson has found that first-time visitors often book themselves with activities every minute of every day, from modernism tours to tennis lessons. 

“When they come back the second time, it’s just to hang out by the pool,” Jackson says. “Of course, they go out to dinner, but they sort of get in this vibe. I don’t claim that, it’s not INNdulge’s vibe, it’s the Palm Springs vibe. And we try to recreate that here.”

And nothing says Palm Springs like a soak in a 12-man whirlpool spa that is open 24/7, so if you can’t sleep and think some friendly bubbles might soothe you, just hop on in. The water’s the perfect temperature, and the desertscape at night is breathtaking.

“We do a major remodel of something every single year primarily for our repeat clients,” Jackson says. “We do that because they come to expect what they know — this is the best value in the desert.”

The INNdulge grounds. Photo courtesy of INNdulge

If you’re looking to plan the ultimate boys gaycation weekend with your besties, there’s no doubt that Palm Springs, California, is on your short list of places to go. It’s one of the few LGBTQ+ safe havens in the country that caters to the queer community year-round — and it’s a mid-century modern desert oasis of fun in the sun. In fact, the entire Coachella Valley is one of the most welcoming places for you and your boys to stay, play, and slay (yaaass, queen).

Ready to start making an itinerary? Here are a few of my suggestions for Palm Springs boutique hotels, restaurants, and activities:

Stay

Santiago Resort

The intimate and luxurious Santiago Resort is a paradise for men if you and your boys want to let down your guard – and your swimwear. If you haven’t yet experienced a saltwater (saline) pool, you’re in for a genuine treat at this ever-popular clothing-optional resort. If they happen to be all booked up, check out their brother resort Descanso for a similarly sophisticated experience. From their complimentary poolside lunch to the new friends you’ll meet poolside, you won’t want to stay anywhere that isn’t clothing-optional again after this.

The Santiago Resort at dusk. Photo courtesy of the Santiago Resort

INNdulge Palm Springs

INNdulge is a popular men’s resort in the Warm Sands district of Palm Springs, with a 24-hour heated saltwater pool and 12-man jacuzzi. It’s a more economical option as well if you and the boys are on a budget (or holding out for more of the fun stuff). They have 25 years of experience assisting men with their first time at a clothing-optional resort, but you can also watch the alluring videos on their website in advance if you’re curious.

The INNdulge grounds. Photo courtesy of INNdulge

Desert Paradise Resort Hotel

The Desert Paradise Resort Hotel is an intimate 12-room boutique hotel that strives to go above and beyond for their guests from check in to check out. Also conveniently located in the Warm Sands district, Desert Paradise is a beautiful, relaxing option for an attitude-free atmosphere with spectacular views.

The Desert Paradise’s pool and spa area. Photo courtesy of Desert Paradise

Eat

Eight4Nine Restaurant & Lounge

From its chic, colorful interior to fantastic music playlist, Eight4Nine Restaurant & Lounge is a must for any first-timer’s boys weekend. Their New American cuisine is as contemporary as their Pop Art atmosphere, and it’s a great option for brunch, lunch, happy hour, and/or dinner. It even has Miley Cyrus’ seal of approval, so need I say more?

Grab a drink at Eight4Nine. Photo courtesy of Eight4Nine

AsiaSF Palm Springs

Now with their second location right here in Palm Springs, AsiaSF is a cabaret dinner show that has been dazzling audiences for 23 years in San Francisco. Think of this as an elevated drag show, with the exception that all AsiaSF performers are transgender women, bringing the house down each night with legendary lip syncs, light shows, and choreography. Their Asian-fusion three-course meals are as memorable as their performers as well, so it’s truly a feast for the senses!

Blackbook Bar & Kitchen

Blackbook is located in the heart of the Arenas district and has a reputation among locals for having the best bar food in Palm Springs. It’s a great place to meet new friends during happy hour — and a great place to sober up if you’re bar-hopping throughout Arenas’ many gay watering holes. Try the cheese-stuffed Juicy Lucy burger (or the Juicy Lucifer if you want to add some heat).

Experience

Drag shows

What would a boys weekend be without drag shows, hunty? Luckily, there are drag shows all throughout the greater Palm Springs area. Drag brunch is a must, so check out the Mile High Boozy Brunch at PS Air Bar & Lounge, a playful airline-themed speakeasy inside the Bouschet wine store. Then check out Vanity’s Doll Haus every Friday night at One Eleven Bar in Cathedral City. You might even catch a Drag Race Ru Gurl there now and again. Here’s a complete list of drag shows from Gay Desert Guide for more ideas. Shantay, you stay!

MOGO Silent Disco

MOGO Silent Disco is Palm Springs’ latest event where you and the boys can turn up the volume on your headsets and dance your a**es off on a private parade through downtown. Kaftans, sequins, and stunning outfits are always encouraged!

Sunday Funday

Everything gay happens here in Palm Springs on Sunday, which is why the locals call it “Sunday Funday.” Start the day with drag brunch, naturally. Then lounge by the hotel pool or crash a pool party until it’s time for Oscar’s legendary tea dance. After you’ve had enough disco, strap on some leather gear and head on over to the Barracks for their legendary Beer Bust.

Explore

Mid-century modern tours

If you’re as big of a fan of mid-century modern as I am, consider Palm Springs Mod Squad Tours or Mid-Century Modern Tours. If a self-guided tour is more your jam, you and the boys can caravan around some iconic mid-century modern neighborhoods with The Palm Springs Guys’ MCM Architecture Self-Guided Tour Guide (Google Maps GPS-ready!). As a bonus, there are always open houses worth checking out here on the weekends that will have you feeling like you’re at Modernism Week.

The mid-century modern Visitors Center. Photo by Arthur Coleman Photography

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

If you’re looking to cool down, the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway climbs up two-and-a-half-miles of Chino Canyon cliffs to the top of Mt. San Jacinto State Park — an elevation of 8,516 feet and temperature drop of nearly 20 degrees. This is the self-described “world’s largest rotating tram car” and riders enjoy spectacular views of the panoramic valleys below. There are 50+ miles of trails — after a hike through the butterscotch-scented Jeffrey pines, take to the observation decks for happy hour before a nice dinner at Peaks Restaurant.

Palm Springs Art Museum

The Palm Springs Art Museum has an incredible collection of 12,000 works of modern and contemporary art, architecture, and design, and is always inspiring to see. So are the installations surrounding the property, like Palm Springs Babies and the 26-foot sculpture of Marilyn Monroe located directly in front of the museum.

When your ultimate boys weekend in Palm Springs comes to an end, you’ll leave with plenty of memories and photos to post on the Gram — be sure to tag them with #gaycation and #ilovegaypalmsprings.

Marilyn Monroe in all of her glory. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

Orbit In to the Palm Springs modern vibe and leave your worries behind as you lounge in luxurious mid-century style. Breathtaking mountain views, cruiser bikes, and cocktails, all served up at a small boutique hotel where vintage modernism meets the 21st century. Click here to read more about this fabulous property.

By Katie Carrier

 

Palm Springs boasts a treasure trove of small hotels with big style that are ideal for guests seeking the perfect Instagram moment. Holiday House Palm Springs is one of the more recent additions to these local offerings, featuring an eye-catching blue and white design motif with pops of red.

Holiday House was originally designed in the 1950s by Herbert Berns, with strong midcentury lines and architectural details that were emblematic of the period. The hotel, located in downtown Palm Springs, was redesigned and relaunched in 2017 after an extensive makeover by renowned interior designer Mark D. Sikes, who is known for his signature blue and white color palette.

Each of the property’s 28 rooms feature unique combinations of patterned wallpaper, textiles and furnishings, as well as an impressive art collection that includes works by John Baldessari, Roy Lichtenstein, David Hockney and Alex Katz. The lawn adjacent to the hotel’s pool features a large Donald Sultan sculpture called “Red Poppies” that is one of the popular Instagram-friendly features on the property.

The blue and white striped furniture on the patio is another great spot for a snap for the ‘gram, surrounded by lush banana leaves and mature fruit trees. The hotel also offers fun amenities on site that are just begging for a social media shoutout, including a huge pool, blue and white polka dot bicycles that are available for guests to use and an original shuffleboard court.

The hotel lobby is also full of Instagram gold, including the “library,” which is covered in a striking blue pattern on every surface, an oversized David Hockney Sumo book, and the bar, which has a catchy neon art piece that makes a frequent appearance on social media.

The hotel’s cocktails are also super Instagrammable, featuring fun garnishes and swizzle sticks that make for the perfect poolside drink-in-hand pose!

Holiday House features one of the more unique dining experiences in the desert, with a family-style fried chicken dinner held each Friday night that is open to both hotel guests and the general public. Attendees dine al fresco at a beautifully-decorated long table, enjoying the delicious culinary creations of Chef Gabe Woo. Cantina Tuesdays are another great time to visit Holiday House, with gourmet Mexican fare and margaritas served a la carte in the patio dining area.

If you’re an Instagram fan, you will definitely want to experience Holiday House Palm Springs soon! Be sure to also stay tuned as we explore other great Instagram-friendly small hotels in Palm Springs in a new series of blog posts coming out each month.

Twice a year, Palm Springs celebrates its architectural roots. We don’t go all the way back to colonial times because we don’t have them; back then California was part of Mexico. Europeans began “settling” here in the mid-1800s with the exception of the Spaniards, who’d been stomping all over California and beyond since the days of Montezuma (1500s). And before that? Native Americans lived here for thousands of years.

Back in the mid-1800s, the U.S. government gave land to the Southern Pacific Railroad, which used it to entice people out west with a promise of land — for a price. That money would help them bring the railroad out west. East Coast Europeans started showing up in the mid-1800s, and by 1890 they had a hotel, The Palm Springs Hotel.

It took about 25 years for Palm Springs to become known for its health benefits, including the healing dry air and the hot springs (agua caliente). This was thanks to the arrival of Nellie Coffman in 1909, who made her Desert Inn the place to visit in Palm Springs.

And then came the celebrities. Just a two-hour drive (back then) from the studios in Los Angeles, it was exactly the contractually allowed time and distance actors were allowed from their respective studios. An added bonus? Paparazzi were not paid for trips over 100 miles. And bingo, the sexcapades were in full swing.

Every single decade from then on has stories about celebrities here in Palm Springs. Many of them were buying vacation homes, and architects were starting to sit up and take notice of the desertscapes and what they could accomplish here.

And now we’re at Modernism Week, the celebration of all of those guys who came here and turned Palm Springs into a mid-century modern architectural paradise (along with our other paradise qualities!).

So, here’s what you can expect Oct. 19-22: 50 events! What?? You can make just as hearty of a meal out of all things Modernism in October as you can at the February bonanza. Let’s have a look-see!

It’s my party!

Cocktail parties: There’s two. Sinatra always sells out, I think before it even hits the internet. Okay, that’s not true, but you know what I mean. The second one looks to be fun as well, so book it, Danno!

Preview party: This is the first soiree and the biggest.

Lizzie and the Triggermen: Called “one of the hottest swing bands in L.A.” by Good Day L.A., Lizzy & The Triggermen has been making waves since bursting onto the SoCal scene.

Mixology cocktail clinics: Held at Mr. Lyon’s, one of Palm Springs most iconic fine dining restaurants. Oct. 19, 20, 21, 22, with two time slots at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Mid-Century Moderns is not on the schedule of official MW activities, but absolutely worth the price of the ticket. It’s a very fun jukebox musical, not for the faint of heart. Begins Oct. 6 on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, with multiple showtimes including a 2 p.m. matinee for after brunch.

Cruising through town

Bus tours — There are a ton of them, and this year they’ve divided them all up by neighborhood. All are a good time, and there is even a twilight tour where certain buildings are beautifully lit to show off their architecture. It’s pretty cool. I am a guide on one of those this fall.

A Modernism Week bus tour. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

Here are the (other, heh heh) celebrity tour guides:

Charles Phoenix: Mid-century pop culture expert Charles Phoenix is a performer, author, explorer, and collector celebrating classic and kitschy American life and style, who has appeared on Jay Leno’s Garage and Conan and been a judge on Cake Wars Christmas and Nailed It.

He’s known for the Big Retro Trailer Slide Show. Lavishing commentary on the very best images from his massive collection of vintage “flea market found” Kodachrome slides, he shares a wide variety of spectacular scenes, décor, classic cars, festive fashions, potlucks, parties, parades, and picturesque locations.

Bella da Ball: Bella is our ambassador drag queen; she stands 6’4” tall without heels. Heavily involved in Pride, and many other activities, Bella also hosts Drag Queen Bingo & Trivia at the Ace Hotel on Monday nights. She recently resumed her Drag Queen Storytime at Palm Springs Library, and we couldn’t be happier to have her back.

Here are a few places I’ve always wanted to see:

Frey House II — Albert Frey had a unique understanding of function, form, practicality, and love for the desert landscape, all combined to provide us this extraordinary legacy. It includes a free day at the Art Museum, and a ride on a bus up to the property. If you go, tell me about it please!

Frank Sinatra’s Twin Palm Estates — Frank owned a lot of houses here in the desert, but this is the one that used to have his own plane out back, and where he used to hoist a flag to let friends and neighbors know it was cocktail hour. It’s also where he lived and fought with Ava Gardner.

Some of these tickets require deep pockets, but there are also free events you can attend and still feel all mid-mod-y.

Free events

Friday, Oct. 20

9 a.m. “Lost, Saved & Endangered: Modernist Architecture in Palm Springs”: Palm Springs Preservation Foundation board president Gary Johns will present his popular slide lecture, “Lost, Saved & Endangered: Modernist Architecture in Palm Springs.” At Palm Springs Cultural Center, 2300 E Baristo Rd., Palm Springs.

11 a.m. The Design of Herbert W. Burns: Palm Springs Preservation Foundation board vice president Steven Keylon will present an entertaining overview of architectural designer Herbert W. Burns’ life and career. At the Palm Springs Cultural Center.

A quick note on the Cultural Center. With everything it offers, it’s gearing up to be a major presence in Palm Springs. It was also built in 1967 as the first cineplex in Palm Springs.

A pool with loungers and palm trees in the background

The Three Fifty Hotel was designed by Herbert W. Burns. Photo courtesy of The Three Fifty Hotel

Saturday, Oct. 21

9 a.m. Hot Purple Energy Architectural Bike Ride: Join us as we pedal our way through architecturally significant neighborhoods in South Palm Springs and highlight mid-century homes. Indian Canyons Golf Resort Clubhouse parking lot, 1100 E. Murray Canyon Dr., Palm Springs.

This is a terrific area to explore. The two golf courses are gorgeous, and Lykken Trail is on South Palm Canyon and Murray Drive. The Walt Disney Fountain is here as are some mid-century homes that you can see on one of the bus tours (there used to be an app for $5 with all of the architecturally significant spots in P.S. on them, so do a Google). Make sure to grab breakfast or lunch at the Indian Canyon Clubhouses, and then drive through the Indian Canyons neighborhood. 

If you’re a hiker, Lykken Trail dumps onto South Palm Canyon just past Murray Canyon, and if you keep going down South Palm Canyon, you’ll hit one of the greatest hiking spots in Palm Springs: the actual Indian Canyons Reserve.

2 p.m. The Alexanders book signing with author James Harlan: James Harlan will also give a talk about the famous Palm Springs developers. ​​Palm Springs Historical Society, The McCallum Adobe, 221 S. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs.

The Palm Springs Historical Society is located in the Village Green next to Cornelia White’s home, which was relocated from where it was first built, at The Palm Springs Hotel. It’s also across the street from Lulu, the best people watching spot in town.

4 to 9 p.m. Shag’s October Modernism Print Release Party: Join artist Shag and guest Nancy Sinatra for a book signing and print release party at The Shag Store, featuring complimentary cocktails, live music, and other fun surprises. The Shag Store, 745 N. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs.

The Shag Store — I’ve never gone in because I’d feel like an imposter; I can’t afford a Shag piece, but it’s a party and everyone’s invited!!

Sunday, Oct. 22

8 a.m. to Noon. Modernism Yard Sale: Brought to you by Chris Bale Homes and hosted by H3K Home+Design, this annual sale has become one of Modernism Week’s most popular FREE events! H3K is high-end, but on the more affordable end. H3K Design+Home parking lot, 501 S. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs.

Here’s a link to all the rest. Use the sorting function and “category” to help you get just where your little heart desires. And you’re gonna need a place to stay, right? Here’s a list of the nearly 80 boutique hotels in Palm Springs; if you’re looking for something mid-century modern, or even more old-timey, you can use that sorting button to find your perfect stay.

I’ll be waving at you from the top of my bus!

The Orbit In is a perfect example of mid-century modern architecture and design. Photo courtesy of Orbit In

Location, location, location!

For those that love modernism, Old Las Palmas politely screams “I am quintessential Palm Springs.” Stretching west from Palm Canyon to the San Jacinto Mountains, the neighborhood is rich in history and real estate — many starchitects built here, and all aesthetics are represented, from the House of Tomorrow to Swiss Miss homes and everything in between and beyond. 

The roads wind into the mountains and are as dramatic as the homes once owned by Liberace, Dinah Shore, and Kirk Douglas (to name-drop a few), as well as the opulent sprawling estates commissioned by the studio bosses of yore. There’s even a mini-Hearst castle in the mix.

To get there, turn off Palm Canyon onto Via Las Palmas, a quiet residential street, where you immediately feel like you’re in another world. The stores and businesses melt away and the road splits in two (very Robert Frost). If you choose wisely, you’ll go left where a well-lit cobblestoned path bordered by desertscape grasses leads the way to an elegant white-bricked, mid-century modern hotel with giant palm trees and a copse of plumeria on either side of the bright orange door. You are now entering The Weekend, the only boutique hotel in Old Las Palmas. 

Welcome to The Weekend Palm Springs. Photo courtesy of The Weekend

Once inside, the sparkling water from the rectangular pool dances in the sunlight, and it’s so stunning it takes a minute to notice that your surroundings are just as sleek and modern as the entrance. All white apart from the 10 orange doors that pop against the exotic green foliage, each suite faces that picture-perfect pool, with the sleeping quarters in the back (open the sliding doors to get to the private patio). We should emphasize: this is not a party hotel, this is a peaceful and luxe respite from the humdrum of the everyday, exhibiting clean lines and the simple elegance of modernism. 

Suites have their own private patios. Photo courtesy of The Weekend

Formerly Las Palmas Gardens Luxury Apartments, and purportedly once owned by gossip queen Rona Barrett, the property was built in 1964 and advertised sunken tubs, private patios, and two-bedrooms digs. 

When hotelier Mark Hermann purchased the property in 2016, he made some major design decisions. Sunken tubs were replaced with roomy rain showers, and he took down the wall and cabinets separating the kitchen/dining areas from the living room, creating an open concept living space. Hermann honored the rich mid-century history of Palm Springs with bold color, artwork, and brickwork in the new great room. 

Although modernism is the epitome of style over comfort, Hermann managed to accomplish both — sophisticated yet supremely sittable furniture, and thick luxurious mattresses to snuggle into at night. Amenities spill over into the bathrooms with Frette towels and robes, and L’Occitane bath products.

The living rooms are perfect for lounging. Photo courtesy of The Weekend

The kitchen has everything except fire – a.k.a. a stove or oven, but honestly there are so many great restaurants you’ll want to try, who needs or wants to cook? You’re on vacation. Besides, there’s a microwave and a big old bowl for popcorn, plenty of room in the fridge for beverages and salads, lots of storage for snacks, dinnerware/cutlery, bottle openers (of course), and a Keurig coffee maker.

Because of its aesthetic and the uniqueness of the property, The Weekend is a favorite of international travelers looking for an authentic mid-century modern Palm Springs experience. Couples traveling together enjoy the two-bedroom options, while those looking for a romantic getaway love the peace and quiet of the one-bedroom suites.

A comfortable bedroom at The Weekend. Photo courtesy of The Weekend

Keyless check-ins make for easy ins and outs, and there are wonderful options for libations and food on Palm Canyon, all with great provenance. Copley’s restaurant is on the old Cary Grant estate, Eight4Nine Restaurant was once the Palm Springs post office, and Ernst Coffee and Bootlegger Tiki are in the old Don the Beachcomber’s space. Also, the shopping along Palm Canyon has some kick-ass vintage resale stores. Looking for high-end boutiques, and the thrum of downtown? Tahquitz is about a 15-minute walk. 

If you’re in the mood for a nice stroll, the House of Tomorrow (a.k.a. Elvis’ Honeymoon Hideaway) is about 10 minutes from your door, and there is an unexpected connection. Barrett (who is still with us at 86) also owned a home right next to the House of Tomorrow where Elvis and Priscilla planned to wed. Knowing she’d make it a circus, Elvis contacted Frank Sinatra, who sent a limo to pick them up and under the cover of night, he whisked them off on his private plane to Las Vegas where, for better or worse, they exchanged their vows. 

Although that relationship was complicated, The Weekend is not. If you’re a fan of uncompromising elegance in the mid-century modern aesthetic, The Weekend is the perfect choice.

The Weekend is a fabulous escape, Monday through Sunday. Photo courtesy of The Weekend