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One of the first things you'll notice when you visit Palm Springs is the unique architectural style known as desert modernism.

Palm Springs architecture masters the art of modernism

When you first step foot into Palm Springs, you'll probably notice a few things immediately. Buildings with predominately glass exteriors, clean lines, breeze blocks, pools almost anywhere, flexible indoor and outdoor spaces, and rows of palm trees lining the streets. There's a definite theme here, and it's known as desert modernism. This method of design evokes a feeling of relaxed elegance, which makes sense because the city has become a playground for Hollywood celebrities taking a break from the hectic lifestyle of the big city just a couple of hours away.

Oranges, yellows, reds, whites, and blues greet your eyes in exclamatory fashion as they contrast with the pastels of the majestic desert terrain. Palm trees are often significantly taller than the buildings. The low stature draws attention to the stunning natural beauty that existed far before business owners and architects began their designs.

Even some of the resorts feature the expansive design found in the mid-century modern era such as L' Horizon Resort & Spa, Orbit In, The Weekend, The Monkey Tree Hotel, and Del Marcos. Many shops throughout Palm Springs offer an array of vintage clothes, jewelry, furniture, and artwork, making it easy to find a piece of Palm Springs to take home.

The soaring roof of Albert Frey's Tramway gas station is a Palm Springs landmark. The city is also home to the official Palm Springs Visitor Information Center.

Additionally, the Welwood Murray Memorial Library serves as the city's downtown visitor center as well as a branch of the Palm Springs Library and a research library for the Palm Springs Historical Society. Originally opened in 1941, the center is in a historic building designed by the city's first resident architect, John Porter Clark. Clark is also responsible for the design of the city's iconic City Hall, both of which helped define the modern architectural style of Palm Springs.

For architecture enthusiasts or those just wanting to experience the fun, Modernism Week rolls around twice a year. The full 10-day festival has over 350 events in the month of February.

For all things mid-century and Palm Springs, plan your trip at