Midcentury Modern Tours in Greater Palm Springs

Butterfly rooflines, breeze blocks, boulders in the living room… Palm Springs is renowned for having the largest collection of modernist homes and buildings in the country. Whether you’re a seasoned design enthusiast or just want to spend a few hours looking at colorful front doors, here are some resources for guided and self-guided midcentury modern architecture tours on foot, by bike, or by car.

Palm Springs Historical Society
Experienced docents from this local non-profit lead themed walking tours and biking tours every day of the week. Topics vary widely, from the “Rat Pack Playground” tour highlighting significant celebrity homes in the Las Palmas neighborhood, to the “Giants of Architecture” tour exploring important commercial buildings downtown. All tours include audio receivers with an ear piece so you can hear your guide, and biking tours include bike rentals & helmets. Private and vehicle tours are also available on request. On Mondays, the society offers a walking tour of our surrounding Twin Palms neighborhood. Ticket prices range from $40 to $85 per person with all proceeds benefitting the historical society.

Modern & More Bike Tours Palm Springs
For a deeper dive into desert modernism, borrow a Twin Palms’ cruiser for the morning and meet up with this top-rated bike tour for an easy ride through three of Palm Springs’ most architecturally significant neighborhoods, Deepwell Estates, Indian Canyons, and Twin Palms. Led by a trained Modernism Week tour guide, this popular 3-hour small group tour is designed for serious architecture and history fans. Available for booking through Airbnb Experiences, tickets start at $99 per person.

Architecture Tours by Modernism Week
If an air-conditioned, chauffeured mini-coach sounds more appealing, the folks at Modernism Week have teamed up with guide Trevor O’Donnell of PS Architecture Tours to offer a series of carefully curated seasonal tours. Designed to offer an in-depth introduction to the city’s modernist architectural history, you’ll visit several of Palm Springs' most iconic neighborhoods. The focus is solidly on architecture, but the tour guide includes a fun mix of celebrity back stories where appropriate. Tours are available daily October-June 2024. Tickets are $120 per person and available online here.

Modern Tours Palm Springs
Sometimes it’s more fun to go at your own pace. Modern Tours Palm Springs offers a variety of self-guided driving and biking tours that you access via your smart phone. The multimedia tours take approximately 1.5 to 2 hours using your phone’s audio, photos, interactive mapping and directions. Although most of the interactive tours cost $49.99, they also offer a 60-page pocket tour pdf download of Palm Springs’ most fabulous front doors (complete with photos and addresses) for $9.99.

All of the above tours are for property exteriors only. If you want to go inside some of Palm Springs’ most amazing private homes, you’ll have to plan a return trip during Modernism Week in February, or Mini-Modernism Week in October. Tickets for the hottest midcentury architecture tours – and hotel rooms – sell out months in advance, so advance planning is essential (and if you’re a fan, definitely worth it!).