Palm Springs Modernism Tour: Roadside Icons

Ever admired the famous Tramway Gas Station? Your chance is just ahead, architecture buffs.

Gregg Felsen

THE THING ABOUT ROADSIDE ICONS, those remarkable structures that sit near our streets and boulevards and highways, is, well, they're roadside, which often means we're at the steering wheel, busily driving, as we pass them. And when we're busily driving? We're not admiring roof lines and window patterns and fanciful details of the buildings we're leaving in our rearview mirror. Thus the opportunity to have someone else drive as we toodle by these architectural gems is pretty darn sweet, and to do so in a city that happens to be famously rife with such gems? Even darn sweeter. The city we're about to reference here is Palm Springs, that glorious spread of spectacular mid-century buildings, and the tour you can hop on? It happens during the...

MODERNISM WEEK FALL PREVIEW, which is on from Thursday, Oct. 19 through Sunday, Oct. 22. This is the shorter version of the mega mid-century extravaganza that happens in February, but you can count on those four fall days to be incredibly and vibrantly busy, schedule-wise. One of the marquee must-dos at both the October and February happenings is a Premier Double Decker Architectural Bus Tour. You're up in the open air, enjoying a scenic and slow drive-by of spots like the Villa Paradiso Estate, Frey House II, the Twin Palms estate (the beloved desert getaway of Frank Sinatra), and the swoop-roof'd Tramway Gas Station. It's a lengthy, info-packed tour, and there are a number to choose from through the Modernism Week Fall Preview. But no surprise: They do fill up. If you'd love playing passenger for awhile, all while taking in the building-beautiful splendor of the desert resort, book your seat pronto.

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