Hot as it gets in Palm Springs, this desert city is celebrated for its cool too. With an incomparable collection of midcentury modern architecture, Palm Springs has emerged as an epicenter for design buffs. Hit the galleries and shops and chill poolside at a still-hot lodging from the Rat Pack’s days.
Length: 2 days
Day 1: Los Angeles to Palm Springs
Directions: From I-10 about 100 miles east of Los Angeles, head south on State 111 to Palm Springs.
Palm Springs Visitor Center. Launch your journey from this space-age visitor center designed originally as a gas station by celebrated architect Albert Frey.
Colony Palms Hotel. Long before modern, Palm Springs embraced Spanish and Moroccan styles. Visit this boutique hotel —redone in Moroccan-inspired decor by designer Martyn Lawrence-Bullard—for the Mediterranean cuisine at its Purple Palm Restaurant or to indulge in a special spa treatment.
North Palm Canyon Drive. Shop for vintage furnishings at Modern Way and check out innovative outdoor furniture and accessories at d.i.g.s. (Design Inspired Garden Spaces). For contemporary art, stop by the Michael H. Lord Gallery , housed in a former garage of the historic El Mirador Hotel.
Ace Hotel & Swim Club. Scenesters of all ages love this resort for its combination of retro desert vibe and 21st-century urban bohemian style. Pamper yourself at its spa, then sip a cocktail at the Amigo Room bar or experience the “American peasant food” at the Ace’s King’s Highway restaurant.
Day 2: Palm Springs to La Quinta
Directions: From Palm Springs, take N. Palm Canyon Dr. (State 111) and continue south to Palm Desert and La Quinta.
Palm Springs Modern Tours. Discover icons and hidden gems of Palm Springs design through the eyes of architecture expert Robert Imber on a three-hour van tour (760/318-6118).
Palm Springs Art Museum. Exhibits on everything from desert painting to leading modern architects have made this museum , designed by E. Stewart Williams, the area’s leading cultural institution.
Palm Desert. With its concentration of galleries, this city is one of Southern California’s best art destinations.Imago Galleries displays top artists in a soaring contemporary space while the Desert Art Collection is in a midcentury modern compound with a stunning sculpture garden.
La Quinta Resort & Club. Step back in time at this classic desert resort and longtime Hollywood retreat. Experience its Spanish Revival design and then get a taste of regional Mexican cuisine at La Quinta’s Adobe Grill.