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Take a Barbiecore Tour Through California

Take a Barbiecore Tour Through California

See the Golden State through rose-colored glasses with this list of 18 pink places to visit

Posted a year agoby Kate Eplboim

Want to live in a real Barbie world on your next trip? You’re not alone. “Barbiecore” is trending everywhere, from runways and interior design to travel and the big screen. In anticipation of Greta Gerwig's Barbie film, slated to premiere in 2023, people have been thinking pink since photos of stars Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling were captured on set in Venice Beach this past June.

For those who don’t know, the Barbiecore aesthetic describes the colorful, campy, and bright pink motif that everyone’s favorite Malibu career woman is famous for. The trend is real even if Barbie is not: Hotels.com saw a 190 percent increase in searches for pink-themed hotels in 2022 compared to 2021. Luckily, in California there is no shortage of flamingo-hued destinations to explore. Discover all things pretty in pink on this 18-stop tour running south to north through the Golden State—inspired by Barbie’s signature color.

1. Pink Rose Cafe, La Mesa

The name says it all. The rosy atmosphere at this La Mesa cafe, just nine miles east of downtown San Diego, is a dream for coffee drinkers who also love pink. Inside, patrons will find hundreds of flowers covering the walls, bubblegum floors, and a unique lineup of colorful drinks to match. Pink pick-me-ups include the raspberry white mocha, strawberry matcha latte, lavender rose lemonade, and of course, the cafe’s signature pink rose latte.

2. Holy Matcha, San Diego  

Holy Matcha’s Barbiecore design is as beautiful to look at as the tea it serves. The pink subway tile and leafy wallpaper mimic the shop’s signature two-toned strawberry matcha latte. Vivid ingredients like purple ube, blue spirulina, and orange turmeric create vibrant beverages you could picture Barbie clutching. Even the waffles here are covered in edible flowers. Tea enthusiasts can find Holy Matcha in San Diego’s East Village and North Park neighborhoods.


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3. Trixie Motel, Palm Springs

It’s no secret that RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars winner Trixie Mattel is a bit of a Barbie fan, even paying homage to the toy’s company in her drag name. Mattel has taken her Barbie obsession to a whole new level with a Palm Springs dream house–ahem, dream motel–complete with heart-shaped headboards, mauve marble, and flower power–inspired bedding. Playful designs by Dani Dazey combine vibrant colors with 1970s flair to create custom rooms that Barbie herself would be proud to book.

4. Les Cactus, Palm Springs

Named after the 1960s French rock n’ roll tune of the same name, Les Cactus features a peachy pink exterior that is highlighted by green-and-white-striped accents for a classic mid-century look. Umbrellas of the same watermelon palette surround the pool, which boasts views of dreamy Palm trees, pink bougainvillea, and the San Jacinto Mountains. Rattan furnishings, a hammock garden, and unique vintage touches make this Palm Springs hotel perfect for a weekend getaway.

5. JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort, Palm Desert

You’ll need your own Midge and Skipper to help you finish the Pink Flamingo at this Palm Desert property. Inspired by the Chilean flamingos that wade in the resort’s nearby waters, this over-the-top concoction starts with a 40-ounce martini glass and includes: strawberry ice cream, rainbow sprinkles, three shots of strawberry vodka, whipped cream, half-and-half, cotton candy, lollipops, French macarons, pink-glazed doughnuts, pink chocolate-dipped strawberries, and edible glitter. Of course, the colossal drink/dessert is not complete without a pink flamingo straw. 


6. Sands Hotel & Spa and The Pink Cabana, Indian Wells

It’s easy to think pink at Sands Hotel & Spa in Indian Wells. From its brightly painted pink walls, intricate tile work, and sophisticated design, this getaway does glitz and glam well. At the hotel’s onsite restaurant, The Pink Cabana, diners enjoy sophisticated Mediterranean cuisine under a pastel pink ceiling. Green-and-white-checkered flooring is accentuated by blush booths and napkins.

7. Saguaro Palm Springs

With suites painted in ascending rainbow order, this iconic desert stay is as eye-catching as they come. Guests can admire the famous paint job poolside, or from the balcony of a brightly decorated room. The hotel’s polychromatic palette can be found throughout nearly every area of the property, from the neon main entrance to the kaleidoscope-colored hammocks. Head to the neon-pigmented lobby and you’ll even find an eccentric Barbie display case.

8. Cabazon Dinosaurs

Located just west of Palm Springs in the city of Cabazon, these giant dinosaurs are one of California’s most striking roadside attractions. Fans of 1980s films may recognize the cheerful prehistoric creatures from cult classics like Pee Wee Herman’s Big Adventure and The Wizard. Stegosaurus “Dinny” changes her colors seasonally, but she’s never more iconic than when she’s sporting her signature bubblegum skin.

9. Alfred and Alfred at Glosser Alley, Los Angeles County

Tea drinkers at Alfred in Melrose Place can take in their daily dose of caffeine and pink all at the same time. Baby pink tiles cover the walls and are paired with burgundy and brass touches. At the nearby Alfred at Glossier Alley in West Hollywood, coffee drinkers enter through pink gates before they can get their hands on a signature Glossier Pink Latte. Other blush menu items include a honey rose doughnut, raspberry cookie, and a Glossier You Fizz drink, made with pink peppercorn syrup.

10. Pink’s Hot Dogs, Hollywood

Located in Los Angeles’ Fairfax District, this Hollywood institution has been slinging hot dogs for more than 80 years. Owned and operated by Richard, Gloria, and Beverly Pink, this family-run restaurant is as iconic as ever, serving up their signature franks amidst a backdrop of signed celebrity headshots and—of course—bright pink walls.

11. Trejo’s Coffee and Donuts, Hollywood

Actor, restaurant owner, and bona fide badass Danny Trejo is the man behind this head-turning pastry palace in the heart of Hollywood. The building’s fabulously pink paint job is carried through on the inside, with equally vibrant donuts to match. Inventive flavors characterize the menu with doughnuts like the Fruity Pebbles–covered “Quinceañera,” magenta-colored “Da Berry Bomb,” and the “Margarita,” which is topped with lime and salt.

12. Paul Smith Pink Wall, Los Angeles

Every year, the Pink Wall at the Paul Smith flagship store on Melrose Ave. in Los Angeles serves as the backdrop for thousands of selfies. Now an L.A. landmark, this famous wall is not just any shade of pink. The official Pantone name is Pink Ladies, and it’s trademarked—which means it cannot be ordered from any paint store without a secret code. Around 55,000 people visit the wall every year, which translates to thousands of selfies and $60,000 a year in upkeep.

13. Pacific Coast Highway “Barbie House,” Santa Monica

Nicknamed the Pacific Coast Highway “Barbie House” by locals, this bubblegum beachfront property in Santa Monica looks like a Barbie Dreamhouse made real. Painted a cheery combination of periwinkle and pink with white trim accents, the house stands out next to its stark, all-black neighbor. The unlikely side-by-side “pairing” has inspired countless memes.

14. Ganna Walska Lotusland, Montecito

Located in Montecito near Santa Barbara, this hidden gem was created by socialite and opera singer Madame Ganna Walska. The 37-acre grounds took decades to construct and is widely considered one of the best botanical gardens in the world. From around June to the end of September, the Japanese and Water gardens are transformed into magnificent floating displays of picture-perfect pink lotuses.

15. Madonna Inn, San Luis Obispo

Driving up Highway 1 to San Luis Obispo, it’s hard to miss this outstanding fuchsia fortress. Each of the Madonna Inn’s 110 kitschy rooms are individually themed with a unique name. Pink lovers will particularly appreciate rooms 141 (Madonna Suite), 182 (Tall & Short), 183 (Love Nest), and 218 (Carin). A stay is not complete without a meal at the Alex Madonna’s Gold Rush Steak House, where bright pink booths, tablecloths, and gold candelabras make for an unforgettable dining experience. The hotel even boasts its own bakery, so don’t forget to grab a slice of the Inn’s famous pink champagne cake. Did we mention there is a pink tennis court too?

16. Fremont Theater, San Luis Obispo

At night, this historic pastel pink theater in downtown San Luis Obispo lights up its neon marquis with display of reds, pinks, yellows, and blues. Built in 1942, the Fremont Theater is a quintessential example of the streamline moderne style, a subset of the art deco architectural style. The rainbow exterior is matched with an equally flamboyant interior. Designed to mimic the concert halls and opera houses of Europe, concertgoers will find a mesmerizing, swirling ceiling design, as well as 100-foot decorative murals of flowers, charging steeds, and women in gowns. 

17. Capitola Village

The colorful pastel houses that line the shore of this seaside community in Santa Cruz County come right up to Capitola Beach. Located about 75 miles southeast of San Francisco, this small beach town on the north shore of Monterey Bay is perfect for a quick weekend getaway. Stroll through the iconic rainbow neighborhood before grabbing a sweet from Gayle’s Bakery & Rosticceria, which the San Francisco Chronicle has called “maybe the best bakery anywhere.”

18. Pink Victorians of San Francisco

Walk around Pacific Heights, Cole Valley, the Castro, and other San Francisco neighborhoods and it won’t be long before you encounter a pink Queen Anne Victorian. From the softest baby pinks to the brightest magentas, there is no shortage of pink-pigmented homes to see in the City by the Bay. Even rock legend Janis Joplin’s old apartment in Golden Gate Park’s Panhandle is boldly painted a combination of rosy shades.

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