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Perfect Weekend

Rancho Mirage and its surrounding palm-filled desert have long been the go-to escape for L.A.’s cool crowd. The mecca of mid-century modern architecture boasts homes designed by Richard Neutra and once lived in by Hollywood stars. And the city’s Uptown Design District has plenty of shops to pick up Mad Men-esque furnishings to take home. Fabled Joshua Tree National Park is just an hour away. After a day in the sun, hit the pool or revive parched skin at the spa.

Aerial view of a large pool overlooked by palm trees and lounge chairs



  • Healthy Start.

    You’ll be lying poolside a lot in the desert heat, so start off on a healthy note with breakfast at Mod Café. This good-for-you Uptown eatery has a veggie-focused menu of dishes such as root vegetable hash and a long list of smoothies, juices and health shots.

  • Modern Masterpieces.

    Yes, you can ogle the region’s striking mid-century modern architecture on your own, but a tour with Palm Springs Modern will provide fascinating context. The tour covers about 35 miles and covers iconic buildings such as the 1946 Kaufmann House by Richard Neutra and the trilevel mini-estate of media tycoon Howard Hughes. You’ll also learn about the valley’s most-famed architects, including E. Stewart Williams and Sean Lockyer. You’re certain to have house envy by the end of the three-hour tour.

  • Shop Till You Drop.

    From retro light fixtures to curvy couches, Palm Springs is a mecca for mid-century interiors. Hit the retail-packed Uptown Design District and browse Mad Men-worthy furnishings and fashion. Don’t miss the Trina Turk boutique, featuring the designer’s signature bold frocks. If vintage is your thing, head to A La Mod for housewares and the Frippery for clothing.

  • Alfresco Dining.

    Score a seat in the courtyard at Jake’s, a laid-back American bistro in the Uptown Design District known for its excellent weekend brunch. Order the signature mimosa (spiked with clementine vodka and blood orange juice). The eclectic menu has dishes ranging from a crab cake Benedict to a Cubano sandwich.

  • Sun and Spa.

    Beat the heat and enjoy desert views from the Vista Pool at The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage. Then treat parched skin to an aloe vera body wrap at the resort’s 16-treatment room spa.

  • Dinner with the Stars.

    Mister Parker’s is a Palm Springs institution so beloved by the Hollywood set that Leonardo DiCaprio has rented out the entire space. The dining room has a Prohibition-era vibe. A white grand piano greets diners at the entrance and the walls are lined with pop and abstract paintings from the late 1960s. Dim lighting creates a sultry scene as you dine on decadent dishes such as steak tartare and foie gras.




  • Desert Hike.

    Rise early and make the hourlong drive to Joshua Tree National Park. Two distinct desert ecosystems, the Colorado and the Mojave, come together in this iconic American park. Bring your camera to snap photos of its zig-zaggy, namesake trees. The area is a mecca for hikers and rock climbers. For a low-key trek, follow the 3-mile 49 Palms Oasis Trail through rugged desert to a surprising grove of native fan palms.  

  • Wild West.

    A visit to Pioneertown, just north of Palm Springs in the Yucca Valley, will take you back in time. Built in the early 1940s as a set for movies and TV shows, today, the tiny Old West is home to shops, restaurants and live Western entertainment.  

  • Legendary Barbecue.

    Originally a movie set, Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace is a Southern California landmark known for its delicious Santa Maria barbecue cooked with mesquite instead of the traditional red oak. The tri-tip steak is the house specialty and the nachos Von Rabbit is a nod to local rocker Jesika von Rabbit. Check the calendar, as this venue is known to pull in big-name acts.  

  • Home Tour.

    Now that you’ve seen the exteriors of some of Palm Springs’ legendary homes, step inside one of them. Sunnylands, a 200-acre estate in Rancho Mirage originally owned by Walter and Leonore Annenberg, opened to the public in 2012. Built in 1966 and designed by A. Quincy Jones, the home originally hosted world leaders, including President Richard Nixon and more recently President Obama. Tours last 90 minutes and cover all 23 bedrooms. Save time afterward to stroll the cactus-filled gardens.

  • Farm-to-Table Food and Cocktails.

    The latest darling of Palm Springs dining scene, Workshop Kitchen + Bar serves a creative market-driven menu and some of the city’s best cocktails. Arrive early for a drink at the bar. The Palm Springer — vodka, pineapple juice, grenadine and angostura bitters — is a house favorite. Indulge with the braised pork cheek fries and the JBF burger, topped with pastrami and truffle mayo.