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What will you do with your time once you've seen the most highly anticipated movie of the summer? We recommend planning a Barbie-perfect weekend getaway.
If you are a human being who uses the internet, you are well aware that the Barbie movie is coming out today. But with great anticipation comes a great post-movie letdown: after months of counting down to cinema’s greatest event in history (don’t @ me, I am a millennial woman and this is my culture), you’ve immersed yourself in Greta Gerwig’s hot-pink world for two-plus hours, and now there is nothing left to look forward to in this world.
Unless, somehow, through the power of air travel, you could live the life of Barbie. Sure, according to Mattel lore, Barbie is technically from Wisconsin, but you and I both know she is a California girl at heart. And so, if you truly wish to follow in her tip-toe footsteps, to live the kitschy, mid-century-inspired, unapologetically all-pink-all-the-time life of the Doll Who Has It All, you simply must start California dreaming—here, on the golden coast, the Barbiecore trip of a lifetime awaits, the perfect way to kill time before it’s appropriate to get a ticket to a second screening.
We’re all well acquainted with Malibu Barbie, but it’s actually a crime that there isn’t a Palm Springs Barbie, too, because this desert paradise is absolutely packed with pretty-as-a-dollhouse spots to eat, stay and play.
Splash into a Palm Springs pool party. Case in point, the Saguaro Palm Springs, a refurbished Holiday Inn that may as well be called Barbie’s Dream Hotel. The white building with its candy-coloured doors creates a horseshoe around a bumpin’, palm-tree-lined pool, complete with vibe-y DJs and a poolside bar that serves up perfect margs to keep you cool in the desert heat. If leaving this Palm Springs-perfect spot isn’t appealing, the lobby resto, El Jefe, serves up some excellent modern Mexican—if there’s not a Shrimp Tacos Barbie yet, there absolutely should be, because, really, they’re the perfect accessory for a modern woman.
Go dream-house hunting. Of course, there are plenty of good reasons to explore PS beyond this friendly hotel hub. A driving tour of the incredible midcentury modern homes in the area (the audio and map are available through Modern Palm Springs) is an ideal way to hide out from the midday sun while shopping for your own dream house.
Ask yourself: WWBE (where would Barbie eat)? Stop for ice cream at the sprinkle-forward scoopery Shoppe to pre-game for dinner at the Martyn Lawrence Bullard-designed Pink Cabana. The eclectic room is a joyful mix of colour and texture—rattan chairs, bubble-like oyster-shell pendant lights, tufted pink velvet booths, checkerboard floors—and serves up Mediterranean-meets-Morrocan-meets-modern-Cali bites (think harissa chicken with saffron potatoes and turmeric onions) and refreshing, creative cocktails (the Cabana Colada tastes like a vacation, mixing gin, coconut, soda and lime to great effect).
Caffeinate at the cutest little coffee bar in P.S. In the morning, collect your cortado from the pink take-out window at Cafe La Jefa, and then snag a seat on the breezy patio—whether on the rainbow rocking chairs, at the custom Airstream bar or beneath the flower-draped pergola. It’s located in the Flannery Exchange, a hub for local artisans and small businesses, so build in some time to do a little shopping—and if you’re really on a roll, head over to the Shops at Thirteen Forty Five, a unique collection of 14 luxurious shops in an iconic (and, yes, pretty-in-pink) E. Stewart Williams building.
Park yourself at the Parker. Lunch at Norma’s is a must, even if it’s just to peep the still-quirky-after-all-these-years Jonathan Adler-designed Parker Hotel that the diner resides in. This is your chance to embrace a more 1970s side of your inner Barbie—think vintage flower power and conversation pits. At Norma’s, the menu serves up breakfast all day long, with playful, decadent dishes like fruit-filled Waz-Za waffles or the Nice Salad, which comes served in a cheeky, hollowed-out iceberg lettuce head.
Dare to do date night in Palm Desert. Obviously you’re going to spend your afternoon at the pool or begging your way into the gift shop/vintage Barbie museum at the nearby all-pink-everything Trixie Motel (owned and operated by drag queen Trixie Mattel, of course), but when dinnertime rolls around, hop in the car (ideally a pink convertible, but you do you) and head to Porta Via Palm Desert. Awash in teak and olive green velvet booths, lit by the soft glow of Herman Miller hanging lights, it’s obviously the sort of place where Barbie would treat Ken to a nice night out before she headed to her shift as a space veterinarian or whatever: share a zippy chopped beet salad (oooh, that champagne shallot vinaigrette!) and tender scallops on a bed of garlicky sautéed spinach and nutty rice, drizzled with herb oil. (The Barbie-verse doesn’t spend a lot of time dwelling on Barbie’s fave foods but our girl clearly loves the finer things in life—so yeah, elevated West Coast seafood it is.) Should you need a little something sweet to cap off the night, pop by Lulu for a tower of late-night cotton candy—as indulgent as it is Instagrammable.
Charge your camera for a day of power posing. The next morning, hit the road for Santa Monica, (Make a pit stop at Cabazon Dinosaurs for a quick photo op with the oversized fibreglass apatosaurus in the parking lot, of course.) Here, you could explore either the IRL upscale beach town or the over-the-top plastic dream world of Miss B herself at the World of Barbie exhibit: inside, step inside the dream closet, dream camper van, dream space shuttle, dream TV talk show set, and all the other imagination stations Barbie has inspired. (Nearby Tu Madre offers hearty plant-based burrito bowls to help you shake off life in plastic.)
Play pretend at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Pulling up to the iconic red-carpet entrance of the Beverly Hills Hotel is pure Hollywood fantasy—and what does Babs love more than letting your imagination run wild? You’re checking in to a 100-plus-year-old institution that was a long-time fave of Marilyn Monroe, Charlie Chaplin, and a laundry list of other stars, but the design touches here—a green-and-white striped entryway ceiling, the too-cute pink-and-white beach umbrellas lining the pool—are what make the institution still worth visiting… and a Barbiecore destination.
Spend your stay poolside (save for a side trip for a photo op at the all-pink Paul Smith wall on Melrose Avenue, or a pink coffee at the secret back-alley cafe tucked beside the neighbourhood’s futuristic Glossier) to embrace the Self-Tanning Barbie within.
Toast your travel inspiration at a unicorn-centric Thai restaurant. Dinner simply must be at Farmhouse Kitchen, a playful, crazy-flavourful Thai bistro that features a unicorn at the front door, kitschy faux florals draped from the ceiling, and grilled prawns swelled atop blue rice with toasted coconut and kaffir lime. We’re not sure what Barbie’s boozing habits are, but we feel confident that she would happily sip the gummy-bear-garnished Sugar Daddy cocktail, made with pretty purple Thai butterfly pea gin and vermouth. Raise a glass to the queen… and then get thee to another screening of the movie because summer in Los Angeles gets hot-hot-hot and the only thing better than an escapist blockbuster is the sweet kiss of air conditioning.