Trixie Mattel’s Palm Springs Guide: Restaurants, Hotels, & Shopping


Whether you’re coming down from Coachella or just need to escape L.A., the new issue of NYLON has the ultimate guide to a Palm Springs getaway, according to the insiders who know best. First up: Trixie Mattel. When the drag mogul isn’t filming Trixie Motel: Drag Me Home — the upcoming Max show inspired by the Palm Springs motel she co-owns with her partner, David Silver — she’s on the lookout for date-night spots and good nachos.

I love running. Not to be a hater on nature, but I can’t recommend it enough to run through Palm Springs. There’s so much to look at: buildings, cars, people. Most of the time I run through town, or I’ll pick one of the residential areas because the house-watching in Palm Springs is incredible: the mailboxes, the front doors, the beautiful lawns. People do cool things with their trees and trim them into interesting shapes. It’s like running through the suburbs in Edward Scissorhands.

I definitely run by Trina Turk and its men’s store, Mr Turk, to see what they have in the window. What you picture people in Palm Springs wearing, that’s what they make. I wear a lot of their clothes on Trixie Motel — their girl clothes in drag, boy clothes out of drag. I love to stop by Iconic Atomic, which is one of my favorite vintage stores, to pick up a piece like a fun handbag — that way you don’t look like you’re wearing head-to-toe something you bought off a mannequin. If you like pop art, which is such a big part of Palm Springs, go to the Trevor Wayne art gallery and store nearby. I’ve known Trevor for years — he and I actually went on a date once back in the day — and he has a tattoo of Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors on his throat, if you want to know how f*cking cool this person is. You’ll see his work all over town.

The Mojave Flea Trading Post is a daily indoor flea market where people sell blankets, candles, Palm Springs merch, jewelry, mini sculptures, home goods — anything like that. A lot of times the person selling it to you is the person who made it, which is so special. I’ll sometimes run by Forever Marilyn, the Marilyn Monroe statue a few blocks away. There’s some discourse about it — it’s the famous pose where she’s trying to cover her body, and you can definitely walk under it — but it’s cool in person. Palm Springs is the only place in the world where there could be a 26-foot-tall Marilyn statue and everyone’s like, “Yep, that’s normal.”

I rarely stay at the Trixie Motel because the rooms are usually full of guests, so I’ll usually stay across the street at the ARRIVE Palm Springs. The rooms are pretty, it’s got a huge pool, and it’s right next to this restaurant called 1501 Uptown Gastropub. I’m sure they’re ready to get rid of us because we’re in there constantly. When we were renovating the motel, we would go there almost every day for lunch. In a lot of tight communities with a very competitive tourism market, you would maybe think that not everybody would be welcoming. But in Palm Springs, the other businesses were so nice to us and so supportive of us.

If you’re recovering from partying, nothing revitalizes you like food. My two favorite breakfast-y places are Farm, which has amazing classic country breakfast fare — fluffy eggs, buttery toast, crispy breakfast potatoes — and Cheeky’s, which I think has the best brunch in town. The fresh orange juice is amazing. Mexican food can also really revive you, and El Mirasol is really good. When the chips and salsa is fierce, you just feel comfortable, like, “I want to try everything on this menu.”

“A lot of the people who live there went for a weekend and never left, so be careful — you might go and never come home.”

About 50 minutes outside of Palm Springs, there’s a place called Pioneertown that was built to film Westerns at. Even though they don’t film movies there as much, there are little gift shops and little restaurants, and it’s worth going there and walking around and taking pics. Orville Peck does an annual event there called Orville Peck’s Rodeo that I cannot recommend enough. And the concert is at Pappy + Harriet’s, which itself is very legendary. I think the brunch food there has been proven to actually bring people back to life from the dead.

Honestly, I’m such a bottom, I let David pick everything we do. We’ve gone on a lot of date nights at Blackbook. It could stop being a gay bar and just be a restaurant and I would still go. They have great spicy margaritas, and we always get the nachos. The Tropicale is a beautiful environment with great food: pupu platters, skewers, good vegetarian options. And every time I’ve eaten outside, I’ve seen a feral cat — dinner and a show! In general in Palm Springs, make reservations. These are small businesses with seasonal staff members. I can’t tell you how many times I didn’t plan correctly and ended up eating dinner at 7-Eleven.

Bar Cecil is where you bring people when you want to impress them. The food may be some of the best food I’ve had in Palm Springs. That’s where I brought Ken and Lisa Vanderpump. David’s good friends with the actress Anna Camp, and that’s where he bumped into her once — they just started talking because it’s very friendly in there. The tables are close enough to each other that you could say hi to someone. Palm Springs is such a fun vibe. You can sit at a bar next to a sober person, a retired person, and someone currently in the middle of a vacation blackout. A lot of the people who live there went for a weekend and never left, so be careful — you might go and never come home.

Before you go, you at least have to drive by Trixie Motel to see our pink wall and our cactus garden. We have seven suites, so we’re pretty much booked all the time, but there are a lot of ways to experience Trixie Motel. You can stop by anytime and come to the gift shop — it’s the only place in the world that sells Trixie Cosmetics in person. We also are on OpenTable, so if you just want to get a drink at the Trixie Motel, you can come sit in the bar and get table service. I have a few dozen vintage Barbie dolls from my personal collection on display there. We have cameras, so if you try to touch them, I will find you.

Most motels, you don’t even want to think about who’s staying in the room next to you. But we have guests who’ve met people in other suites and schedule vacations for the next year at the same time so they can meet up with those same people again. I mean, where does that happen?


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