Cheeky’s is famous for its brunch service // © 2017 Audrey Ma
Feature image (above): Dine on El Mirasol Cocinca Mexicana’s patio. // © 2017 Rob Temmerman
As an interior designer in Los Angeles, Kurt Cyr was especially fervent about midcentury design — so much so that he would head over to its mecca, Palm Springs, to lead tours for the city’s annual Modernism Week.
Upon realizing that his love for the desert oasis far surpassed the arbitrary visit, Cyr moved to Palm Springs permanently in 2010 — he and his partner had purchased a weekend getaway home there in 1999 — and founded Palm Springs Mod Squad, an architecture and design tour company, in 2015.
From start to finish, an ideal food day consists of: Brunch at Cheeky’s — the line outside says it all (get there early). The omelets are my favorite, and the waffles are also sinfully delicious. I’ve been eating at El Mirasol Cocinca Mexicana’s original location for more than 27 years; the carnitas, chicken quesadillas and ceviche are my go-to dishes. Ask for the spicy salsa, and spike it with the in-house hot sauce called Dona Diabla.
A visitor’s drink of choice should be: None other than the martini. If you want sunshine and an open patio with your martini, check out Eight4Nine Restaurant and Lounge. If you seek shade and a dark corner to escape the heat (like the locals do), order yours at Seymour’s. The entrance is tucked behind a velvet curtain at Mr. Lyons Steakhouse.
A tourist activity that’s worth the hype: An architectural tour is essential. Whether it lasts 90 minutes or three hours, it’s a great way to really understand Palm Springs and see all parts of the city.
For a do-it-yourself tour, head to: The Sunmor neighborhood for midcentury development housing, and Canyon View Estates for mid-1960s low-density condos with incredible shadow block walls. Deepwell Estates is filled with custom homes dating from the early 1950s to 2014 — you can see the evolution of the Palm Springs design style throughout the years all on one street.
The hottest hotel at the moment is: Sparrows Lodge, which is small but super cool; it’s like a Japanese ryokan (inn). Be sure to grab an alfresco lunch in the courtyard.
What makes Palm Springs special? The city is teeming with creative thinkers and doers. You don’t just happen to live here. You choose to live here.