Where to Dine Alfresco in Palm Springs

With so many Modernism Week events clustered near downtown Palm Springs, we present seven chic patio restaurants in the area for a quick but delicious bite.

Lizbeth Scordo Current Guide, Restaurants

In town for Modernism Week? That's the perfect excuse to check out Palm Springs restaurants like High Bar. 

Snowcapped mountains, sunny skies, and temps in the 70s make February one of the loveliest months in Greater Palm Springs. But what makes it even better? Modernism Week, the 11-day-long festival celebrating midcentury design, architecture, and this one-of-a-kind locale. In between property tours, parties, and lectures, you’re going to want to take a break somewhere where you can grab a cool cocktail, fuel up on fine fare, and savor that aforementioned fine weather. With so many events clustered in Palm Springs, here are seven patios to consider for a beautiful (and boozy!) break.


One of the most beautiful patios in town is also one of the largest. Spencer’s Restaurant, a longstanding upscale eatery adjacent to the historic Palm Springs Tennis Club, has multiple outdoor dining options. Ask for a table on the main patio, shaded from the sun by large leafy trees and illuminated after dark with hanging ornamental lights. Dinner is delightful (and don’t worry, the heaters are plentiful). But for us, it’s all about brunch, with a massive menu of Benedicts, a serious salad selection, and legendary banana-stuffed French toast.


Since opening its doors almost two years ago, this art-filled haven hidden within a shopping center has become one of the most coveted reservations in town. Its covered patio is an outdoor oasis that’s heavy on style. “The patio at Bar Cecil is a lush and intimate setting, behind a gate and hedges, that feels festive year-round,” says restaurant partner Jeff Brock. “It was designed to have a sophisticated garden vibe, with plantings and a mix of colorful, botanical-inspired printed fabrics that add to its charm.” Sample chef Gabe Woo’s unique take on French-inspired fare and pair it with inventive cocktails like the pretty St. Olaf, made with rose gin, sugar snap pea, and lime.


Your pup may not be able to attend the posh party you’re headed to later, but you can take your four-legged friend to order his very own meal at this poppy indoor-outdoor eatery. Boozehounds caters to both people and pets, who are welcome to relax on a large, enclosed patio dotted with tables, shaded couches, potted plants, and a well-stocked bar. Humans can nosh on shareables such as blistered shishitos, tuna crudo, and Parmesan-truffle fries, while dining dogs can scarf down a Doggie TV Dinner of meatloaf, gravy, and veggies or a specially made salmon teriyaki bowl. Stop by for happy hour, when many classic cocktails and all well drinks are discounted to $8.

Gigi's offers glamorous plates and drinks in the open air.

This glam restaurant at the V Palm Springs hotel has been quietly doling out some of the most creative cocktails in town — including an avocado margarita and a lavender-infused play on a Bee’s Knees served in a gorgeous bird-shaped glass — alongside re-imagined retro-American classics. (Try the caviar onion dip or the tuna tartare cigars.) With its lava rock wall, fire pit, and scenic surrounds, “Gigi’s patio was curated to deliver the ultimate desert getaway experience,” says Holly Baird of Geragos Global, which owns the restaurant, “focusing on the luxurious glamour of Palm Springs nostalgia fused with a vibrant and engaging high-energy dining environment.”


For a new patio perspective, head to the appropriately named poolside hangout that is indeed the highest bar in town — seven stories up to be exact — atop The Rowan Palm Springs, complete with mountain and cityscape views that evolve with the changing light of day. According to Brick Loomis, the hotel’s director of restaurants, bars, and events, the most popular dishes include the vegetarian lettuce wraps and signature burger, which is “served alongside a craft beverage menu and a mix of poolside tropicalia and classic hip-hop music,” he says. “And the people watching is second to none.”


The poolside restaurant at hot hotel La Serena Villas boasts Frida Kahlo prints, patterned Spanish tile, and bold wallpaper, plus a menu that blends Latin and Cali cuisines. It’s the perfect place for a light bite, like the colorful roasted beet salad or ahi tartare, washed down with a margarita. Grab a table or a seat by the giant fireplace upstairs at Azúcar’s outdoor lounge, Sugar High, to dine and imbibe amid mountain views.

Architectural history meets craft drinks at SO·PA at L'Horizon.

The sophisticated outdoor restaurant at L’Horizon — a property originally built in the 1950s by acclaimed architect William Cody and later revitalized by designer and hotelier Steve Hermann — is just the spot to get a dose of design in between Modernism Week events. The outdoor space is heavy on dramatic features, including a 26-foot-long walnut table, branching Lindsey Adelman lights, and a sleek fire feature surrounded by stark white slump stone. From a sparkling paloma to a prickly pear margarita to a maraschino-spiked twist on a Manhattan (known here as a Brooklyn), the cocktail menu has something for everyone.