Rancho Mirage is a resort city in Riverside County, California, United States.
In between Cathedral City and Palm Desert, it is one of the eight cities of the Coachella Valley (Palm Springs area). Rancho Mirage was incorporated in 1973 from a merger of Mirage Cove with five unincorporated areas known as the "Cove communities" (Desert, Magnesia, Palmas, Tamarisk and Thunderbird), but had 3,000 permanent residents at the time.
Although the first modern settlements date back to the 1920s and 1930s, Rancho Mirage got its claim to fame after World War II. The Annenberg Estate or Sunnylands, owned by philanthropists Walter and Leonore Annenberg, had long been popular with the wealthy and powerful, including Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Queen Elizabeth II, and Mary Martin. Several United States Presidents have vacationed at the Annenberg estate, including Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and Gerald Ford.
Ford later bought a house in Rancho Mirage and was living there at the time of his death in 2006. The Betty Ford Center, a world-renowned addiction rehabilitation center, is located in Rancho Mirage at the Eisenhower Medical Center.
Rancho Mirage boasts twelve golf courses, also known as country clubs. The city's first golf resort was the Thunderbird Guest Ranch, opened in 1946 for entertainers and business clientele.
Other golf resorts are the Tamarisk, Mission Hills, the Springs, Sunrise, KSL Resorts' Rancho Las Palmas hotel (opened in 1979 to replace the Desert Air golf and private airport from 1954-1978), Rancho Mirage, Morningside, Mission Hills North Course, Westin Hotels Mission Hills resort, and Tuscania by Sunrise Company opened in 2006.
The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians of Palm Springs runs the Agua Caliente Casino on the intersection of Bob Hope Drive and Ramon Road off Interstate 10, opened in 2002. The thriving casino is a popular destination for locals, tourists, and gambling enthusiasts. In 2008 the tribal board completed the expansion of the Agua Caliente resort, which includes a 12-story hotel and spa, as well as remodelling the casino and expanding the parking structures.
A state-of-the-art theater for top name entertainers will open in the spring of 2009. Though the Agua Caliente Resort and Casino was just outside the border of Rancho Mirage in an unincorporated area, the City of Rancho Mirage included the property as part of the city in an agreement with the tribe so they would have access to police and firefighting services.
Rancho Mirage has expanded its economy from one relegated to seasonal, resort-based and low-paying, to include more light industry and commerce by I-10 and the Union Pacific Railroad, high-end retail centers like the River shopping complex, opened in 2005 and built around an artificial lake that resembles a castle's moat.