Rancho Mirage is a resort city in Riverside County, California, United States. The population was 17,218 at the 2010 census, up from 13,249 at the 2000 census, but the seasonal (part-time) population can exceed 20,000. In between Cathedral City and Palm Desert, it is one of the nine 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), and had 3,000 permanent residents at the time.
Rancho Mirage has twelve golf courses, also known as country clubs or golf resorts. The city’s first 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 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 theater for top name entertainers opened in 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 based on seasonal, resort-based golfing and low-paying rentals, to include light industry and commerce near the I-10 and high-end retail centers like The River shopping complex.