10 Best Things to See in Rancho Mirage California

|   Last Updated on September 13, 2021

— RANCHO MIRAGE CALIFORNIA — Coachella Valley is the home to seven incorporated cities: Desert Hot Springs, Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, and La Quinta. However, when visitors come to the area, they often say they are coming to Palm Springs.

They could be in a city 30-miles down the valley from Palm Springs. But, located close to the geographical center of the valley, Rancho Mirage quietly reveals its charm. It attracts national and international visitors year-round with 17 golf courses, gated communities, and luxury hotels like the Rancho Mirage Ritz Carlton.




Rancho Mirage attracts many snowbirds with sunshine 340-days a year. Manicured professional golf courses and tennis courts provide ample opportunities to enjoy the beautiful weather, ever-changing mountain views, sunrises, and sunsets.

~Kathy Condon

1. Explore Beautiful Desert Gardens

Sunnylands - Rancho Mirage
©Kathy Condon

One of the most often missed beautiful and relaxing places in Rancho Mirage is Sunnylands. It is located on the former 200-acre estate of Ambassadors Walter and Lenore Annenberg. Since the 1960s it was the place that entertained celebrities and eight Presidents. Today, it is used by educational institutions, the Supreme Court, and organizations tactically worldwide issues such as climate change.

As you turn into the driveway, the magnificence of the grounds starts to reveal itself. Plants are strategically placed together, catching one’s eyes and causes one to marvel at the beauty of the grounds. The $32 million Education Center is open to the public at no cost at the end of the driveway. It houses an art gallery, restaurant and dining patio, a small theatre, a gift shop, and a floor-to-ceiling glass lounge area. So, take your time, walk the gardens and be sure to check their calendar of events online for their special events.

2. Coachella Valley’s Popular Candy Factory

Brandini Toffee - Rancho Mirage
©Kathy Condon

The story behind Brandini Toffee reveals what can happen if you have a need and you problem-solve to come up with an answer to solve the issue. Brando Weiner and a friend longed to go on a trip to Italy. However, funds were short, and his family challenged them to earn one-half of their travel expenses. In the family kitchen, the toffee recipe was developed.

The reaction from friends and neighbors proved to be encouraging and resulted in them earning enough to travel to Italy. Hidden away in one of the shopping malls is now the thriving factory producing toffee shipped worldwide. It remains one of the most popular gifts one can give from the Coachella Valley. While you are there, be sure to have one of their chocolate toffee shakes or ice cream bars.

3. Ready to Do a Little Gambling?

Steakhouse at Aqua Caliente Casino
©Kathy Condon

Looming over the desert landscape is the Agua Caliente Casino and Spa. If you choose, you can land at the Palm Springs Airport, take transportation to the location, check into your hotel room, and remain on the premises for your entire stay.

Hungry? If you want a formal, delicious dinner, The Steakhouse will fit your criteria. You have seven choices of restaurants on the premises. Take a dip in one of the two outside pools, and maybe you want to follow it up with any one of the numerous spa treatments also on site.  

4. View the Night Sky

Rancho Mirage Observatory
©Kathy Condon

Dedicated in 2018, the Rancho Mirage Observatory is located on the grounds of the Rancho Mirage Library. The desert’s night sky is known for its ability to showcase other galaxies. However, with the Valley’s development, lights tend to interfere, preventing the stars’ brilliance from shining to be observed.

The City of Rancho Mirage approved the observatory’s construction and an astronomer to guide its creation, not wanting to lose the mystic of the beautiful sky. Today, tickets are in great demand. Twice daily tours, Monday through Friday, allow visitors to learn and see the giant telescope used in research, which is shared with other observatories.

5. Hotel with a View

Ritz Carlton in Rancho Mirage
©Kathy Condon

After years of closure, the reopening of the Ritz Carlton Rancho Mirage was met with tremendous accolades by the community. This full-service hotel today, once again, can rightfully claim its title of having one of the most beautiful views of Coachella Valley.

State Fare Bar and Kitchen is a casual restaurant, thus making the perfect place to meet friends for a drink after work or have dinner to catch up. However, there is no better place to go in the Valley for a celebratory dinner than The Edge Steakhouse. Its floor-to-ceiling glass walls provide an unparalleled view from the 650 ft perch above the desert.

6. Looking for a Place to Exercise?

Rancho Mirage Community Park
©Rancho Mirage Community Center

You will have to look no farther than Rancho Mirage Community Park. It offers activities for the entire family. Parents appreciate the shaded children’s playground and its wooden chips’ ground cover that provides a soft landing for any tumble.

There are tennis courts, pickleball courts, basketball courts, and plenty of benches for the adults if you want to people watch and appreciate the desert scenes. Be sure to check the schedule for events at the open-air, 1,000 seat amphitheater.




7. Ready for Shopping?

Collectors Corner Rancho Mirage
©Kathy Condon

Collector’s Corner, Coachella Valley’s Premier Thrift Shop is truly a treasure hunter’s paradise. Under the auspices of the Eisenhower Health Dolores Hope Auxiliary, it has two professional staff members. It utilizes the talents of many volunteers to help keep the operations running smoothly. All profits go to supporting Eisenhower Health Center.

You can expect both men’s and women’s clothing to be in pristine condition. Glassware not only sparkles, but there is also, more than likely, any vessel you may need. Scattered throughout the showroom floors are ever-changing furniture pieces waiting to be moved to the perfect spot in your home.

8. Relaxing Spot for Breakfast or Lunch

Palms Café - Rancho Mirage
©Kathy Condon

The Palms Café is tucked away in the shopping mall called The Atrium right on Highway 111. Keep your eyes open because you will not want to miss this often overlooked casual and homey place to have an all-American breakfast or lunch.

It’s not often people rave about pancakes, but here your choice may be between blueberry or savory banana nut. Oh, you also need to decide if you want a mimosa, champagne, or a bloody Mary. In any case, expect a relaxing and breakfast with no unwanted surprises, just good food.

9. A Park Discovered in an Unexpected Place

Michael S Wolfson Park
©Kathy Condon

How fun to be driving along, and you discover the Michael S. Wolfson Park. This triangular shape park is at the intersection of roads Frank Sinatra and Davall. Frank Sinatra was instrumental in its development to honor Michael S. Wolfson, a former Rancho Mirage City Council member and Planning Commissioner.

Its Victorian-like style park has lush plants, a fountain, and plenty of benches that support your desire to sit, relax, and take in the mountain view. This dog-friendly park has been the site of many new friendships.

10. Shopping with a View

Dingk Eatery & Bar
©Dringk Eatery & Bar

The River has a beautiful amphitheater where musicians entertain people as they move from one place to another. There is nothing more lovely than walking out of the Century Theatre at the River and XD late in the day. The sense of awe for the sun setting behind the mountains and music filling the air cannot help but add a spring to your steps.

If you are hungry, you might want to head over to Dringk Eatery and Bar. This a great place to go for its lounge areas, with comfy sofas and chairs, offer several spots to carry on private conversations. If you are a whiskey aficionado, you will be thrilled to see their list of over 50 different whiskies.

Conclusion

Rancho Mirage attracts many snowbirds with sunshine 340 days a year. Manicured professional golf courses and tennis courts provide ample opportunities to enjoy the beautiful weather, ever-changing mountain views, sunrises, and sunsets.

During Presidential visits to Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage, this area is showcased to the entire world. In addition, its proximity to Palm Springs International Airport makes it easy for international visitors to add to their itineraries.

*Opening photo ©Kathy Condon

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Last Updated on September 13, 2021

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