Rancho Palos Verdes is translated as "Ranch of Green Sticks"
Rancho Palos Verdes (also known by the abbreviation RPV) is a city atop the Palos Verdes Hills and bluffs of the Palos Verdes Peninsula. It is known for expansive estates amidst large tracts of open space with expansive views of the Pacific Ocean. Rancho Palos Verdes is translated as "Ranch of Green Sticks", probably referring to the willows in the northeastern part of Bixby Slough (now known as Machado Lake) shown on earlier maps.
The history of Rancho Palos Verdes dates back to the Tongva or Gabrielino Indians, who inhabited the site before the Age of Discovery. Spanish explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo was credited as the first European to navigate the California Coast in 1542, which included the hills of Rancho Palos Verdes. Rancho de los Palos Verdes was established by a Mexican land grant given in 1846 by Governor Pío Pico to Jose Loreto and Juan Capistrano Sepulveda.
The city's most notable geographic features are the Palos Verdes Hills and cliffs, with grand vistas of the Pacific Ocean and of Santa Catalina Island.
The city is served by the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District (PVPUSD), which includes Palos Verdes Peninsula High School and Palos Verdes High School, and the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD, in the Eastview area of the city). Children living in Eastview have the option of attending public school in either the PVPUSD or the LAUSD. Also, Rolling Hills Country Day School (K-8) and Chadwick School (K-12) are well-known private schools that serve the area. Marymount California University, a private liberal arts institution offering bachelor's and master's degrees, is located in Rancho Palos Verdes.
The Point Vicente Interpretive Center is a premier whale-watching site that provides spectacular opportunities to view the annual migration of the Pacific gray whale from December through April. The center opened in 1984 with a mission to present and interpret the unique features and history of the Palos Verdes Peninsula. The almost 10,000-square-foot expanded Interpretive Center, reopened on July 15, 2006, features exhibits on the natural and cultural history of the peninsula, with a special emphasis on the Pacific gray whale. The Point Vicente Lighthouse, built in 1926, is adjacent to the center and is on the National Register of Historic Places. At another location along the coast, Wayfarers Chapel, designed by Lloyd Wright and built between 1949 and 1951, is also on the National Register of Historic Places.
The site of the former Marineland of the Pacific (1954–87) was redeveloped and is now occupied by the Terranea Resort, which opened in June 2009. The city is also home to Trump National Golf Course, one of eleven in the Trump portfolio of courses. The Salvation Army's School for Officer Training is located in Rancho Palos Verdes.