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About San Rafael

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About San Rafael, CA

San Rafael is a city that has the best of both worlds: an expansive California setting and all the amenities of an urban center. San Rafael is the county seat, the largest and oldest city of Marin County. This beautiful city is situated in the beautiful North Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area. In the 2010 census the city's population was recorded at 57,713.

San Rafael is a 20-minute drive north of San Francisco, across the Golden Gate Bridge. Its Mediterranean climate, beautiful scenery, and sights make San Rafael a great place to visit. The earliest settlement recorded in the city is the founding of Mission San Rafael Arcangel in 1817 as part of California’s Spanish mission expansion efforts. Today the replica of the original mission stands in the heart of the city recalling its early roots.

San Rafael's Fourth Street is the urban center of the city. The variety of restaurants, retail stores and businesses gives the downtown area a flavor unique only to San Rafael. The Rafael Theater, which screens independent documentaries, classics, retrospectives, features, international films is a must-see for film aficionados. If you like to shop, you will enjoy the Northgate Mall, which is 10 minutes north from downtown. Many festivals are held on Fourth Street. Some of the most well known are the Youth in Arts Italian Street Painting Festival and the Marin Arts Festival. For those who love nostalgic automobiles, there is May Madness, the longest running street rod show and parade in Northern California. And during the summer the Marin County fair is held at the Marin Center. San Rafael's Fourth Street also hosts a weekly Farmers Market

San Rafael has a culturally diverse population with almost a third of the households with children under the ages of 18 who live at home.

According to the San Rafael Chamber of Commerce, the businesses represented in the city are auto, professional, dining and entertainment, education and development, financial services, fitness and recreation, health, home improvement and construction, lodging, marketing, communications and printing, government, organizations, and real estate.

 The vibrant downtown is an eclectic mix of Victorian buildings, ethnic restaurants, and stores. The new San Rafael City Plaza, in the center of town is a lively venue for Thursday night farmers markets and concerts in the summer.

Outside San Rafael you’ll find many outdoor activities. The nearby national parks are Muir Woods National Monument and Point Reyes National Seashore. State Parks include Mt. Tamalpais, China Camp, and Angel Island. The vast Golden Gate National Recreation Area spreads through Marin County and encompasses Marin Headlands, Muir Beach, and Stinson Beach.

San Rafael is well connected to the rest of the San Francisco Bay area through the main north-south freeway U.S. Route 101 which connects Olympia, Washington in the north to Los Angeles in the south. Interstate 580 cuts across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge to the East Bay. Public transportation includes Golden Gate Transit, Marin Transit, Sonoma County Transit, and Greyhound. Local bus service is operated primarily by Golden Gate Transit and Marin Transit.

The arts are celebrated in San Rafael. There are many celebrities and well-known personalities who live or have lived in San Rafael.  A short list of who’s who includes author Isabel Allende, musicians musician Jerry Garcia, classical Indian music maestro Ali Akbar Khan, musician Carlos Santana and Director George Lucas.

 

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