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November 22, 2018 3:10am
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San Rafael Things To Do

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Things to do in San Rafael, California

Sightseeing, shopping, dining, hiking, and visiting local attractions are just a few things you can do in San Rafael, California. The scenic beauty around the city and the wealth of activities for the whole family makes San Rafael a popular tourist destination.

Buy Local

One of the things you can do easily to enjoy San Rafael is to be a local for the day. Farmers Markets in the North Bay Area of San Francisco are a weekly or bi-weekly event. Residents know the quality of the fresh produce, artisan breads, locally grown fruits and vegtables, gourmet treats, and come to shop at the many open-air markets. Some people frequently visit the Farmers Markets to purchase local hand-made jewelry, soaps and lotions, trinkets and just to listen to some live music.

Marin Farmers Market

Marin Farmers Market is open on Sundays and Thursdays 8 a.m.-1 p.m. at the San Rafael’s Marin Civic Center. San Rafael’s Farmers Market is one of the top 10 markets in the country. The Farmers Market is open year-round.

Downtown San Rafael Certified Farmers Market Festival

When it’s Thursday night, it’s time for a community celebration on Fourth Street with 150 vendors in the five-block festival.  You’ll find plenty to do: free entertainment, certified produce direct from the growers, arts and crafts, barbeque and international dinners, entertainment, balloons and activities for children. The Thursday Market is open 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. on Thursdays from April through September.

Parks and Open Spaces 

San Rafael has several parks and well-groomed open spaces that can be reserved for picnics, barbeques, family events and parties. There are some spaces that are available on a first-come, first-served basis, however many spots can be reserved ahead of time.

Reservations are available in these parks:

  • Boyd Park has a museum, picnic tables, tennis court, and playground.
  • Freitas Park has a water play area, amphitheater seating, and a playground.
  • Gerstle Park is equipped with picnic tables, barbeques, multiple group picnic areas (capacity up to 100), basketball court, tennis court and a brand-new multiage playground.
  • Pickleweed Park has a sports field, picnic tables, and playground.
  • Santa Margarita Park’s group picnic area takes 20-25 people. There’s a tennis court and a new playground.
  • Sun Valley Park has a group picnic area, picnic tables, basketball court, volleyball court, and a playground.
  • Terra Linda Park has picnic tables, a playground, and basketball courts.
  • Victor Jones Park has a larger group picnic area that can accommodate 35, a baseball diamond, basketball courts, and a playground.

Areas in these parks listed below are available on a first-come, first-served basis. No reservations are needed in these parks:

  • Bret Harte has picnic tables, basketball courts, and upgraded playgrounds.
  • Oleander Park has picnic tables and a playground                                   .
  • Russom Park has access to open space.
  • Schoen Park has a playground.

 

Sightseeing

If you are in San Rafael and looking for things to do, there are two buildings you absolutely must see.

The first is the Marin County Civic Center a distinctive building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. This futuristic building was Wright’s last major commission and is regarded as one of the famous architect’s most unique designs. The sculptural sky-blue roof, scalloped balconies and golden spire are extraordinary. The complex encompasses an 11-acre lagoon, 20-acre park and the Marin Center Auditorium and Exhibition Hall, where large local, regional and national events and exhibits are held.

The second is the Mission San Rafael Arcangel which was built in 1817.  Mission San Rafael was an assistencia or “helper” mission to Mission Dolores in San Francisco and was built to care for the sick. The Mission San Rafael Arcangel is a replica of the original Spanish mission, which was the second-to-last mission built in California. The current Mission building was constructed in 1949 and stands at right angles to the building’s original alignment. Mission Chapel is open for visitors Monday through Friday, 6:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Saturday, 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. and Sunday, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Admission is free, suggested donations are welcomed.

 

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