Marin’s Cities & Towns: Mill Valley

*The Stats

Population: 14,000+

Mayor: John McCauley

Notable residents: Sammy Hagar, the late Jack Kerouac and Jerry Garcia

Fun fact: In the late 1960s and early 1970s, a group of Marin teenagers known as “The Larkspur Canyon Gang” rode vintage single-speed balloon-tire bikes on Mt. Tamalpais, which is generally regarded as the birthplace of mountain biking.

Mill Valley Gravity Car
The Gravity Car.

Located along the shores of Richardson Bay and the eastern slopes of Mount Tamalpais, the charming village of Mill Valley was named for mill workers who once called it home. Mill Valley was also once the site of the Mount Tamalpais & Muir Woods Railway, founded in 1896, which took tourists from Mill Valley to the East Peak of Mt. Tam and to view the coast redwoods at Muir Woods, the national monument that is now visited by 1.2 million people a year.

Muir Woods.

Outdoor activities, from hiking to mountain biking, abound in this picturesque mountain town, which hosts the notoriously challenging Dipsea Race, the second-oldest footrace in the United States. Locals and visitors also flock to Mill Valley for the chic boutiques and restaurants located along the town’s main drag, Throckmorton Avenue, and at the Mill Valley Lumber Yard.

Mill Valley Film Festival.

And, it’s a cultural hub: The annual Mill Valley Film Festival draws international celebrities; the Marin Theater Company puts on critically acclaimed productions; Sweetwater Music Hall showcases notable musical acts; and Mountain Play performs theatrical productions in an open-air event amphitheater on Mt. Tam during the summer months. 

Mill Valley
Mountain Play.

For more Mill Valley:

What are your favorite places in Mill Valley? Tag @marinmagazine on Instagram and let us know. To read about other places to explore in Marin, check out our Cities & Towns section.

Lotus Abrams

Lotus Abrams has covered everything from beauty to business to tech in her editorial career, but it might be writing about her native Bay Area that inspires her most. She lives with her husband and two daughters in the San Francisco Peninsula, where they enjoy spending time outdoors at the area’s many open spaces protected and preserved by her favorite local nonprofit, the Peninsula Open Space Trust.