From museums, art galleries, music and film festivals, theater and more, here are the Best of the County Readers’ choice for Arts and Entertainment.
Our 2023 Arts & Entertainment category sponsor is Gene Hiller.
Best Art Gallery
Art Works Downtown, San Rafael
Expenses are rising in Marin and artists are at increasing risk of being priced out, but Art Works Downtown, a nonprofit art center, is committed to staying put with a mission to make art visible and accessible for the betterment of all. Drawing from the community as well as from the breadth of creators in the area, Art Works Downtown showcases art in all mediums to inspire the public and encourage aspiring artists to pursue their dreams. After a quarter of a century in business, it is as dedicated as ever to fostering unity and opportunity through the arts in a time where being an artist is getting harder and harder.
Best Children’s Museum
Bay Area Discovery Museum, Sausalito
The reimagined play spaces encourage thoughtful engagement while amplifying learning as fun for all children, stimulating all five sense for children aged 6 months to 10 years and beyond.
Best Comedy Venue
142 Throckmorton Theatre, Mill Valley
“The Throck” is beloved for its commitment to showcasing rising stars in American comedy while also providing community-focused educational programming, a Fresh Voices series and its annual summer celebration of world music.
Best Community Event
Marin County Fair, San Rafael
Few events say Marin County quite like the county fair. For many, it’s a summer extravaganza that inspires nostalgia to this day, for others, it’s their first time at the kind of classic fair that just screams Americana in a way nothing else does. Between the colorful rides, mouth watering fried food, and prize-winning games, this is the perfect way to pass idyllic days of summertime.
Best Community Theater Marin
It really does not get more Marin that watching a live theatrical performance in a Greek-style amphitheater on the side of Mount Tam, now does it?
Best Film Film Festival
Mill Valley Film Festival, Mill Valley
What started out as a three-day event has sprawled into a 11-day extravaganza of film from around the world. Many filmmakers have been launched from this festival, being showcased with the best of American independent films and foreign films. But it’s not just upcomers that are on display; there’s always a number of high-profile contenders in the mix.
Best Live Music Venue
Sweetwater Music Hall, Mill Valley
All the big names in folk, rock and American roots music drop by Mill Valley’s most intimate music venue; plus, the newly remodeled patio is an awesome outdoor space to sit and enjoy brunch.
Marin Museum of Contemporary Art (MarinMOCA), Novato
Contemporary exhibits and education programs in support of Bay Area artists, including free family days, artist receptions and an art auction are free to the public, helping to ensure access for all to the arts in Marin.
Best Music Festival
Mill Valley Music Fest, Mill Valley
Conveniently located next to the Mill Valley Community Center, nestled below the verdant Mount Tamalpais, this two-day festival is a multi-genre mix of sound, lights, and acts both local and national. That said, its focus is certainly on spreading the culture of Mill Valley through the Bay Area and beyond, drawing eyes to what this section of the county has to offer.