Mayor: Kate Colin
Notable resident: George Lucas
Fun facts: Portions of the movie American Graffiti were shot in Downtown San Rafael. A group of students from the San Rafael High School’s class of 1975 coined the term “420” as a code for smoking marijuana after school at 4:20 p.m.
There are plenty of reasons to love Marin’s county seat. With a bustling main street, vibrant nighttime music scene and an exciting array of eateries, San Rafael is the most “citified” of Marin County’s towns. Once the site of several Coast Miwok villages, San Rafael is home to architectural jewels like the beautifully restored Art Deco Smith Rafael Film Center, owned and operated by the California Film Institute, and the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Marin Civic Center, as well as historical structures like Mission San Rafael Arcángel, founded in 1817 and rebuilt in 1949.
San Rafael also offers plenty of outdoor diversions, like China Camp State Park, which is situated along of the shore of the San Pablo Bay and encompasses a historic Chinese American shrimp-fishing village and a salt marsh, along with 15 miles of hiking, mountain biking and equestrian trails.
With resources like Dominican University of California and Kaiser Permanente rounding out the city’s offerings, it’s no wonder it has made Livability’s annual Top 100 Best Places to Live multiple times.
For more to explore in San Rafael:
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