Founded by Franciscans in 1817 as part of California’s mission chain, the Mission San Rafael Archangel was the 20th of California’s 21 missions. San Rafael became Marin County’s first city in 1874 and is its largest and most culturally diverse city.
A 1949 replica of the original mission still stands in downtown San Rafael, anchoring its busy main street (4th Stree) There is also greata dining, shopping the the independent fine art movie theater, Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center. 4th Street was the backdrop for the George lucas’ film, “American Graffiti”.
The terrain of the City is a mixture of hills, flatlands and waterfront/view areas. The City website cites 12 parks for the pleasure of the residents. In addition, China Camp State Park is located in eastern San Rafael – 1500 acres, bounded by the Bay and a haven for swimming, hiking, fishing, camping and equestrian activities.
The neighborhoods range from light industrial to suburban, elegant to modest, traditional to modern. Tree lined Gerstle Park, developed around the turn of the 20th century, has beautiful older homes of Victorian and Craftsman style, nestled in between small cottages and multi-unit buildings. Terra Linda, developed in the 1960’s is comprised mostly of mid-century modern Eichler and Alliance homes. East San Rafael’s various bayside neighborhoods like family friendly Glenwood, luxurious Peacock Gap and Country Club as well as Loch Lommond and more, add to the rich diversity of life styles in San Rafael. Not to mention the “downtown” areas of Forbes, the Dominican and Fairhills where many of the city’s most lovely estates and homes appear. Dominican College, at the heart of the Dominican neighborhood adds the richness of college town living as well as lectures, performances, and classes for the community at large. Its Forest Meadows Amphitheatre is the home of the Marin Shakespeare Company.
The heart of San Rafael 101 corridor, across from Terra Linda is the home of the Marin County Civic Center, Frank Lloyd Wright’s last major commission and the only government building designed by the world famous architect. The Civic Center includes an 11-acre lagoon, a 20-acre park and a performing arts and convention facility. It is also home to the County Fair, held yearly on the Fourth of July weekend and known for its great music, terrific art exhibits as well as carnival, barnyard, farm and 4H displays, including milking, shearing, dressage, pig racing and fireworks.
San Rafael with its parks, yacht clubs, docking and launching facilities, tennis and swim clubs, hiking and biking trails and diverse neighborhoods, is a great community to live and work in. And, it’s only about 40 minutes north of San Francisco.
NEIGHBORHOODS: Santa Venetia
- Population: 57,713
- Households: Approximately 23,000
- Median resident age: 40
- Average listing price of Single Family Home in 2015: $1,086,000
- Average Sales price in 2015: $1,100,000 ($531/per square foot)