"San Rafael - Hub of Marin" Top 5 Page for this destination San Rafael by Rixie
San Rafael Travel Guide: 154 reviews and 346 photos
San Rafael (pronunciation is anglicized: Sann-rah-FELL) is the seat of Marin County, which is the county directly north of San Francisco, over the Golden Gate Bridge. The city began as one of the California missions -- you can visit a reconstruction of the mission chapel.
The Marin County Civic Center, in northern San Rafael, was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and the cruising scenes in George Lucas' movie, American Graffiti were filmed on San Rafael's main street, Fourth Street.
Known in the 70s mainly for its hot tubs and touchy-feely lifestyle (refer to Cyra McFadden's classic satire, The Serial), Marin is probably one of the most prosperous counties in California. You'll see a lot of German imports on the road here.
Of course, not everyone in Marin is wealthy, and not everyone loves it for the status. When I lived in San Rafael, my favorite T-shirt was one that summed up my feelings for the surrounding area:
"MARINITE (Ma-rin'-it), n. Native of a secluded area on the mellow side of a famous bridge. Lives on a houseboat in Sausalito, or in a cliff-clinging edifice screened from view by steam from the hot tub. Preferred transportation is sailboat, bicycle, BMW or jogging shoe. Enjoys days on the bay, natural food, Ramos Fizz brunches, good neighbors and sunsets over Mt. Tam. Wants it all now, but will settle for a reasonable amount & monthly payments. Has endured floods, peacock feathers and mudslides on the Waldo, but would never live anywhere else."
As it turned out, I did move away -- driven out by the high real estate prices -- but I still have a warm place in my heart for Marin, and for San Rafael.
This truck is headed toward Terra Linda in north San Rafael, but you can see part of central San Rafael reflected behind it.
- Pros:Trees and sunshine
- Cons:Traffic and high real estate prices
- In a nutshell:Heart of Marin
The former Gerstle Estate has been a 3.5 acre San Rafael city park since 1936, and it's a great place to take the family... more travel advice
If you have time, take in a film at the Rafael Film Center, which has undergone an elegant remodel. The Center --... more travel advice
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San Rafael Travel Guide
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Latest San Rafael hotel reviews
- Embassy Suites Hotel San Rafael-Marin County/Conference Center
- 245 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 23, 2013
- North Bay Inn San Rafael
- 55 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 22, 2013
- Four Points By Sheraton San Rafael
- 241 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 24, 2013