"San Rafael - Hub of Marin" Top 5 Page for this destination San Rafael by Rixie

San Rafael Travel Guide: 157 reviews and 347 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.

Marvy Marin County

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.

No Two Ways About It

This truck is headed toward Terra Linda in north San Rafael, but you can see part of central San Rafael reflected behind it.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Trees and sunshine
  • Cons:Traffic and high real estate prices
  • In a nutshell:Heart of Marin
  • Intro Updated Sep 4, 2006
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Reviews (16)

Comments (9)

  • sourbugger's Profile Photo
    May 15, 2010 at 1:56 PM

    looks like an interesting place to be

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Apr 7, 2010 at 1:26 PM

    You must have enjoyed this area and its nice sites along with the good climate.

  • Pawtuxet's Profile Photo
    Nov 23, 2008 at 8:58 AM

    Love the missions and the buildings (such as Wright''s) that look as if they are built right into the hillside. How do those street painters do it? I would think their butt would erase their work!! :-)

  • craic's Profile Photo
    Oct 19, 2007 at 10:11 AM

    lovely stuff

  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo
    May 1, 2007 at 7:49 PM

    Nice page, I look forward to the opportunity to explore more of my new state!

  • gilabrand's Profile Photo
    Jul 28, 2004 at 6:22 AM

    Very good ice cream advice...BTW, I liked your mural travelogue. Come to Jerusalem and see some more! We've got some good ones.

  • gkitzmil's Profile Photo
    Mar 18, 2004 at 12:21 PM

    Your Lu'au looked fun! --

  • jessicadf's Profile Photo
    Aug 17, 2003 at 8:36 PM

    Laverne, great travelogue! So fun to have finally met you... Aloha!

  • cjg1's Profile Photo
    Aug 17, 2003 at 8:34 PM

    Pleasure seeing you at the Lu'au. Was a grand time had by all. Good to see more pics popping up here.


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