San Rafael has the largest population in Marin. From the south it starts at the 580 interchange and stretches through Terra Linda and Marinwood. It also spans as far east as China Camp and west to the San Anselmo border. Downtown San Rafael’s Fourth Street is best known for starring in American Graffiti and it also houses Mission San Rafael, the second most northerly Mission on the El Camino Real.
There are two public high schools: San Rafael High School and Terra Linda High School. San Rafael High School is the oldest high school in Marin and was the set for the popular music video, Sister Christian. Both schools are part of MCAL allowing easy attendance to most home and away sporting events. Marin Academy is an exclusive private high school in downtown San Rafael, near Falkirk Cultural Center.
The Marin County Civic Center designed by Frank Lloyd Wright sits in San Rafael and houses the County’s government offices, courts, and jail. The Marin Center has an Opera House that hosts the Marin Symphony along with a Speaker Series and a variety of cultural events. This is also the sight for the annual five day Marin County Fair featuring live bands, carnival rides, 4-H, fireworks and more.
The two biggest Farmer’s Markets in Marin are held at the Civic Center, along with a Thursday Evening Market on Fourth Street during the summer. The downtown San Rafael Theater is now the Smith Rafael Film Center which focuses on independent, foreign and documentary films. In addition, they show the Academy Award Nominated Shorts prior to the event which is an easy way to see them before going to an Oscar Party.
Shopping: Macy, Sears, Home Depot, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s