Tucked below the beautiful Mt. Tamalpais, Mill Valley is reminiscent of a charming European village. Surrounded by national parks, including Muir Woods, an ancient coast redwood forest, Mill Valley’s lush landscape of hills and canyons is a favorite place for visitors who enjoy hiking, mountain biking, walking, and running.
Mill Valley started out as a large mill, hence the name Mill valley. The town grew rather fast as word spread of the beautiful Mt. Tamalpais and the wonderful ocean on the other side. People started buying up lots and built summer homes to getting away from the big cities nearby, San Francisco and Oakland.
Mill Valley is host to a range of cultural activities. The Mill Valley Film Festival, an annual event held in October, is an internationally recognized festival that has attracted leading filmmakers and movie aficionados for the past 29 years. The Mountain Play, produced in June in an outdoor amphitheater, on Mt. Tamalpais, attracts thousands of theater-goers to watch Broadway musicals performed by talented local actors.
The Dipsea is the oldest trail race in America. It occurs on the second Sunday of June and takes runners over a 7.4-mile course from Mill Valley to Stinson Beach. The tough course Beginning with 676 stairs and steep terrain over Mt. Tamalpais to the Pacific Ocean is considered to be one of the most beautiful courses in the World.
The Fall Arts Festival is one of the cultural events that occur in Mill Valley each year in September. It is the longest-running festival in the County, celebrating its 51st year in 2007.
Mill Valley is home to the great Mill Valley School District
. There are five elementary schools and one middle school, Mill Valley Middle School
, a four-time winner of the California Distinguished School
Award. The public high school, Tamalpais High School
, is part of the Tamalpais Union High School District
, whose five campuses serve central and southern Marin County
. Greenwood School, an independent school
located in downtown Mill Valley, serves preschool-8th grade students. Marin Horizon School is an independent school
serving students in grades PK-8.
Mill Valley Living
: Lytton Square, at the junction of Miller, East Blithedale, and Throckmorton Avenues, marks downtown Mill Valley. This is the primary shopping area with a central plaza, restaurants, a movie theater, shops of every kind, and the Town Hall. A “walk-to-downtown” is highly prized for those wanting to live in Mill Valley. On warm evenings, residents take advantage of this easy access to downtown.
The Canyons & Middle Ridge
: To the west of downtown and Lytton Square are the Blithedale and Cascade Canyon neighborhoods separated by the Middle Ridge. Mt. Tamalpais looms over the canyons at 2,600 feet. These neighborhoods have many early 20th-century summer cottages updated to charming and elegant homes, plus stylish newer homes built in wooded settings. Some hillsides homes have spectacular views of Mt. Tamalpais and the San Francisco skyline.
Sycamore & Tamalpais Parks
: East of the town square, between Miller and East Blithedale Avenues, are the level and highly sought-after Sycamore and Tamalpais Park neighborhoods, with a wide variety of homes from stately Victorians to post-WWII cottages. Remodeling and rebuilding in this neighborhood have produced some of the most expensive homes in Mill Valley.
Almonte & Homestead Valley
: The Almonte and Homestead Valley neighborhoods are located on the southwest side of Miller Avenue and rise from level land to a low ridge separating Mill Valley from Tamalpais Valley. To the west, Homestead Valley meets the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Here is a map of Homestead Valley
featuring its many hiking trails. This neighborhood has many level streets and a wide variety of homes that have been upgraded in recent years.
Alta Vista-Boyle Park
: This neighborhood stretches along the north side of E. Blithedale Ave from Camino Alto to the downtown, climbing gently up the Blithedale Ridge.
Alto Neighborhood: This is a few level streets between Highway 101 and Camino Alto. To the north is Horse Hill and Scott Valley. This neighborhood has become extremely popular because of its rural feeling, large lots, and easy access to the highway. Newly constructed homes in this neighborhood have sold recently close to $4m.
Enchanted Knolls & Shelter Ridge
: A small hill at the junction of Highway 101 and E. Blithedale Ave is home to a number of streets named for 19th century English poets (Keats, Longfellow, etc). Along these streets, you will find small single-family homes built in the later 1950s and 1960s and attached condos from the 1970s. At the top of the hill are six buildings containing one bedroom, one bath Shelter Ridge apartment-style condos (ca. 1979) that provide about 700 square feet of living space.
Eucalyptus Knoll, Shelter Bay, & Sunrise Pointe Condos
: On the east side of Shelter Ridge, bordering inlets from Richardson Bay and Highway 101, are the Eucalyptus Knoll (1980’s), Shelter Bay (ca. 1965), and Sunrise Pointe (ca. 1986) condos. These three communities provide a waterfront location, views of Mount Tamalpais, and easy access to Highway 101 and San Francisco.
: Scott Valley is a quiet and highly desirable neighborhood in the northeast corner of Mill Valley. It is located along with Camino Alto as this road climbs the Corte Madera Ridge. Houses and lots tend to be large.
Strawberry Manor & Harbor Point
: The Strawberry Peninsula with Strawberry Manor and Harbor Point neighborhoods, extends into Richardson (San Francisco) Bay east of Highway 101. It comprises elegant, modern mansions on the Bay, large Eichler-built homes from the 1950s, and California cottages.
Panoramic Highway/Muir Park
: An eight to ten-minute drive from downtown Mill Valley takes you to Panoramic Highway and a remarkable neighborhood on a ridge of Mt. Tamalpais. Some of these Mill Valley homes are hidden in redwood groves, with spectacular views of the bay, ocean, or the peaks of Mt. Tamalpais. This is a special get-away place, with the many Mount Tamalpais hiking trails just out the door.
Incorporated & Unincorporated Neighborhoods
: About half of Mill Valley lies within the “incorporated” City of Mill Valley. This means that the homes and citizens in this area rely on the City for services, including Fire, Police, Planning and Building, Public Works, Recreation, and more. The other half of town, also known as Mill Valley, is unincorporated and relies on the County of Marin for its services. Unincorporated neighborhoods are Almonte, Alto, Homestead Valley, Tamalpais Valley, Strawberry Manor, Harbor Point, and Panoramic/Muir Park.