San Rafael is located 18 miles north of San Francisco, halfway between San Francisco and the Sonoma wine country. The area enjoys a mild, Mediterranean climate year-round. Beautiful Mount Tamalpais dominates the landscape to the south and west, providing protection from the ocean breezes and coastal fog.
San Rafael is the oldest and largest city in the County and it is also the seat of the County Government. Marin's second most popular tourist spot after Muir Woods, the Frank Lloyd Wright Civic Center, was the last major structure and the only government building designed by the world-famous architect. It is now a national historic landmark. The 20 acre Marin County Civic Center is home to Marin County's government offices, the Marin County Library, and the Marin Center for the Performing Arts.
Downtown San Rafael offers a mixture of Victorian buildings, ethnic restaurants, street cafes, retail stores, and financial institutions.
Since it borders the San Pablo Bay, San Rafael has an abundance of marinas and many water-oriented recreational activities are available. Nature lovers will appreciate the quiet beauty of China Camp State Park, a 1,600-acre park where visitors enjoy camping, wildlife watching, hiking, swimming, boating, and wind surfing. San Rafael has 14 parks, docking and launching facilities, tennis-swim clubs, and bicycle trails.
Marin's oldest city offers a wide assortment of housing, from Peacock Gap Golf and Country Club's contemporary homes and condominiums overlooking the Bay, to spacious traditional homes in the prestigious Dominican area and San Rafael Country Club to Gerstle Park, a sought-after area for vintage homes. In the Northern part of San Rafael you will find ranch-style and Eichler homes.
The city is served by two school districts; Dixie School District and the San Rafael School District. It is also home to the lovely Dominican College campus.