San Rafael is the oldest, largest and most culturally diverse city in Marin County, as well as the county seat, and it is as vibrant as its residents. Downtown San Rafael is a mixture of Victorian buildings, ethnic restaurants, retail stores and financial institutions. In the center of town is the San Rafael City Plaza, with its innovative water wall fountain. The plaza has become a community-gathering place and the center of events, such as the Thursday night farmers markets and summertime concerts.
Down the street is Smith Rafael Film Center, which screens independent and foreign films. The annual Italian Street Painting Festival draws visitors from throughout the Bay Area to enjoy both the art and abundant sunshine.
Parklands and open space account for nearly 30 percent of San Rafael’s land, providing numerous opportunities for hiking and bicycle riding.