About San Rafael, CA

What is now San Rafael was once the site of several Coast Miwok villages; Awani-wi, near downtown San Rafael, Ewu, near Terra Linda, and Shotomko-cha, in Marinwood. Mission San Rafael Arcángel was founded in what is now downtown San Rafael as the 20th Spanish mission in the colonial Mexican province of Alta California by three priests—Father Narciso Durán from Mission San José, Father Abella from Mission San Francisco de Asís, Father Luis Gíl y Taboada from La Iglesia de Nuestra Señora Reina de los Angeles—on Dec. 14, 1817, four years before Mexico gained independence from Spain. Mission San Rafael Arcángel was located a donkey’s day walk to the mission below it. The mission and the city are named after the Archangel Raphael, the Angel of Healing.

Population

58,775 (2019)

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THE BEATING HEART OF MARIN

San Rafael is right at the beating heart of Marin. Not just the oldest and largest city in the county, it’s a place where culture, business, and just plain fun coexist happily. And thanks to its central setting, natural beauty is never far away.

Head downtown, and you’ll find Victorian buildings, ethnic restaurants, eclectic boutiques as well as the San Rafael City Plaza. The plaza is a lively gathering place and hosts eclectic events like the Thursday night farmers’ markets and summertime concerts. Nearby, you can indulge your artistic side at Art Works Downtown, a bustling non-profit art center with galleries, artists’ studios, a jewelers’ guild, and much more. Don’t miss the annual Italian Street Painting Marin, held right near the historic Mission San Rafael Arcángel.

The visionary architect Frank Lloyd Wright left his mark here by designing the impressive Marin County Civic Center. Designated a national historical landmark, you can tour it on Wednesday and Friday, and then every Sunday morning, taste your way through one of the country’s largest farmers’ markets.

San Rafael has plenty for nature lovers, too. At 101 Surf Sports, you can kayak and paddle your way through the marinas and abundant waterways. Hikers, bikers, and campers will want to visit China Camp State Park, with over 1600 acres of open space. Don’t miss the park’s visitor center with its interesting history of the site’s beginnings as a Chinese immigrant shrimping village.


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If you live here already, you know how blessed we are. If you’re considering living or investing here, you’ve probably experienced some of the area’s extraordinary possibilities: country settings and small-town communities; enthralling agricultural beauty, and true farm to fork lifestyle, If Northern California is your real estate destination, you’ve arrived at the right spot. Whether you’re looking to buy your first home – or to sell an estate – expect nothing less from us than a Meritage blend of real estate expertise, professional service, creativity, and a passion for achieving your goals. 

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Mike Martin and The Elite Partners were a great help in finding our first home , he answered all our questions and was honest on what he could and couldn’t do. When we contacted him he got back to us within a few hours which was great , it made the whole process less stressful and fore the most part pretty easy. We love our new home and would happily recommend Mike and the RE/MAX Elite Partners.

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