San Rafael California




San Pablo Bay and Mount Tamalpais

Life in San Rafael

San Rafael is the oldest, largest, and most culturally diverse city in Marin and is also the county seat. With parklands and open space accounting for nearly 30 percent of the city's land, the thriving natural environment is perfect for enjoying outdoor recreation. The Mediterranean climate enables residents to enjoy all that the town offers, and there are community-based events held throughout the year. The 57,713 people that live in San Rafael enjoy the temperate climate throughout its 22.4 square miles. It has an excellent school district, many different neighborhoods, and a fantastic place to raise a family. 

San Rafael Architectural Styles

Aerial viewArchitectural styles run the gamut from the late 19th century through the 21st century.

Given the diverse terrain, homes are spread across hillsides, within the city, or along the bay – providing lush, coastal views from almost any area. 

The earliest developed residential spots within San Rafael were the Forbes and the Dominican areas.

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Affordability & Real Estate Insight

In 2020 the median sale price of the 531 single-family homes was $1,300,000. The price range for these homes spanned $500,000 to $5,800,000. 43 of the 531 homes were sold off-market. 149 condominiums also sold in 2020, ranging in price from a low of $335,000 to a high of $1,650,000.


The city of San Rafael serves more than 5,400 students at 11 different schools and comprises two other school districts. San Rafael City Schools administers six elementary schools, one middle school, a combination elementary/middle school, two comprehensive high schools, a continuation high school, and an independent study high school. Miller Creek Elementary School District oversees four schools: Lucas Valley Elementary School, Mary Silveira Elementary, Miller Creek Middle School, and Vallecito Elementary. High school students in the Miller Creek School District attend Terra Linda High School, which is part of the San Rafael City Schools district.

There are many private schools to allow students to pursue their distinct brand of education. To name just a few, Saint Raphael School, established in 1889, is a Catholic institution and serves pre-kindergarten through 8th grade. Marin Waldorf School provides an education that will prepare children to fulfill their highest potential as free human beings energized by a life-long joy for learning for children in pre-kindergarten through 8th grade. Brandeis Hillel Day School is an independent co-educational school for students in grades kindergarten through 8th grade and whose mission is to serve the Jewish community by providing children with an outstanding academic program in general and Judaic studies. Marin Academy is a college preparatory high school whose mission invites students to reflect and demand action, creating a vibrancy that captures their attention and imagination.
The Dominican University of San Rafael is an independent international school with a long history in the community and excellent academics.


San Rafael's deep-rooted Marin County history is felt throughout the community. Many turn-of-the-century buildings have been restored and are beautiful remnants of the past. These buildings include the Marin History Museum, the Falkirk Cultural Center, and the 106-year-old Dominican University. An enduring symbol of the town, the Mission San Rafael Arcangel, is an authentic recreation. It was founded in 1817 as part of California's mission chain and is a replica of the original mission. The Marin Civic Center, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, is an architectural treasure and a nationally designated historical landmark.