San Rafael

A family-friendly city in Marin County rich in California history.

Welcome to San Rafael

A family-friendly city in Marin County rich in California history.
San Rafael is situated among the lush rolling hills of the North Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area and is one of the largest and oldest cities in Marin County. San Rafael was founded by the Spanish in 1817 and, following the American Conquest of California, was incorporated as a city in 1874.
San Rafael’s Mediterranean climate and wide diversity of natural habitats, from forests at the higher elevations to marshland and estuarine settings at the lower elevations, and phenomenal schools and neighborhoods make it one of Marin County’s most desirable, family-friendly cities.
San Rafael also is home to Marin County Civic Center, the last major work commissioned by world-renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, and over the years has become a center for the entertainment history following the arrival of George Lucas in San Rafael in 1970 to film the movie THX 1138. Portions of American Graffiti were filmed in downtown San Rafael under George Lucas’ direction, and several major gaming and film studios have set up shop in the city since. 

What to Love

  • Abundance of parks and natural habitats
  • Vibrant Downtown San Rafael
  • Architecturally diverse neighborhoods
  • Family-friendly feel

Local Lifestyle

San Rafael is truly a best-of-both-worlds city, offering a bustling downtown with numerous boutiques and restaurants alongside quiet, suburban neighborhoods and parks branching off from the downtown hub. The city caters to all lifestyles simultaneously, and is situated in close proximity to neighboring communities of San Anselmo and Greenbrae. San Rafael is also home to Dominican University of California, the city’s only college, surrounded by some of the largest, and most unique, architecturally distinct homes in Marin County. 

Dining, Entertainment & Shopping

Downtown San Rafael features a wide variety of dining, entertainment, and shopping options. Downtown San Rafael is home to the original Sol Food, a Puerto Rican restaurant offering incredible fried plantains, tortas, and other can’t miss dishes. You can even buy their hot sauce by the bottle to use at home. The phenomenal food engenders long wait times and lines out the door along the bright green building at almost any time of day. One of Johnny Doughnuts Bay Area locations also sits in San Rafael’s downtown. The doughnut destination first opened in 2012 as a food truck featuring is famed CroDough—a croissant doughnut hybrid—and has been ranked one of the top 5 doughnut shops in the country. Monk’s Kettle, like the original in San Francisco, is a great source for quaffable beers, burgers, fried chicken, and other elevated pub food. 
San Rafael also has one of the best home landscaping and gardening shops, West End Nursery, a San Rafael staple since 1909. During the holidays, it turns into a holiday decoration destination, with over 60 trees each with different one-of-a-kind ornament themes available for sale, including food, sports and pet themed ornaments.

Things To Do

San Rafael offers residents numerous community events and recreational activities fun for people of all ages. San Rafael and neighboring Marin communities host their version of Oktoberfest, where small businesses and residents gather for music, food, and drinks. The annual Fourth of July celebration also attracts Bay Area residents from all over. And there are so many parks and community centers throughout the city, including Grestle Park, a historic and walkable neighborhood south of First Street close to central Downtown equipped with picnic tables, and basketball and tennis courts. And the Marin Farmers Market at San Rafael’s Marin Civic Center every Thursday and Sunday year-round is one of the best farmers markets in the country. 


San Rafael has some of the best schools in Marin County, served by the San Rafael City Schools and Miller Creek school districts.
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Overview for San Rafael, CA

61,158 people live in San Rafael, where the median age is 43.1 and the average individual income is $61,962. Data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau.


Total Population

43.1 years

Median Age


Population Density Population Density This is the number of people per square mile in a neighborhood.


Average individual Income

Demographics and Employment Data for San Rafael, CA

San Rafael has 23,816 households, with an average household size of 2.48. Data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s what the people living in San Rafael do for work — and how long it takes them to get there. Data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau. 61,158 people call San Rafael home. The population density is 3,687.1 and the largest age group is Data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau.


Total Population


Population Density Population Density This is the number of people per square mile in a neighborhood.


Median Age

49.3 / 50.7%

Men vs Women

Population by Age Group


0-9 Years


10-17 Years


18-24 Years


25-64 Years


65-74 Years


75+ Years

Education Level

  • Less Than 9th Grade
  • Associate Degree
  • Bachelor Degree

Total Households


Average Household Size


Average individual Income

Households with Children

With Children:

Without Children:

Marital Status


Blue vs White Collar Workers

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White Collar:

Commute Time

0 to 14 Minutes
15 to 29 Minutes
30 to 59 Minutes
60+ Minutes

Schools in San Rafael, CA

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The following schools are within or nearby San Rafael. The rating and statistics can serve as a starting point to make baseline comparisons on the right schools for your family. Data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau.
School rating

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