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San Rafael Things To Do

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Things to do in San Rafael, California

Sightseeing, shopping, dining, hiking, and visiting local attractions are just a few things you can do in San Rafael, California. The scenic beauty around the city and the wealth of activities for the whole family makes San Rafael a popular tourist destination.

Buy Local

One of the things you can do easily to enjoy San Rafael is to be a local for the day. Farmers Markets in the North Bay Area of San Francisco are a weekly or bi-weekly event. Residents know the quality of the fresh produce, artisan breads, locally grown fruits and vegtables, gourmet treats, and come to shop at the many open-air markets. Some people frequently visit the Farmers Markets to purchase local hand-made jewelry, soaps and lotions, trinkets and just to listen to some live music.

Marin Farmers Market

Marin Farmers Market is open on Sundays and Thursdays 8 a.m.-1 p.m. at the San Rafael’s Marin Civic Center. San Rafael’s Farmers Market is one of the top 10 markets in the country. The Farmers Market is open year-round.

Downtown San Rafael Certified Farmers Market Festival

When it’s Thursday night, it’s time for a community celebration on Fourth Street with 150 vendors in the five-block festival.  You’ll find plenty to do: free entertainment, certified produce direct from the growers, arts and crafts, barbeque and international dinners, entertainment, balloons and activities for children. The Thursday Market is open 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. on Thursdays from April through September.

Parks and Open Spaces 

San Rafael has several parks and well-groomed open spaces that can be reserved for picnics, barbeques, family events and parties. There are some spaces that are available on a first-come, first-served basis, however many spots can be reserved ahead of time.

Reservations are available in these parks:

  • Boyd Park has a museum, picnic tables, tennis court, and playground.
  • Freitas Park has a water play area, amphitheater seating, and a playground.
  • Gerstle Park is equipped with picnic tables, barbeques, multiple group picnic areas (capacity up to 100), basketball court, tennis court and a brand-new multiage playground.
  • Pickleweed Park has a sports field, picnic tables, and playground.
  • Santa Margarita Park’s group picnic area takes 20-25 people. There’s a tennis court and a new playground.
  • Sun Valley Park has a group picnic area, picnic tables, basketball court, volleyball court, and a playground.
  • Terra Linda Park has picnic tables, a playground, and basketball courts.
  • Victor Jones Park has a larger group picnic area that can accommodate 35, a baseball diamond, basketball courts, and a playground.

Areas in these parks listed below are available on a first-come, first-served basis. No reservations are needed in these parks:

  • Bret Harte has picnic tables, basketball courts, and upgraded playgrounds.
  • Oleander Park has picnic tables and a playground                                   .
  • Russom Park has access to open space.
  • Schoen Park has a playground.

 

Sightseeing

If you are in San Rafael and looking for things to do, there are two buildings you absolutely must see.

The first is the Marin County Civic Center a distinctive building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. This futuristic building was Wright’s last major commission and is regarded as one of the famous architect’s most unique designs. The sculptural sky-blue roof, scalloped balconies and golden spire are extraordinary. The complex encompasses an 11-acre lagoon, 20-acre park and the Marin Center Auditorium and Exhibition Hall, where large local, regional and national events and exhibits are held.

The second is the Mission San Rafael Arcangel which was built in 1817.  Mission San Rafael was an assistencia or “helper” mission to Mission Dolores in San Francisco and was built to care for the sick. The Mission San Rafael Arcangel is a replica of the original Spanish mission, which was the second-to-last mission built in California. The current Mission building was constructed in 1949 and stands at right angles to the building’s original alignment. Mission Chapel is open for visitors Monday through Friday, 6:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Saturday, 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. and Sunday, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Admission is free, suggested donations are welcomed.

 

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Thursday Downtown Farmers Market
4th Street San Rafael, CA 94901
Thursday night is the time for a community celebration on Fourth Street. Thousands of visitors browse the wares of 150 vendors in this five-block...
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McNears Beach County Park
201 Cantera Way San Rafael, CA 94901
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China Camp State Park
101 Peacock Gap Trl San Rafael, CA 94901
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Paradise Beach Park
3450 Paradise Dr Tiburon, CA 94920
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Pickleweed Park and Community Center
50 Canal St San Rafael, CA 94901
Pickleweed Park has a sports field, picnic tables, and playground as well as community center.
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Marin County Bicycle Coalition
Marin County Bicycle Coalition
733 Center Blvd. Fairfax, CA 94960
Promoting safe bicycling for everyday transportation and recreation. The Marin County Bicycle Coalition (MCBC) was founded in 1998. MCBC promotes...
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Trips 4 Kids
Trips 4 Kids
610 4th St San Rafael, CA 94901
Re-Cyclery Bike Thrift Shop
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Smith Rafael Film Center
1118 4th St San Rafael, CA 94901
Home of the Mill Valley Film Festival, the Smith Rafael Film Center has ongoing film presentations through out the year.
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Falkirk Cultural Center
Falkirk Cultural Center
1408 Mission Ave San Rafael, CA 94901
Falkirk Cultural Center is an imposing 1888 Queen Anne-style Victorian building which was previously the home of shipping magnate Robert Dollar...
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Marin History Museum
1125 B St San Rafael, CA 94901
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Bolinas Museum
48 Wharf Cir San Rafael, CA 94903
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Marin County Civic Center
Marin County Civic Center
3501 Civic Center Drive San Rafael, CA 94903
Thousands of visitors come to Marin County each year to see the futuristic Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Marin County Civic Center. It was Wright's...
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Marin Civic Center Farmers Market
3501 Civic Center Dr San Rafael, CA 94903
Sponsored by the Agricultural Institute of Marin, Sundays and Thursdays the San Rafael’s Certified Farmers Market comes to the Marin Civic...
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Wildcare
76 Albert Park Ln San Rafael, CA 94901
WildCare rehabilitates injured wildlife or rescued animals and nurtures them to health. The organization has programs that promote coexisting with...
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Sun Valley Park
Solano St & California Ave San Rafael, CA 94901
Sun Valley Park has a group picnic area, picnic tables, basketball court, volleyball court, and a playground.
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Marin Veterans Memorial Auditorium At Marin Center
10 Avenue of the Flags San Rafael, CA 94903
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Gerstle Park
San Rafael Ave & Clark St San Rafael, CA 94901
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Santa Margarita Park
1055 Las Ovejas San Rafael, CA 94903
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Victor Jones Park
Maplewood Dr & Robinhood Dr San Rafael, CA 94901
The 7 acre Victor Jones Park has a larger group picnic area that can accommodate 35, a baseball diamond, basketball courts, and a playground.
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Bret Harte Park
Irwin St & Baywood Terrrace San Rafael, CA 94901
Bret Harte has picnic tables, basketball courts, and upgraded playgrounds.
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