San Rafael, California
The City With a Mission
|Incorporated||February 18, 1874|
|Named for||Archangel Raphael|
|• Type||Council-manager with directly elected mayor|
|• Mayor||Kate Colin|
|• City Manager||Jim Schutz|
|• Supervisor||District 1: Damon Connolly|
|• State Legislators|| Sen. Mike McGuire (D) |
Asm. Marc Levine (D)
|• U. S. Rep.||Jared Huffman (D)|
|• Total||22.54 sq mi (58.4 km2)|
|• Land||16.59 sq mi (43.0 km2)|
|• Water||5.96 sq mi (15.4 km2) 26.42%|
|Elevation||43 ft (13 m)|
|• Density||3,693.92/sq mi (1,426.23/km2)|
|• Demonym||San Rafaelino|
|Time zone||UTC−8 (PST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−7 (PDT)|
|GNIS feature IDs||1659589, 2411804|
San Rafael ( // SAN rə-FEL; Spanish for "St. Raphael", Spanish pronunciation: [san rafaˈel] ) is a city and the county seat of Marin County, California, United States. The city is located in the North Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area. As of the 2020 U.S. census, the city's population was 61,271, up from 57,713 in 2010.
San Rafael was founded by the Spanish in 1817, when Vicente Francisco de Sarría established Mission San Rafael Arcángel, initially as an asistencia (sub-mission). San Rafael Arcángel was upgraded to full mission status in 1822, a month before Alta California declared independence from Spain as part of Mexico. Following the American Conquest of California, the community of San Rafael incorporated as a city in 1874.
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 as the 20th Spanish mission in the colonial 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. The mission from which the downtown grew and the city are named after the Archangel Raphael, the Angel of Healing.
The mission was originally planned as a hospital site for Central Valley American Indians who had become ill at the cold San Francisco Mission Dolores. Father Luis Gil, who spoke several Native American languages, was put in charge of the facility. In part because of its ideal weather, San Rafael was later upgraded to full mission status in 1822.
The mission had 300 converts within its first year, and 1,140 converts by 1828.
Following the Mexican secularization act of 1833, the Mexican government took over the California missions in 1834, and Mission San Rafael was abandoned in 1844, eventually falling into ruin.
The San Francisco and North Pacific Railroad reached San Rafael in 1879 and was linked to the national rail network in 1888. The United States Navy operated a San Pablo Bay degaussing range from San Rafael through World War II.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 22.5 square miles (58 km2). 16.6 square miles (43 km2) of it is land and 6.0 square miles (16 km2) of it (26.42%) is water. San Francisco is 16 miles (26 km) to the south.
The San Rafael shoreline has been historically filled to a considerable extent to accommodate land development, with underlying bay mud (saturated clayed silt) of up to 90 feet (27 m) in thickness. At certain locations such as Murphys Point, the sandstone or shale rock outcrops through the mud.
San Rafael has a wide diversity of natural habitats from forests at the higher elevations to marshland and estuarine settings. Its marshes are home to the endangered species salt marsh harvest mouse. There are also riparian areas including the San Rafael Creek and Miller Creek corridors.
San Rafael has a Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csb), with mild winter lows seldom reaching the freezing mark. The National Weather Service reports that August is usually the warmest month with a high of 80.1 °F (26.7 °C) and a low of 55.0 °F (12.8 °C). December, the coldest month, has an average high of 55.1 °F (12.8 °C) and an average low of 41.0 °F (5.0 °C). The highest temperature on record is 110 °F (43.3 °C), recorded in June 1961. The highest temperature in recent years, 108 °F (42.2 °C), occurred on July 23, 2006, and 108 °F (42.2 °C) again on September 6, 2020. The record lowest temperature was 20 °F (−6.7 °C) on December 22, 1990. There are an average of 17.9 afternoons annually with a high of 90 °F (32.2 °C) or more and 1.2 afternoons with a high of 100 °F (37.8 °C) or more. Freezing temperatures (32 °F/0 °C or below) occur on an average of 3.6 mornings.
Total annual precipitation averages 32.16 inches (816.9 mm), with an average of 64.3 days with measurable rain. The rainy season is from November to early April: rain is rare outside of this period and it is normal to receive no rain in June, July, August, and September. The wettest “rain year” was from July 1994 to June 1995 with 61.45 inches (1,560.8 mm) and the driest from July 1975 to June 1976 with 13.62 inches (345.9 mm). The most rain in one month was 24.11 inches (612.4 mm) in January 1995, and the heaviest 24-hour rainfall was 8.74 inches (222.0 mm) on December 11, 1995. A trace of snow was recorded on January 30, 1976.
|Climate data for San Rafael Civic Center (1991–2020 normals, extremes 1895–present)|
|Record high °F (°C)||82|
|Mean maximum °F (°C)||65.1|
|Average high °F (°C)||56.9|
|Daily mean °F (°C)||49.8|
|Average low °F (°C)||42.6|
|Mean minimum °F (°C)||33.8|
|Record low °F (°C)||23|
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||7.13|
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)||12.5||11.1||10.2||6.3||3.1||1.3||0.1||0.1||0.7||3.9||7.4||11.8||68.5|
|U.S. Decennial Census|
The 2010 United States Censusreported that the city of San Rafael had a population of 57,713. This figure does not, however, include portions of the Santa Venetia and Lucas Valley-Marinwood CDPs, nor various other unincorporated areas, all of which have San Rafael postal addresses; in total, according to the 2010 Census, there were 70,197 residents of San Rafael postal addresses (ZIP codes 94901 and 94903).
The following statistics refer to the incorporated limits of San Rafael only. The population density was 2,573.9 inhabitants per square mile (993.8/km2). The racial makeup of San Rafael was 40,734 (70.6%) White, 1,154 (2.0%) African American, 709 (1.2%) Native American, 3,513 (6.1%) Asian, 126 (0.2%) Pacific Islander, 8,513 (14.8%) from other races, and 2,964 (5.1%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 17,302 persons (30.0%).
The Census reported that 55,594 people (96.3% of the population) lived in households, 1,314 (2.3%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 805 (1.4%) were institutionalized.
There were 22,764 households, out of which 6,358 (27.9%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 9,845 (43.2%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 2,004 (8.8%) had a female householder with no husband present, 1,133 (5.0%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 1,450 (6.4%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 301 (1.3%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 7,434 households (32.7%) were made up of individuals, and 2,954 (13.0%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44. There were 12,982 families (57.0% of all households); the average family size was 3.02.
The population was spread out, with 11,132 people (19.3%) under the age of 18, 4,956 people (8.6%) aged 18 to 24, 16,915 people (29.3%) aged 25 to 44, 15,574 people (27.0%) aged 45 to 64, and 9,136 people (15.8%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40.2 years. For every 100 females, there were 99.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.1 males.
There were 24,011 housing units at an average density of 1,070.9 per square mile (413.5/km2), of which 11,909 (52.3%) were owner-occupied, and 10,855 (47.7%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.6%; the rental vacancy rate was 5.1%. 27,554 people (47.7% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 28,040 people (48.6%) lived in rental housing units.
As of the census 1,383.1 per square mile (534.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city in 2010 was 59.0% non-Hispanic White, 1.8% non-Hispanic African American, 0.2% Native American, 6.0% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 0.3% from other races, and 2.6% from two or more races. 30.0% were Hispanic or Latino of any race.of 2000, there were 56,063 people, 22,371 households, and 12,773 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,378.9 inhabitants per square mile (1,304.8/km2). There were 22,948 housing units at an average density of
There were 22,371 households, out of which 25.8% had children under the age of 18, 44.3% were married couples living together, 9.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.9% were non-families. 32.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.9% had someone living alone who was 65 or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 2.99. The age distribution was as follows: 19.5% under the age of 18, 8.1% from 18 to 24, 33.3% from 25 to 44, 24.8% from 45 to 64, and 14.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.7 males.
The reported median income for a household in the city was $60,994; the median reported income for a family was $74,398 (these figures had risen to $67,789 and $85,459 respectively as of a 2007 estimate). Males reported a median income of $50,650 versus $39,912 for females. The reported per capita income for the city was $35,762. About 5.6% of families and 10.2% of the population reported incomes below the poverty line, including 11.7% of those under age 18 and 5.0% of those age 65 or over.
BioMarin, Autodesk, In Defense of Animals, Westamerica Bank, and GIS Data Resourcesare among the companies headquartered in San Rafael. In May 2022, Autodesk announced its intention to move its headquarters to San Francisco, along with its 578 employees, and close the San Rafael office by October of that year.
San Rafael: a small city situated in Marin County is known its affluent suburban/urban environment. Despite the median income for a family in San Rafael reaching an estimated amount of $97,009according to the 2016-2020 US Census report; different regions of San Rafael remain below the poverty line of 11.4%.
According to San Rafael's 2010 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,the top employers in the city are:
|#||Employer||# of Employees|
|5||City of San Rafael||592|
|9||Bradley Real Estate||350|
|10||Dominican University of California||336|
|11||Guide Dogs for the Blind||280|
After the arrival of George Lucas in San Rafael in 1970 to film the movie THX 1138 , the city became a center for the entertainment industry, particularly the high-tech elements of the business. Lucasfilm was founded by George Lucas in 1971, and is best known for the global hit movie series Star Wars and also for Indiana Jones . Some of the company's operations were moved to San Francisco in 2005. Portions of the Universal movie production American Graffiti were filmed in downtown San Rafael under George Lucas's direction, and portions of THX 1138 were shot at the Marin County Civic Center in San Rafael. Much of the movie Gattaca , starring Ethan Hawke, was also shot in the Marin County Civic Center. Industrial Light & Magic was founded in 1975 by Lucas to do special effects for his films and those of other filmmakers. The new-age music program Hearts of Space has been headquartered in San Rafael since 2004.
Largely because of the presence of LucasFilm, San Rafael started to attract video game developers, with several major studios located in the city:
Community in San Rafael include Albert Park, Boyd Park, Gerstle Park, Pickleweed Park and the Terra Linda Recreational Center.
Notable large parks include China Camp State Park and McNear's Beach Park.
There are a number of neighborhood parks and mini-parks such as Bret Harte Park, Boyd Park, Sun Valley Park, Oleander Park, Victor Jones Park, Peacock Gap Park and Gerstle Park.
Gerstle Park is also a historic and walkable neighborhood south of First Street in close proximity to central Downtown.
San Rafael is a stronghold of the Democratic Party. According to the California Secretary of State, as of February 10, 2019, San Rafael has 31,288 registered voters. Of those, 17,566 (56.1%) are registered Democrats, 4,292 (13.7%) are registered Republicans, and 8,121 (26%) have declined to state a political party.
San Rafael is governed by a city council with five members, four of which are elected by geographic district for four-year terms. Each Councilmember is required to live in the district they represent and are elected only by the registered voters of that district. The Mayor is elected at-large. The current members are:
In the United States House of Representatives, San Rafael is in California's 2nd congressional district , represented by Democrat Jared Huffman.
From 2008 to 2012, Huffman represented Marin County in the California State Assembly.
In the California State Legislature, San Rafael is in:
San Rafael has one university, Dominican University of California.
The Ali Akbar College of Music, was founded in San Rafael by Indian musician Ali Akbar Khan to teach Indian classical music. San Rafael is also the home to one of the two campuses of Guide Dogs for the Blind, a guide dog training school.
Most public schools in San Rafael are operated by the San Rafael City Schools district. Miller Creek Elementary School District operates some public elementary and middle schools north of San Rafael proper. All comprehensive public high schools are governed by San Rafael City Schools. The district operates two comprehensive public high schools: San Rafael High School, Terra Linda High School and one alternative high school, Madrone.
Notable private schools include Marin Academy, Saint Raphael School, Brandeis Marin, and The Marin School.
The major north–south freeway through San Rafael is U.S. Route 101, connecting the North Coast (California) and the Redwood Empire to the north, and San Francisco to the south. Interstate 580 heads across the Richmond–San Rafael Bridge to the East Bay.
The San Rafael Transit Center, located at the corner of 3rd and Hetherton Streets, is served by a number of bus agencies, including Golden Gate Transit, Marin Transit, Sonoma County Transit, Sonoma County Airport Express, and Greyhound.Local bus service is provided primarily by Golden Gate Transit and Marin Transit.
Commuter rail by Sonoma–Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) serves the city at two stations: a converted San Rafael Transit Center and a station at Marin Civic Center. The line to Santa Rosa and its Airport opened in 2017 bringing passenger rail to San Rafael for the first time since 1958. Until 1958, San Rafael was served by the Northwestern Pacific Railroad. The line from San Rafael was extended to Larkspur to make Larkspur Landing ferry connection in December 2019.
The term "420", as used in reference to cannabis consumption, originated in San Rafael. A group of students of the San Rafael High School class of 1975 known as the Waldos used "420" as a code for smoking marijuana at 4:20 p.m., after school.
Shel Silverstein's poem "The Smoke-Off" is about a girl named Pearly Sweetcakes who came from San Rafael.
The TV show 13 Reasons Why is based in San Rafael, and many scenes from the first season were filmed downtown.
Marin County is a county located in the northwestern part of the San Francisco Bay Area of the U.S. state of California. As of the 2020 census, the population was 262,231. Its county seat and largest city is San Rafael. Marin County is across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, and is included in the San Francisco–Oakland–Berkeley, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Sonoma County is a county located in the U.S. state of California. As of the 2020 United States Census, its population was 488,863. Its county seat and largest city is Santa Rosa. It is to the north of Marin County and the south of Mendocino County. It is west of Napa County and Lake County.
San Anselmo is an incorporated town in Marin County, California, United States. San Anselmo is located 1.5 miles (2.4 km) west of San Rafael, at an elevation of 46 feet. It is located about 20 miles (32 km) north of San Francisco. The town is bordered by San Rafael to the east, Fairfax to the west, and Ross to the south. Mount Tamalpais dominates the view to the south. The population was 12,830 at the 2020 census.
Kentfield is a census-designated place (CDP) in Marin County, California, United States, just north of San Francisco. Kentfield is located 2 miles (3 km) southwest of downtown San Rafael, at an elevation of 115 feet. The population was 6,808 at the 2020 census. The ZIP codes are 94904 for street addresses, and 94914 for PO boxes, and are shared with the neighboring community of Greenbrae.
Larkspur is a city in Marin County, California, United States. Larkspur is located 3 miles (4.8 km) south of San Rafael, at an elevation of 43 feet (13 m). As of the 2020 Census, the city's population was 13,064. Larkspur's Police Department is shared with that of the neighboring Corte Madera and town of San Anselmo as the Central Marin Police Authority. Intersecting Larkspur's downtown is Madrone Canyon, a residential area amidst a redwood grove.
Novato is a city in Marin County, California, in the North Bay region of the Bay Area. At the 2020 census, Novato had a population of 53,225.
Strawberry is a census-designated place (CDP) and an unincorporated district of Marin County, California, United States. It shares a ZIP code (94941) with Mill Valley and falls within its school districts; however, it is considered within the sphere of influence of the town of Tiburon. It is separated from Mill Valley by U.S. Route 101. Its population was 5,447 at the 2020 census.
Foster City is a city located in San Mateo County, California. The 2020 census put the population at 33,805, an increase of more than 10% over the 2010 census figure of 30,567. Foster City is sometimes considered to be part of Silicon Valley for its local industry and its proximity to Silicon Valley cities. Foster City is one of the United States’ safest cities, with an average of one murder per decade.
Santa Clara is a city in Santa Clara County, California. The city's population was 127,647 as of the 2020 United States Census, making it the eighth-most populous city in the Bay Area. Located in the southern Bay Area, the city was founded by the Spanish in 1777 with the establishment of Mission Santa Clara de Asís under the leadership of Junípero Serra.
Boyes Hot Springs is a census-designated place (CDP) in Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California, United States. The population was 6,656 people at the 2010 census. Resorts in Boyes Hot Springs, El Verano, Fetters Hot Springs, and Agua Caliente were popular health retreats for tourists from San Francisco and points beyond until the middle of the 20th century because of the geothermic hot springs that still well up from deep within the earth.
Cloverdale is a city in Sonoma County, California, United States; it is both the westernmost and the northernmost city in the San Francisco Bay Area. The San Francisco and North Pacific Railroad reached Cloverdale in 1872. The Cloverdale Rancheria of Pomo Indians of California is headquartered there. The population was 8,618 at the 2010 census.
Cotati is an incorporated city in Sonoma County, California, United States, located approximately 45 mi (70 km) north of San Francisco in the 101 corridor between Rohnert Park and Petaluma. Cotati's population as of the 2020 Census was 7,584, making it the smallest incorporated community in Sonoma County.
Healdsburg is a city located in Sonoma County, in California's Wine Country. At the 2010 census, the city had a population of 11,254. Owing to its three most important wine-producing regions, Healdsburg has been continuously awarded one of the top 10 small towns in America and is home to three of the top wineries in the United States.
Petaluma is a city in Sonoma County, California, located in the North Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area. Its population was 59,776 according to the 2020 census.
Rohnert Park is a city in Sonoma County, California, United States, located approximately 50 miles (80 km) north of San Francisco. The population at the 2020 United States Census was 44,390. It is an early planned city and is the sister city of Hashimoto in Japan. Sonoma State University, part of the California State University system, is located nearby.
Santa Rosa is a city and the county seat of Sonoma County, in the North Bay region of the Bay Area in California. Its estimated 2019 population was 178,127. It is the largest city in California's Wine Country and Redwood Coast. It is the fifth most populous city in the Bay Area after San Jose, San Francisco, Oakland, and Fremont; and the 25th most populous city in California.
Sonoma is a city in Sonoma County, California, located in the North Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area. Sonoma is one of the principal cities of California's Wine Country and the center of the Sonoma Valley AVA. Sonoma's population was 10,739 as of the 2020 census, while the Sonoma urban area had a population of 32,678. Sonoma is a popular tourist destination, owing to its Californian wineries, noted events like the Sonoma International Film Festival, and its historic center.
Marin City is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in Marin County, California, United States. As of the 2020 census, it had a population of 2,993, up from 2,666 in 2010. It is located 1.5 miles northwest of downtown Sausalito, 8 miles (13 km) south-southeast of San Rafael, and about 5 miles (8 km) north of San Francisco from the Golden Gate Bridge, at an elevation of 23 feet (7.0 m). Marin City was developed for housing starting in 1942, to accommodate wartime shipyard workers and other migrants to California. Among those were African Americans from the South in the Great Migration, which continued until 1970.
Golden Gate Transit (GGT) is a public transportation system serving the North Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area in California, United States. It primarily serves Marin County, Sonoma County, and San Francisco, and also provides limited service to Contra Costa County. In 2021, Golden Gate Transit had a ridership of 814,200, or about per weekday as of the second quarter of 2022.
The Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District is a special-purpose district that owns and operates three regional transportation assets in the San Francisco Bay Area: the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, the Golden Gate Ferry system and the Golden Gate Transit system. All three assets connect Marin County with San Francisco.