San Rafael is the County Seat, Marin’s most populous city, and the most culturally diverse. It’s where much of the county’s business gets done, and it’s home to a variety of unique neighborhoods. San Rafael straddles 101, so has quick freeway access from most areas and serves as a public transportation hub, with Marin’s bus lines converging at the San Rafael Transit Center. The downtown area features a nice variety of shops and restaurants and also serves as the site for outdoor events. Each Thursday evening from April through September a stretch of 4th street is transformed into one of Marin’s best farmers markets. There’s live music, lots of organic produce and tons of tasty food–in fact the now iconic Puerto Rican restaurant Sol Food got it’s start here as a vendor. Downtown streets are also closed each June for the Italian Street Painting Festival, where artists showcase their talents with intricate chalk drawings on the asphalt. But all the action isn’t confined to downtown; there’s a popular farmer’s market a few exits north at the Civic Center that happens twice per week all year long. With its diverse neighborhoods and homes to fit every budget and taste, from modest condos to multi-million dollar estate properties, it can take some time to really get to know San Rafael. But it’s time well spent and there really is something for everyone.
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