San Rafael is a city in Marin County, in the San Francisco Bay Area. Historically one of the original Spanish mission settlements, San Rafael is now a mid-sized commuter town.San Rafael was the site of what was originally a number of Miwok Native American villages. The city itself was founded in 1817 as an extension of Mission Dolores in San Francisco. Ailing newly baptized Native Americans from the Miwok tribe were recommended to move to the “beautiful valley surrounded with hills studded with oak trees,” where many of them recovered . The mission was then named after Saint Rafael, whose name means “healing of God.” Today, a replica of the original mission church stands overlooking downtown San Rafael. San Rafael is situated in Marin County, whose county line begins halfway across the Golden Gate Bridge and extends North until it reaches Sonoma County. Marin is an affluent suburb of San Francisco with many protected parks and ecosystems and 11 towns total, with San Rafael being the largest in population. San Rafael is the county seat for Marin County. The city has a population of roughly 58,000. San Rafael has a mild climate, with an average temperature of 59 degrees . There’s heavy rain in the fall and winter, with occasional frosts and temperatures hovering between 40 and 60 degrees during these seasons. Summers are generally hot (into high 80s or more) so pack a swimsuit! San Rafael is home to many schools, including multiple high schools and a university, so a young crowd is always present walking through downtown on a daily basis as well as during community events.The Marin County Visitor’s Bureau located in the Civic Center in San Rafael offers information on all surrounding towns as well as activities, attractions, events, and transportation in San Rafael. The phone number is +1 415 925-2060.San Rafael is on the 101 Freeway, north of San Francisco over the Golden Gate Bridge. 101 crosses Highway 580 in San Rafael, making the city a major influx point for drivers from the East Bay.Downtown San Rafael is based on a grid network, with numbered streets running east-west and lettered streets running north-south. The following taxi companies are located in San Rafael:The Farmers Market every Sunday at the Civic Center is a great place to stock up on farm fresh vegetables & fruit, bread from many local bakeries, and gourmet cheeses and fresh seafood. Grab a cup of coffee, sample a fresh crepe or waffle, and get to know some of the most dedicated farmers in Marin.San Rafael has multiple shopping locations. Downtown San Rafael, namely 4th Street, contains a variety of shops. Like most Bay Area towns, San Rafael has a number of pubs and taco joints as well as cafes and bars. Many restaurants are located on Fourth StreetSan Rafael’s crime rate would be considered moderate. Gang violence has increased in recent years, with stabbings and/or shootings occurring every few weeks. The downtown area has a higher amount of car break ins than one might expect.The Canal District is known for having the highest crime of any neighborhood in San Rafael. If you decide to venture into the Canal District, stay alert, even in the daytime. The District is home to many first-generation immigrants who densely populate apartment buildings to offset the relatively high cost of living, and street gangs are relatively common. Try not to wear too much red- or blue-colored clothing–you may easily be confused as a rival to another gang. It is best not to walk around the Canal District at night while alone. The neighborhood has a fairly high amount of gang violence, robbery, and car theft. If driving through the Canal District, it is best to keep your windows rolled up and your doors locked at all times. Not all parts of the Canal District are Dangerous (Novato Street is the street with most gang members hanging out).
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