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6 Reasons to Move to San Rafael, CA

1. Geography

San Rafael is located 17 miles north of San Francisco in Marin County. Its elevation ranges from sea level to 900 feet.
The city has a total area of 22 square miles, of which 17 sq. mi is land and 5 sq. mi are water and tidelands. Nearly 30 percent of the city’s land belongs to parklands and open space, and there are multiple marinas because the city borders the San Pablo Bay.

1.a Climate

San Rafael has a Mediterranean climate; winters are generally cool and wet, while summers are warm and dry. In rare occasions, mild winter lows reach the freezing mark.
December is generally the coldest month, with an average high of 55.1° and an average low of 41.0°. August is usually the warmest month with a high of 80.1° and a low of 55.0°. Every year, there are nearly 17.9 days with a high of 90° or more, and 1.2 days with a high of 100° or more. Freezing temperatures of 32° Fahrenheit or below occur on an average of 3.6 days.
San Rafael, California gets approximately 28 inches of rain per year; the number of days with any measurable precipitation is around 65.
The rainy season usually starts in November and ends in early April. After this period, rain is very rare and precipitation is not frequent in the months of June, July, August, and September. On average, residents of San Rafael enjoy 256 sunny days per year.

2. Economy

Companies with headquartered in San Rafael include: Autodesk, In Defense of Animals, Westamerica Bank, and GIS Data Resources.
Top employers in the city are: Kaiser Permanente, Autodesk, Comcast, City of San Rafael, Safeway, Macy’s, MHN, Bradley Real Estate, Dominican University of California, and Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Moving to San Rafael

3. Government

The City Council functions as the legislative body that represents the citizens of San Rafael, and it consists of one elected Major and four City Council members, who are elected at large for four-year terms. City Council meetings take place every month, the first and third Monday at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall located at 1400 Fifth Avenue.
Homelessness is a top priority for the City Council, and that’s why it has been conducting a variety of initiatives to address the issue, including: funding the Downtown Streets Team, creating a Mental Health Resource Officer position in the Police Department, and providing individualized paths back to housing for these vulnerable residents through the HOT team.

4. Education

San Rafael City Schools district operates most public schools in the community, including all comprehensive public high schools (San Rafael High School, Terra Linda High School and one alternative high school, Madrone).
The Dixie School District operates some public elementary and middle schools north of San Rafael.
Among the public schools not operated by the district we find: the Phoenix Academy (which is a California Charter school for chemically dependent students, where they are motivated to develop a drug- and alcohol-free lifestyle, study academic subjects, address emotional issues, and make career and vocational decisions). The school provides a highly structured and supervised program. There are several private schools in the city, among them: the Mark Day School (a K-8 non-sectarian school in Terra Linda), Marin Academy (private high school) formally known as the San Rafael Military Academy; Saint Raphael School (K-8 school with a history linked to the Mission San Raphael), 3R School, Brandeis Hillel Day School (a K-8 Jewish day school that shares a campus with the Osher Marin JCC and the Congregation Rodef Sholom).
The Marin School is an independent college-preparatory high school located in North San Pedro Road, between the Civic Center and the Osher Marin JCC.
San Rafael has one university; the Dominican University of California, and a guide dog training school: Guide Dogs for the Blind.

4.a Library

The San Rafael Public Library manages two community libraries: the Downtown Library located at 5th and E. Streets and the Pickleweed Library on Canal Street.
The library offers physical and digital collections with books, movies, television shows, and music for all ages; it offers also, a variety of educational resources such as technology services, museum passes, reading buddies, research assistance, homework help, online tutoring, research assistance, MS Office help, resume writing, career resources, and outreach services including programs for homebound persons and seniors.
These two libraries host events in English and Spanish such as classes, programs, and other activities for people of all ages.

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5. Infrastructure

5.a Transportation

The San Rafael Transit Center, also known as the C. Paul Bettini Transportation Center, is located at the corner of 3rd Street and Hetherton Street and is served by multiple local, regional and paratransit bus options including: Golden Gate Transit (serving Marin, Contra Costa, Sonoma, and San Francisco Counties); Marin Transit (provides local bus services throughout all of Marin and San Rafael, including Marin Transit Shuttle Route 233 and West Marin Stagecoach Route 68), Marin Access (provides a variety of transit services and programs for Marin’s older adults, persons with disabilities and low-income residents, including Paratransit services); Sonoma County Transit ( serving the Sonoma Valley–Kenwood, Glen Ellen, Agua Caliente, Sonoma, and Schellville–from San Rafael); Greyhound (serving areas in Northern California); Marin Airporter (providing service at the San Francisco International Airport from Marin County), and Airport Express (serving the Oakland International Airport, as stopover for Marin County, traveling to Sonoma County).
The San Rafael Transit Center provides a convenient transfer point for passengers traveling from San Rafael to the rest of Marin County and throughout the Bay Area, and that’s because most of the Marin and Golden Gate Transit’s routes meet at this location.
By the end of 2016, brand new, clean diesel SMART trains will run from Santa Rosa to San Rafael at a speed of 70 miles per hour. The service will allow passengers to get out of the car on Highway 101 and still get where they need to go.
The commuter train service to the Santa Rosa Airport begun operations this year, and the extension to the south to Larkspur is expected to be completed by 2018.
The major north-south freeway through San Rafael is U.S. Route 101, connecting the North Coast 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. Local bus service is provided mainly, by Golden Gate Transit and Marin Transit.
San Rafael has miles of beautiful streets and trails, such as the Marin Open Space, which is a great place to explore on foot or on wheels. China Camp State Park offers multiple trails for biking and hiking.
The Golden Gate Ferries provide ferry service between Larkspur, Sausalito and San Francisco. San Rafael Safe Routes to Schools programs (SRTS) are designed to increase the health of children and the community in general, by decreasing traffic and pollution. The goal of the program is promoting walking and biking to school through education and multiple incentives.
The county is the pioneer of the national Safe Routes to Schools program that has spread across the United States.
Marin Transit provides local bus routes and supplemental transit services to various schools within the Marin County.

5.b Utilities

Every week, Marin Sanitary Service (MSS) provides residential and commercial waste collection, street sweeping, and recyclables pick-up services.
The Marin Recycling Center (MRC) accepts and processes collected recyclables such as glass bottles and jars, aluminum and tin cans, plastic containers #1-7, waste papers, and cardboard. The center also offers community education through its Environmental Classroom.
The Marin Resource Recovery Center (MRRC) accepts and processes non-hazardous materials and offers debris box rental.

The Marin Household Hazardous Waste Facility (MHHWF) accepts hazardous materials from residents and businesses in Marin County.

Zero Waste Marin reduces and recycles residents and businesses solid waste, and safely disposes hazardous materials. The company provides information on household hazardous waste collection, recycling, composting and waste disposal, while educating the citizens and businesses of the county. Residents are allowed to take unwanted junk, furniture, mattresses, or any garbage to one of the following places (there are fees for dropping off materials):
MARIN RESOURCE RECOVERY CENTER
565 Jacoby Street, San Rafael
Off Anderson and Bellam
Monday-Saturday 8am-4pm, Sunday 9am-4pm

REDWOOD LANDFILL
8950 Redwood Hwy, Novato
Just off 101 north of Novato
Monday-Friday 7am-3pm, Saturday 8am-3:30pm

Marin Clean Energy offers services to residents and businesses in the Counties of Marin and Napa, and the Cities of Richmond, Benicia, El Cerrito, San Pablo, Walnut Creek, and Lafayette; and they can now choose how much renewable energy is in their electric service.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), incorporated in California in 1905, provides natural gas and electric service to approximately 16 million people in northern and central California. Telephone and Internet providers in San Rafael include: Sonic, AT&T and Comcast.

6. Point of Interest

Marin County parks, marinas and open space preserves are great places for hiking, riding, fishing, kayaking, walking the dog, and many water-oriented recreational activities. Local Open Space Preserves are available for pedestrians and some are open for bicycles; but there are plenty of bicycle routes throughout the City and beyond.
In Marin County, parks range in size from mini-parks situated in local neighborhoods, to large-scale regional parks with a wide variety of amenities and facilities. One of the largest park is the China Camp State Park where visitors can experience California history at the preserved Chinese fishing village (a Chinese immigrant shrimping village); explore the salt marsh on the interpretive Turtleback Trail and enjoy activities like camping overnight, hiking, running or biking the gorgeous trails; kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding or swimming in the San Pablo Bay.
San Rafael Parks offer picnic areas, trails, playgrounds, volleyball, basketball courts, and several parks can be reserved for events.

Community parks in San Rafael include: Albert Park, Boyd Park, Gerstle Park, Pickleweed Park and the Terra Linda Recreational Center. Neighborhood parks and mini-parks include: Bret Harte Park, Boyd Park, Sun Valley Park, Oleander Park, Victor Jones Park, Peacock Gap Park and Gerstle Park, which is also a historic and walkable neighborhood south of First Street, located nearby central Downtown.
Speaking of Downtown, here, visitors will find a mixture of ethnic and highly acclaimed restaurants, a diverse retail corridor, multiple professional services for all needs, and also, beautiful Victorian and Art Deco buildings such as:
The Falkirk Cultural Center, an amazing 19th century Queen Anne Victorian country estate, built in 1888 and listed on the National Historic Register.
The Marin History Museum, a national and state designated historical landmark and an architectural treasure, home to the county’s government offices.
The 106-year-old Dominican University, which is one of the oldest universities in California.
The Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center, a historic art deco movie theater where people can watch independent, foreign, classic and documentary films, and it is also home of the California Film Center.
Another big gem you will see after moving to San Rafael is Mission San Rafael Arcangel. The Mission was originally built in 1817 as part of California’s mission chain and re-constructed in 1949 as a replica of the original Spanish mission. The mission offers a museum, gift shop and self-guided tours.
Because of Mission San Rafael Arcangel, the city of San Rafael is known as the Mission City.
Also, in Downtown, the San Rafael City Plaza has become a community gathering spot, as well as a center of seasonal events like concerts and the well-known Thursday night farmers markets. The location features a modern water wall fountain.
San Rafael’s Downtown Farmers Market Festival takes places on Thursday nights, from May through September, from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. This an amazing event where residents and visitors have the opportunity to liven up the downtown with unique arts and crafts, delicious food and community outreach opportunities like San Rafael’s “Come Meet Your City Council” booth.
The Thursday Marin Farmers Market operates every week from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at 10 Avenue of the Flags, in the Civic Center in San Rafael. This event is widely visited for local chefs and chefs from around the Bay Area who are seeking out for the freshest ingredients of the season. The Thursday market is also one of the most anticipated lunch destinations of the week.
Another Farmers Market, the Marin farmers market, takes place every Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., at 3501 Civic Center Dr. It is open year-round, rain or shine.

Conclusion

San Rafael is definitely, a lively business and cultural hub, which also enjoys the best weather! Please contact our experienced San Rafael movers in case you cannot wait to be part of this great community.
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