Skip to content

Things to do in San Rafael

Top recommendations from locals

From sightseeing to hidden gems, find out what makes the city unique with the help of the locals who know it best.
American Restaurant
$$
“Owned by the Grateful Dead's Phil Lesh - live music almost every night, and great food! Can eat outside on warm nights near the water”
  • 81 locals recommend
Latin American Restaurant
$$
“Amazing Puerto Rican cuisine! A cult favorite amongst locals and visitors. Watch out for lines, though. ”
  • 61 locals recommend
Other Great Outdoors
“You can walk up our road, which ends at a fire road that takes you right up into China Camp. Keep walking up, and you'll soon be able to see all around the Bay, from Mt. Tamalpais to the Golden Gate to Mount Diablo in the East Bay.”
  • 45 locals recommend
American Restaurant
$$
“Great place to sit in the sun and enjoy the avocado hummus and margaritas. ”
  • 20 locals recommend
Indie Movie Theater
“Downtown San Rafael's Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center, is home to the California Film Institute and the Mill Valley Film Festival.”
  • 24 locals recommend
Boat or Ferry
“Ferry that takes you to the heart of San Francisco, runs all day, 7 days a week”
  • 22 locals recommend
Bakery
$$
“Great for lunch, sit outside or take out and bring home. Awesome for breakfast parties and good coffee too!”
  • 20 locals recommend
Bus Station
“Can easily get a bus from here to SFO, or to the Ferry Terminal at Larkspur Landing where you can take a ferry ride to the city.”
  • 14 locals recommend
Shopping Mall
“This is very close to the Palmhouse and a great place with lots of good restaurant options, a small farmers market on Saturday and food trucks on Sundays too.”
  • 22 locals recommend
Boat or Ferry
“You can take the ferry to the city by catching it at the Larkspur Ferry Terminal.”
  • 18 locals recommend
Indian Restaurant
$$
“Best Indian fare in Marin County. Buffet on weekdays! On warm nights, the motorized ceiling slides open for dining under the stars! ”
  • 17 locals recommend
Bakery
“The have great breakfast and lunch, amazing baked goods. Their salads are delish.”
  • 17 locals recommend
Shopping Mall
“Northgate Shopping Mall is about half a mile down the street with a variety of casual and fast food eateries. Paneras, Mexican, Roadside BBQ and BJ's are just a few. There is also a Peet's Coffee and frozen yogurt along with a Movie Theatre. A CVS and Walgreens are also in that vicinity.”
  • 13 locals recommend
Donut Shop
$$
“The sea salt, Carmel incrusted buttermilk, handmade doughnut. What? yes, its true. But that depends on the day. You have to be flexible in your wants, but everything is yummmmy.”
  • 14 locals recommend
Government Building
“San Rafael is home of the Marin County Civic Center, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Thursday and Sunday mornings, the Civic Center hosts one of California's largest farmers' markets, with local produce, fish, dairy, honey, and more.”
  • 17 locals recommend

Top restaurants

American Restaurant
“Owned by the Grateful Dead's Phil Lesh - live music almost every night, and great food! Can eat outside on warm nights near the water”
  • 81 locals recommend
Latin American Restaurant
“Amazing Puerto Rican cuisine! A cult favorite amongst locals and visitors. Watch out for lines, though. ”
  • 61 locals recommend
American Restaurant
“Great place to sit in the sun and enjoy the avocado hummus and margaritas. ”
  • 20 locals recommend
Indian Restaurant
“Best Indian fare in Marin County. Buffet on weekdays! On warm nights, the motorized ceiling slides open for dining under the stars! ”
  • 17 locals recommend
Donut Shop
“The sea salt, Carmel incrusted buttermilk, handmade doughnut. What? yes, its true. But that depends on the day. You have to be flexible in your wants, but everything is yummmmy.”
  • 14 locals recommend
Breakfast Spot
“Bustling spot with skylights and plants lures locals with breakfast & lunch comfort-food favorites.>>THIS IS ONE OF KATHLEEN’S HANDPICKED VEGAN OPTIONS* —— * Complete list of Kathleen’s handpicked Vegan Options - - My Thai II Restaurant - Novato: 811 Grant Ave, Novato, CA - My Thai Restaurant - San Rafael: 1230 4th St, San Rafael, CA  - Lotus Cuisine on 4th Street- San Rafael- BEST vegan Indian food in Bay Area - The Plant Organic Cafe- Mill Valley, Strawberry Center right off the freeway - Half Day Cafe- Kentfield- great tofu scramble in a big old barn - Good Earth grocery store- Fairfax- all organic grocery, great hot bar!”
  • 10 locals recommend
Italian Restaurant
“Delicious Italian restaurant that’s always hopping busy. Be sure to call ahead for reservations. ”
  • 12 locals recommend
Restaurant
“Bar, music venue and restaurant-- together or separately: the bar has additional seating away from the music, so that you can audit the music while talking with your companion(s). It's a great place.”
  • 12 locals recommend

Get to know San Rafael

Explore more on Airbnb