San Rafael, CA
San Rafael is a city located in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is the county seat of Marin County and had a population of 61,271 as of the 2020 census. The city was founded by the Spanish in 1817. After California became a part of the United States, the city was officially incorporated in 1874. Like many cities in California at the time, San Rafael served as a mission while still controlled by the Spanish.
San Rafael has a total area of 22.5 square miles. According to the United States Census Bureau 16.6 square miles is made up of water while 6 square miles is made up of water. San Rafael is located about 16 miles north of San Francisco.
San Rafael has been a part of the entertainment industry since George Lucas used it as the location to film his 1970 movie THX 1138. It was also the original location for Lucas’ production company Lucasfilm, though some of its operations eventually relocated to nearby San Francisco in 2005. A number of other films have used San Rafael as a filming location including American Graffiti and Gattaca. The city also attracted a number of video game developers that eventually set up their headquarters there. Some of these include Broderbund, LucasArts, THX, Visual Concepts, Telltale Games, and others.
San Rafael also has a number of parks located within the city. China Camp State Park is located on the shore of the San Pablo Bay. The park is made up of 1,514 acres and was originally established in 1976. The park surrounds a historic Chinese-American shrimp-fishing village that was established in the 1880s by Chinese immigrants who supported themselves by fishing for shrimp in the San Pablo Bay. Other parks include McNear’s Beach Park, Albert Park, Gerstle Park, Pickleweed Park, Albert Park, and others. The city has a number of diverse habitats including forests, marshland, and others. One of these habitats, the marshes, is home to an endangered species known as the salt marsh harvest mouse.
San Rafael’s climate is classified as Mediterranean, with hot summers and mild winters. Much of the city’s shoreline has been filled to better accommodate land development. The city’s top employers include BioMarin, Kaiser Permanente, Autodesk, Comcast, and the city of San Rafael itself. It’s also home to one university, the Dominican University of California, a private university that was founded in 1890 and is one of the oldest universities in California. It is also the location of the Ali Akbar College of Music. Its public schools generally fall within the San Rafael City Schools district. San Rafael also has a number of private schools including Marin Academy, Saint Raphael, and the Marin School.
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