San Rafael is located 17 miles north of San Francisco. Population is 58,948 (+/-) and the median income is $81,673. San Rafael is in the center of Marin County. It boasts a wide variety of big box retail (Home Depot, Best Buy, Target) many major car dealerships, including Volkswagen, Toyota, Honda and BMW. It has a large regional shopping center known as Northgate Shopping Center, various neighborhood shopping centers and an older downtown shopping district. There are three major office and industrial areas: Northgate Industrial Park, East San Rafael Retail and, the “Canal” Neighborhood.
Centuries ago San Rafael was once the home of several Coast Miwok peoples. The village identified as Awani-wi, was near downtown San Rafael. In 1817, four years before Mexico gained independence from Spain, four Spanish Franciscan priests founded Mission San Rafael Arcángel, in what is now downtown San Rafael. After the Mexican-American War, in 1853, the territory which Alta California was part of was annexed by the United States. The San Francisco and North Pacific Railroad reached San Rafael in 1879. The city was linked to the national rail network later in 1888.
San Rafael was incorporated as a city in July of 1913.