Mill Valley is a city in Southern Marin County, located about 11 miles north of San Francisco via the Golden Gate Bridge (view Map of Mill Valley.) The population is about 13,000. The city is nestled below majestic Mt. Tamalpais and surrounded by national parks, including Muir Woods, an ancient coast redwood forest.
Mill Valley real estate is among the most expensive in the County: single family homes for sale are priced from $450,000 to $7,000,000, and condominiums from $270,000 to $1,500,000. Click on the Mill Valley Real Estate Market Report Link for monthly updated market data and on the Mill Valley Real Estate link for weekly updated charts on the Mill Valley Real Estate market.
About our community…
Whether it’s for cultural events, dining, shopping or recreation, Mill Valley is a draw for both visitors and residents alike.
Mill Valley is known for being an “artsy” little town. The downtown boasts many art galleries, coffee shops, and other hallmarks of a typical art town. In addition, the town has sponsored the Mill Valley Fall Arts Festival for over fifty years and also the Mill Valley Film Festival, which is part of the California Film Institute, for over thirty years. In addition, Mill Valley’s Chamber of Commerce has sponsored the annual Gourmet Food and Wine Tasting in Lytton Square for many years.
The combination of Mill Valley’s idyllic location nestled beneath Mount Tamalpais coupled with its ease of access to nearby San Francisco has made it a popular home for many high-income commuters. Over the last twenty years, following a trend that is endemic throughout the Bay Area, home prices have climbed in Mill Valley.
Mill Valley has a mild “Mediterranean” climate. In the winter, daytime highs consistently range between 52 and 60 degrees. Nighttime temperatures in winter rarely drop below 38 degrees. There is abundant rainfall (sometimes 15 inches per month) in the winter, and some rain in early spring and late fall. Summer temperatures vary much more than those of the winter. A majority of the time there is abundant sunshine with temperatures between 75 and 90 degrees, and humidity between 20 and 40 percent. Fog from the coast can bring cool summer weather, with midday temperatures often not exceeding 65 degrees. Nighttime temperatures in summertime seldom drop below 60 degrees. Summer evenings can be breezy, with warm East winds, and it is not uncommon for there to be no rainfall between mid-June and mid-October; however, dew can often be found on plants in the early morning.
Strawberry, tucked between Highway 101 to the West and Tiburon Boulevard to the North, is an unincorporated area of Mill Valley and counts about 5,300 residents. Mostly known for its breathtaking views of San Francisco and the Bay and its shopping center, Strawberry is a little known, comfortable and family oriented neighborhood. Read the Marin Magazine October 2010 article on Strawberry.
Theater arts have a huge following in Mill Valley. In addition to supporting the local 142 Throckmorton Theatre, which hosts theatre of all levels, Mill Valley is also home for the Marin Theatre Company, as well as the Mountain Play Association which hosts annual musical productions in the Cushing Memorial Amphitheater located in Mill Valley’s neighboring Mount Tamalpais State Park. For several years the Curtain Theatre Group has also been performing annual free Shakespeare plays among the redwoods on the Old Mill Park amphitheatre behind the Mill Valley Library.
Mill Valley has also been home to many musicians, authors, and actors. The writer Jack Kerouac and the poet Gary Snyder once shared a cabin above the 2 AM Club, and Jerry Garcia — who recorded music in a Mill Valley recording studio — also once called Mill Valley home. Other rock stars such as Huey Lewis, Jeff Watson, Bob Weir, Sammy Hagar, Bonnie Raitt, Pete Sears, have also called this small town home. Authors such as Wright Morris and Jack London have also lived here. Actors Peter Coyote, Dana Carvey, Jill Eikenberry, Kathleen Quinlan, Michael Tucker, have also called Mill Valley home and it was the place of birth for actors Eve Arden and Mariel Hemingway.
While Mill Valley has retained elements of its earlier artistic culture through galleries, festivals, and performances, its stock of affordable housing has diminished, forcing some residents to leave the area. This trend has also affected some of the cities well-known cultural centers like Village Music and the Sweetwater Saloon.
A little history…
The city is named for a saw mill established by Irish settler John Reed in the 19th century, the site of which is now Old Mill Park. When the wooded area had been completely logged over, it was divided into small and irregular building lots, which were sold at auction. Many of the vacation homes built at that time were converted to residences during the Great Depression of the 1930s, especially after the Golden Gate Bridge eased access to San Francisco. Most of the homes are still reached by narrow, winding roads built in the early 20th century among majestic, tall redwood trees. From 1896 to 1930, the Mt. Tamalpais and Muir Woods Railroad ran service from Mill Valley to the summit of Mt Tamalpais. The 8.25 mile long line had 22 trestles and 281 curves earning it the nickname “The Crookedest Railroad in the World.”
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