Sixteen miles north of San Francisco and just over 3 miles from San Rafael sits Fairfax, a small Marin County town bursting with history, shopping and Northern California quirkiness.
Incorporated in 1931, Fairfax is names after Scottish nobleman, Lord Charles Snowden Fairfax, who was enticed to California by the promise of riches during the gold rush. Fairfax also lays claim to being the last place where a political duel occurred in California in 1861, a B-17 Flying Fortress Bomber crashing on Whites Hill just west of the town and an unlikely softball game between Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead in the mid-1960's at Central Field (also referred to as Contratti Park).
Despite its small 2.2 square mile size and population of only about 7,600 people, Fairfax offers an impressive number of places to dine and shop in addition to its stunning open space preserves ideal for those who love hiking, cycling and horseback riding.
With a terrain comprised of rolling hills and lush valleys, Fairfax offers copious places to explore nature. For those who love hiking, Cataract Falls Trail is guaranteed to be a favorite. Meander along a creek through towering coastal redwoods while encountering numerous waterfalls along the way.
Children will climb, swing and slide at Peri Park. Set in a peaceful redwood grove, it is a blissful place for a family picnic and the playground provides hours of fun. On cold, rainy days, catch a movie at Fairfax Theatre 6 (a solar powered multiplex!) or visit the Marin Museum of Bicycling and discover the part Main County played as the birthplace of mountain biking.
For those who love to explore boutiques and shops, downtown Fairfax which runs along Broadway is the place to be. Stores galore line the streets of downtown. Revolution 9 is known for their eccentric gift selection (the kids will love the toys!) while Trouve is the place to discover unique items including jewelry, fine art and home decor created by local artisans.
After hours, the infamous Peri's Bar is the place to enjoy live music, where local musicians frequently perform. Legend has it that for over three decades, live music has played every night in Fairfax. Gestalt Haus Fairfax, with its cycling themed atmosphere, is the place to enjoy your favorite beer, grab a bite and play board games with friends. 123 Bolinas is another Fairfax favorite, with its bar crafted from a 100-year-old oak tree, impressive wine list and menu perfect to share.
Farifax also has a year-round farmer's market. Under the canopy of the redwoods in Bolinas Park you'll enjoy a lively market filled with produce, food, crafts, live music and a welcoming, family atmosphere.
Every year, downtown streets are filled with people enjoying the annual Fairfax Festival. Music, food, great beer, crafts and a community-minded spirit embody this family-friendly event that will be celebrating 40 years this June.
Cataract Falls Trail
16 Park Road
Fairfax Theatre 6
Marin Museum of Bicycling
1966 Sir Francis Drake Blvd
14 Bolinas Road
51 Bolinas Road
Gestalt Haus Fairfax
28 Bolinas Road
123 Bolinas Street
Fairfax Community Farmer's Market
124 Bolinas Ave
(Held on Wednesday through September, on Sundays in winter)
Article excerpts Where Traveler Magazine-San Francisco & the Bay Area