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Mission San Rafael Arcangel

Vacation Travel Guide
Mission San Rafael Arcangel featuring a statue or sculpture

This mission in San Rafael, which still offers services, is an interesting destination to learn more about California’s religious history. 

San Rafael Arcángel peacefully presides over the city of San Rafael from its hilltop setting. Whether you are there to worship, learn or simply find a quiet place to explore, visit this historic mission.

The structure was originally established as an “asistencia” (sub-mission) where sick members of Mission San Francisco de Asís went to recover. Built in 1817, San Rafael Arcángel was the 20th of San Francisco’s 21 Missions founded by Spanish priests to bring Catholicism to the area.

Between government upheaval and development of San Rafael, all that remained of the original mission at the beginning of the 20th century was a single pear tree from its orchard. In 1948, Monsignor Thomas Kennedy helmed a massive rebuilding project to restore the mission to its former glory.

The inside of the mission is airy and simple. Examine the Stations of the Cross, which are presented in the form of 3-D carvings.

Step outside and visit the larger parish church, which is an iconic landmark in San Rafael. The statue of the mission’s namesake angel appears to bless the entire city from his vantage point. Inside, the church features beautiful stained-glass windows.

If you want to bring home a religious artifact or a souvenir relating to the California Missions, head into the Mission Gift Shop. The Mission Museum, which is connected, is a great place to learn more about San Rafael Arcángel and the other California Missions. Browse through paintings, informative exhibits and other artifacts. Be sure to see the three surviving bells from the original mission.

The mission is open to the public every day of the week, while the parish church is open only on weekends and for special events. Visit the Mission Museum and Gift Shop during its limited hours on Wednesday through Sunday.

Metered on-street parking is available very close to the mission. Alternatively, use nearby city parking lots.

San Rafael Arcángel is located about 18 miles (29 kilometers) north of central San Francisco. In about 30 minutes, you can make the drive from the mission to the iconic Golden Gate Bridge.

Top things to do in Mission San Rafael Arcangel

Top Hotels Close to Mission San Rafael Arcangel

Villa Inn
Villa Inn
2 out of 5
1600 Lincoln Avenue, San Rafael, CA
Fully refundableReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is $104 per night from Aug 29 to Aug 29
Situated in San Rafael, this motel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Dominican University of California, Marin History Museum, and Mission San Rafael Arcangel. Falkirk ...
3.6/5Good! (570 reviews)
"We liked this property. Very comfortable and honey. Yes, the carpet is old and needs to be replaced, the chairs need new covers, but we put towels on the seats and wore our flip flops. The bed was very comfortable. The bathroom was updated. We had tv, fridg, wifi... Is this a fancy place for work ..."

Reviewed on Jul 31, 2021

Villa Inn
Four Points by Sheraton San Rafael Marin County
Four Points by Sheraton San Rafael Marin County
3 out of 5
1010 Northgate Dr, San Rafael, CA
The price is $161 per night from Aug 9 to Aug 9
Located in the heart of San Rafael, this hotel is 1.2 mi (1.9 km) from Marin County Civic Center and within 6 mi (10 km) of China Camp State Park and Mission ...
4.2/5Very Good! (920 reviews)
"We needed to escape San Francisco for some fun in the sun and my daughter loves to stay at hotels so we checked in here and had a great stay. There were freshly baked chocolate chip cookies at the time of check in and the staff were friendly and welcoming. The staff loves kids and my daughter loved ..."

Reviewed on Aug 2, 2021

Four Points by Sheraton San Rafael Marin County
A 1920 house with a French feel in San Rafael near all publi transportation, great restaurants, movie theater, yoga retreat center and parks nearby..  This is perfect for individual who are visiting marin county area and would love to go to the wine co...
A 1920 house with a French feel in San Rafael near all publi transportation, great restaurants, movie theater, yoga retreat center and parks nearby.. This is perfect for individual who are visiting marin county area and would love to go to the wine co...
San Rafael, CA
Situated in San Rafael, this vacation home is within a 10-minute walk of Marin Bocce Federation, Mission San Rafael Arcangel, and Marin History Museum. San Rafael ...
A 1920 house with a French feel in San Rafael near all publi transportation, great restaurants, movie theater, yoga retreat center and parks nearby.. This is perfect for individual who are visiting marin county area and would love to go to the wine co...
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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Best Lodging Options Near Mission San Rafael Arcangel

Villa Inn
Villa Inn
2 out of 5
1600 Lincoln Avenue, San Rafael, CA
The price is $104 per night from Aug 29 to Aug 29
Villa Inn
Four Points by Sheraton San Rafael Marin County
Four Points by Sheraton San Rafael Marin County
3 out of 5
1010 Northgate Dr, San Rafael, CA
The price is $161 per night from Aug 9 to Aug 9
Four Points by Sheraton San Rafael Marin County
A 1920 house with a French feel in San Rafael near all publi transportation, great restaurants, movie theater, yoga retreat center and parks nearby..  This is perfect for individual who are visiting marin county area and would love to go to the wine co...
A 1920 house with a French feel in San Rafael near all publi transportation, great restaurants, movie theater, yoga retreat center and parks nearby.. This is perfect for individual who are visiting marin county area and would love to go to the wine co...
San Rafael, CA
A 1920 house with a French feel in San Rafael near all publi transportation, great restaurants, movie theater, yoga retreat center and parks nearby.. This is perfect for individual who are visiting marin county area and would love to go to the wine co...
Superb Downtown San Rafael
Superb Downtown San Rafael
San Rafael, CA
Superb Downtown San Rafael
Marin Lodge
Marin Lodge
2 out of 5
1735 Lincoln Ave, San Rafael, CA
The price is $129 per night from Aug 5 to Aug 5
Marin Lodge
New! Designer Apt < 1 Mi to Downtown San Rafael!
New! Designer Apt < 1 Mi to Downtown San Rafael!
San Rafael, CA
New! Designer Apt < 1 Mi to Downtown San Rafael!
SureStay Hotel by Best Western San Rafael
SureStay Hotel by Best Western San Rafael
2.5 out of 5
865 Franciso Blvd East, San Rafael, CA
The price is $125 per night from Aug 4 to Aug 4
SureStay Hotel by Best Western San Rafael
Best Location-walk to San Rafael, Sunny Priv Garden Cottage
Best Location-walk to San Rafael, Sunny Priv Garden Cottage
San Rafael, CA
Best Location-walk to San Rafael, Sunny Priv Garden Cottage
Simply Marvelous 2 Bedroom With Kitchenette, Grilling Patio and Grand Balcony
Simply Marvelous 2 Bedroom With Kitchenette, Grilling Patio and Grand Balcony
San Rafael, CA
Simply Marvelous 2 Bedroom With Kitchenette, Grilling Patio and Grand Balcony
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.