Welcome to Mill Valley
Nestled along the eastern edge of Mount Tamalpais, sits the sleepy little Marin County city of Mill Valley. The town stretches over several miles, with the lightly wooded slopes of the mountains eventually giving way to redwood lined canyons before ending at the coastal marshlands along the edge of Richardson Bay. The city itself is as diverse as the local geography, with residential districts and commercial sectors both dotting the creek lined canyons of the city alongside numerous parks and community areas.
Lay of the Land
Mill Valley is located in Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. The city occupies a geographically diverse section of the county stretching between the eastern edges of Mount Tamalpais and the Pickleweed Inlet on the western shore of the Richardson Bay. The western side of the city is bordered by State Route 101 while the northern edge of the city is pressed against Corte Madera. Like much of Marin County, Mill Valley has slowly transitioned into an extremely affluent community with a large percentage of the population commuting into the Bay Area. This has driven average home prices well over a million dollars. Additionally, the city’s 14,311 residents enjoy an average household income of $129,626.
The communities of Marin County have made a concentrated effort to maximize the natural beauty of the region by minimizing the amount of commercial development and the number structural intrusions. The result is that the majority of the county has maintained a consistently beautiful appearance. Unfortunately, it has also severely limited transportation within the region. State Route 101 handles all road traffic moving north or south from the city. Additionally, the city is served by Golden Gate Transit which provides local bus services. Several of the nearby communities, including Tiburon to the east and Sausalito to the south provide commuter parking and ferry services into San Francisco.
Despite a slightly more progressive attitude than many of the more isolated Marin County communities, Mill Valley is never going to compete with its Bay Area neighbors when it comes to commercial development. What Mill Valley does have however is numerous shopping and dining locations that provide local goods and services in unique and exciting ways. The town offers a relaxed Northern California chic which draws visitors from all over the Bay Area.
These locations include numerous smaller shopping centers like Strawberry Village and The Mill Valley Shopping center. Both locations include locally operated boutiques and eateries that take advantage of regionally produced foods and commercial goods. This ranges from high-end specialty items such as locally produced clothing and hand-crafted furniture, to mundane items, such as organic fruit smoothies. The eateries also produce a collection of traditional menu items and modern fusion items using seafood and produce gathered by neighboring communities.
Ultimately, one of the main attractions in Mill Valley is the local scenery. Mill Valley is home to dozens of hiking, walking, and biking trails. Though the trails are currently maintained by the city, many of them sprung-up naturally over the years. This means that they slice across the city in a seemingly haphazard fashion, running alongside local creeks and residential divisions with equal abandon. It is possible for hikers to start at the Bothin Marsh Preserve in the east, move north through the valley and the redwood trees, bisect the Camino Alto Open Space Preserve, and eventually end up on the edges of Mount Tamalpais without ever leaving the city’s trails. Regardless of the route or destination, each of the trails provide access to scenic views of the valley and of the region in general.
The Mill Valley School District currently manages five separate schools serving students in kindergarten through 8th grade. These include five elementary schools, Park School, Old Mill School, Edna Maguire School, Strawberry Point School, Tamalpais Valley School, and the Mill Valley Middle School. In addition to serving Mill Valley, the school district also serves the unincorporated communities of Alto, Almonte, Homestead Valley, and Muir Beach.
Students from Mill Valley attend public high school in the Tamalpais Union High School District. Aside from Mill Valley, the district serves numerous communities in Marin County. It currently consists of three traditional high schools and two alternative high schools. Private school, either in Marin County or San Francisco, is also an option.
All of the schools serving Mill Valley are consistently recognized as among the top performing in the state. This includes numerous California Distinguished School Awards, above average graduation rates, and top rankings on the California Annual Performance Index.