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Mission San Rafael Arcángel

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.


Guide to Exploring around Mission San Rafael Arcangel


Lodging Near Mission San Rafael Arcangel

See all 312 properties near Mission San Rafael Arcangel
Marin Lodge

Marin Lodge

1735 Lincoln Ave, San Rafael, CA
    2.0 out of 5.0
     
     
    5.0 out of 5 (1 reviews)

    Situated in San Rafael, this hotel is within 1 mile (2 km) of Dominican University of California and Marin History Museum. Mission San Rafael Arcangel and Marin ...

    Marin LodgeAU$177

    Queen Size bed With Parking in a Home Built in 1920

    Queen Size bed With Parking in a Home Built in 1920

    1209 2nd St, San Rafael, CA
       
       

      Situated in San Rafael, this holiday home is within a 10-minute walk of Marin Bocce Federation, Mission San Rafael Arcangel and Marin History Museum. San Rafael ...

      Queen Size bed With Parking in a Home Built in 1920AU$162

      Very Large Room With Parking in a House Built in 1920

      Very Large Room With Parking in a House Built in 1920

      1209 2nd St, San Rafael, CA
         
         

        Situated in San Rafael, this holiday home is within a 10-minute walk of Marin Bocce Federation, Mission San Rafael Arcangel and Marin History Museum. San Rafael ...

        Very Comfy King bed With Parking in a House Built in 1920

        Very Comfy King bed With Parking in a House Built in 1920

        1209 2nd St, San Rafael, CA
           
           

          Situated in San Rafael, this holiday home is within a 10-minute walk of Marin Bocce Federation, Mission San Rafael Arcangel and Marin History Museum. San Rafael ...

          Cozy Room With Parking in a House Built in 1920

          Cozy Room With Parking in a House Built in 1920

          1209 2nd St, San Rafael, CA
             
             

            Situated in San Rafael, this holiday home is within a 10-minute walk of Marin Bocce Federation, Mission San Rafael Arcangel and Marin History Museum. San Rafael ...

            Interior Designer's Modern Mountain-top Water View Casita

            Interior Designer's Modern Mountain-top Water View Casita

            98 Graceland Dr, San Rafael, CA
               
               

              Located in the heart of San Rafael, this historic holiday home is within 1 mile (2 km) of Marin History Museum, Mission San Rafael Arcangel and Falkirk Cultural ...

              Villa Inn

              Villa Inn

              1600 Lincoln Avenue, San Rafael, CA
                2.0 out of 5.0
                 
                 

                Situated in San Rafael, this motel is within 1 mile (2 km) of Dominican University of California, Marin History Museum and Mission San Rafael Arcangel. Falkirk ...

                Villa InnAU$153

                Sunny, Sprawling Estate 25 Minutes From SF And Wine Country, Outdoor Life, Pool

                Sunny, Sprawling Estate 25 Minutes From SF And Wine Country, Outdoor Life, Pool

                20 Fairhills Drive, San Rafael, CA
                   
                   

                  This family-friendly San Rafael holiday home is within a 15-minute walk of Falkirk Cultural Center and Marin History Museum. Gerstle Park and Mission San Rafael ...

                  *Price based on the lowest price found within past 24 hours and based upon one night stay for two adults over the next thirty days. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
                  ^Eligibility requirements and conditions apply.