Surrounded by parkland, this small, sunny town located about 30 minutes from San Francisco at the base of Mount Tamalpais is packed with thick redwood groves and creeks. The quaint downtown is home to boutiques, restaurants and a railroad depot from logging days.
Muir Woods National Monument (1 Muir Woods Road, 415.561.2850) is the world’s most famous grove of virgin redwoods. The trees are 400-800 years old and grow to more than 250 feet high. San Franciscans flock to Mount Tamalpais State Park (415.388.2070), which contains 60 miles of scenic hiking trails, wildflowers and dramatic canyons. From the mountain’s 2,571-foot peak, sweeping views encompass San Francisco and the Pacific Ocean.
Opened in 1972, Sweetwater Music Hall (19 Corte Madera Ave., 415.388.3850) has hosted Carlos Santana, Jerry Garcia and Elvis Costello. After a slick remodel in 2012, today it’s a state-of-the-art club with a French cafe. Throckmorton Theatre (142 Throckmorton Ave., 415.383.9600) is an intimate cultural venue known for its Tuesday night shows starring comedy greats.
Pizza Molina (17 Madrona St., 415.383.4200), housed in a tiny chalet, prepares critically acclaimed coastal cuisine and pizza in a wood-fired oven in the middle of the restaurant. More than a stellar brewery, Mill Valley Beerworks (173 Throckmorton Ave., 415.888.8218) is also a sophisticated restaurant serving unexpected beer-pairing fare.
Rustic-chic Summerhouse displays beautifully curated home designs and gifts at its two locations (57 Throckmorton Ave., 415.383.0157; 238 E. Blithedale Ave., 415.383.6695). Terrestra (30 Miller Ave., 415.384.8330), founded by two former Apple employees, stocks streamlined goods made primarily from natural materials by talented craftspeople. For quality home goods, women’s apparel and kids items from Europe, South America, Japan and California, stop at Mint (167 B Throckmorton Ave., 415.383.6468).