Mill Valley began as a Mexican land grant to Irish settler, John Thomas Reed, who became a Mexican citizen in 1834. He built the first saw mill in Marin County, the site of which is now Old Mill Park. When the wooded area had been completely logged over, it was divided into small and irregular building lots, which were sold at auction. Many of the vacation homes built during that time were converted to residences during the 1930’s, especially after the Golden Gate Bridge eased access to San Francisco.
Known for being an “artsy” little town, driving or walking downtown Mill Valley, you will discover many art galleries, coffee shops, and other hallmarks of a typical art town. The town has sponsored the Mill Valley Fall Arts Festival for over fifty years and also the Mill Valley Film Festival, which is part of the California Film Institute, for over thirty years. Mill Valley's Chamber of Commerce has sponsored the annual Gourmet Food and Wine Tasting in Lytton Square and theater arts have a huge following in Mill Valley. In addition to supporting the local 142 Throckmorton Theatre, which hosts theatre of all levels, Mill Valley is home for the Marin Theatre Company, as well as the Mountain Play Association which hosts annual musical productions in the Cushing Memorial Amphitheater located in Mill Valley's neighboring Mount Tamalpais State Park. For several years the Curtain Theatre Group has also been performing annual free Shakespeare plays among the redwoods on the Old Mill Park Ampitheatre behind the Mill Valley.
For nightlife, there are plenty of great restaurants, the infamous 2 AM Club, and for live music, the famous Sweetwater Café (soon to return!).
Mill Valley has a mild “Mediterranean” climate. In the winter, daytime highs consistently range between 52 and 60 degrees. Nighttime temperatures in winter rarely drop below 38 degrees. There is abundant rainfall (sometimes 15 inches per month) in the winter, and some rain in early spring and late fall. Summer temperatures vary much more than those of the winter, but a majority of the time there is abundant sunshine with temperatures between 75 and 90 degrees, and humidity between 20 and 40 percent. Fog from the coast can bring cool summer weather, with midday temperatures often not exceeding 65 degrees. Nighttime temperatures in summertime seldom drop below 60 degrees.
In July of 2005, CNN/Money and Money magazine ranked Mill Valley tenth on its list of the 100 Best Places to live in the United States. For more about Mill Valley, click here: Mill Valley Site. For city services, government activities, programs and events, click here: Mill Valley Government Site.