Mill Valley

Just don’t call it quaint. Family friendly Mill Valley is all about schools, sports, and its Sierra Club calendar setting. Nestled at the foot of Mt Tam, the homes in Mill Valley range from 500-square foot hunter’s cabins to multi-million dollar mansions tucked away on winding narrow lanes under the redwoods. Sometimes right next to each other.

Coffee is king in Mill Valley. Downtown three separate coffee shops do a brisk business. At the Depot, as the sunny town center is called, Moms with strollers, kids on trikes, and teenagers kicking a hackeysack relax in the open air plaza which now houses an independent bookstore and cafe. Today The Depot is a jumping off spot for hikers and mountain bikers heading up the slopes of Mt Tam.

Nightlife in Mill Valley is anchored by 142 Throckmorton, a jewelbox of a theater. Presentations range from world music, jazz, and folk to its legendary standup comedy showcase. Every Tuesday night, host Mark Pitta brings a mix of young comics and superstars like Robin Williams to the stage.

As the groomed playing fields at the Community Center attest, sports are huge here, with leagues dedicated to soccer, baseball, and lacrosse. Small neighborhood schools are a bedrock part of this community, as is the middle school and 100-year-old Tamalpais High, which recently underwent a state-of-the-art renovation, including an Olympic-sized pool open to the community. Tam High is noted for its drama program which sells out its evenings of one-acts; AIM, a school within a school dedicated to media arts, and a track team that attracts more than 125 kids. When 10% of the student body joins a sport, you know your kids are running with the right crowd.

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