Known for its East Coast feel, beautiful tree-lined streets, and elegant homes, San Rafael’s Dominican neighborhood also offers great walkability and convenience.
The neighborhood, sometimes called Black Canyon, surrounds Dominican University of California, from which it gets its name. Its convenient location just east of Highway 101 gives residents easy access to the freeway, the Montecito Plaza Shopping Center, and lovely open space areas.
“Dominican is a lovely neighborhood with some of the most beautiful, stately homes in Marin,” one of Pacific Union’s top San Rafael real estate professionals said. “It’s a convenient neighborhood and people love being near Dominican University.”
Though its history dates back as far as 1850, the school that eventually became Dominican University arrived in San Rafael in 1889, expanding to a junior college in 1915 and a four-year institution in 1917. Today, the university offers many perks to its neighbors, from access to the Conlan Recreation Center with a pool, gymnasium, and tennis courts, to various on-campus talks and activities.
In 2010 Dominican landed in the spotlight when it hosted a gubernatorial debate between then-candidates Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman.
Dominican homes for sale range from around $800,000 to $3 million and beyond, our real estate professional said. Styles include ranch homes and turn-of-the-century Victorians, which tend to carry heftier price tags.
Part of the neighborhood’s charm is its walkability. The university’s manicured grounds offer pleasant walking routes, and there are plenty of trails in the open spaces to the east and the north and at Barbier Park.
“Dominican is truly a walking community,” 35-year resident Suzie Pollak told Marin Magazine. “People stroll with their dogs through the campus both morning and evening; it’s how we meet and find out what’s going on.”
More than 50 restaurants, bars, and coffee shops are located within a 30-minute walk of the neighborhood in downtown San Rafael and other areas. A Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe’s are also located nearby.
The neighborhood’s Marin Tennis Club boasts 12 courts, eight of which are lit for night play. The facility also has an exercise room, swimming pool, saunas, and a full-service cafe.
Marin Ballet is also located in Dominican.
With the neighborhood’s great proximity to Highway 101 and easy access to the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, it’s no surprise that Dominican residents have one of the shortest commutes in the U.S. — most spend less than 15 minutes getting to work.