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Smith Rafael Film Center
1118 4th St, San Rafael, CA 94901

The Smith Rafael Film Center is a non-proft, restored Art Deco theater run by the California Film Institute. TheMore theater has three screens and shows new and old films daily, in addition to hosting the Mill Valley Film Festival. For a showing schedule, visit the Smith Rafael Film Center Web site.

 

Lundy's Home Cooking
1143 4th St, San Rafael, CA 94901
With an extensive diner menu and an old-school ambiance, Lundy's is a great spot to relax with your newspaper and peopleMore watch. The diner counter stretches the full length of the restaurant and seats 15. Recommended dishes include the signature Irish breakfast, clam chowder, fish and chips, pork chops and more--all for $10 or less, making it a true bargain. Located right in the heart of downtown San Rafael, convenient for shopping, the Smith Rafael Film Center and the 101. But keep an eye on the clock before you stop in; this breakfast and lunch joint closes at 3:30pm.
Aroma Cafe
1122 4th St, San Rafael, CA 94901

This constantly crowded café opened in 2002. Its Web site says it specializes in Mediterranean fusion foods,More but it really serves as a community hub. From the street it looks misleadingly small; once inside it is cavernous, with seating for over 100 people. In addition to the 24 tables, there is a counter that seats 10.

This is the perfect place to stop before or after a movie at the Smith Rafael Film Center next door. The warm, exposed brick walls feature works by local artists, with a yearlong waiting list to be displayed.

Packed with people on laptops, it appears to be a popular spot for casual business meetings and group discussions, but the Wi-Fi isn't free. Outside tables are always occupied by chatty locals with their dogs. Aroma Cafe is definitely one of downtown San Rafael's most convivial spots.