Within a 30-minute drive of San Francisco, the small town of Fairfax is big on kid-sized fun. Through ordinances preventing chain stores, this quaint town has retained its unique and vibrant character. Whether you’re wandering the charming boutiques of downtown, or conquering the surrounding hills, there is something for everyone in the family.
Photo courtesy of Sonny Walker’s School of Rock
Sonny Walker’s School of Rock
There is no shortage of artists and musicians living in Fairfax. In the mid-1960s, a softball game between Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead took place at Central Field, a public downtown baseball field. In a town who’s roots are steeped in music, and who’s streets are lined with music venues, what better place than Sonny Walker’s School of Rock to channel the budding talent of your rugrat rockers. Whether you’re nurturing a pint-sized Prince or a future Fergie, kids can choose between guitar (acoustic and electric), bass, keyboard, vocals or drums in group or private lessons. Instruction includes rock, blues, fun, pop, composition, music theory and technique. Rock School also offers summer camps, where you can join a group or bring your friends to start your own band.
14 Bolinas Road
If your kids are looking to get a little more crafty, no trip to Fairfax would be complete without a visit to Revolution 9. While the store offers a bevy of quirky, creative toys and kid’s clothing, the back room workshop is where we want to spend our time. R9 hosts art classes, crafts, birthday parties, game nights and offers a drop-in kid’s night every Saturday so parents can go out to dinner.
14 Bolinas Rd.
Photo by Stefanie Michejda
After a morning of rocking out, its time to clear the head with some of the fresh air and sunshine that Marin is famous for. Head to the Deer Park trailhead, which offers access to the Marin Municipal Water District lands. From here, there is a great network of short trails for little fleet feet. Beginning in a canyon just south of Fairfax, you’ll be rewarded with redwoods, buckeye, live oak, several lakes and plenty of wildflowers through May. The fire road is open to cyclists and can be a great route for your mini mountain bikers. A picnic area at the base offers a great spot to refuel empty bellies.
199 Porteous Ave.
Photos by Stefanie Michejda
If your little ones aren’t quite up to hiking speed, then head to Peri Park. Soaring redwoods provide welcoming shade on hot summer days. A fenced-in playground keeps your little explorers in check. A lazy stream winds behind the playground, where the resident minnow population can provide hours of fun for feisty fishermen. With picnic tables and even a small stage, its easy to make a day of it.
142 Bolinas Avenue
Iron Springs Pub and Brewery
Looking for somewhere to rest the family’s feet after an active morning? Grab a seat outside at Iron Springs Pub and Brewery, a mecca for cyclists and hikers. They’ve got a great kid-friendly menu, along with award winning ales and elixirs for mom and dad. Dig into a house ground chicken bacon cheeseburger with achiote, guajillo and ancho chilies while the little ones inhale the black bean nachos, piled high with jack, cheddar, sour cream, guacamole and salsa fresca. Be sure to check out Give Back Tuesdays – where every Tuesday a percentage of the proceeds from the pub are donated to a local cause or organization.
765 Center Blvd.
If you’re looking for quick nourishment on the go, look no further than Good Earth, an organic market that boosts over 95% organic groceries and 99% organic prepared food, baked goods, cafe items and juice bar. Before grabbing your lunch supplies, revive with a quick shot of wheatgrass and a Daily Detox juice with fresh pressed apple, kale, lemon, flax seed oil and ginger. With made-to-order sandwich, tacqueria, pizza and wok stations, as well as a salad and hot food bar, you will find something for even your pickiest eater. Don’t miss the Wild Salmon Salad and the pizza-by-the-slice. Good Earth also offers a great grab-n-go section for easy dinner options to bring home.
720 Center Blvd.
Photo by Stefanie Michejda
Ask any child you pass in downtown Fairfax their favorite place to eat, the majority will say Sorella Caffe: a great family-style Italian restaurant that is always busy and worth the wait. While you decide between Cioppino, Butternut Squash Ravioli or the Daily Catch, the waitstaff brings a half wheel of parmesan table-side and cuts off chunks to eat with Sorella’s fresh sourdough bread. We’re always sure our little ones will polish off their pesto pasta or spaghetti and meatballs because at the end of the meal they’ll be rewarded with bowlfuls of gummy bears and animal cookies served with the check.
107 Bolinas Rd.
Did we leave out your favorite Fairfax haunt? Tell us in the comments!