Vibemap's guide to voting early and map of ballot drop-offs in Marin County.

We've been inspired by civic leaders like Stacey Abrams who've been encouraging people to make a plan and show up to vote during the 2020 election. As you exercise your right to vote, consider coordinating your ballot drop-off with a day or afternoon of exploring the city and supporting local businesses. Below are our picks for locations to drop-off your ballot in Marin and tips for what to do nearby. 

Important Notes:

Marin County Civic Center

The center of Marin and a must-see spot for architecture fans and a symbol of civic pride. It's the largest building by Frank Lloyd Wright, who designed the large administrative building and post office. Because of COVID-19 there are currently no docent-lead tours of City Hall, but you can check out this self-guided tour. Get some sun and chill on the building terrace or walk around and listen to the 99% Invisible podcast about Frank Lloyd Wright's legacy, wild character, and futuristic vision for democracy as expressed in the Marin buildings and homes he designed. 

While you’re in the area, grab a snack at Bahn Mi Zon and head over to play bocce ball at the courts overlooking the pond or grab a table on the patio of La Toscana’s (keep an eye out for your locally elected Supervisor or department chairs). On Thursdays and Sundays, you can find yourself a short walk to the Farmers Market filled with North Bay businesses and fresh produce. If you fancy a quieter scene, continue along North San Pedro Road to Chalet Basque to enjoy authentic cuisine, the Santa Venetia Marsh to birdwatch as the tide rolls in, or China Camp State Park to mountain bike and learn about 19th century Chinese immigration.

There are two other voting locations nearby. The Marin City Library and Marin Health and Wellness Campus.

Canal District, San Rafael

Canal Alliance (91 Larkspur Street, San Rafael) will be hosting a pop-up ballot drop box Saturday October 31, Sunday November 1, Monday November 2 from 9 am – 5 pm and Election Day November 3 from 7 am – 8 pm. Say hello to them in front of their building shown here.

The Canal Alliance staff favorite restaurant Picante Taqueria has an extensive menu for omnivores and carnivores alike. We are also enjoying a new Guatemalan restaurant called Luna de Xelaju where we recommend the Pollo asado con handmade tortillas and a slice of mil hojas for dessert. We get our coffee fix at Weavers a hidden gem in the Canal.

Even though the Albert J. Boro Community Center, formerly Pickleweed Park Community Center, is closed due to the pandemic you can walk around the edge of the grounds overlooking the water and enjoy the Shoreline Industrial Park trail.  It is an all paved flat walking path with breathtaking views of Richardson Bay in addition to Mt. Tam and the Richmond Bridge.

There are two other drop box locations in the Canal neighborhood, which are open from Open October 6 to November 3 until 8:00 p.m. Exterior sites available 24 hours a day.

Whistlestop, Downtown San Rafael

For a more urban scene, drop off your ballot at Whistlestop in Downtown San Rafael, and make sure to come hungry. First stop: Caribbean Spices. This vibrant restaurant is one of four Black-owned restaurants in Marin County and offers a plethora of Caribbean flavor. To walk off your likely food coma, head over to Mission San Rafael on the El Camino Real where the ill from San Francisco were originally treated.

If you’re feeling like you need a longer walk, continue up the hill into Boyd Memorial Park to overlook the city limits of San Rafael from all sides. Once you’re ready to dine again, stop in at State Room for a beer then grab your afternoon snack at Marin-favorite Sol Food Puerto Rican Restaurant (don’t leave without a bottle of their hot sauce).

Novato Library

Before you swing by the Novato Library, grab a coffee to go at local favorite, Dr. Insomniac’s, and stroll through the old town district. Stop at Copperfield’s to support a small-chain bookstore, grab a beer to go at Beer Craft. If you get hungry, you have plenty to choose, from classic Italian at Cucina Chianti to authentic Mexican at Las Guitarras.

As the day continues, stop by Miwok Park to enjoy the grounds including bocce ball, horseshoes, and a few shaded picnic tables. When the museum reopens, we highly recommend a visit to learn about the Coast Miwok tribe. Unwind with a live tune at Trek Winery. To end your day, hike from here to Little Mountain Open Space and catch a view of sunset over Stafford Lake.

Corte Madera Recreation Center

Although it may seem like a rather tame place to return your ballot, the Corte Madera Rec Center has a few gems just a short walk away! Stop in across the parking lot at Cafe Verde for a classic cappuccino, a glass of vino, or a fresh-made flatbread (don’t forget to order dessert, their carrot cake has a lovely balance of nuts and icing). While you’re in the area, meander to the historic areagrab some pesto bread from Stefano’s and enjoy it in the gazebo or at Zinz wine bar just a few doors down. Wind down at Resonance for a COVID-safe massage or catch sunset at Camino Alto Preserve (be aware, there’s some steep inclines).

Bolinas Community Center

Bolinas is a vibe. That's why some locals have a reputation for trying to keep this beautiful seaside town and beach a secret. So if you're feeling a little adventurous try to find the Bolinas Community Center and discretely drop your ballot. Your vote still counts, even if you leave no trace of being there. 

Continue the adventure on a hike to Alamere Falls or Cataract Falls, where you’ll find a mixture of tranquility and tourists (careful, both falls are slippery when wet and quite the trek). Or relax with the pelicans and seagulls on the sandy beaches of Bolinas and Stinson. If you’re lucky, you might catch the feeding grounds for seals, pelicans, or other marine life. For Demin wear after the beach, check out apparel at Sacred Tide apparel, who also do tarot card readings. If you’re looking for a bite, head over to Bovida for a classic surf shack vibe offering healthy foods.

This Author:

Worth Freeman
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