Visit Downtown Mill Valley Travel Guide

Discover the Enchanting Allure of Downtown Mill Valley!
Step into a world where natural wonder meets inspiration: art, design, home goods, fashion, music, food, wellness and a culture of community. Nestled amidst the awe-inspiring beauty of Northern California, this quaint town neighboring the redwoods invites Greater Bay Area visitors and travelers to experience a delicious blend of pristine landscapes, exhilarating hikes, and soulful inspiration.

You've got to admit that as the sun gently rises over the iconic silhouette of Mount Tamalpais, the heart of Mill Valley shines bright like a diamond... The extraordinary beauty awakens with a promise of adventure and exploration. Whether you're an avid hiker or an art enthusiast, this town has something to capture your imagination–for a daytrip, a long weekend or extended stay.

Read on for our Mill Valley Travel Guide!

Mill Valley Travel Guide by Poet and the Bench Downtown Mill Valley

Embracing Nature's Bounty: Mill Valley is a sanctuary for nature lovers.

  • Make it local and take the Dipsea steps located off Cascade Drive, close to our absolutely stunning Old Mill Park
  • Make a reservation and embark on a journey through the majestic Muir Woods, where ancient redwoods stand tall, whispering tales of centuries past!
  • Take our fave trail, Matt Davis where the dappling light of this forest-surfing trail combines with the scent of pine in the crisp mountain air, the soft rustling of leaves underfoot and the views of the Bay as you come into the open expanse with the trees as a backdrop (start at Bootjack Campground and when facing it, turn right for a forest hike like no other!)
  • Conquer the heights of Mount Tamalpais. Reach the summit, and you'll be rewarded with a breathtaking panorama of the San Francisco Bay and Stinson Beach– views that leave a lasting imprint on the memory. Look for West Point Inn and Mountain Theater for some cool experiences!

Do a search for our fave trails:

  • Coast View
  • Dipsea
  • Matt Davis
  • Pantoll
Art and Culture Scene: Stroll through the charming streets of Downtown Mill Valley, adorned with galleries showcasing an array of fine art genres and movements:
  • Anthony Meier Gallery
  • Desta Gallery
  • Kim Eagles-Smith 
  • Poet and/the Bench
  • Seager Gray, and more

From modern ceramics and emerging contemporary arts, the local art scene is a testament to creativity and diversity at Poet and/the Bench. Every painting, photograph, sculpture and object tells a story, inviting you to appreciate the beauty of human imagination.

We also invite you to indulge in a visit to the local theaters and music venues:

  • Cinemark CinéArts Sequoia movie theater owned by the Mill Valley Film Festival and the California Film Institute (CFI)
  • Marin Theater Company where talented performers bring stories to life
  • Sweetwater Music Hall where famous acts and emerging artists help us get our groove on

Embrace California Chic: Within Downtown Mill Valley, along Throckmorton Avenue, lies a fashion scene that embodies the epitome of Californian style—effortless, sophisticated, and environmentally conscious. Stores like:

  • Eli
  • Mint
  • Mill Valley Mercantile
  • Poet and/the Bench
  • Surf and Sand
  • The Store

Their collections beautifully reflect the relaxed yet refined essence of Californian style: sun-kissed days and cool, breezy nights.

Or catch the European vibes:

  • Mili Boutique with their edgy international curation

In the past year, Poet and/the Bench has also entered the fashion scene with luxe outerwear by Mute by JL, a young designer with a strong sense of both elegance and streetwear, inspired by the sophisticated construction and materials of designers like Max Mara. Come check out the selection of coats, jackets, scarves, turtlenecks and sweaters, dresses, tops and pants!

Need Gifts? Poet and/the Bench has captivated locals and visitors with our diverse selection of the most uncommon gifts for self and others. We've won Best Gifts in Marin and Best in the County for Gifts and Jewelry many years in a row. We're known for our unique curation and we're happy to help you create delight!

Poet and/the Bench jeweler Jeffrey Levin designs gifts of the most memorable occasions, too, like custom jewelry for engagement and wedding as well as bespoke jewelry designs, and he designs a signature collection of engagement rings, fine and streetwear jewelry carried in the shop.

Jeffrey also welds permanent jewelry inhouse. Visit us to create a memory keepsake of your trip with a permanent bracelet– link chain fused without a clasp, like a friendship or infinity bracelet. We also do permanent anklets and permanent necklaces. We have a variety of 14k solid gold chain and charm selections.  

Shop Downtown Mill Valley treasures also at:

  • Poet and/the Bench
  • The Goods
  • Tysa

Culinary Delights for the Discerning Palate: Mill Valley has a thriving culinary scene, offering a plethora of gastronomic experiences. Dive into a world of flavors and locally sourced ingredients at our cozy bistros and cafes, quaint bakeries, exciting restaurants and people watching coffee bars.

Explore our neighbors:


  • Bungalow 44 seasonally inspired cocktails, apps and entrees
  • Paseo Bistro California cuisine with a French influence and a fab bar!
  • Piazza d'Angelo an ode to Southern Italian trattorias
  • Playa for modern, seasonal Mexican cuisine
  • Prabh for home style Indian 
  • The Rock and Rye at Sweetwater for classics and tasty vegan alike


  • Madrona is the newest bake shop
  • Waldscraft small batch breads and baked goods


Grab a Tigerwalk espresso or our fave, a breve cortado, at Equator Coffee or hang out at The Depot where the square invites excellent people watching!

Stay a While: Every guest that we've met at our shop who stays at the Mill Valley Inn has nothing but fab things to say about this hotel in Downtown Mill Valley. Cue great hikes, it's just blocks from our fave Old Mill Park, Dipsea steps up the mountain and the Cascade Falls. 

Poet and/the Bench Downtown Mill Valley Travel Guide

So... come visit and uncover the soul of our charming town.

Be sure to stop by Poet and/the Bench for our unique curation and grab a map of some of our fave places! We have a free digital version in the shop (or this one for sale) with great tips on the backside, too!

Photo credit: Top image: Tiffany M Kim, Bottom image: Sarah Hanna