Local Guides
Marin County
San Quentin, California

San Quentin, CA Local Info


The eastern shore of San Francisco Bay in Marin County, California, is home to the town of San Quentin. While it may be small in size, San Quentin holds significant historical and cultural importance, primarily due to its infamous namesake, San Quentin State Prison, which still houses hundreds of death row inmates. 

San Quentin's history is deeply intertwined with the establishment of the state prison in 1852, known as the “Bastille by the Bay.” Originally built during the California Gold Rush era, San Quentin State Prison is the oldest correctional facility in California and one of the oldest in the United States. Over the years, the prison has been the site of notable events, including executions, riots, and significant penal reforms.

Today, San Quentin State Prison remains operational and continues to play a role in California's criminal justice system.  While not open to the public for tours, the prison's imposing facade and historical significance make it a notable landmark.