The urban heartbeat of Sonoma County in California and just 55 miles north of San Francisco, the diverse city of Santa Rosa invites visitors and residents alike to enjoy the fruits of the area’s lush natural landscape and rich history. Among the monolithic coastal redwoods, the gently sloping vineyards, and the lively bustle of downtown, you’ll find that Santa Rosa, named for Saint Rose, is full of beauty and opportunity.
Welcome to Santa Rosa
The city was founded in 1833 and first settled by the Carillo family of California, who built an adobe on the Rancho Cabeza de Santa Rosa land grant. Before this, Santa Rosa was inhabited by the Bitakomtara peoples, a tribe of the Pomos. After years of steady growth, Santa Rosa is now the county seat of Sonoma County and has a population of over 176,000 residents.
With five residential neighborhoods and plenty of urban, city housing options like luxury apartments and condos, Santa Rosa is bountiful in its choices for living spaces. Single-family homes can vary vastly in style, ranging from Adobe, Queen Anne, and Gothic revival to Spanish mission revival, California bungalows and craftsman styles, and modern new builds.
What to Love
People and Lifestyle
Santa Rosa is home to a diverse population that has all the convenience of urban living — in addition to close proximity to San Francisco — with the scenic setting of some of California’s most beautiful nature areas. The city is ideal for families and young professionals, thanks to its plentiful employment opportunities and great school system.
Shopping, Dining & Entertainment
Thanks to its three shopping districts, Santa Rosa makes it easy to find everything you need. One of the area’s two enclosed malls, the sprawling Santa Rosa Plaza
houses more than 90 retail stores and eateries, including brand name favorites like Michael Kors
. For an open-air shopping experience, try visiting the Montgomery Village Shopping Center
and browsing through their more than 75 retail options.
Santa Rosa is known as the culinary epicenter for Sonoma County, and with restaurants like the incredible John Ash & Co
at the Vinters Resort, it’s easy to see why. Fine dining at its best, the restaurant features seasonal menus using locally sourced ingredients, paired with award-winning wines that creates a unique dining experience. For a spectacular venue, you won’t want to miss out on Ca’Bianca
, an upscale Italian restaurant set in a 19th-century house complete with a full bar, patios, and gardens. Their menu is known for its creative antipasti and savory pasta, all sourced from fresh, local, organic ingredients.
Things to Do
TIt’s impossible to visit Santa Rosa and not visit some of the many renowned wineries and breweries available. At St. Francis Winery and Vineyards
, you’ll be able to taste their dedication to cultivating the most exquisite wines while maintaining a sustainable, environmentally friendly approach. Beer lovers can head to Russian River Brewing
for award-winning beer, and you won’t want to miss out on their pub location’s delicious food options that perfectly pair with their crafted brews.
Santa Rosa is also full of entertaining opportunities for families and kids, or individual adventurers looking for a chance to try something exciting. At Safari West
, guests are driven through the 400-acre property to view nearly 1,000 safari animals and stunning scenery. There’s even the option to go glamping (glamorous camping) on site in their luxury tents updated with patio views, hardwood floors, en-suite bathrooms, and continental breakfasts. Looking for community fun? Check out any of the city’s many festivals and events, such as the Luther Burbank Rose
Parade, which includes games for the kids, or Peggy Sue’s Car Show
, where visitors can see hundreds of classic cars and revel in live music, great food, wine, and beer.
Santa Rosa is home to a number of excellent schools. Top educational opportunities include:
- Sonoma Academy, 9-12, highly rated private high school
- Sonoma Country Day School, PK & K-8, highly rated private school
- Cardinal Newman High School, 9-12, highly ranked private Catholic high school