A hardworking town with interesting cultural offerings, Santa Rosa in Sonoma County is the hub of economic activity in California’s wine country. It’s also the largest city in the state’s North Bay and Redwood Empire. Filled with rugged coastal hills and flat valleys, Santa Rosa lies along U.S. 101. Its downtown is modern and pleasant with a growing arts scene. Farms, hopyards, and vineyards made it an early player in the farm-to-table movement. Today, Santa Rosa’s metropolitan wine country lifestyle blends the best of California, making it a fantastic place to visit and live.
What Makes Santa Rosa Great
- Proximity: Santa Rosa is about 55 miles north of San Francisco. The beach with its long coastlines and secluded coves is just a half hour away. Take the scenic Sonoma Coast Trail to get there.
- Wine: The city is equidistant from three of the county’s most popular wine-tasting destinations: western Russian River Valley, Sonoma and Healdsburg. More than 300 wineries and vineyards surround the area.
- Bicycle-friendliness: Many of Santa Rosa’s streets are bicyclist-friendly. Cyclists from around the world visit en masses for the city’s cycling events, including the Levi’s GranFondo and Amgen Tour of California.
- Pet-friendliness: Santa Rosa has five dog parks. Several water fountains throughout the city have drinking stations for pooches.
Santa Rosa Weather
Santa Rosa has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate with warm, dry summers and cool, wet winters. Summer temperatures average around 82°F. Average winter temperatures are a mild 59°F.
Santa Rosa Neighborhoods
Santa Rosa can be divided into four quadrants. Within these quadrants are more than 30 neighborhoods.
- Downtown: Downtown Santa Rosa is divided into three parts: 4th Street (the “downtown” area), Santa Rosa shopping mall and Historic Railroad Square. Revitalization efforts are currently underway in the downtown area to restore it to the jewel it once was.
- Northeast: North of Highway 12 and east of Highway 101, the northeast area has some of the oldest neighborhoods in the city. St. Rose is a higher-end neighborhood with amazing historical architecture. The JC Area is known for its artsy vibe.
- Northwest: Once plotted with prune orchards, northwest Santa Rosa is known for sports and recreational opportunities. It’s filled with baseball fields, a golf course, a swimming complex, ice skate rink and soccer centers.
- Southwest: The southwest quadrant has residential and rural properties. One of the best-known communities is Roseland Village, a family-friendly, tight-knit community.
- Southeast: The southeast quadrant is home to Montgomery Village, a high-end neighborhood with a shopping center. Nearby Bennett Valley has a public golf course.
Average Housing Costs in Santa Rosa
The median home value in Santa Rosa at the time of publication is $586,100. Home values are expected to rise about eight percent during the next year. The average rental rate for an apartment is $1,920.
Things to Do in Santa Rosa
- Connect with nature: Santa Rosa has 65 parks with playgrounds, sports fields, and trails with sweeping views. Hike Annadel Park to journey through calm meadows and thick forests.
- Go Peanuts: Famous Peanuts comic creator Charles M. Schulz lived in Santa Rosa most of his adult life. Visit the Charles M. Schulz Museum and take a selfie with statues of your favorite characters. Santa Rosa is also home to other museums, such as the Sonoma County Museum, Pacific Coast Air Museum, Ripley Museum Church of One Tree, and the Children’s Museum of Sonoma County.
- Brewery tour: Mix up you vineyard-hopping adventures with local brewery tours. You’ll find Third Street Aleworks and the Russian River Brewery in the downtown district.
- Support local growers and businesses: Sonoma County’s Farm Trail brings an abundance of fresh produce to Santa Rosa. Discover your favorite produce, meats and artisan creations at the Wednesday Night Market and West End Farmers Market. When you’re downtown, head to Railroad Square to check out local shops offering everything from clothes to cupcakes.
If Santa Rosa seems like an amazing place to live, check out the career opportunities at Solairus.