Santa Rosa

A thriving, vibrant city that is the urban heart of Northern California’s wine country

 

Welcome to Santa Rosa

A thriving, vibrant city that is the urban heart of Northern California’s wine country

Santa Rosa is the hub of wine country, offering wine tasting, fine dining, and shopping in a pleasant urban setting 1 ½ hours north of San Francisco. With a population of nearly 180,000, it also has many cultural activities, such as a symphony, museums, a wildlife park, and the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts.

Santa Rosa was founded in 1833 and named after Saint Rose of Lima. It has grown steadily through the decades, including after World War II. It sits at the northwestern gateway to the Sonoma and Napa Valleys of the famed Wine Country. Also nearby are the Russian River resort and recreation area, and the Pacific Ocean is just a 40-minute drive.

Legendary director Alfred Hitchcock filmed his thriller Shadow of a Doubt in Santa Rosa in 1943. Many of the buildings shown in the film are sadly gone due to a big earthquake in October 1969.

What to Love

  • The Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center is dedicated to the works of the creator of the Peanuts comic strip.
  • Railroad Square in downtown is a historic district that was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.
  • Weekend wine tasting excursions are extremely popular, as there are many wineries and wine tasting rooms in and around the city.
 

People & Lifestyle

Santa Rosa is one of the most desirable places to live in California and thus attracts a number of young professionals, many of whom own their own homes.

Due to the pleasant, active lifestyle, Santa Rosa has a higher cost of living than both the California average and the national average. The median value of a home has surged past $600,000, and the median household income is more than $71,000.

Dining, Entertainment & Shopping

Santa Rosa has an expansive fine dining scene centered around the wine industry. The St. Francis Winery & Vineyards offers spectacular food and wine pairings in a beautiful setting on the outskirts of town.

Stark’s Steaks & Seafood is a classic steakhouse located in the historic Railroad Square. Riviera Ristorante is a family-run Italian restaurant with a cycling theme.

There are numerous wine bars and tasting rooms, such as Willi’s Wine Bar, Inspiration Vineyards - Winery & Tasting Room, and D’Argenzio Winery and Tasting Room.

There are many local shops on downtown’s historical Fourth Street, which is lined with redwood trees. Montgomery Village Shopping Center is an open-air shopping mall offering more than 75 retail and commercial outlets, including restaurants.

The Vintners Resort is a cozy, upscale hotel set on a 92-acre vineyard, with a posh restaurant, café, and lounge-bar.

Things to Do

Santa Rosa is a lively city full of parks, attractions, and of course, plenty of reminders that it sits in the heart of wine country.

Wine Road Barrel Tasting is an opportunity to meet winemakers, learn about the wine-making process and even buy “futures” of the wines you sample directly from the barrel. It is held every April. Sonoma County Harvest Fair allows people to taste the best wine and food of Sonoma County.

There are many other local attractions to visit. Old Courthouse Square is an outdoor plaza that has turned into a wonderful gathering spot in the heart of the city. It offers shopping and dining, as well as a place to host events.

Trione-Annadel State Park is a 5,000-acre park with a lake and miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, and trail riding. It’s also a haven for wildflower lovers.

Schools

The Santa Rosa area is home to a number of excellent schools. Top educational opportunities include:

  • Santa Rosa Accelerated Charter School is a top-notch school for fifth and sixth grades.
  • Santa Rosa High School is a highly rated secondary school that is part of the Santa Rosa City High School District.
  • Santa Rosa Junior College is a public community college in Santa Rosa, with an additional campus in Petaluma and centers in surrounding Sonoma County.

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