Sonoma's thriving county seat is a historic, urban oasis in the heart of wine country
Santa Rosa is the largest city in Sonoma County and a bustling burg that offers the best of California Wine Country on a grand scale. Formed in the mid-1830s, the city carries a nearly 200-year history that has seen it forge an unmistakable identity as the urban core of the region.
That history is most prevalent in Santa Rosa's uniquely diverse neighborhoods, five of which are standout historical districts. Cherry Street, McDonald, Railroad Square, Ridgway, and St. Rose are the most in-demand areas, each offering distinctive architecture set along beautifully manicured streets. Greek and Spanish Revival, multiple Craftsman styles, and classic Victorian and Gothic influenced homes are all found within these historic communities.
More than just its neighborhoods, Santa Rosa is ideal for those wanting to live in a thriving city that remains close to the more serene elements of rural wine country. Sonoma, Napa, St Helena, Calistoga, and Healdsburg are all less than a 45-minute drive away.
Gorgeous architectural heritage in well-preserved historic neighborhoods
The urban heart of wine country with a dynamic food and drink scene
Central location puts you close to the big-city vibes of San Francisco and rural charm of California's top wineries
Gateway to a host of outdoors pursuits, with Redwoods, the Pacific Ocean, and Mendocino National Forest nearby
Perhaps more so than any other city in Sonoma County, Santa Rosa offers something for everyone; there's a definite mix of both urban and rural sensibilities. An energetic downtown, lively shopping districts, and a delightful restaurant and bar scene are all just a few miles from rolling farmland dotted with vineyards and wineries.
Those who love history, and more importantly the preservation of a city's historical roots, will appreciate the area's nod to its past. Art and culture play a central role in Santa Rosa, too. There's an abundance of libraries and museums and a fantastic theater district. Add in the abundant nature and some of the world's best wine and it becomes clear that Santa Rosa isn't just a place to visit—it’s a place to stay and lay down roots of your own.
The places in Santa Rosa to dine, drink, shop, and be entertained is indeed a lengthy one. For that reason alone, the city is an ideal place to get out and explore, be it on foot or by bike, and discover your perfect Santa Rosa scene.
Some of the more celebrated establishments in Santa Rosa feature the Russian River Brewing, serving upscale pub fare, and Spinster Sisters for modern American plates. For high-end artisanal pizza, head to Rosso Pizzeria & Wine Bar. The stylishly upbeat Bird and the Bottle offer creative Asian dishes. For those craving a magnificent steakhouse experience, Stark's Steak & Seafood is where you'll find it.
Offering the perfect mix of art, culture, and nature, there's rarely a dull moment in Santa Rosa. Most notably, the city is home to Snoopy, Charlie Brown, and the rest of the Peanuts gang, as the Charles M. Schulz Museum celebrates their creator. You'll also find the Redwood Empire Ice Area, more lovingly known as Snoopy's Home Ice. Be sure to check out of the sculptures of Peanuts characters across the city.
The community is a cycling mecca and has numerous miles of both paved and unpaved bike paths. One of the most beloved events is the Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Festival, held annually at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa.
Another frequented attraction is the beautiful, 5,000-acre Trione-Annadel State Park. Activities include hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and fishing. There's also Spring Lake Regional Park, which is a popular spot for boating, camping, and swimming. The Luther Burbank Home and Gardens in the heart of town is a must-visit for those with a green thumb.
To connect even more intimately with nature, Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve is only 30 minutes from the city. Point Reyes National Seashore is an hour away, and Mendocino National Forest an hour and a half.
Santa Rosa is home to a number of excellent schools. Some of the most celebrated educational opportunities include: