Santa Rosa is the cultural, economic and political heart of Sonoma County. The rapidly growing county seat city has a population of over 170,000, making it the largest city in Sonoma County. Santa Rosa’s population was only 50,000 as recently as 1970.
Sonoma County is known for the grapes grown here and the world-famous wines that result from that harvest. The area surrounding Santa Rosa is home to more than 250 wineries and vineyards, many with attractive tasting rooms, gardens and picnic areas.
The city of Santa Rosa has a diverse economy that is the envy of cities twice its size. Santa Rosa’s many businesses include manufacturing, electronics, wood products, tourism, higher education and more. Shopping areas are abundant and include the Historic Railroad Square, a mix of restaurants, retail stores and shops in refurbished stone and brick buildings. Sample some of Wine Country’s finest cuisine at Chef Josh Silver’s Jackson’s Bar & Oven. There are three malls, the recently remodelled Coddingtown Center, Santa Rosa Plaza and Montgomery Village, each featuring hundreds of shops in a variety of fashions. Montgomery Village is home to a summer concert series (see more inside back cover). Downtown Santa Rosa’s Courthouse Square includes every sort of restaurant, clothing store, gift shop, bookstore and business imaginable. It is a lively, vibrant area. Be sure and check out Guy Fieri’s unique restaurant, Tex Wasabi.
The train depot, circa 1904, located in Historic Railroad Square has been restored to mint condition and is now the home of the Santa Rosa Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the California Welcome Center.
The Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center, located on the corner of West Steele Lane and Hardies Lane, was opened in Spring 2002. The 27,384-square foot museum includes permanent and temporary galleries, a 100-seat theatre, a room for drawing, and outdoor gardens. Just across the street from the museum, Snoopy’s Home Ice offers year ‘round ice skating. A four-foot tall bronze sculpture of the Peanuts characters Charlie Brown and Snoopy, located in Depot Park in historic Railroad Square, is a tribute to Charles M. Schulz, who was a longtime Santa Rosa resident. The sculpture was a project sponsored by the City of Santa Rosa, the Cultural Arts Council of Sonoma County, and the Sonoma County Community Foundation.
The arts are an important part of Santa Rosa life. The city has several live theater groups. The Santa Rosa Symphony is known as one of the finest of its size, and the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts has a regular lineup of entertainers, dancers and other cultural events. 6th Street Playhouse, in Railroad Square, offers two stages with musical, dramatic and comedic productions year ‘round.
Natural beauty is also no stranger to Santa Rosa—the city has six acres of parkland for every 1,000 residents in more than 40 parks and recreation areas. Probably the best-known park in the city is the Luther Burbank Center, the former home of the famed horticulturist. Sonoma County Museum celebrates art and culture of the area and is a Smithsonian Affiliate.
For more information, contact the Santa Rosa Convention and Visitors Bureau at (800) 404-7673. www.visitsantarosa.com
Things To Do in Santa Rosa:
9. Explore North Sonoma Mountain Regional Park
15. Tour Wine Country and the Coast by Helicopter
17. Experience the Spirit of Africa at Safari West
22. Ride a Train or Carousel at Howarth Park
23. Saddle Up at Cloverleaf Ranch
25. Pedal or Paddle around Spring Lake
26. Spend the Day at Charles M. Schulz Museum & Ice Rink
68. Stroll through Luther Burbank Home & Garden
69. Walk through Northern California’s Largest Wetlands
70. Shop & Dine at Historic Railroad Square
71. Taste Wine & Pizza at Vintner’s Square
72. Climb Aboard at the Pacific Coast Air Museum
73. Hang Out at Heritage Public House
74. Dance to the Montgomery Village Summer Concerts
75. Visit the Sonoma County Museums of Art & History