Santa Rosa, CA

Population: 173,165

Key findings

  • Santa Rosa has a Livability Score of 62/100, which is considered below average
  • Santa Rosa crime rates are 18% lower than the California average
  • Cost of living in Santa Rosa is 7% higher than the California average
  • Santa Rosa real estate prices are 1% higher than the California average
  • Rental prices in Santa Rosa are 6% higher than the California average

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      Santa Rosa, CA

      Santa Rosa, CA sits nestled in beautiful Sonoma County, about 55 miles north of San Francisco; it is the largest city within this awe-inspiring county. Located in the wine country, this vibrant city is not far from the Pacific Ocean, yet hosts an overwhelming beauty in the area just surrounding it. Several films have used Santa Rosa for filming, including the classic, "Peggy Sue Got Married" and "The Candidate" along with many others. Living here is a bit more expensive than in other parts of California, yet the cost of transportation and utilities is less.

      Rental prices are higher than in many other California locations, and housing costs reflect the desirability of Sonoma County as a scenic and picture-perfect place to live. In general, the housing costs in Santa Rosa are more than twice the average of housing costs in the United States, as well as somewhat more than homes in other California locations. Santa Rosa, near the downtown area, includes homes with abundant charm and history.

      Santa Rosa is the former home of Luther Burbank, and one thing that residents and visitors like to do is stroll the beautiful Luther Burbank Gardens, near the downtown area. Located not far from the courthouse, its peaceful setting offers serenity as well as activities. Spend the day with family at Spring Lake Park, where they can swim, paddle, or go boating. The Charles M. Schulz Museum brings smiles to all, as Charlie Brown and the gang live through photos, memorabilia and tribute art. And to add to family fun, the Sonoma County Children's Museum is right next door to the Charles M. Schulz Museum. The Railroad Square Historic District offers shopping and dining in a setting of stone buildings. Residents enjoy the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, where culture and concerts take place through music, dance and theater. Airplane buffs will enjoy living near the Pacific Coast Air Museum. Travel 20 minutes southeast to the Jack London State Park, with the home site and ranch of this well-known author. And of course, living in Santa Rosa, you'll be close to the fabulous wineries and stunning vistas of Napa and Sonoma Counties.

      Biking is a popular way to get around town as well as to see the rest of the county. There are many bicycle trails near Santa Rosa. There are bus routes throughout the city. Sonoma County Transit also provides buses that go between cities, such as a bus from Santa Rosa to Healdsburg or Sebastopol.

      There are abundant reasons to call Santa Rosa home. Culture, beauty and proximity to San Francisco make this an ideal location for those who enjoy a quality life, surrounded by memorable scenery and views.

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      Santa Rosa Reviews

      Write a review about Santa Rosa Tell people what you like or don't like about Santa Rosa…
      Contemplating a move
      We’ve certainly had our moving experiences. We moved from SF to Madison WI and i knew immediately it wasn’t a good move. Growing up in New England it is either the coast, mountains, or both if you can move to that type of area.

      I was beyond thrilled to return to California and Santa Rosa was an area we checked out before moving tomiddle America. We lasted 10 months in the midwest.

      Now, we are in that dilemma again. With two young children we need to come up with a plan. I long for some of the charm (and great schools, low crime) of New England but also need to make sure this isn’t another type of frustration/escape/greener pastures type of move.

      My spouse will certainly want to move if we face another fire…we’ve had devastating fires the last three years. But could we deal with New England winters, mosquitoes and a smaller city/state vibe again is what we are contemplating…we would consider moving back to Portsmouth NH (Livability score 87, hour from Boston) and NH scores high in a lot of areas….however, when you read that many people love NH for it’s ‘freedom’ and ‘open carry’ it is that small minded reclusive, sheltered simplistic mentality that is a big turnoff…i loved living in Portsmouth and i know that we would appreciate so many of the qualities of the Seacoast knowing that even the conservatives there aren’t bible thumpers…as a matter of fact, they do disdain that stuff…there is some truth to the ‘Live Free or Die’ state.
      0 0
      Not rising from the ashes
      After a 4 year stint here, we left the area looking for “greener pastures”. During that 6 year hiatus, Santa Rosa was dealt a devastating blow, namely the Tubbs fire. We moved back here because, as affordability goes, the area is probably priced
      as a bargain for most Bay Area shoppers. It’s not a fluke, not a “Best Buy” without reason. The Pandemic has also been a
      huge blow for the crumbling area also. Kicking Santa Rosa when it’s down has blown the wind out of what is left of its sails.
      Left with a complete and utter crumbling of its already dilapidated infrastructure, Santa Rosa will never be a great place to live.
      Few neighborhoods, with the exception of the northeast section of town have any recognizable pride of ownership. If you want
      to see a mowed lawn, you will probably see a for sale sign gracing the yard. The people here are a mixed bag of very kind
      spiritually centered to a boat load of narcissistic young people with modified exhaust Mustangs and jacked up trucks, and older
      racists men who are looking for some good ol’ road raging. And restaurants? Good luck. Nothing stands out.
      The best reason to move Santa Rosa is where you “can go” from here. Bodega is a 35 min. beautiful drive. San Francisco is an hour
      away. Napa valley is 45 min. away.
      The weather in Santa Rosa is its best card, but not a good enough reason to move here.
      2 0
      What's To Like?
      I have lived all over California, and visited all over the United States, and this place definitively stinks. The ratings are absolutely correct, the housing and rental prices are sky-high, the job market is stagnant and low-paying, and the city nearly burns down every year. Highway 101, the main artery running through Santa Rosa, has such bad traffic from 7-12AM and 2-7PM that a 15 minute trip takes an hour. When people say this city is "beautiful," I have no clue what they're referring to, maybe the beautiful areas burned down. Sure, the natural areas surrounding Santa Rosa are beautiful, but Santa Rosa itself is an ugly mishmash of industrial eyesores and run-down neighborhoods. The people here are aggressive and unfriendly, rudeness and a lack of consideration for others seems to be the norm. It has all the negatives of a large-ish city, with none of the culture, public transit, or jobs. I cannot wait to leave.
      8 -1
      Pandemic Pandemonium Is Problematic
      So, how do you review a City like Santa Rosa, that suffered through a horrendous fire, and subsequent infrastructure
      crushing? And now, experiencing an unprecedented blow from what should not have been a complete collapse of
      Society due to the ineptness of the current Administration, record fires and month of unbreathable air. Santa Rosa
      is a dirty mess. And probably won’t experience a “clean up” anytime soon. Financially, it will be bare bones for years.
      The people here are a tough bunch. Lots of diversity if that is what you like. Cities that are “white bread” tend to be
      cleaner but boring. You move here for the weather. It’s the best balance in the Bay Area. I’m not saying it’s horrible,
      but 10 years ago Area Vibes gave Santa Rosa a livability score of 70. It’s now 61. Unfortunately, they got it it right.
      “Not so great”.....
      4 -2
      Everything is Rosy in Santa Rosa, CA
      I have always loved to travel. Last year, I got the opportunity to visit Sonoma Valley. Fortunately, one of my friends had convinced me to book at Historical Hotel La Rose, in Santa Rosa. Staying in a historical hotel allowed me to experience the history of Santa Rosa which is well preserved in many period buildings, around courthouse and railroad squares.

      I must admit that the center of Santa Rosa is itself a museum where visitors can find plenty of shops, restaurants, attractions and other entertainment. As a gateway to Sonoma valley, almost every corner of the town contains a tour operator. I could also see many historical apartment buildings. Upon my inquiry, it was a surprise that their rents were often 50 percent less than San Francisco. I was also surprosed to find that almost all of these residential buildings were immaculately maintained.

      There is also a creek that flows through the city of Santa Rosa. Due to this creek, there is an abundant wildlife including lots of herons and egrets. Also, don't be surprised if you happen to come across rabbits, opossums, foxes and raccoons because the city is located on the border of a wildlife sanctuary. Santa Rosa is home to North Bay Theatre Group, which is known throughout America for providing quality performing and visual arts.
      3 -2
      Source: The Santa Rosa, CA data and statistics displayed above are derived from the 2016 United States Census Bureau American Community Survey (ACS).