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Novato, CA - Ultimate Living In & Moving To Guide

Novato, CA | The 2024 Ultimate Living In & Moving To Guide | Mentors Moving & Storage

Last Updated on: 18th January 2023, 09:25 am

Along the US-101 highway right next to San Pablo Bay rests the small California town of Novato. Located about 12 miles north of the city of San Rafael, this charming spot features a tight-knit community of people who tend to stick around once they get here. It has stood the test of time since it wasn’t incorporated until 1960, even though it was first founded back in the 1840s.

Originally home to a variety of large orchards and vineyards, Novato has evolved into an outdoor paradise with elegant homes and quiet neighborhoods.

Anyone interested in moving to Novato will learn everything they need to know about living there in the points mentioned below. We’ve covered everything from the local population to the cost of living so you know exactly what to expect.

1. People of Novato

Considered a balanced area of retirees and established families, the city has a median age of 45 years old. Compared to many other parts of California growth has been slow as time has progressed, with only a few hundred people transferring to Novato each year. As of right now, the Novato population is around 54,790 residents.

Many residents love living in the area due to the simple 1-hour drive from Novato to San Francisco, which is less than 30 miles away. It makes for an easy commute or a nice day trip to the big city.

2. Novato Offers Plenty of Open Space

The city of Novato is known for its many green areas and local parks. Within the less than 30 square miles of the city, you’ll find five separate nature preserves including Deer Island, Indian Valley, Ignacio Valley, Pacheco Valley, and Loma Verde. Each of these areas provides access to their own perks and amenities.

Novato, CA Nature Preserve

Visit any portion of the 3,600+ acres of open space to enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, wildlife watching, and some of the most beautiful views you’ll see in California.

3. Things to Do and Restaurants in Novato

The list of fun things to do in Novato doesn’t end with its local nature preserves though. On the far east side of town, you’ll find even more outdoor fun at the Hamilton Wetlands, where you can take audio tours, go bird watching, or walk along the trails that lead to San Pablo Bay. And if you’re more interested in a crazy adrenaline rush than a simple hike, head over to Skydive Golden Gate at Gnoss Field Airport and jump out of a perfectly good airplane (with a parachute, of course).

Hamilton Wetlands


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Hamilton Wetlands, Novato, CA 94949

Skydive Golden Gate


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Skydive Golden Gate, 351 Airport Rd, Novato, CA 94945

Then, when hunger strikes and it’s time to eat, head out to one of the many great restaurants in Novato. Visit the close quarters of Marvin’s Restaurant for a delicious homestyle meal between breakfast and lunchtime. And for dinner, enjoy the eclectic flair of the Wildfox Restaurant for some of the best pizza in town.

Marvin’s Restaurant


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Marvin’s Restaurant, 1112 Grant Ave, Novato, CA 94945

Wildfox Restaurant


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Wildfox Restaurant, 225 Alameda del Prado, Novato, CA 94949

4. Novato Cost of Living Stats

With an average household income in the range of $90,000 per year, the cost of living in Novato matches these numbers. Though locals pay less than national averages for home utilities and healthcare, other expenses like groceries, local transportation, and especially the housing market tip the scale back to the other side.

The average price of a home in Novato is $838,300. And while the market warmed up over the past year by rising about 3%, it is expected to cool off over the next 12 months and drop up to 1%.

Average rent prices in Novato $2,301 per month for one bedroom or studio apartments $4,586 per month for bigger homes that have either four or five bedrooms.

5. Wide Range of Neighborhoods in Novato

Novato neighborhoods were recently ranked among the 100 best places to live in the United States and it’s no surprise why they made the cut. Houses in the area offer varying styles that range from small doublewides to extravagantly large single-family homes. If you’re thinking about moving to Novato, make sure you look through the top neighborhoods like San Marin, Bahia, Green Point, Hamilton, and Pacheco Valley.

Neighborhoods in Novato, CA

Novato is part of Marin County with local zip codes of 94945, 94947, and 94949. Local phone numbers are assigned area codes of either 415 or 628.

6. Local Schools in Novato

Although the number of young students in the area isn’t high, the town is still home to a number of good schools within the Novato Unified School District. Parents can choose from strong primary programs at locations like Novato Charter School, San Ramon Elementary, and Lu Sutton Elementary, as well as Sinaloa Middle School or San Jose Intermediate for kids between 6th to 8th grade. The district also has three high schools including Novato High, San Marin High, and Marin Oaks High.

Novato is home to one community college within its borders known as the College of Marin.

7. Novato Job Opportunities

If you’re thinking about living in Novato and have been wondering about local jobs, you’ll find some solid options covering a variety of industries. One of the city’s largest employers is BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc, a biotech company with its main focus on enzyme replacement therapies. Another employer in the area for individuals in healthcare is the Novato Community Hospital, which is managed by the Sutter Health System.

The local Novato Unified School District also employs a large number of teachers, admins, and additional staff across their campuses.

If you are planning on working in the big city, you’ll enjoy a fairly easy commute from Novato to San Francisco across the Golden Gate Bridge about 30 miles away. The trip will rarely take more than an hour depending on traffic.

8. Comfortable, Cool, California Weather

Nestled on the west side of San Pablo Bay, Novato weather is cool and comfortable. Summer temperatures rarely surpass highs in the mid-80s and lows in the 50s, while winters will almost never see temps that dip below 40°F. The area also gets a healthy dose of rain each year with about 38 inches annually.

Tips for Moving to Novato

  • Great communities for all, whether you’re retiring or moving here with family
  • Check out all the beauty of local nature preserves in Novato
  • Search through local Novato neighborhoods to find the best fit for your budget and lifestyle
  • Find a great job either in town or commute to San Francisco
  • Prepare for some of the best weather in the country

Now that you know relocating to Novato is right for you, would you like some help with your transition? Mentors Moving & Storage has been serving the area since 2006, so we’ve been around the block a time or two, or three. Our professional moving services take the stress off your shoulders, allowing you to simply enjoy your new home once you arrive.

Call our elite team today at (661) 215-6023 to learn all about what we can do for you! Or fill out the simple Request a Quote form at the top of this post to get a free moving estimate for your upcoming relocation.


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