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What is Living in Santa Rosa Like? | ? [2024] Reasons for Moving to Santa Rosa CA

Last Updated on: 26th June 2023, 06:23 pm

The city of Santa Rosa is located in Sonoma County, its name meaning “Saint Rose” in Spanish. The beautiful city of Santa Rosa is known for being the former home of Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz – don’t be surprised if you see lots of statues of Snoopy and Charlie Brown around! – and also widely known as a city surrounded by vineyards and great wineries, as well as plenty of other attractions and things to do.

Among the older of California’s cities, Santa Rosa was founded in 1833 by a wealthy Mexican family, largely to be used as ranch land. Throughout the next decades, Santa Rosa became more and more populous, eventually having a Wells Fargo (back when they were a general store!) established in what would become the downtown area during the 1850s, and Santa Rosa began to develop as a city in earnest during the 1860s.

Like many cities on the West Coast, Santa Rosa experienced a major population boom after World War II, and has been growing ever since, helped along by urban development projects and annexations by the city’s leadership. Many people are moving to Santa Rosa for its beautiful scenery, varied housing market, and wealth of attractions and shopping. Living in Santa Rosa is a joy!

Where is Santa Rosa, CA?

Santa Rosa is in Sonoma County, some distance inland from the coast of California, and is part of the North Bay region. Almost the entirety of the city is situated on a flatland referred to as the Santa Rosa Plain. Santa Rosa’s western edge, meanwhile, is situated in the Laguna de Santa Rosa, where the Santa Rosa Creek discharges its water, forming a unique ecosystem.

Want to know where Santa Rosa is in relation to other cities? Santa Rosa borders Windsor to the north, and has close neighbors in Rohnert Park, Penngrove, and Petaluma to the south. The distance from Santa Rosa, CA to San Francisco, CA is 55 miles.

Santa Rosa Information

  • County: Sonoma County
  • Area: 42.5 miles
  • Zip code: 95401–95407, 95409
  • Area code: 707
  • Elevation: 164’
  • Time zone: PST
  • Closest airport: Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport, G56V+4Q Santa Rosa, California, 8 miles from Santa Rosa

Santa Rosa, CA Population & Demographics

The population of Santa Rosa is 178,391 distributed over 42.5 miles at a population density of about 4,200 people per square mile. It is the fifth most populous city in the Bay Area. Santa Rosa is located in the Santa Rosa-Petaluma metro area, which has a population of 496,801 people. The median age here is 42.4. The median household income in Santa Rosa is $86,173, with 43% of the population making $100k annually or more.

36.4% of Santa Rosa’s population has attained a bachelor’s degree or higher.

The major ethnic majority in Santa Rosa demographically is White, at 63%, with Hispanics coming second at 27%, as well as a small Asian demographic. 16.6% of Santa Rosa’s population are foreign-born, with 63% of the foreign-born population coming from Latin America. Santa Rosa’s gender ratio is skewed towards women, at 51%.

Notable people from Santa Rosa include Nirvana drummer Chad Channing, celebrity chef Guy Fieri, and creator of the Peanuts cartoon Charles M. Schulz.

Santa Rosa, CA Crime

Thinking about moving to this community, but wondering if Santa Rosa, CA is safe? Have no fear, for Santa Rosa is a very safe place to live! Santa Rosa’s overall crime rate is 15.3% lower than the national average, with the property crime rate being 23.4% lower than the national average and the violent crime rate being 31.4% higher.

Here’s how Santa Rosa compares in crime to three cities of similar size:

  • Cary, NC – 45.5% lower
  • Eugene, OR – 75.2% higher
  • Oceanside, CA – 16.1% higher

Run the numbers, and you’ll see that Santa Rosa is a very safe community. While its violent crime rate isn’t stellar, both property and violent crime rates are much lower than the nearby Bay Area. Santa Rosa is served in law enforcement matters by the Santa Rosa Police Precinct, staffed by 166 police officers.

Cost of Living in Santa Rosa, CA

The cost of living index in the Santa Rosa-Petaluma CA Metro is 49% higher on average than other places in America, according to Bestplaces, and this is actually a slightly lower COLI than the state of California. This state isn’t cheap!

Basic everyday costs like housing, utilities, and groceries will generally be higher or at the average. The average utility bill in Santa Rosa is $221.24 per month.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, a family will have to make, on average, $115,137 to live here.

Santa Rosa, CA Typical Living Expenses

Here are some common items you might buy, and their prices according to Numbeo:

  1. Milk – $5.07
  2. Loaf of Bread – $4.00
  3. 12 Regular Eggs – $5.29
  4. 1 lb. Chicken Filet – $7.66
  5. 1 lb. Apples – $2.34
  6. 1 lb. Tomatoes – $3.21
  7. Gasoline, 1 Gallon – $5.90
  8. Meal at an Inexpensive Restaurant – $24.00
  9. Monthly Internet Cost – $88.57
  10. Average monthly Santa Rosa utilities bill – $327.00 (per Doxo)

Santa Rosa has a sales tax of 9.25%, an income tax of 9.3%, and a property tax of 0.7%. Typical California stuff!

Santa Rosa, CA Transportation

Santa Rosa is built up around U.S. Route 101, which acts as something of a central vein through which all road travel goes. Public transportation is furnished by a line of rails, with SMART, as well as buses. The most substantial airport in the city is the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport (code: G56V+4Q Santa Rosa, California).

Santa Rosa, CA Schools & Colleges

If you choose to start living in Santa Rosa, the amount of options for schools you’ll have to choose from will be mind boggling – Santa Rosa is in the Rincon Valley Union District, Roseland District, and Mark West Union District, to name just a few. Some of the best schools you’ll find in and around Santa Rosa include Austin Creek Elementary, Mark West Charter School, and Maria Corillo High – all with excellent ratings!

If you or a family member are looking to get into higher education, you’ll have plenty of options around the area of Santa Rosa! The University of San Francisco has a local university in the area, and the Empire College is also located here. If you’re looking for a community college, Santa Rosa Junior College is an excellent option.

Santa Rosa has a wealth of excellent libraries, most notably the downtown branch of the Sonoma County Library.

Santa Rosa, CA Climate & Weather

Like most of California, Santa Rosa is a warm-summer Mediterranean climate, according to the Koppen scale. There are many things to love about Santa Rosa’s great climate! You can expect lows of 34 degrees Fahrenheit during the winter months, and highs of 84 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer months. Santa Rosa experiences precisely the average amount of rainfall when compared with the rest of the United States, with 38 inches per year. Generally speaking, Santa Rosa does not experience snow. The best times to visit Santa Rosa, in terms of comfort rating, are June and July. The coldest month is December.

Much of California experiences earthquakes due to the Hayward Fault, among others, and Santa Rosa is located near a certain segment of said fault, so expect earthquakes.

Santa Rosa, CA Neighborhoods | Where to Live in Santa Rosa, CA

Santa Rosa is a big place with lots of interesting subcommunities for all sorts of different people. No matter what sort of community you prefer, you’ll find a neighborhood that suits you! Affordable, affluent, good for families, good for business, all of these types are here! Check out some of the best neighborhoods in Santa Rosa below:

Fountain Grove – Affluent historic neighborhood, great for families

Known as among the most affluent of Santa Rosa’s neighborhoods, Fountain Grove is a historic community that has its origins in a utopian society from the late 19th century. Founded by the Brotherhood of the New Life in the 1870s, the mainstay of the community was a two-story manor called “Aestivossa” by Thomas Harris, the utopian leader, a name in a language he thought only he could understand. This odd group left their mark on the community, but nowadays it serves as among the oldest subcommunities of Santa Rosa, with some of the most affluent properties in the city.

Monroe District – Another historic neighborhood with plenty of attractions

With some of the homes here having been built in the 1850s, this is without a doubt one of the oldest neighborhoods in Santa Rosa. The initial homes, simple constructions out of wood, are long gone, but the Monroe District still contains a lot of that aged charm. As of today, the Monroe District has lots of homes situated near numerous specialty stores, restaurants, and attractions.

Railroad Square – A great neighborhood for shopping

Noteworthy for having buildings still standing from the 1890s, constructed by stonemasons from Italy, the Railroad Square is much like the Monroe District in that it is primarily situated near places with lots of stores, attractions, and so on. If you don’t want to drive for things to do in Santa Rosa, Railroad Square is an excellent option.

Santa Rosa, CA Real Estate

Santa Rosa gets a 71 on Redfin’s competitiveness scale, with home sale prices on the rise and a majority of homes being sold slightly over list price. Santa Rosa’s combination of excellent upper end neighborhoods and more affordable, lower end neighborhoods is a winning combo for a competitive housing market!

The median sale price for Santa Rosa homes is $760,000, which is priced significantly higher than the average home price for the Santa Rosa-Petaluma metropolitan area ($640,000) and the entire state of California ($538,500). The number of houses sold yearly has depressed, by 26% year over year, with 181 homes being sold this year. The median days on the market in this area is 27 days, a number that has been decreasing yearly.

37% of Santa Rosa residents rent their homes, according to RentCafe, which might be on the lower end for a city of Santa Rosa’s size. The average rent in Santa Rosa is $2,087 monthly, which is fairly typical considering Santa Rosa is pretty affluent.

If you want to make yourself a part of any of these communities, you should check out the latest listings for homes for sale in Santa Rosa, CA.

Jobs in Santa Rosa, CA

Santa Rosa is a city whose main industries pertain to tech, medicine, and finance, according to Payscale. The most popular positions of employment are Human Resources Manager, Mechanical Engineer, and Financial Controller. The largest employers in the area, and by extension the best places to work in Santa Rosa, are Medtronic, Inc., Keysight Technologies, and American Agcredit. The average salary for a worker in Santa Rosa is $80k a year, while the average hourly wage is $22.96.

Santa Rosa is a bit isolated, which means commuting to another city for work isn’t really viable – thankfully, with this much economic opportunity within city limits, you won’t have to! Check out the latest listings for jobs in Santa Rosa, CA here.

Things to Do in Santa Rosa, CA

It should come as no surprise that there are plenty of great attractions and specialized shopping centers in Santa Rosa! You should check out some of the best things to do in Santa Rosa, CA below:

Top Attractions:

  • Safari West – It is not an exaggeration to say that Safari West is one of the most unique takes on a zoo in America! This facility for captive breeding of endangered African animals allows you to pile into a jeep and drive amongst the animals like you’re in Kenya. To top it all off, they even have tent-hotels, where you can sleep among the animals!
  • Charles M. Schulz Museum – Even if you aren’t familiar with the man’s name, you are no doubt familiar with his work – he is none other than the creator of the Peanuts comic strip! Explore his life and works in this fascinating museum!
  • Luther Burbank Home & Gardens – Luther Burbank was a horticulturalist who lived in Santa Rosa during the 19th century, noted for engineering over 800 plants into existence! Explore his lovely home and local gardens and learn more about this fascinating figure.


Parks & Outdoors

  • Howarth Park – Santa Rosa has fantastic parks aplenty, believe us! This expansive park, clocking in at 152 acres, has a large lake, playsets for the young ones, walking trails, picnicking spots, and even a little train!
  • Spring Lake Park – If you thought the lake in Howarth Park was nice, wait until you see this one! This lake includes a swimming lagoon, as well as miles and miles of walking trails that link up with Howarth.
  • Trione-Annadel State Park – A bit more wild than the other parks we’ve discussed here, Trione-Annadel State Park offers excellent hiking trails and fishing, with a license. And, wouldn’t you know it, it’s centered around yet another lake!


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  • Santa Rosa Plaza – A big food court, plenty of stores specialty and otherwise, and lots of space to peruse plenty of goods. What more do you need in a shopping mall? Santa Rosa Plaza could serve perfectly as the spot for a night outing with your friends.
  • Coddingtown Shopping Center – If Santa Rosa Plaza does not quite suit your fancy, Coddingtown Shopping Center is another excellent choice. It has all the typical mall trappings, but is especially well-known for its excellent eateries.

Map of Santa Rosa Things to Do

Places to Eat in Santa Rosa, CA

In Santa Rosa, fantastic restaurants are the norm! Take a look at some of the best restaurants in Santa Rosa below:

Bird & The Bottle

The Bird & the Bottle is a chic, Southern and Asian fusion (not the most typical mix, right?) diner that keeps Santa Rosa locals coming back for its excellent menu and creative dishes. Don’t miss out on this unique restaurant!

Bird & the Bottle, 1055 4th St, Santa Rosa, CA 95404, (707) 568-4000

El Coqui

In California, one is much more used to seeing Mexican restaurants than Puerto Rican ones – which is where El Coqui comes in to fill in the gaps! Enjoy the cuisine of this U.S. territory with a unique culture at El Coqui.

El Coqui, 400 Mendocino Ave, Santa Rosa, CA 95401, (707) 542-8868

Omelette Express

The Omelette Express is a beloved local breakfast joint of Santa Rosa, and for good reason! They serve not only fantastic omelettes, but just about every single breakfast dish you can imagine, each as delicious as the last.

Omelette Express, 112 4th St, Santa Rosa, CA 95401, (707) 525-1690

Sports in Santa Rosa, CA

Unfortunately for all the sports lovers out there, Santa Rosa just isn’t a city that lends itself well to professional sports. No big stadiums or big professional teams make their homes here, although the USF does have a college here, which has athletic teams for soccer and football. If you’re simply looking for amateur sports, then have no fear – in a city so big, there are plenty of courts, pools, and equipment to be found for all sorts of sporty activities!

Want to start living in Santa Rosa, California? Be assured that moving to Santa Rosa is a great idea! If you need a reliable team to help you with your transition to this wonderful city, give Mentors Moving a call at 661-215-6023! With our group of trained and professional Santa Rosa movers, we’ve got the know-how and the grit to make your move simple and quick! Call now or fill out our online form for a free quote!


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