Just north of the San Francisco metropolitan area and bay, Sonoma County is an idyllic slice of Central California, with no less than 36 cities, towns and census designated places to settle down in, as designated by the US Census. Census-designated places are unincorporated areas of population, while a town, village, or city is incorporated, but both are just as pleasant to live in! The county takes its name from a local Amerindian tribe which once lived there named the Sonomas, and has been settled by Europeans and Hispanics since the 19th century, when it became part of Mexico, then the California Republic, and finally the United States.
The cities in Sonoma County maintain the beauty and affluence of the rest of Central California but without many of the drawbacks of San Francisco. If you want to know which Sonoma County city or community is right for you, you’ve come to the right place!
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Table of Contents
What is Sonoma County Like?
There are 36 cities, towns, and census-designated communities within Sonoma County. Most of these communities are centered around the county seat of Santa Rosa, which is also Sonoma County’s most populous city.
Sonoma County begins in the south on the northern edge of the San Francisco Bay and extends quite some distance northwards along the California coast of San Francisco, being just west of Sacramento. The primary metropolitan area within it is the Santa Rosa-Petaluma, CA metro area.
The history of Sonoma County begins with the native tribes of Pomo, Coast Miwok, and Wappo peoples, inhabiting the area for thousands of years. The Russians would be the first to settle the area, succeeded by Spanish and then American settlers. Sonoma County would be one of the original counties when California was founded in 1850, and would be centered around Santa Rosa, as it is today.
Sonoma County has numerous places of interest, such as Mount Hood, the historic Russian fort Fort Ross, and many others. Combined with the typically pleasant California climate, Sonoma County makes for an excellent place to live.
Sonoma County is well known for its excellent selection of wines coming from a wide variety of vineyards, as well as agriculture. Environmentally-conscious and organic farmer’s markets are common sights all over Sonoma County, no matter which community you are in. Sonoma County is the center of the so-called “Wine Country” in Central California and is the largest producer of wine in the state. If you’re a wine person, a city in Sonoma County will certainly be a good place to live!
Sonoma County is also well-known for its beautiful sceneries and equally beautiful cities. While prices may run high in this area, they are well worth it!
Sonoma County Demographics
- Sonoma County Population: 485,887
- Sonoma County Median Age: 42.7
- Sonoma County Median Household Income: $94,295
- Sonoma County Median Price of Housing: $718,500
- Sonoma County Area: 1,575.6 mi.
- Sonoma County Density: 308 people per sq. mi.
- Sonoma County Educational Attainment: 38.3% bachelor’s degrees or higher
Cities in Sonoma County
Santa Rosa is the seat of Sonoma County and also the most populous city in the County. First settled by Californio pioneers in the early 19th century, Santa Rosa is now best known as an intersection between wine country and beer country in Central California. In fact, Santa Rosa has a reputation for being one of the best cities for craft breweries in the country! Santa Rosa has a variety of attractions, such as the Luther Burbank Homes & Gardens and the Charles M. Schulz Museum.
Located more or less in the direct center of Sonoma County, it is the true center of the county and has a bit of something for everyone.
- Santa Rosa Population: 179,701
- Santa Rosa Population Growth %: 10.5%
- Santa Rosa Area: 41.3 mi.
- Santa Rosa Median Age: 38.8
- Santa Rosa Median Household Income: $75,630
- Santa Rosa Median House Price: $750,000
- Santa Rosa Crime Rate: 2,120 per 100,000 people
- Santa Rosa Map
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Petaluma derives its name from a native word meaning “backside of the hill”, and was once called the “Egg Basket of the World” for its bustling egg industry in the 20th century. While eggs don’t make up the primary industries, Petaluma is still very well-known for food, farms, and restaurants, such as Taps on the River and Cucina Paradiso – many world-famous restaurants call Petaluma their home!
Petaluma is located in the southern portion of Sonoma County and is very close to the San Francisco Bay, thus having quick access to the San Francisco metropolitan area in general.
- Petaluma Population: 60,767
- Petaluma Population Growth %: 7.2%
- Petaluma Area: 14.4 mi.
- Petaluma Median Age: 41.7
- Petaluma Median Household Income: $91,528
- Petaluma Median House Price: $850,000
- Petaluma Crime Rate: 1,663 per 100,000 people
- Petaluma Map
Just north of Petaluma is Rohnert Park, an early planned community that is also known as “The Friendly City”. It is known as a primarily residential area that is also the home of the Sonoma State University. It also has a wide variety of indoor and outdoor attractions and a mix of excellent restaurants, such as the Black Bear Diner.
While living in Rohnert Park, access to both Petaluma and the San Francisco Bay area will be easy and quick, owing to its southerly position in Sonoma County.
- Rohnert Park Population: 42,902
- Rohnert Park Population Growth %: 5.9%
- Rohnert Park Area: 7.0 mi.
- Rohnert Park Median Age: 35.8
- Rohnert Park Median Household Income: $71,585
- Rohnert Park Median House Price: $627,500
- Rohnert Park Crime Rate: 2,270 per 100,000 people
- Rohnert Park Map
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Located in the central part of Sonoma County and acting as a suburban community of Santa Rosa, Windsor (no, not the British one!) is a town that is known for its family-friendly charms and beauty. Largely residential in nature, Windsor still possesses many attractions of all sorts, as well as historic architecture in spades. There’s a reason Windsor is among the most affluent of Sonoma County’s communities!
Considering that Windsor borders Santa Rosa to the south, it should be no surprise that it will be very easy to commute from Windsor to Santa Rosa, as well as the nearby surroundings.
- Windsor Population: 27,447
- Windsor Population Growth %: 6.5%
- Windsor Area: 7.3 mi.
- Windsor Median Age: 40.0
- Windsor Median Household Income: $106,899
- Windsor Median House Price: $769,000
- Windsor Crime Rate: 1,001 per 100,000 people
- Windsor Map
Among the most affluent of Sonoma County’s cities is Healdsburg, named for the developed Harmon Heald, who was vitally important in creating this high-class city. Home to three of the top wineries in the United States, such as the famous ACORN Winery, owing to its advantageous position in Sonoma County’s wine country, Healdsburg has quite the pedigree. Largely residential in nature, this small city is nonetheless luxurious and is a wine enthusiast’s dream!
Healdsburg is located northwest of both Windsor and Santa Rosa.
- Healdsburg Population: 11,845
- Healdsburg Population Growth %: 6.9%
- Healdsburg Area: 4.9 mi.
- Healdsburg Median Age: 47.1
- Healdsburg Median Household Income: $96,016
- Healdsburg Median House Price: $1,050,000
- Healdsburg Crime Rate: 1,654 per 100,000 people
- Healdsburg Map
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The namesake of the county, Sonoma is an affluent but small city just east of Petaluma and north of the San Francisco Bay. Sonoma is well-known as a tourist destination, with tourists coming in to marvel at the beautiful, historic architecture and scenery, as well as to attend events like the Sonoma International Film Festival. The Mission San Francisco Solano is one of the oldest structures built in the county!
Sonoma’s position means it will be easy to commute southwards to the Bay, as well as northwards to Santa Rosa or westwards to Petaluma.
- Sonoma Population: 11,075
- Sonoma Population Growth %: 7.6%
- Sonoma Area: 2.7 mi.
- Sonoma Median Age: 52.3
- Sonoma Median Household Income: $84,352
- Sonoma Median House Price: $954,000
- Sonoma Crime Rate: 1,103 per 100,000 people
- Sonoma Map
North of Healdsburg is Cloverdale, a small city that is primarily residential in nature. First known as Markleville, it was little more than a train station stop for most of the 19th century. Nowadays, Cloverdale is known for its eclectic variety of shops and attractions. Come see the history of the city at the Cloverdale Historical Society, stationed out of the historic Gould-Shaw House!
- Cloverdale Population: 8,754
- Cloverdale Population Growth %: 6.6%
- Cloverdale Area: 3.1 mi.
- Cloverdale Median Age: 39.6
- Cloverdale Median Household Income: $71,378
- Cloverdale Median House Price: $540,000
- Cloverdale Crime Rate: 1,282 per 100,000 people
- Cloverdale Map
A census-designated community northeast of Santa Rosa, Larkfield-Wikiup is a residential, suburban community that is situated near the Sonoma County Airport. Many who live in this oddly-named suburb choose to commute to Santa Rosa for work. The California Indian Museum & Cultural Center calls this community home.
- Larkfield Population: 8,312
- Larkfield Population Growth %: -3.8%
- Larkfield Area: 5.3 mi.
- Larkfield Median Age: 43.5
- Larkfield Median Household Income: $78,852
- Larkfield Median House Price: $650,000
- Larkfield Crime Rate: 1,879 per 100,000 people
- Larkfield-Wikiup Map
Sebastopol is a residential suburb of Santa Rosa located to its west. Famous for the delicious Gravenstein apple, first planted here by Russian explorers who visited California in 1811, Sebastopol is a small city that is still reliant on agriculture for its primary industry. While no longer dealing with apples and plums as they used to, residents of Sebastopol will find that the city is still very grape and wine-centric. Be sure to go see the Patrick Amiot Art Museum or the Sebastopol Center for the Arts while you’re there!
- Sebastopol Population: 7,760
- Sebastopol Population Growth %: 5.8%
- Sebastopol Area: 7.3 mi.
- Sebastopol Median Age: 46.8
- Sebastopol Median Household Income: $82,244
- Sebastopol Median House Price: $985,000
- Sebastopol Crime Rate: 2,533 per 100,000 people
- Sebastopol Map
Boyes Hot Springs
Boyes Hot Springs is a census-designated community north of Sonoma. Named for the deep hot springs that are the area’s most notable feature, it is known for its tourism. Many come to bathe in natural spas, such as those which can be found at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa, or to get bottled sparkling and still water from the springs, renowned for its freshness.
- Boyes Hot Springs Population: 7,728
- Boyes Hot Springs Population Growth %: 11.0%
- Boyes Hot Springs Area: 1.1 mi.
- Boyes Hot Springs Median Age: 36.0
- Boyes Hot Springs Median Household Income: $74,120
- Boyes Hot Springs Median House Price: $800,000
- Boyes Hot Springs Crime Rate: 1,844 per 100,000 people
- Boyes Hot Springs Map
List of Cities in Sonoma County
Cities in Sonoma County Map
How many cities are there in Sonoma County?
There are 36 places in Sonoma County, which includes cities, towns, and CDPs.
What is the most populous city in Sonoma County?
The most populous city in Sonoma County is Santa Rosa.
What is the wealthiest city in Sonoma County?
The wealthiest city or community in Sonoma County is Eldridge.
Which city is the largest in land size?
The largest city in Sonoma County, land-size wise, is Sereno del Mar.
What is the most crowded city in-state?
The densest city in Sonoma County is Santa Rosa.
Which of Sonoma County’s Cities is Right for You?
If you’ve looked at our exhaustive list of Sonoma County cities and determined which one is right for you, you’re going to have to get there somehow – and there’s no better way than a properly-certified and top-rated Sonoma County mover!
Mentors Moving is the premiere full-service company in the Sonoma County area, providing moving services that are without comparison. Wherever you’re going, Mentors Moving will get you there! Call now at 707-205-3548 or fill out our online quote form to start today!