The largest city in Sonoma county, as well as the county seat, Santa Rosa has experienced rapid growth in the last decade by adding three times the residents that were added in all of Marin during the same period.
Downtown Santa Rosa has grown to match its swelling population, by adding shopping areas, hotels, and medical facilities. Santa Rosa is centered on Courthouse Square, the Comstock pedestrian mall, and an urban greenway featuring trails and a terraced walkway along a creek. No less than five historic neighborhoods including Burbank Gardens, the Railroad Square, West End and Cherry Street give Santa Rosa its quintessential small town residential feel. Old mansions and Victorians can still be found downtown near tree-lined McDonald Avenue, perhaps the most beautiful street in Santa Rosa.
Fountain Grove, Shiloh Estates, and the canyons and hillsides surrounding the town offer the most prestigious homes for sale. Santa Rosa home prices climb along with the elevation as it rises in the hills to the north and east of town. Homes here are of the gated estate variety, and come with gated drives, acreage, and sweeping views of the valleys below.
Surprising activities in Santa Rosa include the Charles Schultz Museum, dedicated to one of the most famous residents of town who lived here for 30 years, Redwood Ice Arena (built by Schultz) and Safari West, a private African wildlife preserve just outside of town.
There is a growing technology footprint in Santa Rosa with Agilent, and telecom companies creating a high tech corridor along HWY 101. Many residents commute to San Francisco, a trek that has gotten easier thanks to the recent additions of car pool lanes and road-widening in San Rafael.