Best Places to Visit in Santa Rosa
Located 60 miles north of San Francisco, Santa Rosa is the largest city in Sonoma County and a popular destination on the North Bay. Activities such as boutique shopping, natural exploration and enjoying the agricultural splendor of the area are popular in this lush part of Northern California, and activities such as giraffe and rhino sightings at the city’s Western Safari are popular. Other Santa Rosa attractions include state parks, historic homes, stately gardens, and public squares.
Attracting notable visitors and longtime residents such as Charles M. “Sparky” Schulz and Jack London, Santa Rosa offers visitors the opportunity to explore the legacy of both men who filled the city with sights and sculptures. The Charles M. Schultz Museum has a peanut-filled campus that offers family-friendly events, and the Jack London National Historic Site includes the farm where he once worked and the home of the famous author.
A great place to start exploring Santa Rosa is the Old Courthouse Square, which hosts many city events throughout the year. Located adjacent to the Old Court Square in the city centre, Fourth Street is lined with local shops, restaurants and nightlife events. The Luther Burbank Residence and Gardens, south of Old Courthouse Square, allows the public to explore the property of another prominent Santa Rosa resident.
For ideas on how to spend your time, see our list of the Best Places to Visit in Santa Rosa and make your trip enjoyable.
10 Best Places to Visit in Santa Rosa
Let’s explore the top 10 Most Beautiful and Best Places to Visit in Santa Rosa:
1. Jack London State Historic Park
Located 30 minutes drive southeast of the city, this popular historic park is home to Jack London’s once thriving farm and ranch, as well as a famous writer’s graveyard. Known for titles such as The Call of the Wild and White Teeth, London is obsessed with Sonoma Valley, sometimes called the Valley of the Moon. After its legendary success in the early 20th century, London set out to build his dream “Wolf House” home and a beautiful farm in full working order.
Today’s visitors can learn more about the popular author’s legacy and visit his beautiful estate, including the remains of the Wolf House, which was nearly destroyed in a fire in 1913. Historic hiking trails span the land, and there are extended hiking trails to explore the 1,400 acres. Numerous individual and group picnic spots are also spread throughout the beautiful park.
Address: 2400 London Ranch Road, Glen Allen, California
Official website: https://jacklondonpark.com/
2. Safari West
Located 10 minutes north of downtown Santa Rosa, this nonprofit offers a unique opportunity to go on an African safari. Safari West covers 400 acres and you can encounter a variety of animals on the safari tour, including giraffes, antelopes and rhinos. In addition to daily safari tours designed to inspire the wildlife consciously, Safari West offers luxury tented cabins with private bathrooms and hardwood floors so guests can enjoy the beauty of local wildlife at night.
Special adventures can be arranged before visiting Safari West, as well as special animal encounters such as meet and greet with a cheetah or rhino. Safari West hosts many programs and events, including photography workshops, children’s exploration camps, and a conservation dinner series. Other on-site dining options include Savannah Café meals, featuring aromatic appetizers cooked on a wood-fired grill.
Address: 3115 Porter Creek Road, Santa Rosa, California
Official website: https://www.safariwest.com/
3. Spring Lake Regional Park
Adjacent to Trione-Annadel State Park east of downtown, this regional park offers a host of warm-weather activities. At the center of the 72-acre reservoir, rowing and swimming are popular activities in Spring Lake. The seasonal swimming lagoon has an inflatable obstacle course and lifeguards on duty. A year-round boat ramp allows the motor and rowing boats to access the waters, and the park’s dealers offer hourly boat rentals.
Spring Lake Provincial Park has ten miles of trails on each side of the water and is also popular for activities on land. Spring Lake’s 31 campgrounds host tents and RVs for a fun night-out experience. Camping cabins can also be rented. Adjoining Howarth City Park is connected by footpaths to Spring Lake Regional Park, known as the “jewel” of Santa Rosa, which includes tennis courts, picnic tables, and a miniature train.
Address: 5585 Newanga Avenue, Santa Rosa, California
Official website: http://parks.sonomacounty.ca.gov/Visit/Spring-Lake-Regional-Park/
4. Railroad Square Historic District
Located on the west side of downtown Santa Rosa, this “Old Town” features shopping, dining, and downtown hotels with historic appeal. Located in the center of the 1904 Warehouse and Warehouse Park, boutiques and local restaurants can be found in the turn-of-the-century stone buildings nearby. A statue of Peanuts celebrating the work of Charles M. “Sparky” Schulz now stands outside the warehouse to commemorate the famous cartoonist’s 40th anniversary in Santa Rosa.
Now, a passenger line takes visitors from the neighboring city of San Rafael to the train plaza station for a fun afternoon or night break. The Santa Rosa Creek Trail adjoins the historic district, and for some nightlife, the 6th Street Playhouse offers regional productions and evening shows on two different stages. For historic accommodation near the warehouse, Hotel La Rose offers a luxurious overnight stay in a century-old building.
Address: 9 Fourth Avenue, Santa Rosa, California
Official website: https://www.railroadsquare.net/
5. Sugarloaf Ridge State Park
Located within the Mayacamas Mountains east of Santa Rosa, Sugarloaf Ridge boasts more than 4,000 acres of outdoor activities. Thirty miles of hiking trails wind through the park’s diverse forests, including towering sequoias along Sonoma Creek. The short hiking trail to Sonoma Creek Falls is popular in the park, as is the Vista Trail to the top of Bald Mountain, which offers views of the Golden Gate Bridge on a clear day.
Sugarloaf State Park Campground can accommodate tents and trailers up to 24 feet and has more than 40 locations. Mountain biking is a popular activity in state parks, as is stargazing at the public-only Robert Ferguson Observatory, which has a 40-inch telescope. Neighboring Mount Hood Provincial Park has more Maya Kamas Mountains to explore and is an entry point to the stunningly beautiful but less visited McCormick Sugarloaf Ridge, State Park.
Address: 2605 Adobe Canyon Road, Kenwood, California
Official website: https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=481
6. Luther Burbank
A few blocks south of Old Court Square, the city garden, once the home of horticultural pioneer Luther Burbank, is now a National Historic Landmark open to the public. The home’s complex garden offers free, fun activities 7 days a week, including a unique cactus garden and Burbank’s historic conservatory. Guided tours of Luther’s Burbank home are available Tuesday through Saturday, and more information and artifacts are displayed at the on-site Carriage House Museum.
Address: 204 Santa Rosa Avenue, Santa Rosa, California
Official website: http://www.lutherburbank.org/
7. Old Courthouse Square
Located in the central plaza in downtown Santa Rosa, the Old Courthouse Plaza is a recently renovated meeting place that hosts a variety of events. The Wednesday Night Market at Old Courthouse Square features live music and a variety of vendors selling produce and homemade goods. Family movie nights are also held in the plaza, along with community yoga, music festivals, and numerous cultural celebrations.
The rest of downtown originates from Old Courthouse Square, including adjacent Fourth Avenue, which is lined with local restaurants and shops, popular for sampling Sonoma County’s stylish and unique homewares made locally. Fourth Street book lovers will pay special attention to the family-owned Treehorn Books. Just south of Old Courthouse Square, the expansive grounds and gardens of world-renowned gardener Luther Burbank are now a National Historic Landmark for the public to enjoy.
Other downtown attractions include the Sonoma County Museum and a large movie theater complex. On the west side of downtown, the Railroad Plaza Historic District is considered the original downtown Santa Rosa, now home to gourmet restaurants, trendy shops, and other century-old buildings downtown. Visitors from San Rafael can take the newly opened passenger line to the Rail Plaza and downtown Santa Rosa.
8. Charles M. Schultz Museum
Dedicated to showcasing the life and artwork of Charles M. “Sparky” Schultz, this non-profit museum and research center focuses on Peanuts’ 50-year legacy. Thousands of artifacts, including photographs, letters, and tributes, make up the museum’s collection, alongside an extensive collection of comics and memorabilia. It is known that the numerous comics in the museum make visitors laugh while visiting the halls.
Charles M. Schulz has created Peanuts comics in Santa Rosa for over 40 years; this is an action the museum and the city are proud of. The museum’s permanent exhibits include a reconstructed Schultz studio, an open-air Snoopy maze, and numerous sculptures scattered throughout the grounds. Other peanut statues and cultural nodes can be found in Santa Rosa, particularly in Warehouse Park in the historic Railroad Plaza.
There are other facilities on the Schultz campus as well, such as a museum theater, a hot dog cafe, and a research center that examines the lives of famous cartoonists. Across the street from the museum is the Snoopy House on Ice, also known as the Redwood Ice Arena, offering public ice skating, recreational hockey, and something refreshing to do on a hot summer day. For more family fun, the Sonoma County Children’s Museum is adjacent to the Charles M. Schultz Museum.
Address: 2301 Hades Lane, Santa Rosa, California
Official website: https://schulzmuseum.org/
9. Luther Burbank Arts Center
The Luther Burbank Arts Center is North Bay’s premier arts and events space, known for quality community engagement for nearly 40 years. Featuring school performances, adult education programs, and an extensive contemporary art collection, this nonprofit facility is known for the talent it brings to the stage. The Arts Center’s 2,000-seat Ruth Finley Person Theater hosts well-known and regional productions from theatre, dance, music and comedy and puts on regular performances.
Address: 50 Max West Springs Road, Santa Rosa, California
Official website: https://lutherburbankcenter.org/
10. Pacific Coast Air Museum
At the Sonoma County Airport, the Pacific Coast Aviation Museum displays real airplanes in a historic hangar and 5 acres of land. Boasting more than 30 aircraft and cockpits, including fighter jets, reconnaissance planes and military helicopters, the museum allows visitors to touch, feel and examine these well-preserved aircraft. During Open Cockpit Weekends, visitors can hop into the cockpit and get a feel for it. Other special events at the Pacific Coast Air Museum include an air show flyover and the annual Wheels & Wings auto show.
Address: One Air Museum Way, Santa Rosa, California
Official website: https://pacificcoastairmuseum.org/
Hope you like our choice of the best places to visit in Santa Rosa. If you think there are some more beautiful places to visit in Santa Rosa, we should cover them. Write us below in the comment box.